Friday, December 31, 2010


About now, I thought I'd be overloaded with 2011 New Years resolutions from the blogosphere. Funny enough, most of the bloggers I follow seem to be avoiding resolutions as devoutly as I am. I went back to last year, to find I didn't post any resolutions, but a decade in review instead. Maybe the fact I didn't make any, explains why I didn't get much done on the house.

I can't beat myself up too hard. I worked (at my paying job) too much this year. However, I did manage to put a garden in.

I redecorated my old bedroom in my parents' farmhouse.

Bought a car AND a lawn mower.

Canned for the first time - tomato sauce and (super yummy) salsa.

I thought about what I could do this year, instead of resolutions and all I could come up with was a year in review. Maybe post something of significance in every month of 2010. It should be easy. I feel 2010 was a great year. However, I don't want to bore you with minor details that have zero house relevance and may be truly, uninteresting to anyone but myself.

Instead, I'm going to post a "To-Do" list for 2011. You could call these resolutions, but no one keeps resolutions. Myself, included. I have had these things on my brain for a while, and in 2011, I want to get them done.

  • Open a tax--free savings account. Close my credit union account that is inconvenient and not generating any more interest than any other account would.
  • Blog more. 2-4x week, minimum.
  • Start running again. 
  • Finish the craft room.
  • Organize all my craft stuff in the craft room.
  • Tidy up the backyard garden area.
  • Clean out the garage.
  • Clean out/organize the basement.
  • Paint the kitchen cupboards white.
  • Put some wall art in my bedroom.
  • Add to the living room photo gallery.
There you have it. It's not too long. There's a few "gimme's", that I can hopefully knock of fast and easy. Others will be a stretch.

Now, I'll leave you with a little sneak-peak of our New Year's Eve plans.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Wonderfully, Happy, Christmas

Love ActuallyLast night, bf and I watched "Love Actually". It was the perfect 'end' so-to-speak to what was about as close to a perfect Christmas as you could get. Four days of lounging, family, turkey dinners and sweets, lots of sharing, gift-giving and of course, love. Wow, I sound so mushy.

"Love is all around us, c'mon and let it grow."

In 27 years, this Christmas ranked up there as being one of the best. We truly enjoyed every moment spent with our families. There was lots of catching up, lots of laughter and lots of moments we wished wouldn't end.

I spoiled everyone with gifts and  didn't care what I received in return. I relished in the sheer joy of giving the people I love the most, gifts that made them really happy. I am blessed to have such wonderful family and good fortune to eat until our bellies are full. And in the true spirit of the season, I witnessed old quarrels forgiven and relationships mended.

Now, with all that mushiness, it seems so superficial to tell you about the wonderful gifts I received. I have to share though, because I have been unable to put these 2 amazing books down since the moment I ripped off the paper (or cereal box in the case of my sneaky cousin).

Bakerella's Cake Pops book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How thoughtful was bf? He knew I read her blog and have attempted these tasty treats occasionally. He was even aware that Bakerella was in Toronto doing signings earlier in December, but we were out of town. Even if I never muster the energy to tackle cake pops again (they are a lot of work), I love every bit of this book. It is jam-packed with tips, like why not try making 12 the first time, instead of 48! Don't try to dip frozen cake pops in candy. Wow, wish I'd seen both of those tips the first time!

Also, bf spoiled me with a hammock. In the summer, I was longing for a hammock for my backyard. Now I have one to hang from my tree!

Book # 2? 

Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You HappyDomino Book of Decorating of course!

I love it. I love every bit of this book, and I could just flip through it for hours on end. If I weren't so scared to mess it up, I'd have dog-eared half the pages by now. I admit, I'm not even a talented decorator, but I marvel at how the books has captured hundreds of simple ideas and made them look House & Home-worthy. It will be a fixture on my coffee table, possibly forever.

I truly hope my readers had an joyous and wonderful Christmas too. Congrats to Micaela over at Five Blondes on her new, baby boy! What a perfect Christmas gift!

Friday, December 24, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

1 most sleep and here's what I'm hoping will be under my tree tomorrow:

For my reading (and drooling) pleasure...
Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd

Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy

For the techie in me that hopes this savvy gadget will also improve my efficiency, not to mention keep me connected to the Internet ALL THE TIME...

