About Me

January 30, 2015

They're here!!

Our mantels, that is. They arrived today, 
just as the snow started falling gently from
the sky. The delivery guys were so great,
even trying their best to set the boxes neatly
in our living room. I tipped them & then
eagerly started to unpack the wrapping so
we could gaze at the pieces that in a few
short weeks will be installed to create
two lovely & very different mantels, on
two different fireplaces, in two different
spaces in our home. We have a fireplace
in the house we are in now but it's a wood
burning unit & we haven't technically
used it in years. Now, with the switch of
a button, we'll be able to have a fire at
any time, during any season, when we wish.

Tomorrow we'll unwrap more of the 
packing materials but for tonight, we are 
content to go to sleep knowing these
special boxes arrived safely, all the way
from New York, across the border &
then they made the trek across our
vast country. One more trip from
our suburban home out to the forest!

How was your day?
Any new snow to report?

January 29, 2015

We are Primed!

Not only did we get the long anticipated & I might add,
much loved siding this week, but the interior was also
primed. We still have to pick the final paint color.

But we did choose the light primer for underneath.
And again, we love it! You can tell the color already.

Tonight we're off to choose two small paint pots of 
the two shades we have to decide on. I'm leaning
towards the lighter & my dh is going for a bit darker.
Could be an interesting debate! In the next day or
two, our builder will take us out for a little painting
party so we can make sure the paint is the right shade
when the beautiful sun streams through the windows. 

Isn't he an amazing builder?
He has so many options & ideas for us!

Siding Love!

 Can you love an inanimate object? 
If so, I LOVE our new siding!!

I apologize for the quality of these shots.
I used my phone & it was a dark, gloomy day.
The turret above faces south. We should
have some lovey sunny afternoons here.

Southside of the house. And little B's big
bedroom window. He can't wait to move!

Muddy landscape. At this time of year, we're
usually covered in 2 to 4 feet of snow. This year?
Mud as far as your eyes can see. And warm,
rainy days, with sun & fog. Not our usual!

Back porch. Facing east. A great place for early
morning breakfasts & late night bbq's!

How is your landscape looking today?
Snow? Rain? Heat? Sun?

January 27, 2015

Does it look Vintage enough?

Choosing the siding for our new home was perhaps
the largest stress we've had with this process. Almost
everything else was pretty easy for us to decide. I
know part of that was we've been waiting so long to
do this that we're very conscious of what we wanted
in our home. We've spent years researching & collecting
ideas. Our scrapbook is huge! Our idea file overflowing.
So it was a complete surprise to both of us that we
would be so caught up with picking something as
simple as siding. We agonized over the color at first.
Originally, we were going to go with a Heritage Blue
color, with white trim & a light grey roof. But one day,
after the hole was dug & a few trees moved, we realized
in the winter, we'd be able to sometimes see our next
door neighbor's house through the forest. And guess
what color his house is? Yes, blue! Not Heritage Blue
but a more teal light washed out blue. However, his
one shed, close to our forest, is a newer structure &
he sided it in the very blue we had our heart set on.
That was the first change. In the end, we chose a dark
Sage Green. Our windows & railings are white, the trim
will be black, our front door is black & the roof is a dark
grey. The stonework that will go around the garage & at
the front of the house will also be a dark grey, almost black.
In the gabled ends & above the cape cod window dormers, 
we chose a lighter grey siding, with green everywhere else.

