One of the things that really attracted us to our home was the backyard. It is a very manageable size for new homeowners and backs on to protected green space, which makes it feel like it goes on forever. We also loved our two-tier deck. We knew it would be perfect for hosting our friends and family and maybe enjoying a beer or two on a sunny summer afternoon.
The only problem was, we didn't have anywhere to sit, and the way the backyard had been done previously, wasn't 100% to our taste. So, armed with Pinterest and my Dad who is a bit of a backyard makeover expert, we set to work.
The guys (my husband and my dad) had two big projects: sod a sandy pit in our backyard (the result of a previous kiddy pool killing all the grass) and fix up the front lawn/garden. My husband planned out our front garden and gave it a bit of a modern facelift and he incorporated some of favourite colours, pink and purple. Then they moved on to tackling the aforementioned sandy pit... several bags of dirt later (including one extra trip for more) and many rolls of sod, the guys had the backyard all greened up and levelled out. Yay! No more risk of rolling one's ankle!
My job during all of this had been to update our patio furniture. We had been given a set of furniture from family friends when they were downsizing. It was in great shape, however, was a shade of green that was a little more 90's then we envisioned for our backyard oasis.
So, we opted to give it a cost effective facelift with some spray paint. I went to my local Home Depot and picked up several (like a heck of a lot of) cans of Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint and Primer in Oil Rubber Bronze. Each chair needed it's own can and the table needed two cans. Below is a brief summary of what I did and a few tips!
We added the finishing touches with some great comfy cushions (from The Superstore) and a bench and red umbrella (from Canadian Tire). We couldn't be happier with how it turned out and feel like we have really added another room to our house.
What do you do to get your backyard summer ready? Any DIY tips? Leave them in the comments below!
Hello blog world!
Today I had wanted to do a Foodie Friday post, but instead I spent hours trying to get my new washer and dryer installed. Well, and my old ones removed! Why was this such a big deal? Because I hadn't had a washer and dryer for a week, which is a pretty big issue when you have a little one with a spit up problem. To make up for missing my intended post I promise to post a Foodie Friday post late and tell you all about my appliance adventures!
How do you guys cope when your world gets turned upside down and your day doesn't go to plan? Do you go with the flow or plan,plan, plan? I'd love to hear from you so don't be shy!
Spring began at the end of March, unfortunately in my neck of the woods the weather didn't get the memo. That being said, I love Spring because everything starts to feel new and fresh. You can open the windows and doors and let out the stale recycled air, I'm inspired to deep clean (kinda), and I start to fill the house with flower and live stuff. It just makes the place seem cheery on the days when it's more grey than beautiful. I also like to update my hand soaps, it's basically the only time of year I stray from my traditional vanilla based scents.
As you may know from my other home posts, I love me some Bath & Body Works, but I do really struggle outside of the fall and winter to find ones I love. this year I was excited to find Sweet Strawberries & Cream and Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla. I admit, Cinnamon Spiced Vanilla really isn't too far out of my comfort zone but I was happy that I enjoyed the Strawberry soap so much.
I tend to like sweeter scents in the restroom and lighter scents in the kitchen. If I'm cooking chicken I don't always want to smell like a cookie in the middle of my chefing. To round out the scents I also got Eucalyptus Mint & Dancing Waters.
I have to ask - what are you guys gravitating towards these days?
I absolutely adore tulips in the Spring, and I tend to get mine at Longo's. It's out of the way (please Longo's peeps if you read this you need to open a Longo's in the Whitby area), but the flower are fresh and totally reasonable. If you read my previous Spring post, you know that I always put a penny in my tulips to make them stand up. Why you ask? Because when I was little my mom told me to, so that's what I've always done.
As much as I love tulips, they are cut flowers, and cut flowers die, so I also got some succulents and a potted arrangement in the hopes that i can keep them alive. To me it doesn't say spring unless you have new life blossoming, and since mother nature wont let us do that outside yet it seems only fair to bring the flowers indoors.
How do you get ready for Spring? Are you interested in hearing about my Spring cleaning tips and tricks?
I don't typically have a huge sweet tooth - I tend to gravitate to savoury, but now that I've been told I can't have sweets its allllllllll I want. Plus they're calling for snow in my neck of the woods so it seemed like the perfect day for hot chocolate.