Apple iPad Tablet (32GB, Wi-Fi)

For the Julia Child in me...

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red

For the girl that dreams...

For the practical side (that's a humidifier)....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wreathed Up With You (and a random recipe)

Check these out! After seeing my wreath, a co-worker was inspired to create her own beautiful creation. And not just one, but two!

 She sent me these photos, and I had to share them with you. Aren't they beautiful?!

LOVE them!!

On a completely separate note, I've been trying to find THE recipe for cabbage & ramen noodle (aka Mr. Noodles) salad. Poor bf has been eating cabbage salad every night for dinner, but I finally found the right recipe tonight here. Actually, I should clarify, I was looking for the right dressing. The salad is pretty standard - cabbage, sunflower seeds and/or almonds, and Mr. Noodles. The key to the dressing is found in one of the comments on the recipe - rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and not too much sugar (you can always add more). YUM! Bf cleaned out the bowl!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

It's amazing how after 3 weeks away, a cinnamon candle, some pine boughs and a $12 artificial tree can put you right in the holiday spirit!

The first thing I did last week (after laundry) was pull out my Christmas totes and haul out the decorations. Strangely, it seemed there were more than I recalled putting away last year. I guess that's what happens when you scour the post-Christmas clear-out aisle.

I did not end up buying a tree four weeks ago as I'd once planned, and luckily so, because it turns out I bought one last year!!! For $12!!! What a deal!!

You can see, I even had help to assemble it.

I also acquired a lifetime supply of Christmas balls. But for these, I had a plan.

So, I set to work on a rainy day this past weekend (yes, I said rainy) putting up my little tree, stringing boughs along my mantle and decking the halls where they needed to be decked. My naked-looking home finally got a strand of lights on the front tree, and my mood started to feel all-the-more festive. Unable to meet up with my parents to do a little Santa-gift-handoff, bf even took it upon himself to assemble the little, pink "wagie" a.k.a. wagon, for my niece.


Meanwhile, I made good work of the Christmas balls I'd bought on clearance last Christmas. I saw a wreath in a magazine years back, made entirely of balls on a styrofoam ring. I filled a tub with balls, plugged in my glue gun and one "Home Alone" movie-later, I had a Christmas wreath for my door.

 The best part? The balls reflect the lights outside, so while I may have fewer lights this year, my house still seems just as bright!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm Home (finally)!!

I can not believe how long it's been! Did you miss me? I missed all of you! I have been traveling for the past three weeks for work. Typically, I find some time to blog on the road, but my schedule the past three weeks just did not allow it. I feel like I've missed so much in the blogosphere, because I haven't even kept up with my fav bloggers. Luckily, the weekend is right around the corner!

Here's a little snacklet of what I've been up to:

Kept warm under a foot of snow in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Enjoyed the view inside & out of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. I managed to bring the snow from Regina to Victoria, which doesn't typically get snow.

Random fact: REAL mozzarella cheese is made with water buffalo milk. This farm in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is one of only a handful of farms in Canada.

Festival of Trees in the Fairmont Empress Hotel. What a festive place to hang out! There were some beautiful trees. The festival attracts people from the city to vote for their favourite and raises money for the Children's Hospital in Vancouver. 

Wholly mammoth sighting at the Royal B.C. Museum.

Made a book.

  Had the pleasure to hear Robert Herjavac, Hayley Wickenheiser, Darci Lang (excellent message) & Jim Craig (goalie of the 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle" hockey team) tell their stories. Photos courtesy of ABC Medianet and Canada Olympic Park.

Toured 4 John Deere factories in 2 days.

Experienced Austin, TX and all the nightlife it has to offer. Photo courtesy of Marriott Austin.

Finally, what's a Christmas "T" party with friends without a troll?!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Do You Have an Infestation?" The lady asks.

Let me assure you; you never want to be asked this question. I was faced with a horrible reality today, forced to answer that question not once, not even twice, but three times.
It started out when I told a co-worker I thought my cats had fleas.

"Do you have an infestation?" She asked.

I hadn't thought about it that way. I only really discovered the problem a few nights ago, and I thought it was manageable and I could treat my cats later in the week. Several discussions later, I was convinced I would have a home crawling with critters if I didn't attend to this immediately.

