About Me

July 31, 2013

Dream House?

What is your definition of a "dream" house? We are in the beginning phase of creating a new house out in the country, on our 2 little acres of land, full of trees & wildflowers. Neighbors down the lane but not right next door, peering in my dining room when we have Sunday dinner! Quiet, serene & very organic!

Twelve years ago, we took a huge leap of faith & purchased this little piece of paradise. At the time, our children were very small & the only thing that stopped us from building a house immediately was the fact that the neighboring country school was not as good as our local school in town & we were not crazy about the idea of transporting this many kids into town all the time for activities. We are literally minutes from anything here but there, it would be about an 8 minute drive into town. We weren't in a hurry, so we decided to just sit on it, visiting at times to plant fir trees (provided by our County every year, for free & a donation to the food bank) & spread wildflower seeds. In the spring, we'd collect pussy willows & in the fall, we'd collect leaves & pine cones for art & our dining room table. With so many trees, almost the full 2 acres, it's been a magical place to visit for a peaceful walk & a quiet spot to write or dream about our future.

P.S. Not our house but the one that I 
see each day as I look out my office 
window in the city. Love the design
but it should be on an acreage!

When our oldest dd moved home with her young son, we began to think about building a new house that would better accommodate all of us. Our house currently is 1820 square feet. Not a bad size & it worked when our kids were young. But right now, we are essentially 2 distinct families trying to live in a house meant for 1 family. It's definitely time! 

As we look at house plans, we've had many discussions about just building a house to accomodate each of us & then actually building our dream home. My version of a dream home would be energy efficient, solid, well built with lots of storage, some interesting character features & as healthy as possible (low emissions, recycled materials, etc.). My dh's version of a dream house seems to consist of what he sees on HGTV: granite counters, tons of extra rooms, a theatre room ("what's wrong with watching a movie on the tv we have now?" I ask), a island in the kitchen bigger than our current kitchen, a 3 car garage with a workshop, Victorian, with a huge wrap around deck, a library, a den, an exercise room .... yikes, where is he going with this? I can't fathom what that would cost & need to find ways to reign him in!! My frugal guy is changing. Help!!

We've managed, on a tight, mostly single income til now budget to live in comfortable, fit us at the moment, homes. I know his feeling is that we've worked so hard all our lives & now we can have fun, but the last thing I want is a monster house with a mortgage. My plan all along has been to build new but have no mortgage on the day the keys are handed to us. Meeting in the middle is our goal now.

What would be essential for your "dream house" 
& what would be the fun things 
to put in if you could? 

Royal Roads.

I'm considering going back to school again. A Masters Degree would be my next step. I don't need one for my journey but love to learn & have an individual or two that I'd like to "shut up"  because of their constant judgement that I'm doing the work I do without a Masters. I realize that is the wrong reason to continue my post~secondary but truthfully, it would give me a lot of satisfaction. I graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto on 20.10.2010 (cool grad date!) & loved my time there but would love to do more. I don't need more letters behind my name for sure but the studying, writing papers, meeting other students, sharing ideas & being challenged would be lovely once again!

I'd love to graduate from here:

Royal Roads University in Sooke, B.C.

View out to the ocean.

Beautifully trimmed hedges.

Royal Roads was a castle,
then a military base,
now a university.

One of the lecture classrooms. 
Vintage curtains blowing in the wind.

English garden.

The resident peacock!

My lovey enjoying the view.

Loving the castle!

The graduation staircase.

The castle protector!

Visit Royal Roads for more pics. 
I'm off to dream ....

July 28, 2013

Frugal Friday!

Our thrift store has different items on sale each week. They list them on a white board at the entrance of the store. They choose items, like books & designate them as 1/2 price. Or choose different colored price tags. This week, all green tags were 1/2 price. I love searching for the tags but often find an item before I notice the tag, so I don't always buy the item because it was on sale. Our thrift store has such low prices anyway, I'm rarely not pleased with the price listed. But 1/2 off is still a great deal!

Part of the fun of frugal shopping is hunting for "treasures"! I found a stack of frames & the ornate one called out to me. Okay, it didn't but I was curious, as it was stuck in with very plain frames. I carefully moved the others aside & look what I found!!

A Trisha Romance print, matted & framed.  And it was a green tag as well. I would have been quite happy to pay $4 but honestly didn't argue with the final tally of $2. So excited to add this winter scene to our collection of Trisha's wonderful art.

We had the pleasure of meeting this humble & compassionate artist when she visited our small hamlet about 10 years ago. My husband saw an ad in the paper that she was coming, ironically on my birthday. He tore out the ad so I wouldn't see it, then surprised me by taking  me over to the gallery, where she signed the book he had bought for me of all her artwork. I cherish this book & love that we are at a place in our lives where collecting art, even if we get it cheap, is so special. 

