Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer ... finally!

We just got back from an amazing week at the beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island. We rented a beach house with another family, met up with 2 other families and had the best time ever! Part way through Jacob announced that he wanted to live here forever.

The view from the deck of our beach house
Rathtrevor Beach, Vancouver Island. You can walk for miles and the water is crazy shallow.
Why follow the path when you can climb over it?
We played in the ocean for hours.
And sat on the beach for hours as well. Isn't it amazing?
We built awesome sandcastles.
And went on fabulous rainforest hikes.
Every night we were treated to an amazing sunset.
These geese went out for the day every morning and came back every evening at sunset

Sand dollars were everywhere.
This oyster catcher let me get nice and close! Love his red beak and eyes.
There was lots of time for being silly!
Another amazing sunset.
This is what happens when your Mom forgets your bathing suit and tells you NOT to get wet!

Best vacation ever! We can't wait until next year to go back.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

5 years ... and counting

When, by the way, did a birthDAY turn into a birthWEEK? Our week, in atypical fashion, has been scheduled and busy. I usually try not to schedule too much in a week, besides swimming and soccer and gymnastics (it sounds busier than it is), but this past week was a little bits nuts. 

Dino birthday cake
Dino dig in the backyard

Saturday, we held Jacob's "buddy" party at the house. It wasn't his actual birthday day, just the party. At 10:30, eleven 4 and 5 year olds converged for a prehistoric party. This was our first drop off party and everyone did really well. Me and my mad party planning skills will take credit for that! Except I miscounted and only had 10 sets of favours. Thankfully Jacob was a good sport about it and played along! The main attraction of the part was the dino hunt, where I led them on an extravagant (for a 5 year old) scavenger hunt using clues from One Charming Party's dino theme. The hunt culminated in a dino dig in the backyard. Some colouring and stamping and cupcake decorating wrapped it up and everyone left happy and tired.  As much as I would have liked to lay down and nap ... we had 45 minutes to pry Jacob away from his hew toys and get to another birthday part (also dino themed!). Thankfully the party as close and drop-off (yay), so I dropped ... and ran all the way to Starbucks where  I sat for 2 hours nursing a venti latte and reading "The Art of Fielding" on my Kobo.

Birthday boy
Sunday was preschool graduation day. I should preface this by saying that Jacob goes to a  montressori style "junior kindergarten" ... and they take graduation very seriously. Cap and gown seriously. I am not kidding. We struggled with attending, particularly at $45 a head, but as all his friends were going and they'd been practicing a secret song ("I can't tell you mommy, we can only sing it at school."). So, they we were Sunday morning complaining about how you shouldn't be rewarded for "graduating" from preschool ... or primary school, that you are expected to complete these levels of education ... and for that matter you should only GRADUATE from university. Can you see me up there on my high horse? So, we're sitting there drinking coffee when all of a sudden, these sweet little people with their beaming, little faces stepped onto stage in their yellow caps and gowns and it was all over! I have to admit, I got a little teary! They were so cute ... and so proud!

Everyone got a graduation bear

The "graduate"

Mother - Son Dance
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Work. Boring!

Wednesday night. Another party? Why not! My parents were coming to town, and Mark's parents are at our house on Wednesdays anyway ... and both of our sisters wanted to celebrate the boy's birthday and it was my Dad's actual birthday, so we threw another party. I baked a cake Monday night ... iced it on Tuesday ... and served it on Wednesday! It was not a dino cake ... but it was still awesome (3 layer chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting). And what's a party without more presents?  This kid is drowning in new toys.

Thursday was the boy's actual birthday ... so we went out for dinner. No cake this time ... just drinks. For me, not him. And more presents!

Friday we drove to Kelowna to visit my other sister and to spend the weekend with my parents, who were just at my house, but were on their way back to theirs! And just for good measure ... there are more presents, from the nephews.

So, the birthday that turned into a week is finally over. And let me tell you, next year it will be different. One day ... one party ... done! Happy birthday my lovely boy!

A celebratory after graduation bike ride

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Just a girl and her label maker

Every evening at dinnertime, for the past 10 years, I open the cupboard where we keep the spices and I find myself cursing. Typically it goes like this - first, something falls out. Then whatever fell out, hits the microwave and ricochets into the sink where it usually splashes dirty dishwasher all over the counter, the floor and me. Once said object is returned to the cupboard, I dig through a mess of spice bottles and nasty ziploc bags until I get so frustrated that I have to take everything out, only to discover an empty bottle that once held paprika, or even better I find 3 half empty bottles of paprika!. To say that I loathe this cupboard is an understatement! This week's project was to go through the cupboard, throw out old, stale spices and anything else that I found and to put whatever was left in lovely, shiny, matching spice bottles, with lovely matching labels!

