About Me

January 31, 2024

Goodbye January.

Saying goodbye to an amazing
month. It was so cold for a few
weeks but we are fortunate to
work from home. And then we
headed into a warming trend
that makes it now feel like we
have entered Spring! Last year
was beyond hard so I'm hopeful
that 2024 is a better year. All we
can do is work hard, and hope!

Goodbye January. You were great!

~ Chy

Whimsical Cottage.

We're working on a new project
that we'll be launching soon. I had
to key in the word "cottage" into
google. This sweet image came up
of a whimsical little cottage. Don't
you just want to knock on the door?

~ Chy

January 30, 2024

For Those who Love from the Heart.

For those who love from the heart
There is no such thing as separation
For those who love unconditionally
There is no such thing as heartbreak
For those who have made peace with their past
And are committed to a path of love and kindness
There is no such thing as guilt
For those who have learned
from their mistakes and
continue to strive for success
There is no such thing as failure
For those who are as compassionate and
accepting toward themselves
As they are toward others
There is no such thing as shame
For those whose pain serves a purpose
There is no such thing as suffering
For those who learn and evolve
from their past experiences
Allowing them to give rise to great growth
and transformation within them
There is no such thing as regret
For those who do not shoulder burdens
that aren’t theirs to carry
There is no such thing as resentment
For those who do not take
themselves too seriously
And are able to laugh at themselves
There is no such thing as embarrassment
For those who do not consider other’s opinions
of them to be superior to their own
There is no such thing as self-consciousness
And for those who love with their soul
There is no such thing as loss.

Words by Tahlia Hunter

Adapted from and inspired by the quote by Rumi
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul,
there is no such thing as separation.”  

January 29, 2024

Skye McGhie Lamp.

As I work on getting our Skye McGhie
collection all reset in the bigger china
cabinet, I turned around and realized I
had bought this SM lamp at the charity
shop years ago. Now I've got to figure
out where this will go in the cabinet. Love!

~ Chy

January 28, 2024


Our little guy, who is not so little anymore, won
gold two weekends ago with his hockey team.

We came out to watch with dd, along with our
older daughter on the right, who also manages
his team. He's the goalie and I love how his
team is so supportive, even if he lets a goal in.
They played so well and coming out on top with
a gold medal was a very sweet and big moment.

~ Chy

2024 Cottage Tour.

Ever since building our little cottage in the big woods, I've wanted to do a tour of each room. We've now lived here for 8 years and I still haven't done this. Reality is I've been waiting until it's completely "finished" but realized the other day, it will likely never truly be completely "finished!" I have curtains to sort, pictures to hang, landscaping to tackle, decks to stain, furniture to refinish, our walk in closet to redo with sturdier built ins .... the list gets shorter, then we add another item or two on. Now we've decided that though it appears we have ample cupboard space in our kitchen, we have small appliances and extra dishes that we'll likely never use being stored on the counter and in cupboards in our laundry room. Our plan, to be confirmed by a designer, would be to take out the window seat that spans the nook and instead, tuck a wall of lower cabinets under the windows. No uppers, as the 3 windows take up the the wall. Perhaps a small sink for quick clean up, as I can see this spot being used mostly for baking, and for repotting plants. A glass fronted cabinet on both ends to store pretty vases and extra dishes, and the rest for the small appliances that take up too much space in the laundry room. We'll get a quote and see if it's worth the cost but I'm so keen on this idea with the stress of the mess in the other space that I'm sure we can make it work! The window seat is lovely but no one ever sits there. Truly its wasted space in our beautiful nook.

For the 2024 Cottage Tour, I'll start with a peek at our front foyer. I'm planning a short video of each space as well as still shots. I'll share the purpose of each space and what we love, or do not love, about it. Likely I'll also share what may still need to be done in the space. It may inspire to get the last bits done. Working and living, while designing, constructing, then moving in to and settling in to a new house took a lot of energy. I don't think we've done anything wrong by still having projects. To be honest, the list of tasks is far less than if we had stayed in town as our home was in a constant state of renovation. At least here, it's just figuring out what works the best, and adding to our original plans. And curtains! It's been tempting to leave the windows bare so we can see our landscape all around us all the time. But we do need cover from the hot sun in the Summer and to hold the warmth in in the Winter. As well as a bit of privacy. You can't see our cottage from the lane during the Summer when the trees are in full bloom. But in the Winter, with no leaves on the trees, you can see our windows and that's where lovely curtains are key as well. 

