About Me

February 28, 2014

Mini House Project.

Found this lovely but mini dollhouse at the thrift store, on sale for 1/2 price. Paying a hefty $1.25 for the entire structure, we chose it as a "pre-renovation" project before we completely tackle the big dollhouse we've been dismantling. This will give us a chance to try a few things out before we invest in and begin to recreate the big house. 

First step? 

We'll strip the trim off, then paint the inside white. The trim will all be repainted white as well and the front porch too. It took us quite a while to find roof tiles but we finally found the right size and thickness. Paint colors are chosen but flooring is still a discussion point. Fun!

Do you dive in to a big project?
Or do you "practice" first?

February 26, 2014

A Cup of Tea.

A Cup of Tea

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its' fragrance,
There is solace in its' taste;
And then laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.

And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

J. Jonker, Amsterdam (c. 1670)

February 24, 2014

Is it normal to be scared?

Although our new house build hasn't officially started yet because we're still working on the price and a few small changes, I've started to lose a bit of sleep. I realized this morning after waking up from a night of bad dreams, that I'm scared. 

Of what, I'm not exactly sure. 

Maybe the fact that we'll go from being 4 minutes from everything to being 10 minutes. Maybe the fact that we've never built before and have heard so many horror stories about builders and shoddy work. Maybe the fact that we are almost mortgage free and we may now have a mortgage, even just for a short time. Maybe the fact that we've lived in this house for 22 years and know every nook and cranny. Maybe the fact that we can literally walk around here in the dark and no exactly where everything is. Maybe the fact that some of our kids were born here and some even died here. 

We know we've outgrown this house. We know that with our oldest daughter living her for at least the next 5 to 6 years while she finishes university, we all need our own spaces and our grandson will need his own bedroom as he gets older. We know that any debit we take on will be easy to pay off within a short time. We know that the frustration we feel now with literally two households in space meant for one will disappear. We know that we will enjoy landscaping from scratch and having space for a large vegetable garden to feed our family and reduce our food costs. We know that moving into a house that won't need any renovations for many years will free up time for us to enjoy living instead of always trying to make this house work. 

We know in the end, it is the right move. 

So why, oh why, am I so scared??

February 22, 2014

Celebration of the Arts 2014.

As artists and board members of our local arts council, we enjoy an annual Celebration of the Arts. Last night was this event and we had a very lovely time. Held at a local wine establishment, the event included tasting, appetizers, dignitaries, music and of course, locally produced and intriguing art.

Chocolates with our new logo
and oil infused popcorn.

Greenery from a local nursery
and a warm fire on a chilly night.

Wine tasting, art displays
and beautiful violin music.

Enjoying the evening with our County Mayor
and one of our councilors, along with our
MC for the evening, Ben.

The rest of our weekend is spent at the community centre (known as The Agora) where we have our artists represented with displays and demonstrations. A chance for our diverse population to experience the arts, up close and personal. 

I was so excited to find out last night that our Mayor has invited my guy and I to the very large Celebration of the Arts in the city next to our little hamlet in April. We are her special guests and as President and Vice President of our Arts Council, we will be representing our community on that evening. I see a big shopping trip in our future to choose new outfits as the event in the city is very regal, not like our much more relaxed occasion. 

What are your weekend plans this chilly February?

February 19, 2014

Welcome #20!

I noticed a couple of days ago that I had gained a couple of new members to my blog. Welcome! But that number was an uneven 19 and I truly like even numbers. When I was trying to figure out what to blog about today, I thought I'd use the post as an invitation to ask if anyone would like the honor of being my 20th member. But when I opened up my blog tonight, guess what I discovered? 

Yup, I have a 20th member. Thank you for joining in and being part of this blog!

I appreciate each of you who stop in to read and love when comments are shared. 

Keep Calm and Read On!!

February 18, 2014

Heartfelt Love.

I'm working with a young boy now, on the verge of becoming a teen, who's mother suicided in the fall. He's an incredible kid, with a full heart of love for those who are in his life and an artistic streak that mirrors his mother's talents. I love working with him but feel such sorrow each week after he leaves my centre. His mom was in so much pain but I know he'll be okay in the end. His strength, his compassion and his art will carry him thru this difficult time in his young life. I'm glad to have him as a client.

Does Love carry you thru the hard times?

February 17, 2014

Patiently waiting ....

.... for this to arrive on my front step today:

We've been saving for ages. Last Sunday morning, I had the tv on for a bit and on The Shopping Channel they had an amazing deal that we couldn't just pass up. This particular KitchenAid Mixer (part of the Pro Line) is $700, not just on the show but also here in Canada. TSC added in some extra attachments, the cookbook (The Mixer Bible!), a cover to keep it dust free and an extra bowl (3 quarts) in addition to the bowl it already comes with (either a 5 or a 6 quart, couldn't remember). All these added up to $150. For a grand total of $850.