Coco powder naturally doesn't have sugar in it, but when you buy prepared hot chocolate it has a butt load of added sweeteners. So I did a little research and found several recipes for diabetic hot chocolate mix, but a lot of them had milk powder and protein powder which I wasn't a huge fan of. Or they had a ton of sweeteners in them (some double of what I used below).
So this worked with my blood sugars, but keep in mind I'm not a registered dietician so enjoy carefully! In addition - now that I'm posting this I also wish that I was storing it in something a little classier than an old cool whip container. Please feel free to class up your storage container :).
> 1/2 cup coco powder
> 3/4 cup sweetener (I used Splenda)
> 1 package sugar free vanilla pudding
> Mix all ingredients above well
> I use milk for making my hot chocolate (I need the calcium and it makes it feel luxurious)
> I just heat up a mugs worth of milk and add about a tablespoon or so of hot chocolate mix (or more or less depending on what you like)
Note: if you are heating the milk on the stove make sure to wish - a lot to keep it from burning.
I swear my intention is to post regularly, but this pregnancy is kicking my ass. That's right I said it. Last week I had my gestational diabetes test and I was ever so confident thinking I would ace the test because I've been really cautious about my weight gain and other than an obsession with jujubes, overall fairly healthy. However last week after going through the initial test and the two hour test, I can confirm I have Gestational Diabetes (GD). I was gonna do a food post but haven't felt like cooking because I don't know what I can eat yet.
Any other women who have gone through GD? Any tips? Go to foods?
In the meantime, I have made myself feel better by my traditional fall trip to Bath & Body Works. I basically stalk BBW during the fall and holiday seasons. I love the warm, cozy scents that they offer and like to stock up on wall flowers & 3 wick candles.
I will be honest, I was kinda disappointed with the candle selection this year. I kept checking online and my local store just never got a great selection. That being said, I got a few candles to get me through the season.
For the Body
These rich, 24 hour formula creams were on sale this weekend for $5 so I got my mom and I each a thin of Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte (bit of a theme if you keep reading). I asked my mom to try it all day and I did the same. I asked for a rating out of five and recommended that she try it in the morning to see how it lasts and then try a reapplication and I would do the same.
Mom says: 🍂🍂🍂🍂/5
Loves the fragrance! Smells like fall without being too heavy and it lasts forever. The cream moisturizes without being greasy. One leaf was held back as the cream didn't make the hands look ten years younger, which would have been a nice perk.
I say: 🍂🍂🍂🍂/5
Pros: I like that this has a fall scent without smelling like pumpkin purée. In addition the warm vanilla scent is cozy without being overpowering. I was really surprised at how how long the fragrance held without being overpowering when I first put it on. I didn't give it a five because I don't think I could reapply it throughout the day without the fragrance being too strong and in the winter my skin soaks up moisturizer like you wouldn't believe.
For the Home
I think the thing I was most excited about is Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow. So much so I got a wallflower an almost matching hand cream. I love the the scent is light and sweet and warm and pumpkiny. I like that it has presence without being over powering.
I'm also ver excited about the Golden Cinnamon candle. I love cinnamon but hate when it smells like medicine versus a warm spice. At first glance I believe that this candle will be a new classic and I love the packaging.
I'm excited looking towards their holiday line as well. I read lifeinsidethepage.com for my BBW updates and it looks like very shortly my Christmas candle Vanilla Snowflake will be coming out (so excited to buy a million of them). I STILL want them to bring back Nutmeg & Spice, but in the meantime these candles will hold me over (right now the petition to bring back Nutmeg & Spice is just me, but I'm very passionate about it so I hope to one day see it again).
So, what makes you excited about fall? Any favourite BBW scents?
P.S. I was not paid or given product for this post. Just truly like their stuff. I'd love to try another candle brand so leave a comment in the notes with recommendations!!!
So, if you read about our pregnancy announcement (if not read about it here) you will know that I am, over the moon for little who-ever-it-is. In my excitement I have been crocheting away and wanted to share this pattern with you. I absolutely love the texture on the Puff Baby Blanket.
This pattern is based on a Marshmallow pattern from goodknitkisses.com, but if I'm being honest I don't always follow patterns well so I've made my own updates.
I used a super chunky wool that was a 6 for weight. I also used a crochet hook that was a size up from what the manufacturer recommends. This helps to make the pattern super quick and easy.
