Saturday, December 31, 2011

Final to do of 2011


We made a little to do list the other day. Aaand have been working hard the past two days to get things done. The satisfaction in crossing things off that list is nearly audible...and I'm using a Sharpie so you know it's really done! A few of the other tasks are in progress but I'm pumped that by the time we go out tonight they will be all done. It will feel amazing to welcome 2012 into a clean and organized house. Oh lm getting old

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Matching aprons? Check
Obligatory glass of wine? Check
Oven on? Check
Christmas music blasting? Check
Various tasty things to bake? Check
Awkwardly self taken iPhone photo? Check
Presents wrapped? Check
Perfect Christmas Eve Day!!!


I've been spending the day finishing getting stuff ready for Christmas. LOVE IT! Tonight it's Christmas with G's mom and brother and tomorrow it's a Shaw/Welch/Orrom/Walsh/Renken/Nichols family Christmas! It truly is the most wonderful time of year. Merry christmas everyone!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Girls Night

Out for some delicious food with my fave girls tonight in Thornbury. Sisi's in Thornbury has the best pizza and cannoli ever!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Ho Ho

Garret hung up our Christmas lights the other weekend. I was waiting for it to snow to take a picture..but based on the thunderstorm we had yesterday it might be a long wait!


Dining out

Last night we went to Sticky Fingers for their awesome wing night! It was so nice to get out with friends. Erin and Steve were out for a bit as we had some presents for their daughter.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="G informed me that we have to buy Molly presents with less pieces next time. She kept pointing and making him add more foam pieces to the little diorama he was making her"][/caption]

And Tara and Stephen (my childhood friend and her husband) were home visiting for the holidays so we got
to catch up as well. It was a really nice night and a total last minute get together which was awesome!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="482" caption="Cheers! We sent this pic to Tara's sister Michele so she could see what she was missing!"]20111222-105439.jpg[/caption]


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Further adventures of Sneakers

My friend Harrison and I got to talking about my kitchen mouse.  And how what if I am trying to erase some sort of mouse genius from the planet....

**Side Note: I don't know why but I tend to be quite anthropomorphic  when it comes to most things in my life (cars, random animals, items around the house)  I think it's quite an endearing habit I have whereas G seems to think it makes me a little "special". I was saying.  Harrison and I were talking about this mouse. And I thought that perhaps it was some sort of musical prodigy.  And we had a little giggle, and then Har found the following photos and I couldnt stop laughing...and at the same time felt like I could  "nah nah nah" at Garret as this shows that clearly someone else is also weird like me, and takes it to another level


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm gona steal this one

Ashley stopped by briefly last night with her little monkey. See below for a pic of my two fave guys:


Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace out


Your days are numbered Sneakers. I suggest you rethink your living arrangements

Friday, December 16, 2011

Less welcome visitor(s)

No more bees as of yet.  But last night I noticed that someone had left us some Christmas pressies in the kitchen.
Oh hey there....I just pooped on your counter
This isn't a pic I took of the little devil...but I like to imagine him looking like this. (I have decided that there is only one mouse in the house and its a boy) All adorable with his eyes just begging for some cheese crumbs. Although picturing it all snuggly like this is going to make it more difficult for me when I make G trap and release him...(yes, release, or at least that is what I will be telling myself. shhhhh) I decided to name him Sneakers cause he clearly is oh so sneaky....and adorable.  Can someone please tell G that mini dachshund's are actually super good mousers and that he should put one in my stocking for Christmas?   That way Gus (my future mini dachshund's name) can catch Sneakers, teach him to poop outside and they can be friends. And we can live happily ever after. With no poop on my counters. Thankyouverymuch!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Someone(s) came to visit


PUPPIES!!!! Elliott's girlfriend Ashley stopped by tonight with her new puppies. They are the cutest things ever. We chased them around the house a bit and snuggled them a bunch. It made me want a little dog sooooo badly. G said no....meanie!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Every little bit counts

Our friends Nat and Mike got us a really cool house warming present back in October...Aaand it took us a good month and a bit to hang it up. But it looks awesome (and I super love it as all of my school friends have them in their homes) It also saves us from going crazy with the daily "where are my keys" quest


And I also love it because it shows off my new keychain that my friend Kelly gave me in our carpool secret Santa. It says "Julia *heart* Garret". Yeah you betcha!


