Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Basement step one - check

Remember in July when we started to close in space go gain more space? In the 3 days we were off my hubby moved all the items out of the way, built the framing, ran the electrical and started hanging brackets for the storage shelves.

After we returned from vacation we kept going little by little - an hour here and there, accommodating our work and kids schedules. I'm happy so say that our first of many steps is now completed.

The wall up the stairs in done, the wall dividing the space as well. The drywall is hung, hubby mudded, sanded and painted. He hung the door and added the trim and hardware. Electrical outlets are at the proper locations, new lights are installed in the storage area for a brighter room and lots of storage shelves were hung.

Then hubby moved his tools and other items into the space, freeing up some of the main basement and allowing for more organized storage. The room is not huge, but it's a lot more functional now - so yes, a big check mark next to this to-do!

We still have a many things to complete in the basement:

  • General organization of the stuff (check out that mess!!!)
  • Unpacking of boxes
  • Insulating and drywalling exterior walls
  • Building of ceiling and install of pot lights
  • Installation of floor
  • Plumbing rough-in for a bathroom and subsequent bathroom build
  • New windows

We'll be moving step by step on this project as time and budget allows. My placement of the couch above just gives me the slightest insight into how the space might look one day.

Linked to Beach Cottage Linky Party

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One photo a week - 35/52

We attended a pool party this weekend which was a lot of fun - most likely the last outdoor pool adventure this season. I did not bring the camera - so I present to you one of our spiders. This is a nice net he created between our plants, nicely tucked away from us passing by. However, Mr. Spider and his friends hang their sticky webs between our cars every night and each morning we pass through them and tear them down - a little sisyphean indeed, which is how I feel many days as we pick up and tidy fruitlessly. Wishing you a productive week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Project dresser

This is the next project on my list. M's dresser right now is too tall - she can't reach the top drawers, but it also looks too big and bulky in her room. We've been living with this for the past 2 years, but now she wants to incorporate some new colours into her room so I thought we'd change up the dresser while we're at it.

I found this wood dresser on Kijiji for $15 - made in Canada! It's shorter than her existing dresser and not as deep. I liked the lines and although it's not a masterpiece in woodworking (nails and staples instead of dovetail drawer connections), I like that it's solid and a little different. I sanded it last weekend and next step will be a couple of coats of white paint. It will make a nice statement on her soon to be grape coloured accent wall.

We'll have to re-think her clothes storage for sure, but because she starts wearing a uniform in September, I think we should be able to manage. Finished project to be shared as soon as we're done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hole in one party

This past weekend my grandfather turned 88. He likes golf - he likes it a lot. So we decided to have a family dinner at our house and decorated the table to fit with the golf theme.

I used my trifle dish and put in some cat grass. I trimmed it a little and added the flag made of a skewer and craft paper. We then punched a hole in a practice golf ball and also used a skewer to place it in the grass. This served as our centre piece instead of flowers. My cats are now enjoying the grass out on the deck.

I used a couple more practice balls and put them in two upside down wine glasses topped with a candle. The same paper used on the flag was used on the glass bottom. The runner was made from a grocery store table cloth that was on sale for $2. The fresh green looked great on our ebony table. I used pale blue paper napkins on our plain white dishes.

I made a Martha Stewart Red Velvet cake. It was really light and the cream cheese icing was great on it. To continue the golf theme I made another smaller flag, added coloured decorating sugar to look like grass and added a cookie crumb 'sand trap' - the birthday boy really enjoyed all of this.

It was great to spend some family time together, sharing a simple meal and some sweet cake. I really appreciate that my little ones have the chance to spend a lot of time with their great-grandparents, not many out there are able to do that.

I had fun planning this, it wasn't much effort, but some coordinating made it look a little out of the ordinary. $2 for the table cloth, $4 for the cat grass and $2 for the practice balls. Everything else is part of my household. Happy Birthday!