I'm off for a quick treadmill and some yoga.

Have an amazing Sunday! Be well. Stay safe.

~ Chy

January 22, 2024

Passionate Work.

Both dh and I have careers that are our true passions, using the best of our skills, and our long and varied eclectic educational journeys. Makes a work day so much easier when you get to do what you love, exactly when you want to, and for how long you want. But there are days, I want to shut off dh's screens when he keeps going. He has great boundaries most of the time. And other times, he just keeps working. It may because there is a deadline, or he's on a roll, and I do this sometimes too. Finding the balance is key and I know we are both always navigating this. It can be cyclical too, depending on the time of year, especially if we're both busy writing grants to ensure our projects are funded. Not an easy task but it's part of the process. Always ongoing.

I love this shot I took of dh when he was working a bit extra one night last week. It was another bitter cold day and he needed to stay focused for a project. So proud of his tenacity, and his values. It pays off when the community responds as well. Truly feel this year is going to work out for his work and his creative pursuits. The music club has been sold out every month so far, and now the big work for the Summer festival is ramping up. Everything is booked, announcements have been made, tickets are selling but now we need to find the funding we have based our budget on, versus waiting for tickets to sell. I sleep better at night knowing the expenses are covered. Waiting for revenue to come in during the event would be sooo stressful! Excited for the event this year. 

What are your work and life passions?

~ Chy

January 21, 2024

Right Here. Right Now.

What I'm wearing .... it's a pyjama day in our little cottage in the big woods, with the snow falling softly outside and no where to go, we chose to stay in and being Hygge all day!

What I'm reading .... currently reading a lot of documents as I start shadowing in a new program I'll be bringing to our community thru our Centre. Dry material but needed to ensure we can support our clients with all the latest and greatest info, and best theory for this unique program. 

What's happening in my kitchen .... dh just popped me some lovely popcorn but we'll be cooking dinner together tonight. Roasted chicken with veggies, and a fresh Caesar salad.

What's outside my window .... it's snowing off and on today. Big Christmas Eve flakes. Sky is cloudy but the best part of the day is it's a very balmy - 12 C. After a long spell of - 30 to - 50 C, this is the nicest gift from the heavens today!

What I'm thankful for .... my family, my home, my friends and our community. Feeling blessed, safe and loved.

What I'm smelling .... the laundry is tumbling in the dryer, so there is a faint smell of fresh clothes! Love the scents.

What I'm hearing .... kids downstairs chattering away and some low roars from the theatre room downstairs as dh and dd are playing a game of golf. I have the tv on low with classical music and the dryer is doing its thing. Lots of noise but all at quiet levels. Loving our day at home, Hygge style.

What I'm crafting .... working on better organizing my dollhouse collection and progress. I've been researching and now choosing the exterior colors of all my dollhouses. Sorting my supplies, both building and furniture and accessories, including decor. Feeling inspired now!

What's on my mind .... the cold, those who live outdoors and the powers that be that need to do more to support the houseless in our community. Oh my hurting heart.

Words to live by .... we have embraced the Hygge movement. Truthfully, we were doing this well before it became a trend but I love talking about what it means for our lifestyle, in a community that does have to spend part of the year indoors due to our 4 seasons. Hygge is embracing this and leaning in to it, to carve out the best ways to be cozy, finding ways to connect with other who also live this, and to increase creativity by giving time and space for being. It definitely makes it a nicer way to live in a Northern climate. Are you familiar with Hygge? If so, what do you do to embrace it? 

Hope you enjoy this week's quote.

Having an amazing week!

~ Chy

January 20, 2024

"Cream Lace" by Skye McGhie.

