Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts on house hunting.....

In about a week from now, we should receive our official transfer papers. Yeah!!!! About two months ago, we were told that we had unofficially received our transfer request to Nanaimo. We are, however, unable to make an offer on a home until we have our official notice. Once that valuable piece of paper is in our hands, we will be able to book our house hunting trip. I'm hoping that we will be able to go on the 2nd or 3rd week of April. Ultimately I would love to move by the end of May, but I have to be prepared to wait until July. It would be nice to get settled in before the summer starts so that we can enjoy the lakes, go camping and relax! If we are not able to move until say, July, then at least it will give us a bit of extra time to save some more money and spend what little time we have left with our friends here. Our moving date is largely dependent on our possession date, when the moving company can access our belongs and when they can physically move us from point A to point B. I.AM.SO.EXCITED.!!! I have started prowling again, that our time is drawing neigh. Initially I was anxious about money, mortgages and how we were going to make ends meet on a single income in the city, but we have been brainstorming ways to make it work

At the moment we are focusing on finding a decent sized, newer home with a decent sized rental suite in the basement. Something like this property. Unfortunately, like most new homes, it is void of personality, cookie cutter, boring, and probably doesn't have a lot of privacy. The upside is the fact there will be zero work, a nice kitchen with loads of cupboard space a basement suite (which REALLY helps out with the mortgage). As most of you know, I love old houses, homes of acreage surrounded by trees and "projects". This, however, is not the season for such things. Even if we had the finances to buy a fixer upper, we don't have the time or energy to do so. Just staying on top of dishes and meals is an all consuming task, at the moment, not to mention the fact that we plan on having a third baby in the next couple of years. This is a stepping stone to our ultimate dream of one day buying a piece of waterfront property and building our own dream home. Here is an example of the type of house I would one day LOVE to own.
I love the gabled roof, the wide plank floors, the big windows, the kitchen with its white cupboards... everything!!!! Unfortunately, not only is it located on Gabriola island, but it is also out of our current price range. As much as I LOVE IT, I am not willing to over-extend our budget. I have to be practical, logical and thrifty. When we arrive in Nanaimo we have a week to buy a home. I'm hoping that we will be able to make a decision within the first two days so that there is enough time to complete the inspection and sign all the necessary paperwork. It is going to be a little hectic and stressful with two little people in tow, but I am determined to have a good time. I can't wait to see cherry blossoms, breath in the salty coastal air, ride on the ferry with my girls, take them for swims at the hotel pool, sneak out in the evenings after the girls are asleep and do a little "shopping", or rather "browsing"(I'm in saving mode at the moment), choose a home with my man, crunch numbers, eat at restaurants and have a quick visit with my family on the way home. I am so excited to live in Nanaimo again. It has been over 10 years since I lived on the island, and I can hardly wait to return. I am excited to connect with friends I have not seen since University, and some that I have not seen since childhood. Many of the people I grew up with in Tahsis, settled in either Nanaimo or Victoria, so there will be a lot of people to catch up with. More than anything though, I am thrilled that my family will only be a ferry ride away. *Big happy sigh* While we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Chilcotin and the unique experiences we have had, we are ready for this next chapter in our lives.


As I mentioned earlier, Nathaniel's grandmother has been staying with us for the past two weeks, and as such I have not had access to my craft room. As such, I have been looking for other creative outlets. Yesterday, that outlet was homemade pizza. I have been searching for a yummy pizza dough recipe for the past couple of days, but sometimes "google" yields so many tantalizing options that I get overwhelmed. Somehow I managed to decide on this recipe, and after proofing my yeast, I gave it a whirl. Amelia helped me slather the dough with olive oil so that it would get crunchy and golden and then we added our topping. Our first pizza was a standard tomato sauce with ham, pineapple and cheese.
The second pizza was composed of pesto, chicken, spinach, parmesan, mozzarella and chick peas.
For Amelia's and Claire's joint birthday I thought that it would fun to let everyone make their own pizzas, hence the test run with the pizza dough. My mom used to let us make our own little pizzas when we were growing up and I loved it. Now I just need to figure how many batches to make. I hope that I start making pizza dough on a regular basis. I would like to experiment with thin crust pizzas as well and possibly invest in a nice pizza stone. I never thought that I would enjoy thin crust pizza, but now that I have become more food conscious, I would rather fill up on flavorful toppings rather intestine clogging doughy bread. That being said, cheesy doughy bread tastes pretty dang delicious once and awhile.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I don't feel like blogging

I have not felt like blogging these days. At the end of the day, all I have felt like doing, is zoning out in front of the TV - watching re-runs of project runway, and the mentalist. My craftroom is currently occupied by Nathaniel's grandmother, and I am weary of searching for homes on Needless to say I feel like a bump on a log. On the upside, the sun has been warm and is busy melting the snow. Hurray!! There is a LOT of muck, but I don't care. Spring has arrived!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Project 365 (March 14th - 21st)

I finally got the chance to make a few cards today. I used a neat stamp set called "everyday button bits" by paper trey ink.

