What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

A lot of people have been asking me recently how we chose names for our children, and what factors will go into choosing the name for our newest addition, so I thought it might be fun to blog about it!  Truthfully, I have always found the naming process really stressful.  I know it should be fun, but I feel like choosing the right name is so important and so I feel that burden of responsibility.

I’ve never been hung up on selecting names that actually have deep significant meaning, although I do always check what the historic meanings of the names are.  However, I do care about family ties to names, traditions, and also any special meaning I connect to a name personally.

It’s fair to say that I’ve also always been a fan of classic names – I like trendy names, but have never been drawn to them for my own children.  I wanted my children to have names that would stand the test of time.  As teachers, Jeff and I also have the added struggle of associating certain names with certain students… which can be good and bad! So that is something that often plays into how we feel about names.

After we named our first child, it was important to me that our other children had names that had a similar feel.  I know this isn’t important to everyone, but for me, I wanted all of my kids to have names that flowed together.

Additionally, because we have always waited until the delivery to find out the gender of our babies, with each pregnancy we have had to decide on two names – one for a girl, and one for a boy, to ensure our bases are all covered!  However, we have almost never gone back to the names we had selected for previous babies, as we typically find ourselves drawn to something new or different with each pregnancy, although I still think the similar vibe of the names we’ve chosen for each child is evident.

Continue reading if you’re interested in how we named each of our kids and what their names mean to us!

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Isla Deanne –

When I was pregnant with Isla, in 2011, I was really drawn to simple and classic names, like Emma and Ava.  However, I had several friends who had babies around the same time who used these names, so I wanted something that had a similar feel, but was still different.  I first heard the name “Isla” from the movie actress, Isla Fisher.  I remember actually googling how to pronounce the name to make sure I was pronouncing it correctly – thankfully, I loved the pronunciation (Eye-La), and so we decided to go ahead with that for the first name.  “Isla” is traditionally a Scottish name meaning “island”, although this didn’t really play a role in our choosing of the name. When we chose the name, it was still very uncommon, and a lot of people commented on how unique it was – despite the fact that it’s in fact a very old name!  However, within a couple of years of our Isla being born, it became a very popular name, and we now know of several little Isla’s.

The middle name “Deanne” was selected because it is my mom’s middle name, and also my middle name, so I loved the significance of passing my middle name on to my first born daughter, just as my mom passed in on to me – her firstborn daughter.  Deanne is  a variant of the name Diane, and means “divine”.

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Benson Jeffrey

I always struggle with boys names far more than with girls names; I’m not sure why this is, but I do find naming boys so much more difficult.  Because we already had an Isla, I wanted a name that would compliment it, sticking with the “short, simple, and classic” trend we started with our firstborn.  We tossed around a lot of different names,  but couldn’t seem to agree for quite some time.  We finally agreed that we liked the name “Ben”, but we wanted to give him options when he was older by giving him a slightly longer name.  The obvious choice was “Benjamin”, but again, we knew several Benjamin’s, so when we came across the name “Benson”, we knew it was the perfect way for us to have our own little Ben in a slightly less traditional way.  The name “Benson” is actually traditionally a surname, and it’s no surprise that the actual meaning is “Son of Ben”.  However, the name Ben is a family name on my mom’s side of the family, so it held special meaning in that it can be passed on to another generation.

As far as Ben’s middle name, no surprise here either, but he was named after my husband.  We had originally selected a different middle name, but a few days before Ben was born, Jeff asked if we could just his name as the middle name, and of course, I was ok with that.   “Jeffrey” is a German name that means “pledge of peace”, which I actually love for our sweet boy, who has become such a balm for my mamas soul.