The agonizing & angst filled decision centered around
the style of siding. What is pretty standard here is vinyl
siding due to it's ability to act as a secondary insulator,
an important factor with our traditionally cold winters.
The only other options are brick (too expensive in this 
region), stucco (too contemporary for our desired look) or 
hardy board cement siding (too expensive for both 
product & installation). For months we went back & forth 
with colors, only to realize one day that it wasn't the color 
we were having a hard time with. It was the fact we were 
stuck with vinyl & both of us hated the look! We wanted a 
Vintage look & the typical smooth, straight edged vinyl 
look didn't appeal to us. When our builder brought out the 
trim examples for the gables, we were thrilled to see those 
pieces would be more of the look we wanted: a thick, rough 
edged, detailed cedar look product. After marveling over it 
for a day or two, we chose the grey color. And in the middle 
of the night, I woke up with a bright idea! The next morning, 
we contacted our builder, who said "let's ask the supplier 
if it can be done" & then we patiently waited for the 
reply. When it came, I was thrilled! Our question? Can we 
side the whole house in the trim pieces? Their answer? No 
one has ever done that before in this region but sure, let's 
try it!! It took months for the siding to arrive from the east 
but here it is, in the first stages of installation yesterday. 

And we couldn't be happier!!

Do you think it looks Vintage enough?
I love the "cottage" feel to it!!

Do you agonize over decisions like this?
Do you love your decision once you make it?

January 26, 2015

A Sea of Red.

Today, our nation will be honoring the bravery
& the life of one of our RCMP Officers. He was
cowardly gunned down a week ago and never
woke up from his injuries. His family, his wife
& three young sons, will be forever changed.

The red serge is the traditional uniform of our
nation's police force. Thousands of David's
colleagues will be attending the funeral, in red,
with honor. And the community, every man,
woman & child has been encouraged to wear
red today, to show our love & our support for
David & his family & his RCMP family.

A beautiful man, who was dedicated to his
career, working with children in schools,
mentoring teens, raising his own children
& a husband to his lovely wife. So sad today
that the nation is in mourning & that there is
not justice for such a painful experience.
The Regimental Funeral will be broadcast
live. Just a few miles from our home, we're
feeling how large this event will be, with red
everywhere in uniforms & civilian wear, &
white ribbons lining the streets, along with
candles & porch lights lit everywhere.

A nation mourns.
A nation asks "why?"

Rest in Peace, David.
Our nation will forever remember you!

January 25, 2015

Julie, Julia & Butter.

 After a busy day of sleeping in, then lounging
in the tub, folding laundry, washing floors,
vacuuming carpets, shredding old documents,
packing boxes, donating items (8 boxes!),
cooking meals & doing our taxes, it was time
to sit back & relax. What did I do with my time?

I snuggled up on the couch & found the movie
"Julie & Julia" just about to start. Quite ironic,
as I had just paid a very lovely .50 cents for a
brand new copy of the book last week when we
stopped in at the charity shop to donate some
items. After unloading our bags in the back,
we went around to the front, where I found this
book, a few tiny crocheted doilies & a small
green tray that matches another I bought a
year ago! I haven't even cracked the book
yet but now that I'm almost finished the
movie, it will be next on my reading list.

If you've seen the movie or read the book,
you'll know that butter is a big part of what
makes french cooking so scrumptious. Last
year, for my birthday, I received the book
"Butter Baked Goods" & lovingly wrapped
it up & packed it away to take out once our
new kitchen is all ready to be "christened"
by cooking our first meals. And butter will
be a big part of our staples list. MMmm!!

Have you seen the movie "Julie & Julia?"
Do you cook or enjoy butter in your meals or baking?

January 24, 2015


"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops ~ at all.

And sweetest ~ in the Gale ~ is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet never in Extremity
It asked a crumb ~ of me. 

~ Emily Dickinson ~

Mixed Up.

My precious blog, that is! The background I had carefully chosen & was totally in love with has completely disappeared!! And when I tried to add a different one to replace it, it mixed up my font & border colors. I'm so sorry! Trying to find out what happened to my provider. Someone did post on the Facebook page that their background was also mysteriously missing & the website won't load any longer, so I may be hooped to keep what I had. Trying tonight to make it all pretty again. Could be a long work in progress!! I hope you'll stick around. 

January 22, 2015

Back to his Beloved.

Today, we had the viewing to say our final goodbye
to our Beloved dad, grampa, pops. He was always a
dapper dresser & today he was outfitted to the 9's!

