DH Rocks

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I've always said that DH rocks. Now there is proof. Go to his blog, When Can I Rock to hear his latest song. It'll come in handy tonight if you're ringing in the new year and you need a good dance tune.

This is the kind of music you would hear played in some club in Amsterdam. The song would come on while everyone was just kind of standing around. The beat would catch their attention and one of them would look at the other and say "Wil dansen?" (That means "Wanna dance?" Next thing you know, the dance floor would be filled. Nice work DH. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you.


Etsy's Ahpeele (appeal)

Monday, December 29, 2008

My brother always gives the most thoughtful gifts. He spends a lot of time and energy picking just the right thing. This year, he gave me a pair of snowshoes (used, that he can borrow whenever he wants), the new Seal CD, and a camera bag that will hold my new Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens, when I get one. If he had the budget, I'm sure he would have got me the lens, too.

DH gets perplexed and discombobulated when Christmas rolls around. He is always busiest with his work in December. They have to get products delivered before year-end so the stock doesn't nosedive yet again, and more people don't get laid off. Don't you just love telecom?

So DH wants to get me something I really like, and I am usually able to give him a list and I will get something awesome from my list, as well as something awesome that I wasn't expecting, and a bunch of really expensive chocolates that I will usually consume in one day. I recall him saying one year "do you realize you just ate $20 worth of chocolates in 10 minutes?" to which I replied "no, I didn't realize they were that expensive! They sure were tasty!"

DH was even busier this year with his unplanned two-week trip to Regina. So when he finally had a free day to do some shopping, it was already December 22nd. He only had me to buy for, so as long as he was doing a cash and carry, everything would be alright. He asked if getting my present late would bother me. I said it wouldn't, but I wasn't as gracious as I could have been when Christmas rolled around and people asked me what I got. Sorry about that DH. I did get some really nice things Christmas morning from DH, including a memory stick and a photography book.

My 'late' present arrived today while I was at work. It is the first mail delivery day since Christmas, so it was really just one day late, and it was worth every second of the wait. After coveting EVERYTHING at Ahpeele's Etsy shop, I received my beautiful koi t-shirt. What I didn't realize is that DH also got me an amazing print by AdAm himself, to be framed and put in the basement. I am over the moon and I will never, never, never take off my new shirt. And if I ever do, and anyone ever puts this thing in the washing machine rather than washing it by hand, I will hunt them down and put bamboo shoots under their finger nails. Let that be a warning!

If for some reason, you have not shopped Etsy, you must. I got some awesome art for the basement from a woman in California. There are too many nice things to ever shop anywhere else!


Photoshop Resource

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I am reading an excellent book called Digital Photography - Beyond the Camera, by Ian Farrell. It is for Photoshop CS2, but so far that hasn't seemed to matter that it is not the same version as I have. What I like about the book is that it is focused on how photographers like me would use Photoshop, and some of the common problems we might need to resolve. I'm going through it with a fine-toothed comb and trying out each of the image manipulations and enhancements. Heaven knows my photos provide plenty of fodder for re-touching!

I hope to post some before and after photos over the next few days, including the family portrait we took on Christmas. It should be interesting to fix it up as it has tungsten light shining in from one side and natural light shining in from the other, so the colour is not consistent across the photo. In the SOOC, Mr. Boy has green hair! Hopefully I can fix that.


Boxing Day Special

Friday, December 26, 2008

We made it! Christmas is over and our dinner for 26 was a success. Santa brought what the children had asked for, and there was merriment and fun. In this photo, the kids are waiting to open their presents on Christmas morning. Aside from all of the toys, they each got a pair of snowshoes, and they'll be getting downhill skis, too. Sweet Pea and I went snowshoeing today for an hour. I am the Snowshoe Queen and she is the Snowshoe Princess. We 'conquered' the world on our trek today.

After the presents were open, Tyler and Dad helped us move all of the furniture, and we got the tables and chairs for dinner set up. The tablecloths were laid. The scotch mint place cards were set out, and the kids help us set the table with knives and forks and napkins.

Everyone brought something to eat and the food was delicious. Our oven is a bit wonky, so we put the turkey in at 300 degrees (50 degrees lower than it should be), and the turkey was still ready after 3 hours rather than 4. That left us plenty of time to carve it all, make gravy and cook the other dishes that needed cooking or warming. We were pretty busy for about an hour right before supper. Everyone served themselves then sat and everyone was eating at the same time. We ate at the extremely early hour of 5:15.

Right after dinner, DH played Jingle Bells on his accordion for everyone and then the kids played piano. I got a nice photo of Precious and me before everyone arrived. Not many good photos of the kids, but a couple worth keeping. We also took a photo with my dad, brother, and my family, so I'll retouch that one and post it soon.

I found a little holiday magic when all of my mom's family was here. Some things never change, and my mom's family is no exception. My uncle Bernard was 6 minutes early. I predicted everyone would be gone by 8, and I wasn't far off. Most people left right after 7 and only four lingered until after 8.

The holiday merriment isn't over yet. We're having friends over for breakfast tomorrow morning, then some others over for dinner tomorrow night. Some of my cousins and I are going to a restaurant on Sunday evening. I'm working Monday, then we have some free time to have more friends over later in the week.

I can't wait to go snowshoeing again!


Oh Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve day. The chairs, dishes and tables were graciously delivered by Mike. The contractors are taking a day off. The Christmas tree is decorated and the presents underneath are all wrapped. One of the turkeys is in the oven cooking. With 26 people coming tomorrow, we ended up with a 12 pounder and a 16-pounder. The 12-pounder will be cooked and carved today and the other turkey will be cooked and carved in time for supper tomorrow night.

Christmas morning, my mom, stepdad, brother, dad and kids will all be here opening presents. We usually have a brunch, but this year, it will be juice and coffee while we open presents. I didn't really want to prepare two big meals in one day.

Once all of the presents are open, I'm hoping everyone will pitch in to set up for the big Christmas dinner. There is furniture, and the new fixtures for the basement to move out of the living room. There are tables to set up, chairs to open, tablecloths to lay out, place cards and dishes to put out and a little bit of vacuuming too. Everyone will go home or upstairs for a little rest. Once that is done, we'll have the turkey and a few appetizers to prepare. The sparkling wine and white wine can be chilled in the snow bank. We'll fill a cooler full of snow for bottles of pop.

People will start to arrive around 4. Knowing my family, about half of the people will be lined up outside, waiting for the hour to strike 4 before ringing the doorbell to come in. I don't know how many times I've sat for a few minutes in my car in someone's driveway, or took an extra spin around the block to get me to the appointed hour.

There is plenty of snow, presents and Chrismtas stuff. We even went to see Santa yesterday! So why doesn't it feel like Christmas? Is all of the magic gone? Am I getting too old and cynical for all of this? I'm basically going through the motions. Making lists and checking them twice. Fulfilling the duties of the 'job'. I can't figure out why I am feeling so blah. Is anyone else feeling this way this year?


