Sunday, April 29, 2012

Simple joys

1. This quote on my fridge. It helps me keep a lighthearted perspective towards life.

2. My mason jar of tea: I drink it slowly and read a magazine while I feed Claire breakfast in the morning.

3. This delightful little creature I have nicknamed "chippy". He steals fruit and vegetable remnants from our compost and munches on them on our deck railing. When we interrupt him he dashes down the stairs, runs up a tree and then scolds us for at least five minutes. The girls and I find him tremendously amusing.

4. A tidy room. It makes it possible for me to relax and enjoy my children.

5. This orchid. It is nearly finished blooming but it is still captivating.

6. My ongoing love affair with the online magazine matchbook. I often wish that they had a paper back additions so that I could keep them on my bedside table.

7. Listening to Amelia have "pretend" conversations with her Oma on her play cellphone.

8. Having a shower with my girls at the end of a long day. I love how Claire's warm little body clings to me and Amelia plays happily at my feet. Sometimes this is my favorite part of the whole day.

9. Getting an extra hour to sleep in when Nathaniel wakes up with the girls.

10. The pattern on this pillow.

11. Playing around with photoshop elements and creating inspiration boards. This is my design plan for our next living room.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My plans to make our cookie cutter house a HOME!

The other day I was surveying my surroundings when I realized, with some shock, how dull my decor has become. I have always been a fan of color, so the absolute dearth of it in my home perplexed me. I have always painted my walls, preferably in dark, bold shades. When Nathaniel and I were house sitting for my parents I painted our bedroom a dark shade of red and our on suite bathroom mango with hand painted red swirls climbing up the walls. (It was LOUD) Our living room was a vibrant shade of blue. When we bought our first home in 2006 I painted my craft room a lovely periwinkle blue, our bedroom a dark shade of wine, our kitchen green and our living room a dark burgundy. Fast forward a couple of years and here I am drownding in shades of cream, black, wood and white. I still love color, but perhaps the craziness of raising children has created a situation where I long to keep the controllable, my decor, my walls, my environment, simple, calm and clutter free. Thankfully I feel ready for color again, although I doubt I will ever paint a room red as I've realized that it is far too limiting. The nice thing about cream, black and white is that they are flexible. That being said, I am ready for a change. When we settle into our new home I fully intend to inject "our personality" into our home. I realize that it is going to take time, patience and money but I am looking forward to the process. I love textiles and I have so many that I am going to turn into throw pillows. My dear friend Holly, who will do a guest post ones of these days, is heading to Europe in a couple of weeks, and has graciously offered to pick up something lovely for me at the Turkish Bazaar in Instanbul. Swoon! I think I am going to see if she can find me any susani, or ikat textiles. I am on a bit of a fabric rampage right now. br />

I finally have an mls listing number to share with you if you want to check out the photos. I was thankful that this listing included some photos of the two bedroom suite downstairs since I had forgotten to take any photos in it. It is # 332101 for those of you that are familiar with, or you can simply click on this link. Shortly after we bought our home I started doodling on the mls listing sheet we were given when we first surveyed the home. Please forgive my horrendous drawings. I am hopeless and drawing anything realistic. I'm trying to decide where our furniture will go, what we need to toss and what we need to buy.

Girls Room:

Since the girls room will have bright pops of fuchsia pink and yellow I going to paint the walls a subdued shade of grey and paint all the furniture white. That way, I keep the "bones" of the room basic, and I can change the accents colors when I tire of them.

1.  Paint the bunk beds white and hopefully paint a second hand dresser a bright shade of yellow.

2. Make some bold punchy curtains. I think I am going to buy some simple white cotton curtains and stencil a design of them with fabric paint in colors of my choice. A creative woman who blogs here, used this method to spice up some standard chairs from Ikea and I can't wait to give it a whirl.

3. Create a fun gallery wall that includes my girls artwork, shadow boxes of childhood treasures, and photos among other things. I have already painted most of the frames white, now I just need to decide on an arrangement and hang them properly. Nathaniel calls me the "tack queen". I turn walls into pegboard... its terrible. This is what Amelia's gallery wall looked like a couple of months ago. I have a whole of bunch of Claire's things to add to it.