A picture heavy post today. About 12 years ago, we travelled to the East Coast of Canada as I was speaking at a grief conference. We had some time between sessions and on our days off to explore the communities in and around Prince Edward Island. We found the sweetest tea shop and at the back, off in the corner, there was a beautiful display of some pretty china called "Cream Lace" by Skye McGhie. I fell in love with the beautiful scalloped edges and the cutouts but the set was not cheap and we immediately knew trying to get it home, all the way across the country, would be a very stressful challenge. We took some photos, with the permission of the shop owner and I vowed I'd search for this same pattern and style once we were back home. Most we found in the last 4 years, starting with a small oval dish.

Last week, on a beyond cold and blustery day, I went on Marketplace to look for art work for our new centre. And at the top of the page, randomly, was a post for Cream Lace dishes. The individual who was selling had 6 dinner plates, 6 small plates, 6 tea cups with saucers, 6 coffee mugs, 2 soup bowls and 1 oval platter. I jumped on the ad, especially as she has literally just posted it. Perfect timing! She wrote back a few minutes later to share she was getting a ton of requests but she loved what I wrote. We negotiated a pick up time, and the next day, still in the freezing cold but a little less blustery, we headed in to the Big City. She was lovely and so happy to hear where her beloved dishes, never used, just displayed, were going home to. With 2 grown boys who had no interest in sets of dishes, she decided to find someone who would love these. Other than only having 2 soup bowls (I'm now on the hunt to find 4 more), I'm sure I have more than the set we spotted and fell in love with in Prince Edward Island. I have so many unique items that we found over time ~ the lamp, the napkin rings, the baby dishes, the miniature tea set on it's own tray, the butterfly dishes, and the clock ~ that I feel this is the loveliest collection of anything I truly have. Now, there is only one issue .... the whole set will not fit in our current corner cupboard. Today, I took everything out and put it on our dining room table. My hope is that the china cabinet on the far wall will be big enough to house all these sweet pieces. I have a bit of a cold today, so I didn't empty that one but will try tomorrow if I'm feeling better. Fingers crossed that all the set will fit in it's new home in the bigger china cabinet. 

Do you have a set of dishes you've collected over time?

~ Chy

January 18, 2024

Outside Views.

The bitter cold is starting to get better. By Monday, we'll be at single digits again. I can't wait to have more ability to get out and about. When it's this cold, we prepare for staying home, then snuggle in and wait it out. But this spell has been very long and we're starting to feel a bit antsy. We get to go out today to our weekly Chamber of Commerce Breakfast @ 7:30 am, then we'll head in to the Big City to visit a local radio station that may be our Media Sponsor this year, then we'll head back to our little hamlet to visit one bank to move some funds over to our personal account at another bank, then I'll do the banking for our charity, and after that, we may do a bit of shopping if there is time but if not, we'll find a spot for a quick lunch, then head to our community centre to park downstairs while we attend a workshop for the afternoon upstairs. From there, we'll head home and I'm looking forward to a night without any meetings or work to do. Dh and kids will likely be watching the hockey game downstairs in the theatre room, so I'll either have a hot bubble bath then tuck in for some reading, or skip the bath and snuggle up with my book in the great room. If the game is going well, I like to head down in the 3rd period. If not, I'll stay upstairs, cozy and warm. We've now had 11 games in a row that our Edmonton Oilers have won, so it's been an exciting streak after not a great start to this season. Fingers crossed that we win once again!

I am looking forward to finally getting outside again and heading in to town. Feels like forever. Thankful the roads have been good and though we got snow, as you can see by my photos above. My brother lives on the West Coast and his home is covered in snow today, school is cancelled and no one can drive there. Other than the cold, we're still have a mild Winter in terms of snow, icy roads and closure. 

Wishing you a beautiful day and hope
you don't have too much snow and cold!

~ Chy

January 17, 2024

Hot Treat.

Life is so different now. We don't have to drive in to town each day and right now, with the deep freeze surrounding us, we are staying home even more. The other day, I innocently mentioned I was missed going out and especially grabbing a Timmie's hot chocolate ~ my favorite is their very yummy white hot chocolate. And then look what showed up in my face a short time later! I wasn't asking for a treat, just ruminating that it had been a while since we had driven in to town. Feeling extra loved by my guy when he treats me!