Amelia carries her "animals" around in her arms ALL day long. They perch beside her when she eats, they sit on the toilet when she is in the bath, they ride with her in the car, she drags them to the park, to her friend's homes and most certainly to bed. Lately she has started re- enacting Nathaniel's stories about Chester chasing cougars up trees with her stuffed hound dog and favorite cat.

I have been reading the book "eat, love, pray" and playing a lot of the African game mancala.

Our Sergeants wife is always buying thoughtful and entertaining toys for the children in our community, and the other day she handed me these hilarious "soother candies". I HAD to take a photo.

Amelia and I decorated the house and baked a cake together for her birthday. She really loves being my helper.

Okay, I didn't take this photo, Nathaniel did, but I wanted to share it nonetheless. On this particular day, Nathaniel tracked a young cougar and then took some photos of it once Chester had treed it.

It might sound a little crazy, but we drove 112km one way just to go out for lunch today. Tatla is a beautiful community nestled in the mountains which also happens to have a delicious place to eat.

I love it that Nathaniel's grandmother snapped this photo of us on our way home from town today. Us girls were all sound asleep in the back after a long day of grocery shopping and running errands.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Amelia turns 3!

We are planning on having a birthday party for Amelia with our friends and neighbors later this month, but decided have a family celebration on her actual birthday since Nathaniel's Grandma is here with us. I prefer small, intimate gatherings to large parties, but I am looking forward to doing party bags and a fun rainbow fruit tray for the bigger event. I'm thinking there will be a "rainbow theme".

When I asked Amelia what kind of cake she wanted she requested a "blue one". We made some chocolate devil's food cake and "blue" cream cheese frosting. Amelia's favorite part of baking is licking the spoons and beaters.

We had some leftover candy and we decided to make a rainbow.

Amelia's presents lined up on the top of the fridge. I just got her a few simple things. Crayons, glow in the dark stars for her room, her favorite movie "Rio" and some little stuffed animals. Her big present was a big girl bike with training wheels.

Chatting with Grandma Judy while she blew out her candles. We made her party hat from some scrapbooking paper and a recycled bow.

Daddy was showing her how to hold up three fingers

A very special moment that I managed to capture since I was already holding my camera. Hurray for shutter speed!

I am not the sort of mom that cries on her children's birthdays (I've realized), and that is perfectly okay with me. For the longest time I never understood when women lamented the transition from infancy to toddlerhood, but since Claire has come along, that is beginning to change. Perhaps it is because I am enjoying the "baby stage" a little more this time around, or perhaps it is because we are still on the fence about whether or not we are going to have a third child. In any case, I am learning to enjoy each stage of my children's lives rather than longing for the next milestone.

This past year has been a challenging one for Amelia and I, but I am confident that it WILL get better. I still anticipate a lot of battles (as she is only three, fiercely independent and strong willed) but I also look forward to all the fun we are going to have as well. She is becoming incredibly articulate, capable, helpful and creative.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Project 365 (March 1st-13th)

Check out those claws!

Enjoying some delicious vegetarian pizza while in town with a friend.

Nathaniel and Amelia have been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss these days, so he decided to make her some "green eggs" for breakfast one morning. She was a bit skeptical, but eventually gobbled them up.

We enjoyed some dinner with friends in an incredibly picturesque community called Tatlayoko.

I'm ready to bust out my shorts- hurry up summer! My pale, pasty legs need some sun!

Getting to know my new neighbor and her little man.

I was incredibly bored and since I couldn't move my furniture around (due to space constraints), I decided to re-arrange my bookshelf. I'm pretty happy with the result.

A little bit of color and inspiration on my fridge. I want to inject some of these colors into my living room this spring. I'm looking forward to painting my couches and purchasing/sewing some new pillows.

My friend brought me me some lovely scented candles from her recent trip to the big city. They all smell SO yummy!