4. I still love my expedit from Ikea as it keeps all the girl's toys organized and still looks cute. I have decided, in the name of clutter control and my own sanity, that unless toys fit on this shelf, they are donated. When I set up my craft room downstairs the girls will have an entire section of art supplies as well, but they will be monitored and only used when I am close by to supervise. As the girls get older I imagine we will amass some board games, but those will probably be kept up high in a closet so important pieces are not misplaced. How do you manage your children's belongings without loosing your mind?

Back yard:

Once we take possession of our home, we will begin work on our back deck. I hope that by the time we are finished  it  will something like this.....

I want to be able to hang some twinkly lights, a few Moroccan style lamps and create a pleasant outdoor living space. I have already started brainstorming ways to turn my existing living room couch set into an outdoor furniture set. I have some black waterproof paint, foam and now I just need to find the right outdoor fabric to reupholster it will. I'm picturing box woods in cast iron urns, a chimeas or fire pit so that our girls can still roast marshmallows. I am looking forward to picking up one of these stylish, yet functional outdoor rugs from jysk.

I would love to plant some wisteria near our pergola. My dad has an incredible one growing in his back yard and it would be great to start ours with a clipping from his.

Living Room:

I have never lived in an "open concept" home before. I am much more familiar with small, compartmentalized rooms, but I am looking forward to being able to keep an eye on my girls. My hubby has already claimed the wall above the stairs as the backdrop for his cherished caribou antlers. At present they are mounted on a piece of rustic wood but I have convinced him to try something a little more fashion forward. I have plans to spruce up the fireplace area with some bricks and a wood mantel, and at some point buy some new child friendly couches. I had my heart set on a beautiful set from lazy boy furniture, but when I stopped by their showroom and checked out their prices, I realized that I would need to start looking elsewhere. I think I will use our large black expedit in this room to keep all our books, electronics, albums, and other items contained. Nathaniel and I are still at a loss as to where we are going to put his big aquarium.

Dining Room:

I have loved this "kattrup rug" from Ikea for a really long time and I would love to use it under our dining room table. I love the colors and the design. At some point I would love to purchase a new table and chairs, but that will have to wait. I think I will tuck my china cabinet into the recessed portion along the wall.


While I typically prefer country style kitchens with built ins, bead board, and white or butcher block counter tops, this kitchen is still a MASSIVE upgrade from the one that I have been using for the past three years. While I am not a huge fan of the modern, clean lines, I am sure that it will grow on me. I think I will always be a country girl at heart. What I am excited about is all the drawers, the pantry, and my new appliances. I am going to have a dishwasher for the first time in my married life. WHI HOOOOOO! Not only that, I am going to a shiny new stove and french door fridge. Ohh fancy! I think we will use our old one as a "beverage" fridge for Nathaniel's shop.

I have my heart set on some banana leaf chairs from jysk for my kitchen island, although I am a little nervous about how they will stand up to my children. I can just picture them covered with peanut butter and jam. We will see.....

Master Bedroom:

I have not decided on a color for our master bedroom, but I am still collecting fabric swatches and ideas. I am on the hunt for a fabulous king sized duvet cover. Once I find it, it will most likely be the jumping off point for the remainder of the room. I am still deciding whether or not I will upholster a headboard or have Nathaniel make me one out of wood. So many fabulous decision to make!

As I mentioned in a previous post, we were given an AMAZING king sized mattress and I can't wait to dress it up with new linens, pillows and a handsome bed skirt. At the moment I am leaning towards mirrored dressers, silvery greys, a hint of blue or yellow, and something stunning above our bed. I loved the sunburst mirror in the above picture  the moment I laid eyes on it, but it was WAY out of my price range. I'm sure I will find something equally glamorous at Home sense for a fraction of the cost.