The weather is starting to turn. It's still cold but definitely an improvement since the weekend. We're now in the low teens vs. the low 40's. It is such a relief to not have to worry as much about our little cottage in the snow filled forest. Frozen pipes is not something we've had to deal with BUT it takes a lot of work to ensure that doesn't happen. Our furnace issue on the weekend was not related to the cold, just the timing sucked. Ironically, we opened our bank account on Monday morning and the Government of Canada was kind enough to deposit our quarterly Carbon Tax Rebate. Not quite the amount to cover the repair but between that and dh's recent rebate from WestJet for his delay in his last flight, we didn't have to touch our savings for this repair. We have an account for things like this but always hope to not use it. Thankfully, we were lucky this time. 

Rest of the week is not too bad. By next Monday, we'll be back to single digits. Much easier to deal with the Winter driving and shovelling, etc. when the air is not bitter. Hoping this was the one and only deep freeze this season but we'll see what happens as we go. The good thing is I'm getting a few things ticked off my ongoing task list. Two things that were tackled were a thorough purge of our closet, right down to the baseboards. It's so lovely now and someone will be excited when they visit the charity shop, and find some still lovely clothes hanging on the racks. I also re~organized the guest room closet, the linen closet and the laundry room. The last item is purging the Art Studio again. I did a light purge in the Fall but think it's time for a deeper one. With a new dollhouse to work on, I'm starting to run out of room for all my items. So, a deep clean it is, and another trip to the charity shop. It may even take more than one trip.

If you're still living in the deep freeze,
how are you coping being stuck inside?

~ Chy

January 16, 2024

Eastern Sun.

I'm so thankful we faced the back of our little cottage to the east. We get this wonderful sun that streams in early and sticks around for a good part of the morning, until lunchtime, when it starts to move towards the south end of our abode. It was a messy sink pic this morning but frankly, with temperatures still stuck in the deep freeze, and a cottage that is all neat and tidy, one spot can be messy! We baked cookies on the weekend and will now have to do more time on the treadmill! But oh, they were so yummy and we still have enough left over for the week, while we wait for the warmth to return. Someone today said that the predicated temperature on Saturday will be +3 C. Wow! To go from - 50 C one weekend, to + 3 C the following weekend is crazy. We'll take it though. Grateful for all we have but wish the weather could be more stable here. So tiring.

I find it hard to deal with bad weather. It could be massive thunderstorms, that increase my stress with thoughts of lightening strikes or possible tornadoes. Too much heat translates to forest fires. Last Summer was the first time since we moved to the country that we were on high alert due to a fire just down the road from us. We are so fortunate to have the best firefighters and they did a brilliant job of putting out a very large fire, without a single home lost. When it snows, it's so pretty and mkaes me feel so cozy, especially when I'm home. But when we have a blizzard with icy roads and very low temperatures. I love our 4 seasons but truly wish we could have warm Winters, with some snow but no blizzards, beautiful Springs but no flooding, warm Summers but no scary storms, and long Falls without threats of early snow storms. My ideal!

Not sure I could live somewhere where there is literally one season. I need the change every quarter, with a break from the hot, or the cold, the wind or the rain. It's fun to to decorate and prepare for each time. Having different sets of clothes and footwear is a pain. But doable. One of my favorite author, L. M. Montegomery, wrote in Anne of Green Gables ~ "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  The cool crisp air, the crunching falling leaves, and the homeyness of life around us makes Fall my favorite! Ah, Fall! Makes it worth the seasons to get thru the crappy days to get to the good days. Seasons mirroring life!

Do you have 4 different seasons in your area?

~ Chy

January 14, 2024

Right Here. Right Now.

"Forgive people in your life, even those who are
not sorry for their actions. Holding on to anger
only hurts you, not them."    ~  Unknown

What I'm wearing .... white leggings, white socks with pink flowers and a pink hoodie that is like a camo pattern, with about 4 different shades of pink. Soft and warm.

What I'm reading .... so much reading while we're stuck inside with the Polar Armageddon is ongoing outside. I've been reading a novel, my favorite magazines and today, the Lego catalogue showed up in our mail box.

What's happening in my kitchen .... dh is making a delicious dinner, though I have no idea what it is. Love when he surprises me! I feel so spoiled when he makes our dinners.