A beautiful suit, complete with his favorite tie &
his smart hat, perched just right on his head. He
looked so peaceful but I did keep wishing he'd
just wake up. But true to his stubborn streak, he
didn't grant my wish. We spent time sharing our
memories & then headed home. Tomorrow, he'll
be cremated & we'll bring him his urn to keep here
until we have a family celebration later in the year.

We now have both mom's wedding ring & his band.
When we take dad back to the forest to bury his urn
beside mom, his final wish to be with his Beloved will
be granted. Together they walked this Earth for over
40 years. And now they'll be together again, in their
Heaven and I'm sure creating mischief wherever
they trek. Keeps us laughing & feeling comforted
knowing they'll be arm in arm again, after almost 10
years apart. Two loves, scheming & dreaming!!

January 18, 2015

Eighty Years.

My father in law was supposed to come home
yesterday. But instead, we were called up to
the hospital to say goodbye. In his sleep, his
heart stopped, just hours before his release.
We are thankful he didn't suffer, thankful he
died in good hands & thankful this actually
happened before he came home. I truly can't
imagine the devastation that his partner would
have had to experience had he died at home. 

Today, we're still in shock but starting to make
plans for a formal goodbye. Surrounded by love,
we'll weather this new storm. Dad celebrated his
birthday on Tuesday night with family &
cupcakes & staff who sang to him. He made
it to a very impressive Eighty Years & until
last Saturday, rarely ill. A simple cold here
& there. No chronic conditions, no meds.
He had actually never been in the hospital,
except to visit others. A good life, well lived.

January 16, 2015


My father in law had a heart attack last week.
Tomorrow he goes home from the hospital.
He received amazing care & recovered quickly. 
We are all so very thankful for the blessings 
our family has received during this time.
A difficult time that could have been worse.

What are you thankful for today?
Is there something you are struggling with?

January 14, 2015

Building a New House on a Budget.

 That should be the name of my blog. As we are
new to the building process, one of our worries
was the cost. Especially after talking with friends
& family, & hearing how the budget starts at
one end (comfortable) & then ends up at the
complete opposite end (over budget). We vowed
to not fall into the trap of having to pay more for
what we wanted to create our dream home. And
our builder said he's never met a couple who was
so conscious of cost but in a good way. He's been
so good to work with & helped us stay in the
budget we're all working with. The two things we
went over we knew we would but still managed to
negotiate the additional fees into our comfort zone.

So how do you build a new house on a budget?
You make very frugal choices that look good!
Case in point, our fireplace mantels. These were
listed for $1,950 plus taxes & shipping from 
the manufacturer to our home, for both mantels. 
Made of stone and sealed, we love the look & 
chose two different styles to complement two 
different rooms in our home. The total would be,
in Canadian dollars a hefty $2,160 each, with a
grand total of $4,320. A big cost but we like them!

Two different popular home renovation stores carry
these mantels online. I've been watching these mantels 
since we first found them last spring. Recently, the one 
store reduced the price. It was time to order! We were
going to order from the one we often shop at but only 
one was available immediately. The other is back 
ordered & when I pressed order today, it came up 
with a note that there was an issue & the back order
was "indefinite". So I went on to the competitor's 
website, only to discover the fee was higher but they
had them in stock. Then I noticed the disclaimer
that they will match prices. I called the listed number
& just a few minutes later, we had an order # in
hand. So here's the best part. Our price, you wonder?
A lovely $1,890. Isn't that sweet. Before you start to
do some calculations, I want to clarify that price is
for both units, with taxes & including shipping.
We saved $2,430 for the same products, same sku
numbers, same colors, nothing had changed. And 
all it took was a few minutes of being online to
check out our options. Then picking up the phone
to ask for the matching price deal, which was granted
to us, without hesitation, argument or negativity.
Easy peasy and we get exactly what we want, at a
very frugal price from what we originally budgeted.
We keep coming up with deal after deal for the items
we'd like to include & feel so good about taking
the time to investigate what our best price will be.
Time consuming but in the grand scheme of things,
so worth it! And I have fun getting my "deals"!