Linked to Beach Cottage linky party.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

One photo a week - 34/52

This weekend we went to the Lumiere Festival. A lot of fun activities for kids and hundreds of lanterns - once the candles are lit in this paper-bag maze and the lanterns are glowing in the woods it's quite magical. We pushed bedtime out to get some of the effects in the dark - next year we'll be able to stay even longer. My daughter loved wearing her fairy wings, another theme of this event.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I was getting a little bored with our display items in our living room and decided to switch it up a bit. You can see the old set up here and here.
I brought the lantern, white vase with branches and the silver bird over from the shelf above the TV and took out the bowl from the yellow cabinet. I like the natural colours on the yellow cabinet and am very pleased how the branches look in this space.

The orchid that used to be on the cabinet and the blue ceramic piece were moved to the floating shelf above the TV. I also switched out some books for a different colour scheme.

Sometimes a  little change can give new interest to a space. Do you rearrange things in your house without buying new things?

PS: See that tile next to the yellow cabinet? I very much dislike it and one day I'll redo our fireplace with something else than end-of-the-row floor tile special. I'm thinking of going in this direction.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Of potions and lotions

Many women drop the beauty routine once they have babies - be it because they are too exhausted and thinking about hair appointments and mascara is far from important to them or because buying diapers cuts into the dollars needed for another hair cut.

I was thinking the other week that my routine at 20 involved a lot more creams, lotions and potions than it has in the past four years. I was never a heavy make-up wearer, but I splurged on smoothing and lifting lotions as a preventative measure and I highlighted my hair and got it cut every six weeks.

Many years later I would call my beauty routine absolute basic and at times criminal. I dropped down to barely washing my face before bed to swiping just a quick layer of mascara before stepping out of the house on the weekend - if I bothered at all. During the week I apply a little concealer, some neutral eyeshadow and mascara. I have not been completely neglecting myself though - I have been using daytime moisturizer with SPF every day!

So, in the past month or so I have made the commitment to properly wash my face every night and to use a night cream to stop the fine lines around my mouth. I am getting my hair cut this week and I'll make sure to get it cut at least every 8 weeks - that would double my cuts a year.

Along with my basic make-up application I think that will do in increasing the odds of looking a little less exhausted or like a mommy that has two toddlers - I'm past the spit up on my clothing stage, so it's all up from here, right?

Do you have a beauty routine that works for you even with babies in the house? Do you go to bed with make-up on your face or do you just wash your face with soap and water and have that wonderful complexion that everyone wants?

Linked to Beach Cottage Linky Party

Sunday, August 14, 2011

One photo a week - 33/52

I'm not usually the one to ask for rain, but we were relieved this past week when we got a good soaking...our grass is crispy and our flowers droopy, so a good watering did some good.
I'm liking how the black and white photo captures the details of the leaf and the drops of rain on it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In the neighborhood

Reading blogs and writing a blog allows insight into different cultures, different tastes, what other people do all the way in Australia compared to your own town. I find it incredibly interesting to have these glimpes on a regular basis. While blogs make us see globally I have also discovered a few local blogs that I find very interesting.They deal with the same environment, government, weather, kids etc., but insight into their lives shows a different way of approaching life in the capital city - I find this very insightful.

I want to introduce two of them to you today:

A peek inside the fishbowl. Andrea has been blogging since 1999(!), she's a writer and lives with her husband, two kids and dog in Westboro. She shares her stories, including renovations with her audience and is an advocate for our city. It's a great read and she has given me some good ideas on things to do in town.

Coffee with Julie are stories Julie shares about her travels and family adventures. She has two kids, works in communications, has a handy hubby and loves to travel. Great stories here as well and very witty writing.

While jogging in the neighborhood my hubby bumped into someone in their front yard working on a DIY project which my hubby recognized. It turns out he's been following this guys DIY blog for quite some time and he lives 10 houses over...So, our blogs can reach the world or the guy next door - this is what makes everything so interesting.

Do you enjoy blogs from far away or close to home?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunday dinner

Looking through my archive I noticed that I've not shared any meals with you since June. Let me assure you that we have been eating despite the heat. This past weekend I wanted to create a traditional Sunday meal even though it's still really hot. I opted for a roast chicken. I've cooked turkey before, but I've never actually made my own roast chicken. Wow - I am surprised at how easy this was and how much better it tastes than the store bought chicken!

