Creating & living a truly authentic life, living in "Our Little House In The Big Woods". Raising many children, working in the arts, writing, film making, learning to create quilts, painting, exploring gardening, traveling, restoring a vintage dollhouse, hunting for antique treasures & chasing our big dream to live by the sea, all on a thrifty, frugal budget.
We live in a quiet community where the houses range from starter bungalows to upscale mansions. There are no "bad" areas or shady streets, just families living outside the big city, raising their kids or growing old together. Our first house here we lived in for 2 years before we outgrew the size of it. A tiny bungalow with 3 bedrooms was okay when we had just 2 kids but as we grew our family, we knew we'd need more space. The house we are in now is a decent size but not huge. We've been comfortable for more than 20 years here. As the kids have gotten older and bigger, we are now starting to feel squished. We cannot fit everyone in the dining room for dinner and our living room is tight during celebrations, especially Christmas, with the big tree. Our oldest daughter has now officially become a single mom and her ex-husband is refusing to sell their house, so she's come home to live with us, bringing along our precious 2 year old grandson. Her hope and plan is to go back to school full time for 4 years. Currently, she works full time and goes to school part time.
Our mortgage is almost done and we've been saving for a number of years to either build on our acreage or buy on the coast. We never bought this house to be our "forever house" but it's been a great place to be settled for all these years. Both of us were used to moving frequently as kids - my dad was a realtor, so we were always packing up to move to the next new house he fell in love with and my dh's family rented and moved often. When we first got married, we were flipping houses and that saw us buy, renovate and sell 4 houses in 8 short years. Then we found this house, anticipated it would be another flip but here we are, still renovating and still enjoying our space.
Last week, we started to talk about buying a condo for dd and grandson. They would like to have more of their own living space and we would like some of our space back! It's not affordable to rent on her own with the current market here unless she moves to the big city but she'd likely end up in a seedy part of town. Plus our grandson is in the most amazing daycare that has a 2 year wait list. Moving to the city would mean a change from his very stable childcare to something new and likely not as good. Started to look at what a condo would cost and my heart began to race. Yes, her rent would cover the mortgage payment, property taxes, condo fees and insurance and she would pay the utilities as well. But the tax implications seemed way too complicated and it began to become a very stressful search. Then we found a house with a walk out basement that started a conversation around finding a house to suit all of us for the next 4 to 5 years. Dd has committed to paying the same rent that she would have paid had we bought a condo. Her offer, we've accepted as it will help with the additional costs we could, depending on how we do it, incur.
Now comes the hard part, deciding if this is the right move financially and if we're ready to move forward.
Do we buy a bigger house then sell down the road, once she's done school, then move to the coast?
Do we stay here and tell her she's on her own, too bad, so sad?
Do we sell this house, build on our acreage, live on it for 6 months to get the most equity, then sell?
Do we sell everything and just move to the coast?
I love the last one!! It would mean leaving the stress here and watching sunsets over the ocean every night. The only flaw with that beautiful scenario is no jobs there for us!!
Back to square one. Decisions, decisions .... oh how I hate these types of decisions!
The snow finally stopped here. Creating havoc on our roads, the worst being a 100+ car pileup on the highway. The very highway I would have traveled on, except that I had already canceled the home visit that had been scheduled. Thankful for having a gut feeling and thankful for a family who were concerned that I was going to travel out.
The view outside our bedroom yesterday morning. The silence of the quiet street was beautiful. Many stayed home until the roads were plowed. We enjoyed our warm house, good food and fun entertainment. I would hate to be snowed in for too long but this was a nice break from the daily routine.
Hopefully, this is as high as our snow will get this year!
Totally submerged deer!
What the puppies see when they look out the garden doors.
A view with the door open!!
The snow piled up to the ledge of our front window.Today, the sun was out and the melting began. Hopefully, our next experience will not include flooding!
We were almost there. The snow had been melting enough that the streets were slushy, our cars muddy, potholes were a hazard, the bottom of our deck was peeking thru, the grass visible thru the thin layer of sleet still on the ground and we even had some rain.
And then last week, the snow started again, lightly, then building higher and higher. But they promised us it was a fluke and would melt quickly.
The sun even came out.
In a way, it was actually quite pretty!
But today, we're in the midst of a province-wide snowstorm. I work from home when it gets bad like this. My co-workers have all just been sent home, so it's bad! No end in sight at the moment.
No sun today.
Just a constant snowfall.
Poor deer can't even lift his head up!
Next week looks beautiful, with temperatures set to melt everything that has come our way. Hopefully, it will be a slow melt so we don't float away!!
Working from home today. Chilly outside, with snow in the forecast. Furnace is keeping me warm, on my day of solitude. A day to write. A day to catch up. A day to watch the news to see who the new Pope is.
I tucked away the snowmen for the year. And wandered the house to find items to create a new spring shelf.
A "Bunnies By The Bay" from my art studio. She sits on a shelf there but I've borrowed her for now.