I am going to have a walk in closet for the first time in my life and I am so excited. I don't have much in the way of clothes, but I am looking forward to having all my accessories (shoes, handbags, necklaces, scarves and hats) all in one place. I am researching creative ways to store and display everything.

Guest room:

Most of the furniture, linens and artwork from our current master bedroom will be used to furnish our bitty guestroom. I am looking forward to having a designated room for guests instead of putting them on a mattress in my craft room floor. I can't wait for all our friends to come and visit us!

Craft room:

I imagine that my craft room will look similar to the way that it does now, especially since the room I will be using is similar in size. The only difference is that I will most likely paint the cabinets my parents gave us when they renovated their kitchen and top my workspace island with some kind of butcher block or laminate counter top. I would also like to give my vintage table another coat of turquoise paint, top it with glass, and put it on wheels so that I can move it around the room.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Looking forward to....

This sinus cold is really kicking my butt. When I am feeling better I plan to work through every drawer, cupboard, closet, in my house and and rid them of any and all unnecessary clutter. I'm going going to keep things that are either functional or beautiful. If they don't fit into those categories, I am packing them up and donating them.Tonight I started on my linen closet - seriously how many blankets does a child need. I think I counted at least twelve lurking around my house. Ridiculous!

On another note, I have been thinking a lot about the things I am excited about when we move to Naniamo in six short weeks!!!!!!!!

1. Being able to take my girls to  strong start five days a week if we want to. In our community the program is only available on Mondays at our local school.

2.  Growing ferns, hostas, bleeding hearts, snowdrops in our back yard.

2. Being close to downtown Naniamo and all the great boutiques and restaurants.

3. Biking on the Parkway trial

4. Running around West wood lake.

5. Attending Oceanside international church ( I went there when I was in University and I looking forward to going back).

6. Spending the day at the beach with my girls

7. Being able to buy things at the grocery store when I need them.

8. Cedar trees!!!!!!

9. Dates at Starbucks with my hubby.

10. Shopping at Home sense (eeeeeeeeeeeee)

11. Italian ice cream at the waterfront pier.

12. Doing laps at the pool.

13. Connecting with old friends and making new ones too :0)

Friday, April 20, 2012

A few photos of our new home...

Well, now that I've beat the flu it would appear that a head cold has now claimed my sinuses. Oh joy! I wish I had the energy to wrote tonight, but alas, I do not. Here are a few pictures of our new home.

This is the front of our home. It still requires some landscaping, and a driveway. I am toying with the idea of painting the front door a fun color.

My future craft room. It the first room on your left when you walk in the front door.

Our living room feels so vast to me, I hardly know how I am going to arrange my furniture in there. This home is definitely "open concept". I'm not a fan of the fireplace area but I have a bunch of ideas that will make it awesome. I love the windows and the view from this room

 Our appliances will be installed by the time we move in. I am looking forward to adding personal touches like a back splash, curtains, bar stools, my kitchen aid mixer, Nathaniel's orchids and my beloved cupcake stand. Here is the fridge that we picked out.

I love this picture of my brother hoisting his wife up so she can take a peek into my kitchen.

Another view of our kitchen and one of the "girls" room.

I have a lot more photos, but I have run out of energy to upload them. Goodnight.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crazy house hunting trip....