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Molly Blythe

Molly’s name makes me smile every time I say it.  It took us awhile to settle on her name, and in fact, we didn’t choose it officially until a few weeks before she was born.  We have both always loved the name Molly, but for some reason, it never made the top of our list with previous children.  When we were first married, we vacationed to Bali and we stayed at a resort where another family from Australia was staying – they had a little one named Molly, and we both loved it when we heard it, and attributed it to this darling little girl we saw playing in the pool everyday.  I think our hesitancy in using the name earlier on had more to do with our belief that the name was too common – however, I have come to realize that while the name Molly is familiar to everyone, it’s actually not that common. “Molly” is actually a Hebrew name, which means “bitter”, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the meaning of the name itself, for us, it wasn’t enough of an issue not to use the name.

Molly’s middle name, Blythe, is actually inspired by a novel I was reading when I was pregnant with her.  There was a character in the story named “Juniper Blythe”, and I absolutely loved the way the name sounded.  When I tried it out with Molly, it just clicked – to me, Molly Blythe sounds like the name of a storybook character, and as an English teacher, I love the tie of the name to literature.  I also absolutely love the meaning of the name Blyth, which is an English name meaning “happy and carefree”.  This is our little one to a tee – and thankfully it not balances out the meaning of her first name, but also gives us a new family name unique to our little unit.


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Baby #4

If you’ve noticed any sort of pattern in our name selections, then you might have some ideas of the types of names that we love and are considering for our newest babe – classic, simple, traditional, short, simple, sweet.  These are all words I would use to describe our name style.

We have a few that we are considering right now for each gender, but with two expectant sisters, and several expectant friends, it remains to be seen what we will end up selecting!  Although I no longer have the same qualms about using names that others have used, I still personally wouldn’t choose the same name that a family member or close personal friend has chosen, simply due to the confusion that can cause when everyone is together!

However, because we still aren’t 100% settled, I would LOVE some baby name suggestions for both a girl and a boy that you think would fit our family trend! What perfect name combo would you add to our mix of little people?!


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DIY Shiplap Project

DIY Shiplap Project

When Jeff and I moved into our home back in 2015, we knew there were some changes we wanted to make over time.  The trouble for me, is that it takes me a long time to commit to a design decision, because I find that I am attracted to so many different styles and aesthetics.  I have loved the bohemian trend, mid-mod inspired decor, high-contrast details, and of course, the ever-popular modern farmhouse look made so trendy by my fav TV couple – Chip & Joanna Gaines.

As a result, it has taken a while for me to settle on the cohesive look I want to achieve throughout my home, but little by little, decisions are being made and changes are taking place.  Changes that are leaving me so happy with the results that I’ve wondered why I didn’t make the decision years ago!

This summer, we plan to do a lot of updates throughout the house, as we have suddenly found ourselves with more down time than we know what to do with!  So, if you’re interested in following our process, and maybe learning a little from our triumphs – and mistakes – feel free to check out my series of home DIY’s over the next few months!

Today’s post is dedicated to our most recent project – installing DIY shiplap in our living room.  I have wanted to tackle DIY shiplap for about a year now, but just couldn’t decide where to start.  It wasn’t until a good friend of mine installed DIY shiplap in her master bedroom that I finally got up enough courage to really consider doing it ourselves. I was debating between our master bedroom and our living room, and finally settled on our living room, as I felt it would pack the most punch and be a relatively easy way to experiment with DIY shiplap.

The reason I felt our living room would be an easy place to start is because the main wall is actually broken into three sections, and I didn’t want the hassle of trying to line up board lengths along a continuous wall the first time we attempted shiplap. Our living room had been painted a medium-grey tone, and although I do love grey, I wanted to lighten up the space with white shiplap walls, and also add some character and dimension to the space.

Here is a snapshot of our living room before the renovation:

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

As you can see, there were also built-in-bookshelves in the one corner of the room, which – while functional – added to the overall dark feeling of the room.  So, our first step was to remove the bookshelves and see what we were dealing with behind.  I was so pleased to see how much space we gained by removing the built-ins.


The next step was to measure the walls that we wanted to shiplap, both the width and the height, so we knew how much material to purchase.  Once we had those measurements, we headed off to a Home Depot in Saskatoon to find what we needed.  We ended up purchasing five 8 ft x 4 ft sheets of 3/8 thick pre-sanded plywood.  It was a bit more expensive to purchase the sanded sheets ($44.20/sheet) compared to around $32 for un-sanded, however, for us the extra cost was worth avoiding the added time and labor to sand ourselves.