Have you ever built a home on a budget?
Or renovated and stayed within your funds?

January 13, 2015

Good News!!

We just got off the phone with my
husband's dad's partner. She shared
with us that the test results came in
after we left from visiting today. And
the news is so good!! His heart attack
was minor, there is no blockage, he
will not require any surgery, he will
take a course of medication and do a
bit of rehab at the gym. They are going
to keep him in the hospital until the
weekend to get his strength back up
& then he can go home. So excited
that the news is better than we could
have ever anticipated! The best thing
ever to celebrate his 80th Birthday!!

This tree is coming down!!


But not today. Loving the lights too
much at night. The next time we put it
up will be next December, in our new
house. As much as we enjoyed our
final Christmas in this beautiful house,
I am looking forward to our first big
holiday in just 11 short months. It will
be truly magical to decorate the front
veranda, the back porch and the yard.
Draping garland over the sweet railings,
hanging golden bows on the trees in the
turrets, setting the table and polishing
the silver makes me giddy with joy!

Is your tree now down and tucked away?

January 12, 2015

On the Mend.

Well our year has certainly started out with
a bit of excitement. My father in law was not
feeling to well on Monday, so his partner was
worried enough that she convinced him to go
to the doctor on Tuesday. Tests were run but
nothing was detected, so they were sent home.

On Saturday, he was pretty sleepy and not
truly himself. She called us, concerned and
then a few hours later, called again but this
time, she was in the ambulance with him. He
was having a difficult time breathing and she
did the right thing. Turns out, last Monday, 
he had a heart attack but no one knew because
he didn't display the classic signs. Now he's
in the cardiac unit of our hospital and being
very well taken care of. Tomorrow, we should
learn if he'll need an angiogram to unblock
his arteries. He's rarely ill,has never been in 
the hospital and he's turning 80 tomorrow!

So thankful today for a great medical system,
caring professionals and a state of the art
heart institute in our back yard. Glad he's
joking around, off the oxygen, no iv and
walking around the unit, anxious to get home.

A busy weekend but all is calm now. 

How was your weekend?

January 11, 2015

No more Frugal Friday's!

I love our "Frugal Friday" shopping trips.
But with Christmas, our build and now moving,
our weekly trips to the charity shop have stopped.

I miss hunting for treasures and peeking inside
boxes to find vintage items and old books.

Once we're unpacked and settled, I'm sure our treks
and posts for "Frugal Friday" will begin again. 

Until then, I'll happily drool over everyone else's
posts from your frugal adventures!

Any Frugal Friday treasures you can share?

January 9, 2015

Back in School.

I started classes on Monday for 12 weeks.
Today, I vegged on our couch and read,
took notes, watched videos, listened to
audio tapes and began to prepare for the
first exam this weekend. Homework is now
a common term back in our lives as I'm
not the only one who started this week.
Our oldest dd is in full time now for
nursing. And my dh is also taking a course 
right now. My program is much shorter.Then 
I have to decide what the next move will be.

As a life long learner, I am truly grateful
for the opportunity to continue my
post-secondary education, in my own
time, with my family and my employers
support. Textbooks litter our domain and
many discussions have taken place about
schedules, learning styles, funding and
deadlines. But I wouldn't have it any 
other way! If when it gets stressful.

Is post-secondary in your future?

Big Decision!

We've made many big decisions about our
new house over the last few weeks. Some
were a lot of fun, some were a bit stressful.
But now we've come down to the biggest
decision of all. We need to choose paint!

Paint to cover all the walls. We're allowed
to pick one color, with the trim and doors a
different color altogether. Then we will need
to choose a paint color for all the cabinets.