In this cupboard I found, among other things, 4 tins of smoked oysters (no one in this house eats smoked oysters .. blech), 2 half used bags of stale croutons, sesame oil that expired 3 years ago, 2 open boxes of (now stale) graham crackers and multiple bags from the bulk aisle of unidentified spices.  

The trusty label maker!
I got a little carried away and started labeling all the jars, in all the cupboards!
So neat and orderly ... like little glass & chrome soldiers!

Yes, those are Zoodles that you see in the background. There is no shame ... Jacob LOVES them!
This cupboard makes me happy every time I open it!  I'm tempted to leave the door open to admire it all day!  I'm linking up to Pancakes & French Fries' William Morris Project.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Double Decker

This was the day we put up the vinyl decals which were such a pain in the neck that they are never coming down. We'll have to paint around them!
Jacob has bunk beds! When we moved Jacob from the crib to a big boy bed we purchased a bunk bed used from a friend, but only put up the bottom bunk. That was a couple of years ago (he's 4 1/2) and recently he's been asking about his bunk beds. "When can I have bunk beds. Where are my bunk beds. Who will build my bunk beds?"  So, this weekend we built the bunk beds! He was so excited and decided immediately that he was going to sleep in the top bunk.I was a little nervous about letting him, but both bunks have a full rail and the chances of him falling out while he sleeps are basically nil, so the top bunk it was!  We're on night 5 and he's still in the top bunk. I love that he loves it so much, but I have to admit to being a teeny bit sad as he's growing up right in front of me.  And ... hugs and cuddles are tricky in a top bunk! I can't reach without climbing up the ladder!

We have bunk beds!

Other plans for this room are to repaint, recarpet and add new shelving or something. We created a story corner a few weeks ago with some cushions that I made from some fun black, red & white fabric ... and yes, the books need to be purged! I have a hard time getting rid of books ... even bad books (is there such a thing?).

He has requested a dinosaur theme for the room, so I'm on the hunt for fun dinosaur fabric for a new duvet cover. And I'm planning to scan some pages from one of his favourite books, Dino Trux, to frame and hang.

After looking at these pictures I've realized just how bare his walls are! Any suggestions as to what I could put on the walls over the bed?

I'm linking up with the William Morris project over at Pancakes & French Fries.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Home Goals 2012

Back in October, Jules of Pancakes & French Fries, inspired by the William Morris quote above, embarked on a one month project to declutter, organize and beautify her living space. I watched enviously as she hung photos, organized closets, declutter side boards, painted trim and purged books, and I looked around our space and thought,  "I could do that".  Emphasis on could! Well, January is upon us, Jules has decided to commit to a year of "William Morrising" (is that a word?) and has invited her followers and lurkers (me) to join in.  So, here we go!  We moved into this house ten years ago and have done very little to improve it's livability. Don't get me wrong, it's a very liveable house ... in fact, it looks quite lived in, which is the problem.  I'm tired of looking for gloves and books and tape and lego instructions, because the house isn't organized.  I'd like to sit in our family room at night and not look around at the mess that isn't tidied because it doesn't have anywhere to go.

Jules started with a list, which inspired me to start with a list.  A big list. I had no idea the list would be this big!  Many items on the list are long term and lofty (very long term and very lofty) goals, but you never know.  One day we may hit the jackpot, or receive a mystery inheritance, both of which are highly unlikely and I'd never wish anyone to pass in order for me to get a new kitchen.

I will attempt to do something from the list, or related to something on the list weekly!

Here's my list! 