We attended our local rod and gun club dinner tonight and enjoyed some moose, cougar, local beef and in Amelia's case, cake.

Tulips bring me such joy.

Spent the evening watching the season's finale of "the bachelor" and celebrating a friend's 31st birthday.

Took a delightful walk with a group of friends and their babies under a bright blue Chilcotin sky.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dreaming of Paris..

My girlfriend and I have talked about traveling to France for a couple years now and I am certain that one day we will. Until then I will just daydream about

the clothes I will wear......

trip to paris

the postcards I will send..

the insightful and delightful things I will journal about....

the delicious things I will dine on...

the views that will drink in...

the narrow streets and villages I will explore....


My girlfriend and I are hoping to ride our bikes through the French countryside and stay at rambling cottages along the way. I loved this quote from an online cycling brochure.

"Ever dream of cycling through beautiful countryside on roads so small and devoid of cars they seem like bike paths? Or combining cycling with viewing unique historical sites? Or just having a great green vacation talking with friendly hosts and tasting great food and wine? Then you should consider cycle touring in the Dordogne and Lot area of Southwest France. Just four hours from Paris by trains that transport your bike with you, it is easy to access and a world of its own. Even though it abounds with interesting sites and beautiful villages and countryside, it is one of the least developed areas in France and remains fairly inexpensive to visit. Your cycling day typically starts with fresh French bread, cheese and lots of great coffee, and ends with a tasty supper and French wine. In between you will cycle along rivers, over hilltops with marvelous views, along ancient towpaths and through walnut groves. You can visit historic castles, fortified towns, prehistoric caves, bustling markets and of course wineries – the choice is yours." - Murray Hendren

Here is another dreamy description..

"Provence, a region in southeastern France renowned for its beautiful villages and glorious countryside is a cyclist’s dream come true. This part of France takes you on mostly quiet roads over old Roman bridges that are still in use today, past sleepy villages, through flower filled countryside and on past vineyards and olive groves. Stop in small villages for a bowl of the famous pistou soup – made with garlic, fresh basil and olive oil."

Now I just need to start saving all my pennies...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Playing dress up.....

soft cream and turquoise

I really, REALLY enjoy playing "dress up"! It is something I have enjoyed since I was a little girl. My sister and I used to spend hours trying on dresses and draping ourselves with fabric from my mom's sewing room. Usually, when I feel like dressing up these days, I pull out all my neglected heels, pretty scarves and purses try and come up with outfits. Sometimes when I come up with an outfit I take pictures so that I remember which ones worked and which ones didn't. These are a few shots I took the other day. (I can't believe I am sharing these....) EEEK

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to fit into my navy blue polka dot shorts. They were a hand me down from my dearest friend Cristina (who is incredibly tiny but doesn't like tight clothing)and I have been looking forward to wearing them again. For the past year they had been residing in a rubber maid tote in my basement labeled
"skinny clothes".

While my wardrobe and budget are limited, I am always surprised what I can come up with. My makeshift wardrobe of clothing definitely consists of an odd assortment of colors, stripes, hippie skirts, lots of rainbow colored sweaters from thrift stores, bridesmaids dresses, "mom attire" (long sleeved cotton shirts and jeans), skirts I rarely wear, a pair of cutoff shorts I bought in grade eight and still wear, and a suit I purchased after I started working for a publishing company in my second year of University. My style has certainly evolved over the past couple of years. In elementary school I wore awful neon shirts, purple corduroys, and a jean jacket. In high school I wore combat pants and overhauls, and in University I embraced my inner hippie. After I started working as a recruiter, in my second year of University, I started to wear button down shirts, shirts, high heels, make-up and tailored jackets. I don't really know how to describe my style now, but this is the sort of look that I am aiming for:

delicious pinks

I am still a hippie at heart, but my taste in clothing has grown up. While I think fashion is trivial, I am fascinated by its ability to transform ones image, boost confidence and convey information about its wearer. Right now I need to focus on editing my wardrobe and purchase more "basics", pieces that are flexible like white shirts, cardigans, classy jeans, and scarves. I would still like to buy a nice tan trench, some flat riding boots, jeggings, and more ethnic inspired jewelry. Those that know my well know that I am not always very practical and would rather buy a pretty accessory than a pair of socks. Here are a few boards I created of my favorite kinds of jewelry and clothing using a great site called polyvore. I am a little addicted at the moment.

pink, orange and gold jewelry

Blue and green jewelry

orange and navy blue

casual cute

Soft and Tough

What is your "style"?