With all the vintage features we've worked
hard to create, this is the hardest decision as
it's something we want to be able to live with
for several years. One of the things we're
truly looking forward to is the chance to
move into our house without having to do
any work. Every house we've lived in has
been a totally renovation. Living in dust,
projects and constant changes is really hard.
This will be so lovely to move in and truly
enjoy. So it's so vital that we choose the right
color, the right shade, something we can live
with happily for quite a while.

Any suggestions? What colors work well 
for a warm and inviting feel for a home?

Keeping Calm!

I made a bit of an error today and turned the tv on.
That translated in to being transfixed by CNN.
And getting tense and upset about world events.

Then my computer beeped and there was a note
from my beloved Chiropractor, along with some
exercises to work on for my very sore back.
Her note brought me back to reality. 
And I quickly shut the tv off!

Back to life here, blogging, reading and studying.
Out of respect for those killed and their families,
I have lit a candle to remember. Wishing for 
Peace to come back to our World.

How are you handling these events?
Are you affected? Care to share a tip or two?

House Progress.

We haven't been out to the house since
before Christmas. Yesterday was a big day
as we met with our builder, the kitchen
cabinet maker and the foreman. Things
are now moving right along swiftly.

Our first inside view of the front door.
It will be painted when the other doors arrive.

Until now, we had only seen the outside.
I love this door. Grand but not too grand!

We forgot that we would have rounded corners.
A softer look for a comfortable home.

Messy floors that will be cleaned before
the wood floors are installed.

Two guys talking about windows.
This is when I get to take off to take pics!

First coat of mudding and taping is now done.
Next will be painting, then doors and trim.

Then flooring, cabinets, lights and all the 
little final jobs that will make it our home.

I love this time of day when the sun shines in.
Low and not bright but enough light to be cozy.

The turret on the main floor.
We haven't chosen our banisters yet.

I'm told this is so they don't lose this tool.
I'm promised it will be removed by possession!!

That's our update for this week. The next time we 
go out, they will have started painting.

Guess we should pick out our paint colors!!

How has your first week of January been?

January 8, 2015

And then, a Miracle!

I wrote yesterday about my aching heart. 
A heart full of grief and disbelief.
Too many deaths in such a short time.
Wishing for a more peaceful world.

And then today, just when it felt so hopeless,
an incredible note came to me on Facebook.

A beautiful picture of a little girl from our school.
She attended our program for over two years.

Now in kindergarten, she has always been full of life.
This summer, that all changed with a diagnosis of cancer.

Today, she received the news that after months of brutal
and harsh treatment, she is now totally cancer free!

Miracles do exist. When we least expect them,
they pop into our lives, providing hope that even
in the midst of trying to understand great tragedy,
if we believe that life can change, peace can return.

Thankful tonight for this glimmer of hope!!

January 6, 2015

So much Grief.

Our community has been rocked by the
largest mass murder in history for the region. 

Eight murdered by a lone man.
Two children in the group.
Then he killed himself.

As a grief counsellor and educator,
I've been interviewed a number of times
over the last few days. My heart aches
for my community, for the family members
left behind, for the children who knew the
little ones, for the family friends, for all of us 
struggling to make sense of a senseless act.

I have no words. They're used up and gone.
Why do things like this happen?

I'll never understand.

January 4, 2015

Brrrr!! It's Cold!

It's been a very lazy day around our house. We woke up to discover that the temperature outside this morning was a very cool - 44 degrees celcius. By the time we were ready to finally emerge from our warm and cozy bed, it had warmed up to a brisk - 32. Brrrr!! Thankfully, it was sunny.

Although we knew it was going to be cold, we didn't really anticipate it would get this bitter. I'm thankful we managed to get so much done earlier in the week so that today could be a true "day of rest" in this house. After a week of choosing lighting, finalizing flooring, agonizing over doors, knobs, counters and paint, it was lovely to not rush to get up. We treated ourselves to breakfast in bed, then hot baths, chili and biscuit making for dinner, laundry, tidying up the Christmas "room" and dh hung up the new light we bought for our current kitchen nook. It's so pretty!!

But outside it still looked like this all day. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be -42.