Master Bedroom:

1. Paint master bedroom a calming colour (maybe …)
2. Purge closet and dressers
3. Install closet organizer
4. Replace carpet in master bedroom
5. Clear surfaces of clutter
6. New window treatments (any window treatments)
7. New blinds
8. New duvet cover (maybe this one)
9. Art over bed
10. Hang art on window wall and over dresser
11. New carpet

Ensuite Bathroom:

1. Demolition (a year ago)
2. New floor
3. New shower
4. New toilet
5. New sink and vanity
6. Paint calming blue … spa like
7. New mirror
8. Buy new, matching towels

Main Bathroom:

1. Paint
2. Re-tile tub & shower
3. New sink & vanity
4. New toilet
5. New flooring
6. Buy new, matching towels

Powder Room:

1. Paint
2. New flooring
3. New toilet
4. New sink (maybe this one)
5. New mirror
7. Buy new matching towels

Laundry Room:

1. Move stacking washer/dryer to be side by side
2. Install counter over top washer/dryer
3. Remove old sink/cabinet
4. Install shelving on east facing wall
5. Clear room of things that don't belong there (stroller … J. is 5!)
6. Organize shallow (but wide) closet … sporting gear, ironing board, vacuum, summer shoes, hiking boots.
7. Paint cheery colour
8. Hang fun "laundry" artwork
9. Install rack/bar for drying laundry (a task currently assigned to the office)

Linen closet:

1. Empty and organize
2. Buy baskets for soaps, shower gels


1. Paint relaxing colour
2. New carpet
3. Create filing system
4. Organize desk top and loose paper
5. Organize bookshelves … craft supplies, computer supplies
6. New artwork

Family Room:

1. Carpet
2. New sectional sofa
3. Mount tv on wall
4. Construct built-in shelves, etc on tv wall (something like this ... but no fireplace)
5. Build shelves on back wall ??
6. Paint
7. Update family gallery wall
8. New art


1. Complete remodel - new cabinets, countertops, floors
2. Take down wall between kitchen & dining room
3. Close in sliding glass door to back yard.
3. New oven & cook top
4. New dishwasher

And, as I'm anticipating that this kitchen remodel won't happen anytime soon ...

1. Empty and clean all cupboards & drawers
2. Put loose items (sugar, oats, tea, rice, etc) in jars from IKEA.
3. Purge spices and put in new spice jars with labels
4. Make spice jar labels
5. Organize Tupperware cupboard ... If there isn't a matching lid & bottom it goes.
6. Organize loose utensil drawers
7. Move Jacob's cups down low so that he can get his own glass of water!

Dining Room

1. New dining room set
2. New hutch ... or?
3. Tear up carpet ... install hardwood.
4. Replace sliding glass door with French doors

Living Room

1. Tear up carpet ... install hardwood
2. Find starburst mirror for above fireplace
3. Style piano top display

Jacob's room

1. Paint ... Blue (grey) with red stripe
2. New duvet cover (dinosaurs)
3. Clean out toys & books
4. New carpet
5. New shelves (IKEA?) for books, toys, etc.
6. Put up the bunk bed.

Spare room

1. New carpet
2. Purge, purge, purge
3. Reorganize closet
4. Replace queen bed with sofa bed


1. Empty and purge items no longer being used.
2. Buy large containers for flour, sugar, oats, etc.
3. Buy wire shelves & under shelf baskets
4. Buy small deep freeze
5. Organize shelves
6. Put healthy snacks on a low shelf for Jacob

Crawl Space
This space takes up the entire space under our kitchen and dining room and it is FULL! A lot of the things under here belong there, like Christmas decorations, baby stuff (we may have another), suitcases, camping gear. And a lot of the things don't belong there, like my sister-in-law's old stuff, broken toys, old books.  


Linking up to the William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snow Day

Today we are enjoying the elusive Vancouver snow day! Once or twice a year it snows in our area, and as we live quite high up we tend to get more than elsewhere in the city! Today was extra special as it snowed over night and today the sun is shining! Fingers crossed our snowman will make it through the day. I know a 4 1/2 year old that will be very upset if Frosty doesn't make it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things on Pinterest I've actually made!

Just like everyone else I have spent a little a lot of time on Pinterest happily pinning away! And I'm happy to report that I've actually tried a few of the things I've pinned! I'll post pics later, but these were my inspiration pics.

This bread is so easy and so delicious! I mixed a little bit of whole wheat flour (about 16 grams all purpose and 4 grams whole wheat).

Oatmeal in a smoothie ... who knew?

Jacob and I did this on a VERY small scale ... 7 crayons on an 8x10 canvas!

Really easy ... I made the mistake of modge podging over top and tore the tissue a bit ... won't do that next time!

I'm using this idea to keep track of all things that Jacob says that make us laugh!

On the wall in our spare room ... I loved this project!

Jacob was excited about this until he realized that the ice cubes would melt in the bath. Boo.

So simple and yet so brilliant!