Photo Challenge - What Does Winter Mean To Me?

Sunday, December 21, 2008


and more snow.

Snow suits
Hats, mitts
Wet feet
Slow driving
Hot Chocolate
Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark
Beautiful snow

What Does Winter Mean to Me? Jen's photo challenge.


Happy 5th Birthday Sweet Pea!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Sweet Pea was born at home 5 years ago today, on a snowy, wintry day; the last day of fall. After having an uneventful and healthy pregnancy and delivery, drug-free at the birthing centre for Mr. Boy's birth, DH and I wanted to have our next child at home. We managed to get accepted at the midwives, and started our care there. We had the same birthing centre as our back-up location in case something went wrong during the delivery, and it is only 10 minutes from home.

The morning that Sweet Pea was born, I woke up around 6 of so, thinking something was probably happening. I was already three days overdue and had been through this before. I went back to sleep, and got up around 8:00 or 8:30. I figured something was definitely happening, so I called my mom to get Mr. Boy, who was 19 months old at the time. He ended up waking up with a terrible fever, but there was not much I could do about that, so off he went to Grammy's. DH and I went for a brisk walk through the snowstorm to get a newspaper and to get the labour moving. It was only about 10 minutes each way, and I was having lots of contractions. We got home and I did the crossword and figured we should call the midwife.

My first labour and delivery was about 6 hours, including 1 1/2 hours of pushing, so I doubted this would be a long labour, but the midwife wasn't in a panic when I called. She said she'd come soon. I answered the door, reading the baby name book when she arrived. She assumed I wasn't very far along, but her mood changed after she did an exam a few minutes later. She called the other midwife right away and started setting up her equipment. Just after 2, after I was starting to get frustrated that the labour wasn't moving more quickly, the midwives suggested breaking my water. I didn't want any interventions, but decided it was worth a try, especially after one of the midwives said she had done it with her children.

They broke my water and I felt the urge to push. I then realized that I had not once felt the urge to push with my first delivery. Strange! I pushed for maybe a minute, and Sweet Pea was born in our bed at 2:16 p.m.! She looked like just Daddy, but I knew she was mine, because I had seen her come out with my own eyes! (ha ha)

You're probably wondering about the mess. We had a shower curtain under our bottom sheet, and we had bought some of those blue medical pads. The midwives put the sheets in the washing machine for us, and I had a shower right away. It was lovely! Sweet Pea was born in our bed and slept with us for the next 9 months. She never went more than 2-3 hours without nursing in those 9 months, and she wouldn't take a bottle, so I had to take her everywhere with me. I would nurse her several times a night, but we were on the same routine and I would start nursing her and we'd both fall asleep again.

Here is Sweet Pea, 5 years later, on a day very similar to the day she was born. We had a birthday party with the family, with sausages and french fries, which Sweet Pea loves, and a 'delicious' cake that Sweet Pea and I made, and I overcooked.


Shopping Marathon

I worked Thursday. I got an early start because the bus drivers in town are on strike. To beat rush hour, we have to be on the road before 6 a.m. My co-worker offered to pick me up, and I offered to walk up to the main road to save him from snaking around into my neighbourhood. He called me at 5:35 to say he was leaving home. He was about 15 minutes earlier than I was expecting! I only had time to brush my teeth and run to the bus stop where I was meeting him, in the 10 minutes it took him to get here. Despite the early hour, I was wide awake after my little jog!

The drive in was good and I got a lot of work done in the morning. There was a potluck in the afternoon and it was fun to see some work friends and even meet a few new people. The food was unbelievable and I had a glass of wine. Big mistake. About an hour later, I was so sleepy, I could barely keep my eyes open. I had played hockey Wednesday night and had had 2 hours of sleep before the game, and 4 after. Combine that with it being the week before Christmas, two days before my daughter's birthday dinner, and with getting up at 5:15 and you've got one sleepy lady!

I got a ride home from a different co-worker, and came home to the smell of crock pot stew cooking. I knew the kids wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, but I liked the fact that there was a healthy, hot meal waiting, even if they weren't going to eat any of it.

Right after supper, I started a shopping marathon that ended 4 hours later! I went to two grocery stores, the beer store, the liquor store, the CD store and the store where I got my brother's gift. I can't tell you where that is because he might read this! The shopping trip took so long, that I had to come home and drop off the two kids that were with me because it was past their bedtime. I dropped off half of the groceries and my other purchases, and headed out again. They were forecasting a huge snow storm for Friday, and I just couldn't afford to miss my 'last' chance to do all of my stocking up before Christmas.

Friday morning, I bought the last two gifts on my list. Friday night, DH and I reviewed all of the presents I had bought for the kids to see if they had enough and whether they were even enough that they wouldn't be coveting the presents of the other children. I think I did a good job and I was pleased to see everything laid out. I know Santa is filling the kids' stockings and bringing them each one little wrapped present. They are each getting one nice present from Mommy and Daddy, too. Last year, they each got a set of sheets for their bed. This year, it is toys. Mr. Boy is expecting as much. Sweet Pea is on the verge of that. She knows what she likes and wants. Precious are still pretty easy-going about the whole thing.

So it's official! I'm ready for Christmas!

P.S. The promised photo of my tree will be posted on Sunday, if all goes as planned.


"I Am a True Man Who Can Fell Trees for My Family" and other things DH is fond of saying.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

After settling for Canadian Tire or Home Depot parking lot Christmas trees for most of our adult life, DH and I decided to do the whole Christmas tree farm experience with the family on Sunday, after he got back from Regina. Family time. Bonding.

When I was hugely pregnant with Sweet Pea, 5 Christmases ago, we had gone to a local tree farm, and they had a bonfire, lots of snow, Santa, hot chocolate, and lots of trees. Since I was due Dec 17th, and it was the first weekend of December, we decided to forgo the traipsing through the woods part, and head straight for the pre-cut trees. We figured they were pretty fresh, and we had the experience of having a tree that actually drank the water we put in the tree stand. Rather than having a dead tree in a stand with water in the base, we had to refill the stand as the tree drank up the water. It was lovely, and so many less needles falling, and less of a fire hazard!

Sunday morning, we headed out 'en famille' to a new tree farm. This one had less attractions, but promised better prices. The toboggan hill was nice, and the kids could have spent a lot longer there. The wooden shed with the wood stove, hot chocolate and hot dogs was a hit with the kids. The local cat who wasn't shy to try to sneak a bit of hot dog, not so much.
We had hot dogs and hot chocolate, which was spilled down Mr. Boy's coat (oh well, it was time to wash it anyway, I guess), and headed out on the wagon to the back lot where there were trees for cutting. They had all been pruned, and there were lots around 8 feet tall, which was the size we were looking for. Soon after getting off the wagon (ha ha!), we found the perfect tree. The only thing I was leery of was its proximity to the wagon drop-off spot. Surely someone else would have picked this one if there weren't something wrong with it. Was there something wrong with it? Why couldn't I figure it out?