My frugal find for the week. Jumping over to The Thrifty Groove to see what everyone else found in their treasure hunts. 

A Favorite Thing!

Each week, I love to participate in Claudia's "A Favorite Thing" over at Mockingbird Hill Cottage. It's fun to decide what is a favorite for me each week & what I'd like to share. And I love to see what others have chosen as a favorite in their world. 

Claudia will be taking a bit of a break for a short time while she journey's to Connecticut to coach two plays. I'll miss this weekly gathering & look forward to her return in just 2 short months on September 28th. Thankfully, she'll still be blogging each day, keeping us all in the loop with her adventures. 

For this week, I chose a couple of shots of our grandson, B, who was trying to figure out a new toy. It was a warm, sunny evening, unlike today, with our clouds, rain, thunder, lightening & high winds. A great day to stay in & be cozy with my lovey. We shopped at the car boot sale, the Antique Mall, then stopped for groceries before heading home to nap, with the rain falling outside our window, tap, tap, tapping gently on the roof. I love those cozy times. But the day I took these two pics this week, it was a beautiful summer evening, without a cloud in the sky. Perfect time to be outside playing.


And a happy boy!!

July 23, 2013

July 22, 2013

Baby on the way!

Happy Monday. So excited to wake up this morning to the news that William & Kate are officially in labor in London ~ the royal baby is finally on the way! Today, I have summer daycamp with our grieving kids but will be carrying my cell phone close so I can watch the news during breaks, anxiously waiting for the happy announcement. The Brits & many of us around the world will be celebrating!

I've thought of Kate often this week, with the whole world watching her every move, waiting for any little sign that she was in labor. With our first baby born this month, 28 years ago, arriving fashionably late, 3 days after our due date, we couldn't do something as simple as go for a walk without 20 phone calls, asking if we had gone in to labor, had the baby & forgotten to phone! Can you imagine the whole world watching? So much pressure.

Hopefully by the end of the day, we'll have some wonderful news that their baby has arrived safe, sound & healthy. My prediction: girl weighing 8 lbs. I have a 50/50 chance of being right. Exciting!!

July 19, 2013

32 Years of Love!

My dh & I met in July of 1981. I had just graduated from high school. He had graduated from the same high school, the year before. I knew who is girlfriend was. He knew who my boyfriend was. We likely went to the same bush parties. I remember going to football games & he was one of the star players. We went to the same junior high then high school for a total of 6 years in the same buildings. 

But not once, did our paths cross. 

That summer, I was cast in a play, an adaptation of Tom Sawyer. B played Joe Harper, I was to be his girl. My boyfriend of 2.5 years had just dumped me, lusting after a buxom blonde ~ which lasted a grand total of 2 weeks, then he came crawling back, asking for forgiveness! Don't worry, I didn't let him back in the door. Besides, B had entered my life & despite my claim that I would never, ever love a man again, that all men were scum & maybe I should enter a convent or become a lesbian, the cute, short, blonde haired, blue eyed guy was too lovely to refuse. He had also just been dumped & felt the same way about a relationship. Both of us hurt & being very cautious didn't last too long, as much as we tried to fight it! He asked me to marry him on July 18th, 1981. Of course, at the tender age of 18, I said "NO!" But he tried every year, on that date & we finally married in 1984. We were somehow meant to be together & continue to be cast together in productions, even as old as we're getting. Somehow, despite all our trial & tribulations, we seem to fit together. 

So what did my love get me for our special day to celebrate our "life together" anniversary? No, not a dozen long stemmed roses. No lobster dinner out. No diamond ring. Cheap guy, you say? Not quite! What he did get me was a confirmation & a meeting with our builder, to finalize finally, our plans to build our little house in the big woods! If all goes well, a year from now we should be unpacking, settling in & enjoying our first ever new home. 

We've always bought homes to renovate, then flip, so this experience is brand new for us. I know it will take time to feel like a comfy home & we will truly miss this house that we've put so much heart in to. But it's time to get out to the country, to truly have our own space instead of trying to fix up someone else's previous home. The big stress was finding a builder, now the fun part starts ~ the design. Keeping it within budget is my only other stress, as I'm married to a guy who, as frugal as he can be, is pretty intent on having a house with bling! I'm intent on a solid house, without a mortgage. We'll see where we meet. 

If you've built a new home, 
what was the experience like?
What things do you wish you had 
included in your new home?
Bungalow vs. 2 Storey?
Please share!

July 16, 2013

Conversations with Mr. B.

