November 28, 2014
I love finding Mandarin Oranges at Christmas. Such a treat! These little juicy and sweet guys are now our favorites:
Bigger than a U.S. nickel.
But smaller than a typical Mandarin.
What is your favorite Christmas treat?
November 24, 2014
We're a bit behind this year with our holiday decorating. Most of our Christmas stuff is packed and I really don't want to start unpacking boxes at this point. So we've decided to have a pared down experience this year. One tree, lights and a few bobbles and ribbons on the tree. Our stockings are hung up on the fireplace, the snowman shelf is done and our wreath is on the front door. No outside lights or lit deer in our backyard. This year, our season will be quiet and less busy. And we're so looking forward to it! Our last festive family celebration in this old house.
Our tree, a month before Christmas!
Now we just need the decorations!!
How are your holiday plans coming along?
November 20, 2014
I've been fascinated by many blog writers who diligently plan their weekly menus for their families. In our house, we decide on the day what we feel like having for dinner. Which means we have to have a good stock of items on hand on any given day. Or be willing to hop over to the store on a whim. Not always the best thing for our frugal budget. Because we're moving out to the country, "hopping over to the store" will be completely out of the question. So now we will become diligent menu planners for our family, our sanity and primarily, our frugal but healthy budget.
And look what I found to help us out! A menu planning pad, complete with the days of the week categorized and a handy dandy shopping list column. Best part? It was just $2 at the thrift store!! I love a deal that helps us save more.
How do you do menu planning in your house?
November 16, 2014
Do you remember Scholastic Book Orders as a kid? I couldn't wait to take home the order forms, tucked away safely in my backpack, to pour over the forms and choose books that I hoped my mom would agree to buy. Most often, my choices would fit into the budget. Sometimes I'd have to agree to make my list smaller. But books were important in our house and growing our family library was the goal.
When our kids started school, I was surprised but oh so excited to learn that the Scholastic Book Orders were still popular. Just like when I was a kid, I couldn't wait to get home to pour over the forms when my kids would announce that they were tucked away in their backpacks. Even with our very tight budget with many small children, we managed to make book orders a priority. Our children were voracious readers (still are) and growing our own family library at home was very important to all of us.
So guess what I get to do now? Yup, Scholastic Book Orders are once again back in our lives. We're a 3rd generation book order family! Our grandson now comes home with his book order tucked away in his backpack. And we curl up together on the couch and pour over the forms, choosing books and growing his little library. His favorite thing now is to get tucked into bed with a book or two each night. Warms my heart that his mama knows the value of this practice. And we're happy to contribute to his bookcase!
Did you children come home with book orders
tucked away in their backpacks?
We're off for a quick trip out to the Country, to see how our new house looks now that the snow has arrived. Our builder and his family left last weekend for a well deserved vacation and are back home today. So we've had not notices about what has taken place this week. He did tell us before he left what was planned, with a caution of course that schedules sometimes change with weather and deliveries. The one hope this week was to have our siding installed. At the time he had left, the bundles of material had not yet arrived but they were expected. Then we had a snowfall and a short deep freeze, so even if the siding did arrive, we're not sure that it would have been installed. Dh and our girls are so anxious to see it. Me? I've got butterflies in my stomach!
I'm so nervous because we have steered away from the typical material that all houses are wrapped in around this part of the world. What is normal is a basic, straight vinyl siding, as shown below. Kind of boring, don't you agree?
Our budget for this house was set for straight vinyl in muted tones. Darker tones are more money. Of course, upon learning this, we both wanted a darker color. Our builder priced it out and we started to see where in our budget we could make it work. But I really wrestled with the look.
We discovered, with the new siding budget, we could have a second color, at no additional charge. So we chose the green for the body of the house and the grey for the peaks and the gabled end where the art studio is. But it still wasn't right. Something was off. Then one night, I figured it out!
The whole issue with the siding was staring right at us! The straight look of the vinyl was wrong, oh so wrong, because we aren't building a modern, contemporary house. In fact, we're trying to build a house that actually looks like it's 100 years old! Vinyl siding was not going to do it!! We found the shingled siding from the same supplier and although it boosted our budget a bit more, it was still comfortable and a look we really want. And the bonus? Dark colors are not extra. And it's a thicker material, which will continue to help us achieve our goal of an energy efficient, cozy home.
As with the original plan, the body of our home will be in the darker green shingled siding and the peaks and gabled end will be covered with the grey color. So excited that we made this decision. But now that we're driving out today, I'm scared! What if it's installed and we hate it? Ahhhh!
Wish us luck it looks good.
I'm hope we've made the right choice.
Do you ever agonize over big decisions?
November 15, 2014
.... loves to build!
He can spend hours putting Lego together.
Or any kind of building blocks he can find.
Always so proud of his creations.
Warms our hearts to see him so confident.
I'm off to work with a new family today.
Enjoy your frosty Saturday!!
November 11, 2014
We live next door to an incredibly vibrant city, famous for our sports stars (think Gretzky!) and our intriguing and popular festivals, all year long! Both my dh and I grew up here but we chose to move to a small suburb just a few minutes away when our children were young, to access the best educational system in our province and provide our children with a safe, small town upbringing. We both feel very fortunate to have the best of both worlds ~ a city with everything you could ever need right next door to our quiet (but growing) hamlet. I love both options all the time.
Right now, both communities are blanketed in a soft layer of snow. But today, someone sent this amazing photo to me and I just had to share. Taken in the fall, it shows the river valley in the city. And one of our favorite places to stay ~ the "castle" in the forefront is the Fairmont Hotel McDonald. We've stayed a few times when we've been involved in things like the Folk Fest or other arts based activities that we needed to be closer too than home was. Always we are treated like royalty there and it's hard to leave after so much pampering. Now I have this stunning photo to cherish. I can't wait to have a break and stay at the castle again one day. So many good memories! A perfect spot in a great city!!
Do you have a favorite castle to stay in?
Or a favorite spot just to get away?