I opted for a chicken with the back bone removed to keep cooking time down and reduce the heat in our kitchen. I reviewed several recipes, from Real Simple to Martha Stewart and mentions on blogs. My version was very basic:

  • Rinse the chicken and pat dry
  • Rub with olive oil
  • Season with salt, chopped rosemary, sage and parsley (or anything you like)
  • Chop onions
  • Cut roasting potatoes in half or quarters
  • Use baby carrots or cut larger carrots bite size
  • Break up one or two heads of garlic - leave skin on cloves
  • Cut lemon in half
  • Cut celery stock to prop up chicken in pan

  • Heat oven to 425 F
  • Grease roasting pan with olive oil
  • Put celery stock in centre, top with lemon and top with chicken (if using whole chicken add lemon to cavity)
  • Layer chopped vegetables around bird
  • Cook for 1 hour (if using whole chicken cook for 1.5 hours) until temperature of chicken is 180F
  • Let rest for 10 -15 and serve.

This was a lot easier than I thought it would be - the preparation was fast and the rest is hands - off. It was juicy with crispy skin and just the right amount of caramelization on the vegetables. I'll definitely make this again.

Linked to Beach Cottage Linky Party

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One photo a week - 32/52

Seasonal fruit has moved on from Strawberries to plums. I got these local yellow ones at the store the other day - a beautiful combination of sweet and tart. Nice little pick-me-up in the afternoon or a snack after dinner. As you can see I had some fun taking different pictures while eating a bunch of them.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Canadian Beach Vacation - Part 2

So, what do you do in New Brunswick on a beach vacation? You spend some time at the beach splashing in the warmest waters north of Virginia - you play with a multitude of plastic beach toys and trucks, moving sand from one spot to another - or digging holes all the way to  China.

You visit the wharf and join many tourists watching people jump into the water - enjoying evening sun rays and watching boats that come in.

On a rainy day you drive 30 minutes to Moncton for some shopping and indoor amusement park glory. Kids smiling on the merry-go-round and a good coffee will make you deal with the irritation of ringing and dinging surrounding you.

You grab kites out of the car and are amazed on how high that butterfly will go without much effort at all - just stand and watch as the ocean breeze keeps fluttering those wings way above the cottage roof.

And when all else fails and you can't spend another minute at the cottage with drizzle coming down, you pack up the kids, drive down the road and visit the most splendid lobster ever seen - you are indeed in the claimed Lobster capital of the world!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Canadian Beach Vacation - Part 1

I tried to limit myself to less photos or combine them in some type of collage, but I like them better full size so I'll follow up later this week with a couple more. Our beach vacation this year was spent in New Brunswick at the coast. It's a 13 hour drive from our home, so we split the trip in half and stayed at a hotel on the way. Although very long and exhausting, the kids did quite well on this road trip.

The cottage we rented was older and could probably use some TLC (no design award here), but the location could not be beat. No house in front of us, just the dunes and private beach right up the little path! Look at that sunset seen from the living room!

 New Brunswick boasts the warmest waters north of Virginia - however, they don't have the most reliable summer weather. We endured 2.5 days of solid rain (cabin fever!) and the sunny days were cooler than back home. I did however relish in the sound of the waves lulling me to sleep and the smell of salt in the air...ahhh, how I wish Ottawa was by the sea!

The beach added to our shell collection, a bit of a tan and plenty of fresh air. It was also nice to spend some forced time offline and with hubby's family. Although a holiday with little kids never really is a true vacation, I still had fun and we made some great memories.

Do you find road trips with toddlers hard? Once at your destination, is it relaxing or does the non-routine throw everything off for your family?

Linked to Beach Cottage Linky Party

Monday, August 1, 2011

One photo a week - 31/52

We were on vacation this past week - at the beach in New Brunswick. Before going through our 500+ photos I remembered the evening we arrived at our beach cottage. One minute the sun was shining, the next minute a storm came rolling in at enormous speed. I snapped a couple of photos while everyone was running from the beach and was amazed at the light. This photo has no processing work done to it - I find the lighting incredible. Maybe a pro photog out there can tell me how this happens?

I've got a pretty cute family, don't I? More vacation posts to follow this week.