DH and the kids with their mean faces (below). DH is showing his manliness and his face conveys "I could hunt and kill our own meat if I wanted to. Just watch me cut down this tree with this saw!"
Once we picked the tree, the kids scooped the snow away from the base and DH started cutting. Once you start cutting, you can't really change your mind. DH got the tree down pretty quickly, but the lower branches were stuck in the snow. Once that was resolved, DH got our tree out and we headed back to the rendez-vous (I've always wanted to say that) and got our tree home for installation and decorating.
Our beautiful, fresh-cut tree. Tomorrow's post will be about the decorated tree.


Cooking Class Rocks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Birthday Girl

For Sweet Pea's birthday party this year, we let her choose what to do. Usually we have a party at home, and the child is allowed to invite one guest for the number of their birthday. Usually turning 5 would mean 5 guests. When Sweet Pea came up with the idea of a cooking school party, I looked into it and the minimum number of guests was 12. Including my kids, that meant 9 guests. In order to get that many at this time of year, with Christmas parties, hockey parties, etc. in full swing, we had to invite about 15 kids!

The party took place upstairs at the grocery store, with two teenaged helpers. I call them helpers, but actually, DH and I didn't have to lift a finger. Good thing too, as he was more than a little tired after arriving back from Regina 5 minutes before we were leaving for the party. And I was a little tired after being home with the kids for 2 weeks without DH. Thank goodness for my brother's help!

The kids were really excited to make their own pizza dough, choose their own toppings, and make fruit salad (just apples and bananas, but that's what kids that age like anyway!). They also got to decorate cupcakes like snowmen, using marshmallows, licorice and candy canes. They ate their pizza and fruit salad, then had some cake, opened presents, and then it was over!

I would say having the party at the cooking school was a great idea. It was lots of fun for Sweet Pea and her friends, and no clean up for me. The price wasn't even that outrageous as it included supper for the kids, cake, and cupcakes to take home. It was just a bit more than I would spend on a home party. We may end up becoming regulars!


Lists are one of my Favourite Things

Monday, December 15, 2008

I have a ton of photos from our weekend to post, but since I don't have a lot of time, I thought I'd steal this from Mindy and play along. There's nothing I like better than a list.

If you want to play too, just copy and paste this list on your blog, and highlight which ones you've done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld
8. Held a praying mantis
9. Climbed a mountain
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill.
24. Been to Vienna
25. Was on Television
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse - you're not supposed to look, are you?
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Learned a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day


Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm a bit of a bleeding-heart left-wing tree-hugger. I believe in karma, destiny, and keeping my eyes open to things. I do yoga. I use my own bags at the store. I moisturize with hemp lotion and like my meat organic, grass-fed and free range. I can't count how many times I've wondered about something for days or weeks, mentioned it to someone in passing, and they knew the answer. I mentioned to a friend that I was looking for daycare, and she knew someone looking to share a nanny. I asked a co-worker I hardly know about his weekend, and ended up with a few names of voice teachers I have been looking for unsuccessfully. I believe that if you are open to things, they will somehow appear. I think this may be the premise for the book The Secret, but I haven't read it yet.

Today, I noticed that the light coming in the patio doors was lovely. It was reflecting off the snow. Precious was napping. Sweet Pea and I were alone (save the contractors making loud noises in the basement). I asked her if she was interested in getting her photo taken. She agreed it was a splendid idea. Her sister had made a Build A Bear earlier in the week, and Sweet Pea was quite taken with it. She wanted to use it as a prop in the photos.

Using the natural light, and without being able to retouch them because DH has my laptop and he's out of town until tomorrow, I got some great shots of Sweet Pea. It's perfect timing, as Christine and Jen are doing a photo challenge. I'm with Christine on this one. No way I can do 365 photos in a year. I'm willing to go along for the ride and do what I can. Turns out I already have some photos for today. I'm pretty happy about that. Baby steps to my creativity getting re-ignited.


Creative Block

Thursday, December 11, 2008

All around me, on the internet, and at the stores, are fantastic ideas for scrapbooking, photography and fabric arts. At Christmastime, there are even more ideas inspired by the festive season. With so many ideas out there, where is my inspiration and creativity? Hibernating because of all snow and cold weather? Used up by my busier-than-usual schedule? Maybe I am getting some of my creativity out at work (doubtful). It could be that after reading some pretty amazing blogs on a regular basis, I feel that my mediocre creativity just doesn't cut it anymore. I certainly feel that way about my photography when I see certain sites, especially Danielle Thompson's, Andrea Burns', and Holly McCaig's.

I was planning to make place cards for my Christmas dinner, and just couldn't get inspired. I bought little spice jars at IKEA and had planned to fill them with colourful candy, then add a tag with the guest's name and place it at their seat. Over the last month I've probably spent an hour surfing the net for different card and tag ideas. Many of them were very nice, but nothing really inspired me. Nothing resonated with me or excited me. Finally, I decided to buy the candies for the jars as budget is a concern and I knew my choices of festive candies at an affordable price were limited. In the bulk section of the grocery store, I found scotch mints that are light minty green. At $2.99/lb, they fit the budget better than the $6.99/lb red and green M&Ms. I bought two big bags. When I got home, I looked through my scrapbooking paper stash, and finally the inspiration hit. Simply having a colour to start with was so much easier than starting from scratch.

I spent about an hour listening to the hockey game on the computer while I made tags for all of the relatives who will definitely attend. I used mostly shades of green including celery and kelly green. Some papers have dots, other are floral, and other are just textured. I added a sticker or a snowflake brad to each tag, and attached them to the candy jars. I don't have a final head count yet, but I made 30 jars of candy and have a bunch of blank tags. I may be filling out names on Christmas night!

I am pleased with how the place cards came out, and the scotch mints are tasty, too!


One of my Favourite Gloomy Things

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A cheerful girl named Ruby Gloom. A one-eyed girl named Iris. A bat that's afraid of the dark. A raven named Poe. Who can resist the TV show Ruby Gloom? It is cute, funny, and the way the characters are drawn really appeals to me. There are supernatural elements to the show, but the underlying message is usually about facing fears, believing in yourself, or helping your friends.

This whole it's-animated-which-is-normally-cute-but-this-time-it's-scary thing reminds me of one of my favourite shows from the late 80's. Despite the fact that I was already out of high school when it aired, I LOVED the animated show Beetlejuice. Not to be confused with the mediocre movie starring Michael Keaton.
I loved Lydia so much, I even considered naming one of my children Lydia. It didn't happen, but one of my daughters does happen to have the middle name Ruby. She was named after my late grandmother, not the TV character.


Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My kids are growing up. Used to be that I knew exactly what they knew, when the learned it and where. I knew what they liked to eat, how and why. I knew what went into them, and what came out. Where every scratch had come from and where everything they owned was stored and its condition. Eventually the kids started doing things like going to nursery school, or birthday parties without me, or on playdates. My kids were learning things and I wasn't there. They were interacting with other children and adults, and hearing all kinds of interesting things. The kids would pick up expressions from their friends or learn about some t.v. show or movie.

When Mr. Boy was in nursery school, he used to talk about Rescue Heroes, and I thought it was so cute that he had created this universe of firefighters and police officers. I even embarrassed myself by regaling a fellow nursery school mom with the story of how my son had invented Rescue Heroes. Imagine the look of horror on my face when she said "Rescue Heroes is a TV show"!

Recently, I thought it was cute when my kids started saying that something was easy peasy lemon squeezy. "Adorable! What imaginations!", I thought. Imagine my surprise when I saw the same expression used over at Sandiegomomma's blog. I suppose it is possible that my kids invented the expression and Sandiegomomma picked it up from them. Likely?


Safe and Sound

Monday, December 1, 2008

We've started week 3 of the renovations, and it is pretty slow-going. We have a subfloor, concrete board on top, strapping on the ceiling, polyurethane insulation at the space between the concrete and the upstairs walls, and some steel studs. The plumbing is partially done but they didn't route the drain properly and it has to be moved. In the meantime, there is a huge hole in the basement floor, and gravel and rubble everywhere.

Today the drywall and the insulation were delivered. The greenest insulation option was recycled denim, but since we couldn't afford that, we're using Roxul Safe 'n' Sound insulation in the walls. Not only is a high performance product, but it is partially recycled, and it will not release toxins into our basement. It does contain plastic, but it is recycled, similar to the subfloor material, Delta MS.

I'm hoping that by the end of this week, the plumbing issue is resolved and some of the drywall starts to go up. The guy who is to 'mud' the drywall is due on Dec 12th, and that's when things will really start to change. I can't wait!


5 Simple Steps to Cooking Dinner for 30

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am hosting Christmas for my mom's family this year. With my grandma, her 6 kids and all of their kids, and all of their kids, it can get kind of crowded. I've estimated 30 people for dinner. That includes the 5 of us, so really only 25 guests. A lot of people haven't RSVP'd, which is causing me a bit of anxiety.

SandiegoMomma asks "Now, as for your 30-person Christmas dinner: what are you going to cook? I must know how you're going to do it all. I could use the advice."

We will be having the full-blown turkey dinner on Christmas. Turkey and everything that goes with it. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, root vegetables, desserts, etc. How will this be accomplished? I will do what I do best. Organize, delegate and manage this 'project'.

Step 1: decorate the house for Christmas as early as possible, which usually means no earlier than Dec 1st, if DH has anything to say about it. I really enjoy this part, and this is something I would do whether I was hosting a dinner or not.

Step 2: rent tables, chairs and dishes. It'll be the best $100 I ever spent, especially if I can convince someone to help me out by picking them up and delivering them here on Dec 23rd.

Step 3: enlist dear Aunt to coordinate all of the side dishes. Yes, everyone is bringing something. In our rather traditional (read: old-fashioned) family, this usually means complicated, expensive dishes from the women, and buns and butter or pop from the men. ;-)

Step 4: beg DH to make his delicious turkey, the one thing other than the venue that we are providing.

Step 5: be gracious and thank everyone for helping out. Enjoy the evening, then put the rented dishes into the boxes and send them back. The best part is that the rental company washes them!

Sounds good on paper. Check in with me Christmas morning and see how I'm doing!


And the Basement Goes On and On

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Getting renovations done has been an interesting experience. Having never done this before, I am learning a lot. Meeting with the company principal was fun. Designing the basement with the designer was a fun experience. Seeing the final estimate was not fun. Meeting the general contractor was fun. Having him notice a few problems with the design was not fun. Having him resolve most of them was fun.

We're now in the second week of our basement renovation, and it doesn't really seem like much progress has been made. If you went into my basement, you would be surprised at what you would see. There's a bit of framing around a few walls, a subfloor, and a big hole in the concrete where the bar will go.

The whole first week of the reno, there one labourer here, sometimes two, along with a parade of 'trades' like the plumber, the electrician and the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) guy. One suggestion I will have for the renovators is that the trades all come through before the reno starts to give true estimates, and to have some lead time to schedule their work.

As a project management professional, I am using this reno as a bit of a case study. On any project, scope, budget and time are the three main variables. Only one can be fixed. If scope is fixed, that means the budget and the time can change. If the budget cannot be changed, that means that the scope of the project or the length of the project may change when the unexpected arises. In the case of my renovation project, the budget is fixed. What this means, is that the contractor will attempt to absorb unexpected costs. What it also means is that they expect us to be pretty flexible on the end date. I'd say it's a fair trade.

When we were first meeting with the principal, he told us the project would take between 2 and 3 weeks. When we signed the final design documents and put our 50% down, we were told it would be 3-4 weeks. On the second day of the reno, the general contractor told us it would be at least 5 weeks, and the week before Christmas doesn't count, effectively putting it at 6 weeks, or more.

So far, so good as far as tolerating the disruption, the mess and the noise. The guys working downstairs are really considerate, but when they were attaching strapping to the ceiling yesterday, I could have sworn they were going to send a nail right up into the bottom of my foot! When they cut out the basement floor to move some plumbing, the amount of dust was absurd, and when they attached the subfloor to the concrete, they used a nail gun that is truly a gun in that it uses gun powder! It is inevitable that a renovation will be loud and messy. I just have to keep my eye on the prize - a beautiful basement that we'll be able to use - once we can save up enough to buy a couch for down there.

I know that in no time at all, I won't even remember the inconvenience of the reno, but come Christmas day, it should be interesting as I'm hosting 30 people for supper. I've rented three 8-foot tables and 30 chairs and plan to have them all set up in the living room, but the room is now filled with boxes, extra furniture, a cabinet full of extra paint for all the rooms in the house, and all of the fixtures for the new powder room! Hopefully the downstairs storage room will be finished in time for me to move everything in there so we will have somewhere for people to sit! The contractor has even promised to help us clear out the room before they leave for Christmas holidays. I will hold him to that!


Slippery When Wet

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First of all, it is snowing. It has been snowing since Monday night and it's scarcely stopped. Wait, no, it stopped snowing a few times when it was raining. We're notorious for freezing rain around here, and tonight was a perfect example of the worst possible driving conditions. It was snowing and raining at the same time and the temperature was hovering around zero Celcius (freezing). I carefully headed out to my hockey game. It did not go unnoticed by me that there was a thin sheet of ice on my car that I had to scrape off. I'm parking in the driveway because the contents of my basement have been emptied into my garage. Thin sheet of ice on the car equals thin sheet of ice on the roads.