To complete the blanket you will need to know: single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc) and chain (ch). The puff stitch itself is made up of two dc and one sc. The single crochet helps to smooth the end of the stitch down so you get a nice puff.
Chain any length you'd like as long as you do multiples of 2 and then add 3 chs (I used 75)
Row 1: In the third ch from your hook dc, skip 2 ch, (sc,2dc) in next stitch, Skip 2 ch and (sc,2dc) in the next ch. continue (skip 2 ch, sc,2dc) for the rest of the row. End your row with sc, ch3 and turn
Row. 2- infinity (or in my case ending at row 42) 2dc in first stitch, (skip 2sts, in next sts sc,2dc) repeat across the row. End with a sc in the last sts and chain 3. You will notice that your puff ends up being in the sts between the two puffs on the row below. Please note: it can be hard to see the true puff pattern until you've done a few rows - so keep the faith!
Finishing: once you've reached your desired length I like to finish the blanket with a border row. Once you have ended your last row ch 3 (this will make the corner). Then in every stitch around the boarder do a sc. Not gonna lie - I'm not exact in this but really the goal is to make the blanket feel finished and polished.
So this was my first pattern adaptations - if there are any questions or issues let me know so I can update!
I guess my most recent posts are all about new and exciting personal things! Jordan and I are happy to announce we're expecting our first baby! This is another reason why I've been quiet as moving and being pregnant offers its own set of challenges.
We are incredibly happy to be about 25 weeks along and look forward to meeting little who-ever it is in early December. I wanted to share the news with you for two reasons:
1) This will change the tone of my blog and mean that I include more baby stuff. Being a first time mom I will never claim to be an expert - but I welcome advice and will share my learning's.
2) Getting to this point has been a long journey for my husband and I. I wanted to share some of our story because I found hope to be a positive thing and wanted to share a bit of our hope with you.
Our Pregnancy Journey
We got married in the summer of 2012, and after enjoying about six months as a married couple decided we wanted to start trying to expand our family.
When we tried the first time we were the picture of an after school special and basically got pregnant right out of the gate (only takes once!). We were so excited and got to planning right away. Early on we discovered that I had a subchorionic hematoma and a couple of cysts. Many people go on to have successful pregnancies with these conditions, I've actually had a subchorionic hematoma with all of my pregnancies, but for me, my pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 10.5 weeks.
It was really heartbreaking for us, but we were optimistic that it would happen for us quickly. We did put our trying on hold for a bit as one of my cysts needed to be removed surgically because the size of it would put my ovary at risk, and while they were there they cleaned up some endometriosis (I like to cover my basis in terms of medical conditions).
I had the surgery in October of 2013 and discovered we were pregnant again just after Christmas. It was exciting and terrifying to be pregnant again - but we were so excited. After the first trimester we took a deep breath and had complete confidence that this pregnancy would be successful.
I had some challenges with my second pregnancy. First there was morning sickness (which for me, was completely miss leading, it wasn't in the morning, it was all damn day long). The sickness didn't really go away after the first trimester, and there were a couple times where I needed IV fluids to get better. That and a steady supply of purple Gatorade. I also had a small set back when they thought I had a brain bleed (which I didn't). I'll spare you the details (focusing on hope and not scaring anyone who may be in a similar situation), but two lumbar punctures later, a blood patch, a CT and a MRI and I was cleared as almost healthy, just severally de-hydrated and suffering from pregnancy induced migraines.
Despite our challenges with that pregnancy, we were still optimistic and excited. I figured, I could do anything and deal with anything if in the end I got my healthy baby. Unfortunately that didn't work out for us and shortly after going for our anatomy scan we got the news that our little boy wasn't going to make it and that I need to be induced. I think that was by far the hardest thing that we have ever gone through. The waiting, the lack of answers, and the plans that had to be put on hold or changed. At 20 weeks we had to say goodbye to another pregnancy that was so desperately wanted and start planning for a future that seemed scary and nerve wracking.
Third Time's the Charm
After taking a break to recoup physically and mentally we began the process of starting to try again. I found this time it didn't happen as instantly as before and I found that very difficult. I ended up doing acupuncture, which I sucked at. Not the actual act of getting acupuncture, that was fine and even comfortable, but I couldn't relax to save my soul. Never fell asleep. Always counted the songs (and I always seemed to get the same CD). I was really doing it to check something off my list, and I think it helped,because I felt like I had done everything in my power to get pregnant. We were happy to find out that we were expecting in March, and thus began our hibernation.