What's outside my window .... some snow, though not as much as we need. And frost, frozen fog, sun, clouds, wind, breezes and silence. Quite a mixed bag today but the major message is it is so cold outside, it is now dangerous to be out there. So we've cozied down to stay in, working on projects and getting caught up on things we wish we had more time to do. Love our cozy studio.

What I'm thankful for .... my family, my home, my friends and our community. Feeling blessed, safe and loved.

What I'm smelling .... dinner cooking. Now I'm trying to guess what it is. Smells yummy, as always!

What I'm hearing .... the tv is on for an awards show. The actress who portrayed Princess Diana in the final season on The Crown just won. She's amazing! So elegant and talented.

What I'm crafting .... not so much crafting but working on purging the Art Studio while I have the time until the weather changes. Hoping this ends soon ....

What's on my mind .... the cold, those who live outdoors and the powers that be that need to do more to support the houseless in our community. Oh my heart.

Words to live by .... a quote that spoke to me today. I have someone who has hurt me beyond belief. I cannot yet find it in my heart or my soul to forgive her.  I say yet but not even sure if it's possible to forgive. I recognize I carry the pain and she likely has moved on from her actions. Someone someday will hurt her in this manner and though I don't wish pain on anyone, I do now one day, it will come her way. Hope you enjoy this week's quote.

Having an amazing week!

~ Chy

January 13, 2024

Not a Great Start to the Day ....

With the - 82 million degrees outside, we've worked hard all week to make sure that all our systems are functioning just fine. Feeling good about it last night after reading that some community members have had issues with their furnaces or pipes freezing. So it was a bit of a shock this morning to wake up to our daughter quietly but firmly knocking on our door to tell is that they were hearing a banging noise coming from the furnace in the lower level. Ugh! Out of bed we shot and within minutes, we were on the phone to our local heating company. Thankfully, they could come out today. BUT because it's a weekend, the fee will be a bit higher. In the long run, I'd pay anything to make sure the furnace is working and we don't end up with frozen pipes, which would be a bigger issue. It's mystery to us why in 8 years, with a brand new build, that we'd have any issues with the system. When we were in Disneyland in November 2022, our neighbor came in to check on the cottage each day, and one day, found it cooler than it should have been. He discovered our blower fan had died and he was able to replace it for us, warming up the cottage again, and all was well. Different furnace and different issue but still frustrating. 

Liam was our hero today. He arrived about 20 minutes ahead of the predicted time and within a very short time, he had diagnosed the issue. And then a fix, more checking of the system, a hot chocolate while he worked and then he did a walk around outside as well. Reassured us that we've done everything right, we're safe and the system is now just fine. Relieved and thankful for his time.

Tonight, we received alerts on our phones that the power grid across our Province cannot handle the load as everyone tries to stay warm. So we're all being asked to shut off anything that is not essential, gather blankets and candles, and settle down for a night that may include rolling power outages in order to ensure everyone has some power. We've got one lamp on and are currently charging up our phones for the night. Not looking forward to a night of uncertainty but we'll do our best and keep all of us warm. 

Hope wherever you are, you are safe, warm and together.

~ Chy

January 12, 2024

Finally .... Winter!

"Snow Angel" by Maja Lindberg

Well, we finally have Winter! The snow has fallen, not a lot but at least the ground is now covered in white. And the cold has arrived. Not just colder than we've had after a very balmy Fall, but a bitter Polar experience. Tonight, it's going down to - 40's Celsius, which with the windchild, will be in the - 50's. I know many of my readers are in the U.S. so to give you some clarity of just how cold it is, that equates to around - 58 Farenheit. We closed our preschool today because the school busses for big kids were cancelled, though schools were open. Our dgs stayed home and we made some lovely chocolate chip cookies and he got to play games. Our week has been quiet with the cold but on Wednesday, we ventured in to town to pickup a week's worth of groceries before the true cold set in. I'm so glad we did this as the roads were very icy the last few days but thankfully, we were cozy and warm at home. It will start to warm up on Monday, with a high of - 10 Celsius on Tuesday. I can't wait for the warmth to return so we can get out of the cottage for a bit and fill our cupboards and fridge again. 