Let me preface this next part by saying that I'll make a really good old-lady driver someday. I'm a little cautious and don't like to use the brakes very often. I prefer to coast to a stop. I don't accelerate overly fast either. I justify it by saying I'm getting better gas mileage and also saving the life of my car, both of which are true, by the way. So, I head out to my hockey game this evening, and I'm slowly (15 kms/h) approaching the first intersection, when I touch the brakes and my car promptly does a 180. Thank goodness no one else was on the street or parked there. I had very little control over the car. Since I was going so slowly, it was actually a good opportunity for me to practice my technique of steering into the turn so I can get some traction. It worked, by the way, but only once I was already facing the other direction.

Since I was already facing home, I thought about just driving back right away and skipping hockey, but I really love hockey, and I expected that the main roads would be better. Around here, we spread salt all over the roads when the conditions are like this. The salt melts the ice and makes driving safer, but it wreaks havoc on the body of the car, our shoes, boots, pant cuffs and car mats.

I was right and the main roads were fine. I made it to hockey on time, and even make it home again.


Happy Birthday Precious!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Precious is 3! I was at work all day, and the workers were jack-hammering my basement floor, spreading an enormous amount of dust all over my house. My grandma, step-father, dad and brother were all expected around 5 for Precious' family birthday party. I stopped off at the store to get a red velvet cake, which looked like a white top hat with a red band, as well as pick up the photos from the family portrait we had done yesterday. I may post more on this next time. Suffice it to say that all of the photos save one were disappointing. I got home just after 4. That's the nice part about leaving for work at 6:30 a.m. You get to leave work at 3:00.

After my post-work errands, I got home to a bit of a dusty mess. DH had dismissed the workers early because of the party. I got swiffering and mopping and had most of the dust under control; at least the dust I could see. I ordered pizza, wings and salad and people started arriving. We did all the normal birthday stuff, like eating supper and the cake, and then Precious opened her presents. All of the presents were appropriate for her developmental stage, and she was so excited! DH and I got her a little play laptop. She is always wanting to play on my laptop and talk on the phone. I wonder why? ;-) Like Mother, like Daughter, I guess.
This is Precious right after eating her pizza. Thank goodness for RAW, because I had the wrong white balance setting, which was pretty easy to fix in Adobe Bridge.

I'm researching lenses right now and I was thinking of the Tamron (for Canon) 18-200 with IS. Anyone else have that one? What do you think?

BTW, in today's paper, there was an article about The Big Bang Theory, which is one of my favourite shows. The article said it is one of the funniest shows on TV right now. Remember how I also said I had no more time to watch Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money? Today, I read that these two shows, while not cancelled, are no longer in production. Has there been some karmic intervention here? Freaky!


Birthday Party for Precious

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yesterday we had a birthday party for Precious at the house. Sweet Pea and I made a cake Friday afternoon during Precious' nap. After hockey on Friday night, I decorated it and put a little Dora figurine in the corner. Saturday morning at 10, her friends arrived. Lauren, Abby and Abbi (and Isabella - yeah!) came and they had a snack, opened presents, and ate cake. Their parents are so nice and it was really fun for me to take pictures and to get to know Abby's mom and Lauren's dad. The party went well, despite the fact that I forgot the ice cream and the loot bags! The house was a bit messy, because everything that was in our basement is now stored throughout the house. We have our chest freezer and beer fridge in the kitchen right now, a set of dining room chairs (my brother's) in the living room, and there are two Barcelona-style chairs in the den which don't belong there. Don't get me started on the spare bedroom and the garage! We can't even park in the garage and it's a two-car!


Favourite TV Shows

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Now that I'm working part-time, with three kids, playing hockey once or twice a week, doing yoga and going to the gym, I've had to let certain parts of my leisure time slide. I haven't had as much time to take photos. I'm not quite as organized as usual, and I've had to let two t.v. shows 'go'. In order to be able to stay on top of my life, I just can't spend as much time watching t.v. or surfing the net.

There are a few shows I love and I'll never miss. You already know about Junk Food TV night.
I can't watch Two and a Half Men anymore because DH likes Heroes, and it's on at the same time as Heroes, so I tape Heroes for him. Yes, tape it. On a VCR. And I can't watch anything else while it's on. I love Big Bang and How I Met Your Mother. These are the shows I watch 'live' with the computer on my lap. Most of the other shows, I tape and watch a different night so I can fast forward through the commercials.

My Favourite Shows
Sundays - Desperate Housewives and Brother and Sisters.
Mondays - Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.
Tuesdays - Pure Design, some show with Suzanne Dimma, and Sarah's House.
Saturdays - Hockey Night in Canada
Any night my NHL team has a televised game, I'll watch.

I had to let Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money 'go'. Sorry. No time.
When I have a bit of free time during the day, I watch CityLine.

What shows do you like and would you never miss?


I love insurance companies

During the summer, we renewed our home insurance, and I actually took the time to read the insurance fine print. I remembered something about having to call the insurance company if I were undertaking renovations. It implied that my insurance during the renovation process would need to be updated. I finally called today to fess up that I was getting renovations done, and they agreed to charge me $150 more this year and reduce my coverage, by about half, for the duration of the renovation!

Wow. Am I ever glad I called... NOT!


Just One of the Unwashed Masses

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I had an experience today that wasn't one of my favourite things. I took the bus to work for the first time in three years. I was outside at the bus stop while it was still dark out (6 a.m.) and the bus came at 6:10. I took it across town and arrived at the bus station near my work at 7:55. I waited in the cold for 10 minutes, then got on my next bus. The bus was standing room only. I arrived at work after an hour and 25 minutes, cold and cranky. I couldn't believe it took that much time to get to work. And that I'll have to do it every Tuesday.

If I had the money tomorrow, right after my dentist appointment tomorrow, I would go out and buy a car.

UPDATE: I made a little error on the timing of my bus ride. I got on the bus near home at 6:10, got to the bus station across town at 6:55, and got to my desk at 7:25.


Happy 88th Birthday Grandma!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My mom's mom is 88 years old today. She shows barely any signs of slowing down. She lives in her own apartment, where she gets lots of visits, attention, help with shopping, etc. from her 6 children, who all live more or less in the same city, with at least four of them being less than 10 minutes away by car.

Recently, she decided that she wanted to go into a nursing home down the road from her current apartment. She changed her mind at the last minute because she claimed she would miss baking too much.

Yesterday, we had a birthday party for Grandma at my aunt's house. After an hour or so, all three of my children warmed up to her enough to pose for photos. Hopefully there are many more birthdays ahead for "Great-Grandma"!


Too Cute

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Check out this video by Feist, Canadian performer extraordinaire. If you aren't familiar with the song, but who isn't, she has changed the words to make it perfect for Sesame Street. The original appeared in an iPod Nano commercial too.

Thanks for sending that Valerie!