We then had Home Depot cut the plywood into 6 inch wide lengths for us.  We paid a total of $8 for all of the sheets to be cut, which again, was definitely worth the expense as opposed to having to cut the boards ourselves.  Because our walls were different lengths, we first had them cut the whole board down to the correct length, and then had the individual 6 inch wide boards cut.


Other materials we purchased included:

  • Nails for the air-nailer (we were able to borrow an air-nailer, but you could rent one as well)
  • Sherwin Williams Alabaster White Paint & Primer in One

I had been agonizing over which white to select- which I know my husband thought was ridiculous since to him, they are all just white.  But I’m so glad we ended up going with the Alabaster White!  It’s the perfect warm white, without looking yellow.  One gallon canister was enough for the shiplap portion of our project, but we did purchase a second canister to complete two additional walls in our living room for a more cohesive effect.


Once we had all of our supplies home, I really can’t express how easy this project was! Because all of the boards had been pre-cut to the exact measurements of the walls, all we really had to do was line the correct board lengths up with each wall and nail them in place.

In order to ensure that our nail holes lined up, we broke the wall down into equal parts, and drew vertical lines on the wall itself to serve as our guideline.  At this point I was still undecided about whether or not I wanted to fill the nail holes, or leave them for a more rustic look – so it was important to me that the nail holes were placed somewhat consistently.


We started at the top of the wall as opposed to the bottom, in case there were any issues that needed resolving; people are more likely to look up than down at the floor.  We also needed to figure out how to properly space the boards.  A friend recommended we use nickels (a Canadian 5cent coin) and it worked perfectly!


The only other factor to consider was that our walls were grey, not white, and we wanted to make sure the space between each board was white as well.  So, instead of painting the entire wall and then covering the majority of it with plywood, we just used a hand-held paintbrush to paint the spaces between each board as we went along.


The process of installing each board was really simple, and Jeff and I were able to do it ourselves in an evening.  We did need to trim down the odd board to account for imperfect walls, but the fixes were minor and easy to achieve with a basic jigsaw.

We also had the added challenge in our space of needing to trim the stones shown below, as they were pressed right up against the wall, and we needed to be able to slide our shiplap boards in behind.  Luckily it was a really quick and easy job using a reciprocating saw with a masonry blade.  It was a pretty messy job, but it worked really well!


Once all of the shiplap boards had been placed, our next task was to paint the boards using the Sherwin Williams Alabaster White Paint & Primer in One.  We chose to roll the first coat, and then for added texture, we hand-painted the second coat.  I also decided to leave the nail holes exposed.  I really like the more rustic look for now, and I figure if I get tired of the look, filling the holes for a more polished look will be an easy fix down the road.


The entire project cost us about $300 CND, which was excellent bang for our buck, as I’m so happy with how the room looks now.  As I mentioned earlier, we also ended up painting the two adjacent walls the same Alabaster White, and the whole space is so much more open and airy now.  It was a great first attempt at DIY shiplap, and I’m already excited about where we might try installing it next!


Diy Shiplap (1)


Please feel free to ask any questions regarding our process!  We gathered tips and advice from others and the internet before embarking on the project ourselves, and there are literally hundreds of step-by-step DIY’s you can follow if this isn’t quite the look you’re going for!  I’m also still working on all the finishing touches of this room – would love to hear your feedback!

August is here! Be part of (5)















Wake Up To Yellow

Wake Up To Yellow

Last week I had the privilege of being invited to attend the “Wake Up To Yellow” campaign in Saskatoon, SK, hosted by the Egg Farmers of Canada*.  I have to say, when I was first invited to attend, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the event was great and so well done!  I was so impressed at the time and effort that had clearly gone into the set-up, design, and promotional material resources.

Continue reading “Wake Up To Yellow”