Conversations with Mr. B., at the ripe old age of 32 months, with his Gramma, me!

"B, where is baby L living now?" 
"He lives in Bancouber."  
"That's right. But B, baby L is a girl, like Gramma & Nana & Momma & Auntie C." 
"No Gramma! He is not a girl!" 
"Yes she is! A girl just like her Mommy, Auntie A."
"No, L is a he, not a she!"
"If L is not a girl, then what is B?" 
"B is a B!"  


"Gramma, you are not as smart as Buzz Lightyear." 
"Really! I think I'm pretty smart." 
"But you're not as smart as Buzz, 'cause he can fly in the sky & you can't! If you can't fly, you're not smart like he is, 'cause he figured out how to fly in the sky. But you didn't yet. Grampa told me you can't fly like Buzz 'cause you're not tall enough!" 


And finally: 

"Gramma, I don't want to talk to you anymore." 
"Why not, B?" 
"You're not saying the right words. I need C. to come down here & say the right words!" 
**translation: Gramma told B. he couldn't have a treat because it wasn't a treat day. P.S. Auntie C. wouldn't give him a treat either!

I should really start recording his conversations with us. Too funny!

July 14, 2013

Sunday Night Musings.

I love Sunday nights! We often have family dinner, which means the cupboards & fridge have been filled with food, the wine chilled, the house scrubbed & the garden weeded. Guests arrive, laughter is abundant, our grandson entertains & the food is delicious. 

Then everyone leaves, we clean up the dishes & then bask in the comfort of home, clean & tidy for our guests but also giving us a great start for the week, moments to remember & stories to share.

Dh taking a moment to check on his schedule for the week so we can decide dinners, shopping excursions & appointments if needed. While he does that, I sit with my feet up, enjoying the last of the sun before it sets, gazing at my garden, sipping wine, listening to the quiet of the neighborhood, with a distant train whistle in the background. A relaxing time, before the week begins & the craziness starts all over again!

How was your weekend?
Did you find a moment or two to relax?

July 13, 2013

Yummy Farmer's Market Dinner.

Dh had an early morning meeting with his film crew today, then he came home to pick us up to go to into the city. We toured the Farmer's Market, searching for fresh veggies for dinner tonight. We wandered the avenue, taking in the Art Walk event, marveling at some incredible art & pausing to wander about others. We then headed over to our favorite organic market for groceries. And our final stop was a trek through the Antique Mall. Relaxing day with warm sun shining down & lots of eclectic people. 

Came home for a short nap, then dh made this incredible dinner that consisted of a scrumptious kale salad with a chicken stir fry, complete with the veggies we acquired in the morning. Soooooo good!! 

Dear B has discovered his favorite summer time treat at the Farmer's Market: frozen chocolate covered bananas. He can almost eat the whole thing. And so neat, not a drop on mommy!

What did you do on this warm & sunny Saturday?

July 12, 2013

Frugal Friday!

We often frequent our local thrift store on Friday afternoon, after the work of the week is done & we're ready to relax for the weekend. We don't go every single week but at least 2 to 3 times a month, if we feel like it, if we have time, if the budget permits (we budget for this) & especially if there is something we are specifically looking for. We only buy things we will truly use or collect. Vintage items are a hit & art, books & kitchen or garden items are favorites. Sometimes we just browse & don't buy anything. Sometimes we spend $1. Sometimes we go up to our limit of $20. Sometimes we go over our limit, particularly if there is an item that is too good to pass up, like our Christmas Village we scored last year. Brand new, still in the box, value of approximately $150. The price we paid? Just $25!

Today we decided to treat ourselves & we're happy we ventured over. For a mere $15, here's what we chose today:

The haul!

Books were 1/2 price.
This huge gem was $2.50.

Perfect for our growing library.
And our dd just devoured R & J!

The inscription inside.
Sad to think it was given in love,
then at some point, given away.

Rickard's Honey Brown
Beer glass for my guy for a
whole .25 cents.

A vintage basket with fabric lining.
A brand new, still in the package
gardening apron. Both for $2.

Gardening pins with a poem for $1.

A vintage picture with tiny angels for $1.
Perfect for our vintage art wall. 

Brand new, still in the package
cheese serving set for $2. 
Matches the ceramic hand painted
cheese platter we scored last summer!

Handmade petite point matted pic
of an English Cottage for $2. I'll change 
out the frame but love the work 
that went in to this artwork.

A planter for our deck for .25 cents. 

The best find of the day: this mint
condition, framed & matted
Tricia Romance print to add to
our growing TR collection. On line,
this print often sells for between
$250 to $400. But today, we paid a
very reasonable $4 for this treasure!

Do you shop frugally? 
What is your best find?