Estate Business

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My dear aunt passed away in Sept 2007 and my brother and I are executors of her will. We sold her house for a good price last November, and filed her final tax return in April 2008. Once we got the return back from Revenue Canada, we thought we were ready to distribute money to the beneficiaries. Was I wrong! Turns out we had to apply for something called a clearance certificate, which takes 6 - 9 months to process, and then we could do the distribution.

After considering everything from doing nothing and waiting, to firing our current lawyer, my brother and I decided to ask that some of the estate be distributed. After waiting almost a month since we first asked, and many emails later, I finally submitted the last paperwork required and we should be getting the partial distribution soon.

I really think this will help to take the pressure off. The rest of the money will come once the clearance certificate arrives. I'll be so glad when this job is done.


Phew, What a Week!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ever feel jinxed? Last week was one of those weeks. Monday night, I drove 25 minutes out to my naturopath's office and the whole place was dark, the front door was locked, and there were no cars in the parking lot! I had an appointment card that said I was scheduled for an appointment, but obviously someone forgot to tell the doctor. I turned around and drove 25 minutes home.

Wednesday morning, I went to Starbuck's to meet Mindy for a coffee. I waited and waited 30 minutes and still no Mindy. Since I don't have a cell phone, I never thought to call her, I just figured she was caught up with something or she forgot, but it turns out we had out signals crossed and she thought we were meeting on Thursday but I thought we were meeting on Wednesday.

Thursday morning, DH and I had an important meeting with the preschool team for Precious. We had seriously considered withdrawing her from the program because we weren't sure she was getting adequate attention, but what was said at the meeting assured us that she would be getting attention and that the teachers would be focussing on the goals we had set out.

Friday night, I played soccer with Dory's Crew and hurt my ankle when I was trying to kick the ball and a girl on the other team was trying to kick it in the opposite direction, at the same time. I ended up playing half of the next game because a bunch of ladies on my summer team were there and they were short a few players. I had to leave early because I had hockey at 10:15. I left the soccer field and headed for the arena and played my game. I had a pretty good game, but I was feeling a bit tired. It was over 5 hours since supper, plus I'd played 90 minutes of soccer and we had only 7 skaters. 10 is normal, so we were kind of tired. I finally scored a goal, and I got an assist, so I was pretty happy. Plus, the chicken wings at the bar after the game were the best I had ever had!

On the weekend, Mr. Boy had two birthday parties and at the second, I brought Sweet Pea and I paid for her so she could play on the jungle gym and have fun while we waited. It was fun for her and she enjoyed running into her brother. I painted window trim for an hour and a half, and we even went out on Saturday night to see a band that DH knows.

Today, I was at work and the nanny was at home with the kids. Mr. Boy came home from school before 9:30 because of a sore stomach. The nanny is so great. She plays with the kids, helps Precious with her speech, does the laundry and keeps everything neat. I was a bit late getting home today because I stopped at the blinds store (French pun Sylvie), the bank and the plumbing store on the way home. Ever since we ordered our basement powder room fixtures, I've been second guessing myself on the toilet we chose. I felt like we were spending a premium on everything from flooring to cabinetry to ensure it was 'green', but we had a traditional 6 litres/flush toilet instead of a dual flush. I went today and switched to the dual flush. All of the fixtures are in and are being delivered on Wednesday.

The lighting store called and our bathroom sconces and bar pendants are in. I managed to switch the pendants to this one below, called Fiero. I had ordered ugly ones and I'm glad I was able to change my mind.Normally I work on Tuesdays, but tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada, so I have the day off. When I was leaving work, I said in a faux-dramatic way "What a week!" and they laughed and said they would get me back for that comment!


Working It

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Things have been a little hectic around here. That`s my excuse for not posting. I`ve been trying to clean up after the window installers, had company over on night, played hockey, worked two days, went to the naturopath, tried to meet my friend for coffee, helped with piano lessons, took one child to a specialist`s appointment, hosted a brunch for friends, painted window trim, and prepared and hosted a birthday dinner, all in the last 4 days!

Today I wanted to tell everyone how work is going. I`ve worked 4 days, 3 of which were at my desk. The fourth day was a seminar related to project management. Sadly, I haven`t done much work yet. I`ve spent a lot of time getting accounts activated, setting up access to various documents, and I even made one trip to the headquarters building to get my building pass but lacked the proper documentation. The person who will be showing me the work was too busy this week to show me what he needs. He just needs to give me a little bit of time, and I can help him lessen his workload!

I love being back at work. It feels good to be working for money again, and I even get undisturbed breaks! There are so many adults with whom to converse! I`ve been gone just over 3 years, but there are still some familiar faces and everyone is so friendly and helpful. It sounds a bit too good to be true, but it`s not.

One of the little perks of the job is that there is a free gym. There are nice leafy neighbourhoods on two sides of the building, making it ideal for lunchtime runs.

So far, my commute has been easy, as I`ve had the car and there hasn`t been much snow. I`ve been listening to Astrid and Veronika in the car and I`m on the last CD. It really makes the time go faster. It`s about 25 minutes each way. I`m leaving around 6:30 in the morning and getting home at least an hour before the nanny has to leave. That gives me time to change my clothes, start Mr. Boy`s homework with him, figure out what notes came home from school, and even make supper before the nanny leaves. All in all, it`s working out really well. And the nanny rocks.

I`m finding it a bit hard to sit at a desk all day, and I don`t have many clothes that fit right now, but these things will improve, I`m sure. I just joined GoodLife Fitness and I can`t wait to get started!


In The End, It Will Be All Worth It

Sunday, November 2, 2008

After the problems we had with the window installers, I was so glad it was finally over by the time I got home from work on Friday. Our window installation took twice as long as expected. The weather didn't co-operate, and putting the wrong colour of flashing didn't exactly help. Once the windows installers ripped off all the flashing they installed on Monday and Tuesday and installed the correct colour, the windows looked pretty good. Once I vacuumed and mopped for the second time in one week (and the nanny did it once as well), dusted everything, , moved some of the furniture back., and painted some of the trim, everything started looking good. Our windows are fibreglass, triple-glazed (meaning 2 panes of glass), with a low-e coating, and they are gorgeous to boot! They are easy to open and there are no broken seals, so we can see out of all of the windows now! Our patio door is much easier to operate, too.
The house looked fine before. (see photo above) All of the trim was fairly light in colour. All we had changed in the last 5 years, since we bought the house, was the roof and the front door colour. The windows were original from the mid-60's, and they were starting to show their age.
Now the windows are a darker colour, and energy-efficient. The front door and garage doors are screaming to be re-painted, but the temperature is too cold, and it will probably be May before I can do it. Hopefully we can get the driveway re-asphalted, too.