How cold was it in your world today?

January 3, 2015

On It's Way!

There was one gift that wasn't ready before Christmas for my film director husband. Custom made but unfortunately the artist had a huge backlog. She offered to refund my money when I sent in my order, but I really wanted him to have this. She sent it off a few days ago and we're expecting it to arrive early this coming week. To surprise him on the big day, I took a shot of this picture and wrapped it up in a big box. He loved it and laughed that I was worried about it being late. Now he has something to look forward too next week! I can't wait for this little package to arrive in the mail.

His initial will be "B" instead.

Have you ever received a Christmas gift after the big day?

January 2, 2015

Sneaky Snowstorm!

After a long spell of brown roads and barely any snow in our yard, the snow began to fall last night, every so lightly, slowly to the ground. We didn't check the weather station as it didn't look threatening and was still warm, well above zero. This morning, we woke up to a bit of a shocking surprise. Snow everywhere and a freezing chill. Almost changed our plans but we're doing a good job of giving ourselves lots of time to make decisions with the final items on the new house and we had a meeting at 9 a.m. with the flooring manager. So off we went, plowing through the deep snow, thankful for our winter tires and the lack of vehicles out on the road this morning. 

In just under an hour and a half, we chose all the flooring for the entire house and came home with samples of all to make sure we're happy with our choices. The rest of the day was taken up with phone calls, emails, shopping lists, fridge cleaning, recycling, vacuuming, bottle gathering, then shopping for groceries, meeting someone for a gift exchange, a trip to the library and then a quiet dinner with our girls. Watched a movie and now we're ready to crawl in to a warm bed, while the wind howls outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer but for the next week, we'll definitely be more bundled up then we've had to be. Can't wait for the next warming trend!

How's the weather in your community?

January 1, 2015

A Year Ago ....

.... I posted my goals for 2014. You can read the whole post here or take a peek at the list below: 

* I hope we get a chance to meet new people this year.

* I hope we continue to enjoy good health this year.

* I hope we are able to travel with family 
to create new memories this year.

* I hope my centre is able to continue 
to help families grow strong and healthy this year. 

Did I achieve these goals, these hopes, these resolutions? Absolutely and better than I hoped. 

* We did meet new people this year 
and I am thankful those relationships are growing. 

* Our health was much better than 2013. 
We managed to avoid any flu bugs, 
with just some minor colds along the way. 
I only had to visit my naturopath once this past year 
and it was basically a routine check up with
adjustments to my supplements. I found a new
chiropractor and love her! I have one more appointment
on Monday and then I'm down to just exercising,
with a "tune up" here and there. 

* The trip we took to Disneyland in April fulfilled
my third hope and it was the trip we had dreamed of.
We hope to go back in 2016 and are saving already.

* At our centre, our numbers were up quite nicely this year.
I have no worries and know the impact we made will 
continue through this coming year. Good work!

With all the busyness of the last few weeks, I haven't had a chance to sit and create my list of hopes for 2015. But it's only the first day of the New Year! Today, we're off to see the third Hobbit movie with our girls. Even though I'm married to a film maker, I personally detest going to movie theatres. I always find them cold, noisy, someone always kicks my sit and I get too distracted and don't enjoy the movie as much as being at home. However, a couple of years ago, we ventured into the city to the new theatre that caters to adults only. The seating is huge and reclines, with "aisles" between each row of seats, so no one can kick the seat in front. They have waiters to bring you a meal or just snacks from a menu, there is a wine list and the food is great. You have to book your seat ahead, so there is no rushing to find a good spot. And no kids! I love kids, but not when I want to concentrate on a good show. We saw Les Miserables two years ago and really enjoyed our time. It's a bit more than a standard ticket but not much and for the experience, worth the extra few dollars. We tend to wait to see movies at home but this is a nice treat for us once a year. Once we're home later tonight, I'll post my new list. 

Do you have a list of hopes and dreams for this new year?
Hoping your first day of 2015 is going well!