With the cold, we needed something to look forward to. We invited our dear neighbors over for dinner on Sunday and I'm so excited! Menu is planned, baking started today, tomorrow is more prep, a tidy of the cottage (okay, so it will be a power clean) and then I'll set the table with pretty dishes, sparkly glassware and shiny silver. We've left out tree up and we'll have a gift for each of them, as well as a couple of late birthday gifts for their little ones (late due to my November surgery). Looking forward to Sunday.

There is a lot of work that goes in to keeping the cottage warm and safe when the weather is this bad. We have to make sure the heat is just right so pipes don't freeze. We put a furnace in the garage and so that goes up a bit so the car, the motorcycle, the extra fridge and the freezer, as well as all of dh's tools are okay as well. It's watching the outside vents to make sure they don't get crusted over with ice. And during all this, trying to ensure we don't put too much stress on the community power grid with too many lights on. We've only had to shovel once because we've only had one snowfall so far. But that is often on the list too. Thankful we don't have to go out to shovel constantly, as currently with the bitter cold, skin will freeze in 2 minutes and shovelling takes way longer than that! 

I hope wherever you are, the air is warm and
the snow has stayed away or is very light!

~ Chy

January 7, 2024

Right Here. Right Now.

What I'm wearing .... jammies and wooly socks! It's finally Winter today and we've been hit with a "severe cold snap" meaning we've gone from very mild temperatures to very low (-16 C this morning but feeling like -22 C) and later in the week, we'll seem even lower, with predictions of - 36 C to - 40 C. It's quite a drop in a very short time. I'm thankful for the warmth we've enjoyed for months but now with the cold, there's really no snow coming. We had a "dusting" that was less than a cm. I don't want snow or cold but to combat the threat of forest fires, we do need to start accumulating snow so that our Earth won't be so dry. So today, jammies!

What I'm reading .... a book I ordered for our counselling practice on ADHD. I'm reading it first so I can share with my team. After that, I have another one that I may dive in to on Trauma. So many books, so little time!

What's happening in my kitchen .... it's quiet in the moment but I believe ham and veggies is on the menu. Dh is working out right now in our little gym and I'm next, then he'll start getting it ready. So quiet for now.

What's outside my window .... cold air, sun, a bit of snow and a very quiet landscape outside. Even the sweet little deer family is staying put.

What I'm thankful for .... my family, my home, my friends and our community. 

What I'm smelling .... the dryer had been on and I can smell the fabric softener.

What I'm hearing .... I have the tv on low while I write and plan for the upcoming week. "Blue Bloods" is having a marathon, so it's just moving from episode to episode. I'm sure this is because the season starts soon.

What I'm crafting .... the new dollhouse ~ setting up rooms so I can see what is needed.

What's on my mind .... the sad state of our weather and potential fires in the Spring, but I'm countering that with being excited that our neighbors will be sharing a lovely meal with us next Sunday. Hopefully, it'll be warmer by then!

Words to live by .... a quote to ponder. Hope you enjoy it!

Having an amazing week!

~ Chy

January 4, 2024

Dress for Carys.

It took a few extra days but Carys received
another gift at Christmas ~ a very sweet
linen dress with lace on the bottom and a
pretty crotched collar. All decked out now!

~ Chy

January 3, 2024

Last Bike Ride.

We've had such warm weather without
snow, so just before Christmas, we took
the bike out for one last spin. A sunny
day that was a bit cool but the road was
just perfect for a smooth ride. I really
didn't think I'd like riding but I'm a fan!

~ Chy

January 2, 2024

2024 Journalling.

I picked up this brand new journal at
the charity shop before Christmas. We
are going to work on this one together
as we plan out then live through 2024.
I so hope this year, full of promise and
new dreams, is just as we hope. Always
a gamble when we start a new year and
I'm forever grateful for so many years
that have been beautiful. But at times,
life throws a little blip our way, and I
then I need to navigate on how to pivot
to get back to a better place. It is what
life is but wouldn't it be lovely if each
day could just be calm and peaceful?

What are your dreams for 2024?

~ Chy

January 1, 2024

Hello 2024!

I have high hopes for 2024. So many plans on
the horizon. Now it's time to execute them all.

Happy New Year dear blog friends!

~ Chy