My blog has been quiet for the past couple of weeks and I figured that it was time for an update. At the moment I am sitting in the foyer of the Best Western in Naniamo, B.C. enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet. It has been an incredibly busy and stressful couple of days. It all started on Thursday morning when we packed up our vehicle, our daughters, our dog and headed into Williams Lake to catch our 9:30 plane. We dropped Chester (our dog) off at the kennel and then proceeded to Walmart where we picked up some breakfast *gasp* and a cartridge for Amelia's mobigo game. We got a little lost on our way to the airport (somehow) and just as we pulled up to the airport Amelia vomited all over herself. While I cleaned her up Nathaniel hauled all our luggage onto the sidewalk and then and then parked our vehicle in the long term parking lot. We checked our luggage which, if you have ever traveled with children, is a lot of seats, playpen, suitcases, stroller..... ect. Somehow we got through security on time and had a few minutes to collect ourselves we boarded a sardine can of a plane with our cranky, puke smelling children. We waited what felt like forever, when the caption announced that there was a problem with the engine and that we would have to disembark the plane until they could fix it. Basically that meant that our flight was delayed for another five hours and that we would miss our connecting flight from Vancouver. Off to a great start hey? We killed some time in Williams Lake and then headed back to the airport. At three o'clock that afternoon we were finally in the air and headed to Vancouver. When we reached Vancouver we had to collect our luggage and travel to a different part of the airport to connect with a whole new flight. Unfortunately, we ran into a few problems trying to get our tickets, and spent a loooong time sorting it out at a desk. DAH! It was a insane gallop (about the equivalent of at least 5 blocks) to get to our plane on time. I think we were the last passengers on. At that point I was sweating, stressed and exhausted. On the plane, Claire became incredibly restless until I gave her a candy necklace to chew on (naughty me) but it worked like a charm and she sat happily on my lap or the remainder of the trip. When we arrived at the Naniamo airport, we were delighted to find that our luggage had arrived as well. We didn't expect it to. However, when it came to renting our car it took over an hour since the computers were down. We connected with our real estate agent five hours later than we had initially planned (due to all the unforeseen circumstances) but we were determined to look at a few homes. The first home we saw was fabulous and I loved it right off the bat. The third and fourth homes we viewed were equally awesome. Around 9pm that night we finally decided to call it a night and checked into our hotel. The next day we started house hunting at 10:00am refreshed and ready. We crossed about 4 homes off the list of homes our agent had given us before we decided that we wanted to take another look at one of the homes we had seen the previous night. It had been dark and we had not been able to see the yard or the basement suite and we wanted to give it another chance. It was a new home with a legal two bedroom basement suite in a new development. It was located near the University and backed onto a green belt. Initially we didn't like the yard because it looked small. That was until we learned that the property line extended into the wooded area behind the house. All of a sudden we became VERY interested. We already loved the views, the location, the spacious open concept, and the great suite below and now we had a mini forest in our back yard. We made our offer. The great part about all of it was the fact that since the front and back yard had not yet been landscaped we would be able to have a say in how we wanted it to look. The other homes beside us had these tiny excuses for decks but I envisioned a HUGE deck with built in seating, a trellis with wisteria and stairs leading up to the forest behind. Tomorrow we submit our "plans" to the developer. Nathaniel is upstairs in the hotel room drafting out our dream deck as we speak. We are fairly certain that they won't build all of it, but if we can convince them to build the framework, Nathaniel could easily finish the rest. All in all, we are really happy with our decision and we can't wait to take possession in a couple of weeks.

I'm so happy that we were able to buy a home so quickly, because the next day I became violently ill and spent the day throwing up. It was awful. My brother and his wife as well as my husband's brother and his wife had come to visit with us and I felt awful that I was holed up in my hotel room over a bucket. That evening, Amelia threw up in Boston Pizza and I knew we were in for it. Claire threw up about an hour after that. Nathaniel and I pretty much spent the night collecting vomit and depositing it in the toilet. A rough night to say the least. I still feel a bit weak and nauseous  today, but for the most part we are all on the mend. Hopefully the next couple of days will be a bit more enjoyable and stress free. When I get home I will post some pictures of our home. There are none on Tommorow Nathaniel and I are going to measure rooms and take LOADS of photos. Whi Hooo!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Claire turns 1!