Whoooooooooooo Scary!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en Everyone!
Mr. Boy is an astronaut, Sweet Pea is Ariel, and Precious said 'No princess!' so we improvised and she's Santa, replete with Ho Ho Ho! I don't know if a nightgown with Ariel on it is really a costume, but Sweet Pea believes she's Ariel, so why argue?

While DH was away last weekend, we went to the local veggie farm and picked up the biggest pumpkins we could find. Precious got a normal sized pumpkin and the other two got really big ones. I figured, '"why not?" except that I could barely lift them into the trunk of the car! Once I got them home and into the house, Tyler weighed them and one of the big ones was 33 pounds and the other was 43 pounds! No wonder they were hard to lift. Sweet Pea asked to have Ariel carved in her pumpkin.
Mr. Boy asked for Darth Vader. I've got the laptop in the front hall and I'm blogging this as I answer the door for the trick or treaters. Most of them have commented on the Darth Vader pumpkin. This was the second Darth Vader this year. Mr. Boy brought home a pumpkin from his field trip a few weeks ago and I carved a Darth Vader for him. It looked really good, but the fruit flies were having a field day, so I put the pumpkin outside overnight to kill the fruit flies. In the garage might have been a better idea, because Rocky Raccoon or some other suburban wildlife ate most of it. Mr. Boy told me "I told you so". He did warn me that putting it outside was a bad idea.
Tyler ended up carving most of Darth Vader #2.

On another note, Mr. Boy has his first loose tooth ever. He was complaining that his mouth hurt and it was hard to chew. Once I showed him that his tooth was loose, he stopped complaining and started vibrating with excitement over getting something from the tooth fairy, and also adding his name to the calendar at school where all the lost teeth are recorded.


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where have I been? Why haven't I blogged? What is going on? Four days and no word from Beth, but I'm happy to say I am back. I have half an hour before I have to get Mr. Boy from school and I have lots to tell you.

First of all, DH's grandfather died last week and DH left on Saturday for Regina. He's on his way home as we speak, although the last leg of his flight is delayed.

I started work on Monday, despite DH being away. My brother kindly came over at 6 a.m. and stayed with the kids until the nanny arrived. He got them ready, fed them breakfast, brushed their hair, dressed them, etc., and walked them to school.

Also on Monday, the windows installers came to install our new windows. We were having all 11 windows and one patio door replaced. When I got home from work on Monday, the nanny said everything with the kids had gone well. I assumed the installers were doing a good job, despite the huge mess they were making. It is construction after all, and the vacuumed up at the end of the day.

Tuesday I was getting annoyed with the windows installers. They were loud and messy, and I don't know how people can stand to have renovations done in their house while they are living there! I caught one installer walking on the family room carpet with his boots, but I was too scared to say anything to them. Instead, I brought drop cloths from the basement and put them on the carpet so at least it wouldn't get dirtier.

The windows installers finally left around 3 and by then I had had it. I called the manager at the window company and described the mess, as well as issues with the insulation, trim and colour of the flashing. They sent a manager over and he verified all of my complaints. I was pretty upset about the whole thing and the manager offered to pay for the carpet cleaning and they called a meeting to discuss how to resolve the issues I was having. Today, there is a real carpenter here fixing up the poorly done trim, and tomorrow, they will be coming to replace all of the flashing on the outside with the correct colour. While the flashing is off, they'll be injecting the spray foam. They'll install the patio door, and then I'll probably spend another couple of hours cleaning and mopping, but at least they'll be done!

Last night was piano lessons for both older children, and I hired a babysitter to watch the other children. While I was in the piano lessons with Sweet Pea, it started snowing! Yes, snowing!!! My winter tires aren't on yet, and even though I have all-season tires, they are getting towards the end of their life. Definitely not ideal for driving in snow. I had to drive Precious to preschool and I also had a physiotherapy appointment, and I wasn't sure I would be able to make it. I managed to get there, but I was late picking up Sweet Pea after school.

I had heard there would be snow, so I had all of the winter boots, jackets, hats and mitts out, but I hadn't gotten the snow pants out, so this morning I was looking for them and managed to get everyone into a pair that fits. Success! I even got a cute picture of Precious after we dropped off the other two at school. Precious wanted to take off her mitts so she could feel the snow.I'm Canadian, eh, but I'm really not used to this much snow in October. Heaven help us!


Rite of Passage

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As you may already know, the library is one of my favourite places. I love to read, and what is better than a huge place full of books, and you can borrow any of them for free? It is rare that I buy a book because I'm too cheap, and I don't have enough room in my house for all of the books that I love. I like the classics. Modern stuff. Weird stuff. I'm a big fan of Margaret Atwood. I even love some trashy chick lit once in a while.

I always have a book or two borrowed from the library at any given time. The kids too. Sometimes I borrow a kid's movie. I like to borrow magazines like Yoga Journal, Shape, Canadian House & Home. I'll be driving to work next week, so today I got a book on CD.

Every trip to the library is fun, but today was an extra special day. Mr. Boy got his own library card, in honour of starting grade one. I had planned to let Sweet Pea get one when she starts grade one next year. As it turns out, she is going on a school field trip in about 2 weeks, to our local library and she can only check out a book if she has her own card. I would hate for her to miss out on the opportunity, so she piggy-backed on the library card experience. The kids are thrilled!


The 36 Rules of Life

Friday, October 24, 2008

I don't usually like to receive joke emails. Sometimes they're funny, but sometimes they're not. I hate scrolling through all the junk to get to the joke. I'm not particularly fond of cute pictures of cats and dogs playing together, or funny animation. Once in a while, the joke resonates with me. I found one once called "You Know You're Ready to be a Parent When...". Hilarious! Today, I was over at All Things Pink and read Holly's list, which was sent to her by her mom. It was one of those lists that really hit home with me.

Go and read and let me know your favourite list item. I love #27 "There's a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'." Sounds a little too familiar.


Marathon Shopping Trip

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DH and I had a lot of things to special order for the basement reno so they would be here before it starts in a month or so. We had a big agenda for today. The nanny was doing a trial run before my return to work on Monday, so we had most of the day. It wasn't really a shopping trip, but more of a buying trip!