And what did we pay? A mere and very comfortable $350! So excited to finally get my own KitchenAid after hearing my friends and family for the last few years being so giddy with their mixers. We had saved almost the whole $700 but with the TSC, you can make equal payments with a credit card. As we pay off ours every month, we decided to do $40 for the next 8 months and move the funds we had already saved to our travel account. Win, win all around!! Definitely worth the wait too. 

The mixer was supposed to be shipped out on February 20th but I peeked at our account on Friday and discovered it was already on it's way. Today, the account says it will be delivered on the 17th, so I'm home and anxiously waiting for the moment the doorbell rings and my favorite postman is standing there with my package. We have our ingredients out to make homemade cupcakes, the requested first item to be made in the mixer. Soon my kitchen will be filled with chocolaty aromas!

Do you have a KitchenAid Mixer?
Is it your favorite culinary tool?

Checked off our Task List!

It's a Statutory Holiday here in Alberta ~ Family Day. And what did our family do to celebrate? We got up early, when it was still a wee bit dark, showered, grabbed our documents and headed out the door to drive into the city. Downtown was deserted and we found the perfect, free parking spot. Off to the Government of Canada office we went. And less than an hour later, confirmation that our new, good for 10 years Canadian Passports will be delivered to our house on March 3rd. We don't leave for our trip to Disneyland until April 12th so it felt good to check off a critical item from our task list. 

How did you celebrate Family Day today?
Or whenever it falls in your community?

February 16, 2014

We Like to Create!

A very creative day around here. It's our Family Day Long Weekend and we're totally taking advantage of the time off work and school, to dream, engage, become more active and create new projects for this year. The biggest thing I've been working on with my team at work and here at home is our upcoming baby loss/child loss conference for bereaved families and professionals who work with them. We are set for October 2nd to the 4th, which is just 32 weeks from now! Last October, we launched our first annual baby loss memorial work and it was a great day but a lot of work. Now that we've done the walk once, we feel comfortable adding our second walk to the end of the conference to memorialize our children. 

What else did we create this weekend, so far? 

*The plan for a collage to show the activities that take place at our family centre and preschool. Next weekend, we have a table at the annual Art Expo in our small hamlet, a chance to showcase local artists and arts programs. We hope to have our preschoolers this week paint small canvases and make some clay projects as well. A fun experience for our families to be part of each year. 

*The painting of the small dollhouse we picked up at the thrift store, for the grand sum of $1.25, has begun. It was a blue gray color, with painted on roof tiles and white shutters and doors. To date, we've pulled off the shutters and trim to repaint a fresh coat of white on all. Painted the interior all white as well. Masked off the veranda and around the roof. Currently, our exterior walls have one coat of a sage green and we've pre-painted some of the wood roof tiles we found in the City on Saturday. I wanted to paint one side so that once those are installed on the roof, the underneath parts that might be seen as the tiles will over hang the roof will be the same color as the rest of the tiles once they are all installed. Plans were also made to use some old wallpaper to add to a few interior walls. No plans yet for the floors, so I painted those white as well until we've made decisions about the rest of the interior.

*The house plan needed some more tweeking as our builder had sent a new updated version. We're almost there with signing it off. Just a few more changes and we're on our way!

*The reorganization of the pantry, kitchen, library and family room. Makes it so much easier to purge and pack when we have a better flow from room to room. I still have the hall to do and the dining room but we're off to a great start and we still have a full day left plus I have Tuesday off too. 

*The fitness plan was hatched and launched. Still need to work on our eating for life plan but we're still investigating what kinds of diets we want to follow. This is for the rest of our life, not just to lose a few pounds now. We're changing our eating habits back to a more natural diet that we used to be on. I'm looking forward to feeling lighter instead of always feeling full and not healthy.

*The plan to incorporate doodling into my daily life. I started my art journal and love to sit and doodle at the end of the day when I'm tired and just done but my brain still needs to work a bit more!

I may have to update this once the weekend is completed to add in anything else we end up doing between now and Wednesday morning. Feels good to be using our creativity instead of just working and getting thru the day. So easy to get into a rut and it will take work to recreate our life from what it was to what it has become and then back to where we want to be again. Worth the work!

How has your weekend been?
Have you tapped into your creative self?

February 14, 2014

Love Day!

While I agree that we should have to rely on one day each year to tell our family and friends that we love them, I personally enjoy the extra opportunity to spread a little extra joy. Especially in February, when we are surrounded by a landscape of white, cold nights and rare sunshine. Love warms our hearts, our homes, our spirits and our souls. Valentine's Day arrives just at the right time of year, when we need a little boost to get thru the last few weeks of winter. A perfect distraction from the winter blues!

Today, my preschool kids, teachers and parents were invited to a local seniors extended care home. The kids made cards, enough that every resident got at least 4 to cherish. The little ones had a great time handing them out. Then the music started and we sang, danced, enjoyed pretty sugar cookies and created laughter that we hope the seniors will remember for a long time.