I proceeded to tell my boss I would be working from home for the afternoon. "My cats have fleas. I need to deal with it before my house is overrun." His response? When he stopped laughing, he agreed. "You don't want to bring them to work," he said.

So, I set out for home, stopping at a vet clinic along the way for 'over-the-counter' flea treatment.

"Do you have an infestation?" Asked the receptionist.

I explained my cats had fleas, and I wanted to deal with it now before it got out of control. Turns out 'over-the-counter' flea medication doesn't exist. You have to make an appointment, so they can prescribe it. PRESCIBE IT! Appointment?! I don't need a diagnosis here. I know they have fleas!! I saw one. It jumped on me! Sorry! I didn't warn you the gross part was coming.

I went to the pet store. After reading the label of every flea and tick product on the shelf, I asked an associate's opinion.

"Do you have an infestation?"

WHY DOES EVERYONE ASK THAT? I have fleas on my cats! I hope it's not an infestation, but they're there! They've likely left eggs and gross, little baby fleas all over! Okay, yes! I have an infestation! Are you happy now?! I have a disgusting, flea infestation thanks to my outdoors-loving cats and I've admitted it!!

Snap back out of my imaginary response. Yes, I guess I do. "You need to go to the vet and get a prescription for Advantage. It works far better than any product we have."

Right, I thought. I purchased some flea control shampoo, gels and headed out the door to spend the rest of the day vacuuming, bathing, washing linens, more vacuuming and more washing curtains. I then sprayed every unwashable surface with vinegar and water and sprinkled salt on my rug (both home remedies I saw online). I hope this temporary solution will indeed get most of the fleas, however I do have a backup plan I know will work if needed albeit a tad redneck.

Now, if only I'd taken some video of bathing the cats. You've never heard an animal make such a wretched noise!

Have you ever had to treat pets for fleas? Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WW Flub-up

My blogging attempt is becoming poorer by the week. Yes, that's right; I used poorer as a word. Wordless Wednesday should be the easiest post ever. It's quite simple:
  1. Find a photo.
  2. Post it on Wednesday.
Helpful Tip #1: Make sure you schedule it for the correct date. Otherwise, you have "Wordless Some-Day-Next-Week".

Oops. It's up now. Only 1 hour late for Wednesdsay. Look down.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Make Over My Kitchen? Yes, Please!

I entered the Home Hardware Dream Kitchen Makeover this weekend. You may be familiar with the contest. Anna Olson has been promoting it on TV for weeks now.

I am not sure if I've staked my claim to Home Hardware in the past, but I prefer it over Home Depot. There is a convenience factor; there is a store around the corner. My store is definitely not a big box store. The selection is limited, but that doesn't bother me, because they're helpful. It's a novel concept. A DIY store that has knowledgeable people to assist.

Nothing drives me crazier than asking for an opinion or help and getting "I don't know." Even worse, is when you can see the associate is frantically looking for the information to appear out of the air, in order to provide what might, by some meager attempt, seem like advice. My questions aren't even hard! I'm only doing minor maintenance and repair. The Home Hardware folks have never let me down with their assistance.

Naturally, all this talk about helpful 'Home'owners has me thinking about the kitchen they could install for this homegirl.  A little dreaming never hurts right?

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. I love white kitchens. I love these snazzy drawer organizers too. This would take care of the hideous mess of a spice cupboard I have today.

I would be more likely to choose the Stratford-style cabinets. This style has that cottage-like look I absolutely love. 
Here's a similar style, a la Ikea.  Oooohh and that sink...

I would opt for chalkboard paint on a pantry door, however, just to mix it up a little. 

For my sink, I love this Moen faucet with the pull down wand and Granitek double sink.

How about this beautiful corner buffet from Home Furniture? Wouldn't it be beautiful, loaded with cobalt blue china? I guess it's extraneous I don't have a corner to put it in.

Or perhaps, this distressed buffet and a rustic brown harvest table? Home Furniture has some beautiful pieces. They have an exhibit at the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo every fall, and I usually have to stop myself from drooling on the kitchen sets!

Check out this set, saved in my 'Inspiration Binder' from their catalog a few years back. Mmmm. Love.

Now all I need is Home Hardware to pick my entry, and my sad kitchen can be transformed!