We needed to order the closet doors. I never imagined there were stylish sliding closet doors out there, but we found these, and they come in solid oak or maple. We got the oak because we're painting them white, like the trim. The handles even match the other handles we're using in the basement! In the bedroom, we're getting the mirrored doors, and for the storage room closet, we're getting frosted glass.
In the powder room, we're having a gorgeous horizontally-striped vanity built. It will have a counter-top squared-off rectangular sink, no picture available, and this counter-mounted faucet, but in brushed nickel.
The toilet is a one-piece, with a slow-closing lid. I know nothing about toilets but this one is easy to clean, and that's all right by me. We're replacing the handle with one that is brushed nickel.
We ordered some Canadian-made light fixtures for the powder room. The whole room will be painted an aqua green. This is to compensate for the fact that I won't have a whole wall of green glass tiles in my powder room. If I had a bigger budget, I would have the tile. The wall sconces we ordered are frosted glass like the photo, but with a satin nickel back plate.
The bar will have dark wood cabinetry and black countertops, with an 18" deep black bar counter wide enough for three bar stools. We ordered some multi-coloured light fixtures today. A few hours later, I started hating them and wishing had gone with the ones I orginally wanted, which look a bit like the ones below. The ones I liked are amber and have a mottled pattern to them. I'll call the store tomorrow and see if it is too late to change my mind.
Below: The light fixtures I regret ordering.
Here's a picture of the cork flooring we are getting throughout the basement. All of the cabinetry will be dark chocolate and the walls will be smoky blue/grey throughout except the powder room which will be aqua green, and the bedroom which will be tan.
This is all getting very exciting, and expensive. We still have quite a list of things to buy, but everything that is left to get is off-the-shelf. We still need a bar sink and a faucet, and some shelves for over the bar. I've seen some I like at IKEA and the kids can come for that and play in the ball room while we shop. The doors handles can be had at the local big box store, but they were out of stock today. Worst case scenario, we have to pick a different style or run out to the other end of town.

I've even ordered the first piece of furniture for the basement. I live in a Cape Cod house so the upstairs, with its knee-walls is a bit on the traditional/cottagey side. The main floor is more transitional, and the basement is starting to tend more to modern. I'm really excited about this, but also scared out of my wits! I may be in over my head!


Fall Colours

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We went for a walk in the woods on the Thanksgiving weekend. The leaves were perfect and the weather was great.
We went for dinner at Eric and Christine's a few weeks ago and here's a photo of the five of us on their deck. What a view!



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Up here in Canada, thanksgiving has come and gone. I have some photos to post of our weekend nature walk, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Since I just upgraded to CS3, I run into problems once in while. I'm experiencing a whole new learning curve.

In honour of thanksgiving, I'm going to write down the things for which I am thankful. When I was growing up, my Dad's mom, my Nannie, used to get us to do this every year. She did a lot of other things too, like insist we write thank you notes, help us open a bank account, teach us to play euchre, and the list goes on. More on her some other day.

T - I am thankful for TYLER, my brother, and babysitter extraordinaire.
H - My HUSBAND, who is very supportive
A - ALL of my family, especially my mom and dad
N - NOTHING else starting with N comes to mind
K - My KIDS who let me be a kid again
S - SCRAPBOOKING because it lets me be creative
G - GOING back to work part-time. I'm glad it's an option.
I - ICE CREAM - I mean, who isn't thankful for ice cream?
V - VEGETABLES from the garden
I - INTERNET which is fun to surf
N - NAPS - my own and Precious'
G -GARDENING - it's fun, and now that I'm almost middle-aged, it counts as exercise, too.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!


Getting action

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've been learning everything I can about my camera, Photoshop CS3 and Camera raw. Recently, I discovered the P setting on my camera which allows me get an automatic exposure and apeture setting but still get RAW. Don't ask me why I didn't know this already.

I took the girls to the park on Sunday and they posed for pictures for me. I used some actions from Pioneer Woman to do this Before and After.

I used the Lovely and Ethereal Action.


Mr Boy Halloween Crossword

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mr Boy Halloween Crossword
Originally uploaded by Beth Favourite

I love to capture the everyday stuff of life. Yesterday, Mr. Boy finished his first crossword. He was so excited, and so was I! The fact that he is reading is so much fun, and it's kind of cool that he likes crosswords, since I love them too.


Creative Challenge #10

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I enjoy a challenge as much as the next person. I've been reading the Creative Inspiration Blog and I decided to participate in one of their challenges. I think I missed the deadline, but at least the page is done!

I've really been focussing on learning camera RAW and actions in Photoshop, now that I've upgraded to CS3 from Elements 5.0. I'll post some before and afters tomorrow. Tonight, we're off to the Sens game and the babysitter will be here any minute.
Credits: Paper: Shabby Princesss, Kiwi White Paper, Staples: K Pertiet yarn swirl staples, Frame: Cherie Mask, 2 Peas, Thrilling October Frame 1, Titles: K Pertiet Strong Words brushes, Black paper, K Pertier yarn swirl, Brushes: K Pertiet Graphically Scrolled, Designer Digitals.

Sadly, this picture was a bit of a wake-up call on how much weight I have gained in the last 4 months. Something has to be done. That'll be a future post. Maybe I'll even include a feature on here that tracks my weight loss. I'm being optimistic, aren't I?


Cheating at Webkinz World

Friday, October 17, 2008

My kids got their first Webkinz in the summer and they have been addicted to the on-line games that they can now access. To tell you the truth, once I got over the sheer size of the Webkinz site, I was impressed with all of the activities they can do, all the ways they can interact with the on-line version of their Webkinz, and how they are learning about budgets. That's right - budgets!

On Webkinz World, each new Webkinz code includes a certain amout of Webkinz dollars which you can spend on food, clothing, furniture, etc for your Webkinz. You need to feed your Webkinz as it will tell you when it is hungry and won't stay healthy for long if you don't feed it. The other stuff is just gratuitous. The kids play games to earn more money, then can save up or spend as they go on the things they want or need for their pet. They can re-decorate their rooms, for a price, and can even add rooms to their pet's living space. If the kids get more Webkinz, and I have it on good authority that Santa will be bringing them another one for Christmas, they can add these Webkinz to their house and presumably the Webkinz can play together.

My dilemna comes from the fact that Mr. Boy is really good at the video games and he earns lots of money. He is 6 1/2 and he loves video games. He buys things as he wishes and has no trouble budgeting his money. He always knows his balance, too. Sweet Pea, on the other hand, is still 4 and she isn't quite as good at the games. She doesn't earn money as quickly, and she likes to spend it more. Her pig has a ballerina suit that includes a tutu, a body suit, a headpiece and ballet slipppers. They're all pink, which is a bit of a waste on a pink pig, if you ask me, but I'm not calling the shots in her Webkinz World. The problem is that Sweet Pea wants to buy a princess bed for her pig and it's 950 Webkinz Dollars. She currently has about 150 dollars. That would be at least a month of serious gaming, 30 minutes a day, without buying anything but food for her pet.

I've helped Sweet Pea learn some of the games, and some of them were even fun. A little like Tetris or Minesweeper. My question is, is it cheating if I log in as my daughter and earn her some money? She'd never know I did it. She's not really aware of her balance. She usually finds out that she can't buy something when it won't go into her cart. It would be fun for me to play the games when I felt like wasting some time on the computer. Sweet Pea might not even notice at first or even realize that the money 'magically' appeared. I'd definitely point it out before she nickel-and-dimed the money away on more outfits. Should I earn her some money this way?


What is Normal?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through
traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to
pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."
-Ellen Goodman

Can I add "and pay someone else to watch your kids" to that?


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