Tonight, my love went to a hockey game with his buddy. When he got home, we exchanged gifts and had the best laugh as we chose the same card for each other! My gift was a big stash of chocolate and the P!NK Concert Tour on DVD - the concert we just attended. A great memory for the both of us. I gave him chocolate as well as a book of certificates for special days and acts of love. 

Our day of love was full and fun. 
How was your Valentine's Day?

February 11, 2014

Hate Your Job Much?

Seriously! If  you look in the mirror in the morning, before you go to your job and your face looks like this ....

.... then please do us all a favor and get yourself a new job!! Dh and I just got back from attempting to get new passports and the lady at the counter was so nasty that I have now filed a complaint. She had no reason for treating us like crap (sorry for the language). We have our paperwork all in order, pictures signed, guarantors signed, fees in hand. In no way did we deserve the experience we had. I'm thankful for the lovely individual who took my call and encouraged me to launch a complaint. The sad part is that the scowling face lady was wrong. She should have taken our apps and we could have been done. Now we have to go back. We've decided we'll go directly to the Government of Canada passport office downtown instead of a Service Canada secondary location. For one thing, our passports will be ready in 10 business days instead of 20 but we'll also receive better treatment and no hassles. Worth the few extra minutes of driving and paying for parking.
I hope that this individual is able to reform her actions OR quit the job she has and find one she'll love. I'm sorry for my rant and I know not everyone gets to work where they want, but that is no excuse for treating others because you are miserable. It's not my fault!!
Rant over. Back to real life again!

February 10, 2014

Cashing In!

Yesterday, we hauled a tin and a jar full of loose coins to our local bank. They recently acquired a coin counting machine and we decided to take advantage of this free service to cash in our coins. On the way, we each guessed how much was in our stash. Ranging from $20 to $40, we were blown away by the final tally. Our guesses were not close at all!

In the end, a sweet $79.80 was deposited to our travel account for our upcoming trip to Disneyland! The jar is now sitting in the kitchen cupboard and the tin back in our bedroom closet for our loose change to pile up again. Next weekend, we're taking in the empty bottles that are bagged up and just sitting in our garage. I'm guessing $50 but we'll see what that total comes out to. 

Do you save coins for a rainy day?
Do you take in your empty bottles for the cash?

February 9, 2014

Deal of the Century!

Both dh and I needed new runners this year. We budgeted $50 each for a good, solid but comfortable pair for working out at the gym and for walking. Did a bit of shopping around and came across the pair I wanted yesterday. They were full price, listed for $45. I hate buying something that is not on sale but then dh found a pair as well, also listed for $45 but with the current sale, we'd get his for half price. So two pairs for $67.50. With our budget set at $100, we'd be fine with this amount.

However, we ran in to a bit of a glitch as the shoes that I had now fallen in love with and just had to have existed in my size but not at this particular location. The clerk phoned around and found 2 pairs at a store in the city and they agreed to hold them until today. We didn't buy the pair dh liked as they had many at the other store and we needed to buy them together in order to get the sale. 

We slept in a bit today but were soon in the city to retrieve the runners we both liked. It was definitely worth the short drive down the highway as we had a lovely surprise waiting for us at the store. Not only were both sets of shoes on sale at the city location but we also got the "buy one, get the other for half price" deal! So dh's runners were $36, down from $45 and mine were $21, down from $45 but then they were half price, so $10.50. For a grand total, with tax, of $48, a savings of $52 from our original budget. 

On the way home, just for fun, we stopped in at our local location and discovered that the runners we just bought we're still listed for full price. When asked, the clerk said she had no notice of any additional sale so we got the "deal of the century". No argument from me on that one!!

Any deals that you were lucky to find this week?

February 8, 2014

The Hobbit.

We just watched the 2nd instalment of The Hobbit, filmed as a trilogy. Well done! My two favorite parts were the song "Into the Fire" by Ed Sheeran and the final line from Bilbo - "What have we done?"

And just what did they do?

No answer for now as we have to wait until December for the third film! Frustrating for sure!!

February 7, 2014

Late Afternoon Light.

Our days are beginning to get longer again. When we come home from picking up our daughter at school, we're driving home in a dusky light that is somehow comforting and cozy all at once. I love driving past other homes and peering into the lives of those who live there as they turn on the lamps and lights. Today, it was light until well past dinner time. Soon we'll have light right up until bedtime. Around midsummer, we'll be slightly frustrated as trying to get a 3 year old to sleep at a decent time and even fall asleep ourselves is not easy when the sun is still up at 11 p.m. at night. For now, we bask in the extra sunlight and warmth of the longer days.

Our bedroom window at 5 p.m.

Peeking out my studio window.

The sun is starting to set and 
casts a glow on the world.

A peek out our garden doors to the back yard.

Dusky light as the sun sets in the west.

A favorite spot to sit and read at the end of the day.

Are your days becoming longer with light?