My sweet Claire celebrated her first birthday on Sunday. How is that possible? I felt like I was pregnant with her only six months ago. Time flies! The little cricket started walking on March 21st so I was thrilled that I would be able to put her in a party dress. (Up to this point I have avoided putting her in dresses since they make crawling VERY difficult). Since Amelia had celebrated her 3rd birthday the week prior at a small, low key family affair, I decided I would throw them a joint birthday party and invite all the families in our detachment (since we are a close bunch).We hosted the event at our local community center since our home is too small to accommodate everyone. This is the inspiration board I made when I started thinking about what kind of "theme" I wanted for her party. I decided to carry the rainbow theme over from the cake Amelia and I had made a few weeks prior. Thanks to my beloved pintrest, this is what I came up with:

I didn't end up making the cups of milk with the sprinkles and the fabric banner , but I enjoyed creating the rest of them,

I had all sorts of ideas of ideas for the cake, but decided that cupcakes would be easier. Sometimes simple is best. I decided in advance of this party that I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew (as they say). Entertaining large groups usually stresses me out, but this time I didn't feel stressed in the least.

Rainbow fruit tray. Nathaniel's grandma made this lovely work of art.

The darling hedgehog that Nathaniel carved.  That poor man spent a great deal of time chopping up vegetables and fruit.

One of my favorite things (which I didn't get a close up of) was the the little individual servings of veggies and dip in the cups below. I (red) pepper (orange) carrots (yellow) peppers and (green) celery. I couldn't think of any blue or purple vegetables that would work.

I made the pizza dough the morning of the party (so that it was super fresh) and then Nathaniel's Grandma and I rolled them out as our guests arrived. We laid all the pizza toppings out on a table and let people make up their own masterpieces. Once completed, they handed them to us and we tossed them into the two awaiting ovens. We had asked everyone to bring a pizza pan or two so it was quite efficient.  I love how one of our guests used his dough to make a cal zone. Brilliant.

I loved watching people make their pizza's. Everybody has such unique tastes.

Once the masses had been fed I loaded my pizza dough with feta, artichoke hearts, cheese, mushrooms and parmesan. Delicious!  Nathaniel used the remaining ingredients to make up two pizzas which we ate for dinner the next day. Yummy!
The generous gifts....

My sweet girl and her "first" cupcake. I think most of it ended up on the floor. :0)

The little "chicky" cake pops.

This is a very blurry picture of the gift bags. They contained rainbow crayons, a rainbow coloring sheet, skittles, and rainbow colored licorice.
My beautiful clean up crew. Thank you ladies.

The candy necklace stand. I forgot to take a picture of the candy before it was all gobbled up. All that remains are some fruit loops and my "example".

How failed cupcakes became cake pops

I was preparing for Claire's first birthday party and had decided that ti would be a good idea to make cupcakes a couple of days ahead of time. Unfortunately, they were dry and dense and I was thoroughly disappointed. Not wanting to waste all the ingredients and time that I put into them, I brainstormed some way to redeem them. Much to my delight, I learned "via google" that I could use them to make cake pops. Basically I crumbled the cupcakes into crumbs...
and then I added some cream cheese frosting I had leftover from Amelia's birthday....
until it resembled cookie dough.
Afterwards I formed the dough into balls and froze them on a cookie sheet.
Once they were frozen I melted some Wilton's candy coating and used it as glue to insert popsicle sticks into the cake pops.

Then came the fun part: decorating!!!! I went over to my dear friend Holly's and we spent the evening giggling, making a mess and making some interesting creatures. I love Holly's impression of her "crazy cat" cake pop.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Project 365: March 23- 31st

March 23rd: Nathaniel and Amelia made some fun creatures out of the clay she won at an auction.
March 24th: We visited our friend's ranch and saw some adorable baby calves.
March 25th: Loving my new pinstripe dress from asos. It is a size four and (mostly fits)!!!! I have a little bit more weight to lose.
March 26th: Campfire at a friend's house. Smores are yummy any time of the year
March 27th: Homemade pizza. I don't think that I will be buying frozen pizza anymore. This is the recipe I used to make the dough.
March 28th: I have had this precious handmade doll since I was a young girl. Grandma and I spent the afternoon sewing her hair back into place and now she looks as good as new.
March 29th: The failed cupcakes that became cake pop dough. More on this topic in another post. March 3
March 30th: A glorious, sunny day filled with adventure and fun!
March 31st: Spotted this stunning mountain bluebird on the way home from a walk with a friend.