My bunny teapot and a pretty handmade box from a local artist.
Egg cups from the charity shop last week with "Iris" and "Sean" Cherished Teddies. The tiny basket holds an Easter craft made for each of my kids in their colors - pink, blue, green, yellow, purple and orange.
Tiny bunny in a china Easter basket.
Tiny fairy ballerina's.
Vintage spring tapestry with two perfume bottles and a vintage Easter egg. Tiny lamb in a tiny cup.
Lamb given to our second dd by her siblings at her birth. They both will be 20 years old in May.
Hope you enjoy this new spring shelf. It may change as I haven't yet gone downstairs to collect the Easter box. Too achy today to climb the stairs with a heavy box, so this collection will need to do for now.
Thank you for participating in my first giveaway. A fun way to acknowledge my 100th post. Making plans already for another one. Please send me a message with your home address and your package will soon be on it's way, with some pretty Spring "extras" thrown in for good measure!
Blogs and still trying to finish "The Doula." Too many distractions!
The Mentalist. Kind of ....
Our grandson having a shower with his mama down the hall. His chattering is so cute. "What's that, mama?" I can only imagine what he might be pointing at!!
I'm about to make some Cheddar Popcorn. Dh made a lovely dinner but didn't realize the Risotto had tomatoes in it, deadly for me but we caught it just in the nick of time, before I took a bite. Thankfully, my life was spared, this time. Hmmmm, wonder if I should be worried he tried to do me in!!
Happy I accomplished this week:
Gave the shaggy dog a haircut, put away the snowmen for another season, finished up a ton of paperwork for our centre (with just one item left to tackle), started a new bag of charity shop items to donate, reorganized the kitchen cupboards, reorganized the back entrance and the laundry room, reorganized the pantry, put us on a strict menu plan and tried out a new discount store for groceries, worked on our taxes (due on April 30th), and organized the new material I bought to make more "taggy" blankets, bought buttons and sorted them for a new art project I'm planning and visited a dear friend.
Looking forward to this week:
Finishing up the one item left from last week to tackle, getting thru a discussion that needs to happen (I've rehearsed my contribution to the subject), the last session for our winter children's grief group, visiting with my mom and hopefully our son and his family next weekend, decorating the house for spring and writing some letters to dear friends who have recently sent letters to me.
Thankful for today:
A lovely sleep in, yummy food, a friend who knows when a break is needed, the warm sun, blue sky and melting snow!
Bonus question: Shy or Outgoing?
I grew up shy but have become more extroverted as I've aged. I still have moments of shyness but am much more confident and lively than I was as a child and teen.
Thursday: Rice and Beef. Strawberry Salad for me - I do NOT eat beef!!
Friday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches w. Gherkins
Saturday: Ginger/Orange Chicken w. Veggies/Rice
Sunday: Pork Rib Chops w. Asparagus Risotto/Peas
Our food budget for the entire month will now be$975 or $225 a week. This feeds a family of 4 adults, one 2 year old, plus 2 dogs and includes our lunches and having other family members over for dinner a couple of times a month. It also includes our cleaning products (all natural) and paper products (all natural). Because we eat a lot of organic items and use natural products, we do tend to spend a bit more. We've tried to find cheaper alternatives but in the end, have decided this is one area we only have so much control over based on our decisions about food, our health and the environment. But we are trying to cut it back a bit and have recently discovered our local Superstore has many of the products we like to buy for a much better price than Safeway and Planet Organic (sorry guys!). My favorite drink comes in a case of 4 cans, is organic and approved by my Naturopath. It costs $6.99 plus deposit at Safeway, $5.97 plus deposit at Planet Organic and a mere $3.99 in total, at Superstore.
This week, our total was $178, which included using $18.98 in coupons and buying some bulk items. If we had shopped at Safeway, our total would have been well over $225.
Our goal this week is to not make any additional trips to the grocery store. We will follow our menu and use up what we have before our next shop. A well stocked pantry, full freezer and bulging fridge means we won't starve for sure!
Soon the snowmen will be tucked away until next Christmas. The spring items will come out and soon the shelf will be festive again, but with light colors and tiny rabbits, eggs, flowers and little pots!
I would LOVE to have a pretty picture behind my blog description, below it or above. I keep trying to maneuver a picture to work within the layout feature but it won't work for me. I actually feel stupid, like it's staring me in the face but I can't see it.
As someone who sees life with a very visual focus, it is driving me crazy that I cannot seem to figure out how to add a picture that is the proper width to my blog header. Something that would make new readers want to "tune in". Something that is reflective of who I am and what I am writing about. Finding a picture won't be an issue. I'm married to a photographer and have raised several. I have a great camera. It's just the logistics of how to work the layout feature on blogspot.
Any ideas? I would greatly welcome any thoughts, suggestions and technical support.
After all, you are the reader.
Wouldn't you like to see something pretty at the top of my blog?