We took time to ourselves to be cautiously optimistic. We tried to find the joy and if I'm being honest, we spent most of the first 20 weeks counting down milestones and waiting for good news. It was so exciting to go for our scan and then hear we were having a happy healthy baby. Now we are getting to share with our families the gender of our baby, slowly and surely finding more joy and excitement.
This pregnancy was much easier physically by comparison to my others, though an emotional roller coaster. I have a great doctor who has made sure that I am looked after and helped me make every important decision along the way. After the 20 week scan it was like there was a light switch that I got to turn on that made pure excitement acceptable (just ask my husband, he's seen the closet full of clothes that says that is true). That being said, though I have a lot of joy in my heart, I feel like I am mildly missing the glow. If this were the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting, I'd be Elizabeth Bank's character, she looks graceful and charming compared to me.
We are now planning for our shower, reading as much as we can, and celebrating with loved ones. I'm enjoying watching my alien baby kick and flip inside me and am calling on my girlfriends and family members with kids to ask questions about being pregnant and being a first time Mom. If I'm being honest, I think there is still almost like a veil over this pregnancy as I know that things can go tragically wrong. But I know that things can go perfect as well, so that's what we hold onto. I think about being luck that my husband and I grew closer through this experience, and that I have a family & framily that could rival superheros when they need to jump into action, as that support has been huge.
I wanted to share my story because I think, at least for me, that there was this sense of failing at not being successful to be pregnant and stay pregnant. Everyone time someone joked or asked about our family plans it felt like a personal jab at me. I thought that I should be able to do this no problem. But the more I talk about it the more I hear from friends and family, that easy isn't a reality for most women when it comes to getting pregnant. So many women have stories of loss, of desire, of dreams and endless medical procedures. We ultimately all have the same story though, one of want and one of hope.
If you are in a holding pattern of fertility from having challenges getting pregnant or staying pregnant I wanted to tell you to have hope. To talk to each other. Want is want, and it can be incredibly helpful to have girlfriends/family who understand the insane jealousy that comes from wanting a child and feeling like everyone else just snapped their fingers and had a healthy pregnancy. I hope that one day, maybe someone can read my story and have more perspective for a friend who is experiencing this kind of want, or for the one who is experiencing it, I hope that this gives you some light at the end of the tunnel and that you take strength from hearing a bit of a happy ending, or I guess more so a happy beginning.
I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone else experiencing their rainbow baby? Any advice for a first time mom?
Wow, it has been far too long since I posted, and for that I am sorry! We've had a crazy few months, marked by several major milestones which I look forward to sharing with you over the next several weeks!
One of the biggest things that happened recently, is that we purchased our new home. After months of looking online and going to open houses, we found a house that we are completly in love with. Another bonus is that though there are updates we want to do to make it feel like ours, by in large it was already done in a way that we like.
My favorite part of the house is the kitchen. I love having the big island and see my family gathering around it as I cook and prepare for holidays. I will be posting the before and after pictures of our kitchen shortly for you to see the updates we made there.
I also like that we have room, we went from a two bedroom twonhouse to a three bedroom detatched and I realyl have enjyoed having room to have family come over.
Another perk of our new place is that we back on to a green belt. It's funny, my city loving husband and I really apperciate being in a more remote town with nature, and our backyard makes it feel like you'r eon vacation, which is perfect for when you come home after a hard day.
Another perk of our new place is that we back on to a green belt. There is a creek, tons of trees and a walking path between us and the folks behind us. It's funny, my city loving husband and I really apperciate being in a more remote town with nature, and our backyard makes it feel like you're on vacation, which is perfect for when you come home after a hard day.
On our list this year for improvements are: kitchen updates (already done and excited to share), expanding our driveway/landscaiping and painting in the upstairs. I will share all of our tips and tricks that we learn along the way, but as a first time homeowner I really am looking for tips and tricks from anyone who is reading this.
What have you done to make your house feel like home? What special touches are you most proud of?
I love to cook, entertain, craft and create - all while being a wife, friend, daughter and a mom to a little boy.