Saturday, December 3, 2011


So I found 4 more bees last night...tried telling G that they are attracted to our house cause I'm sweet like honey. He just laughed...does that mean he doesn't agree?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things to do in Barrie in the winter

There are actually tons of things to do in Barrie in the snow/winter. The one we are most hoping for is to be snowed in together--and that way we can do some fun homey things with extra time we have. Over the next few months we want to paint our stairs, paint the entrance hall, do little jobbies upstairs to get ready for putting down new floors (omggg yay), and do a wall treatment behind our tv. Once we have our energy audit done I'm assuming we will have some more suggested tasks. I'm hoping one suggestion is a new toilet for upstairs as it will give us a reason to throw that crappy one out. (oh the things that excite me these days!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buzzkill (or the one about the bees)

A few weeks before we went on vacation we found two bees in the house (oh the horror)  They were pretty much in their final death throes so they weren't all stingy, but I was still not thrilled to have found them in the house. So G disposed of them in that really efficient bug removally way of his.  I didnt really think anything more about our winged friends until we got back from Cuba....and we found about 15 of them, dead, in various locations in our house.  The most distressing one was when I put my boot on this morning, felt something in the toe, tipped it up and a dead bee came out (say it with me now ewwwwwww)   It seems weird to me that we didn't have any sort of infestation over the summer, but they are crawling out of some hiding spot to die on our floors, or in our shoes (shudder)  Tonight we are going to do a mega vacuum and inspection of the doors, windows and other places they could be coming from.  It's just so weird.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Cuba was amazing...I don't recall a time in the recent past where I have been more relaxed! We spent a lot of time just sitting by the ocean or pool and doing nothing. Amazing! Lots of family time as well which was so nice.
Since wireless Internet isn't really a go in Cuba, and roaming charges would have been out of control, we both shelved our phones for the week. It took a day for me to get used to it and I have to say it was so nice! Don't get me wrong, I do heart my iPhone, but not worrying about emails, texts or Facebook was probably part of the relaxation. G and I both use our phones a lot during the day for work etc, but we are thinking of designating certain times in the evenings and on weekends to be phone free. It really is the way to go!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home sweet Home

We are home from Cuba!!!! It's funny cause i am actually writing this before we even leave, but since I want to post everyday, I've had to write stuff before we even go. This was our first family vacation since 1993 so it's been eagerly anticipated for about 2 years. I'm sure a bunch of pictures will follow :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


We have no garage and a narrow driveway. This wasn't a big issue when we just had the truck. Now we have the 2 vehicles so we have to do some planning. Prior to November 1st we could park on the street over night so often one of us would take advantage of that. Now by city ordinances we can get a ticket (boo) so we figure out the night before who is leaving first. Usually it's G, but the other morning we were both running behind and it turned into a spazzy mini fight trying to get us both out of the driveway. What a silly thing to fight about first thing in the morning, but sometimes we both struggle with civility before we've had coffee!

Friday, November 25, 2011

What am I thinking?

So I just signed up to go back to school starting in January! Two classes a term for 2 terms and I can upgrade my diploma to a degree..I'm excited as I am a nerd about loving school. However at the same time I'm a bit nervous--one more thing to throw into our time management list. The good thing is that it's only 6 months, but to be honest I feel I'm soooo ready to be done school forever ever.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things I have to do at work

Usually my job is pretty however I received a fedEx package of shipping material and was told to package up a chair for the supplier to come get:


The final step in the process was "lift chair into box" see below for an image of the chair and why I couldn't quite manage:


I respectfully asked the delivery guy to do it as that chair could have crushed me if I stumbled. Ooooh work!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where's Waldo

Can you spot the little critter who was eating walnuts and dropping them on my head while I was raking below?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SnickerDoodles aka, can't stop eating them cookies

We were at a cottage this summer and one of the other guests had brought up some cookies she made.  They were deliciously dangerous (in the "bet ya can't eat just one" category) In even better news she explained how easy they are to make!  I do love baking, but to be honest I love me some easy baking too.  I haven't made them in a while because we are on a bit of a healthy living kick start (and eating fists full of cookies will probably derail me somewhat)  However, my healthy eating doesn't need to get in the way of your cookie enjoyment.  These would be perfect for a cookie exchange..tis (almost) the season!


2 1/2cups all-purpose flour
2teaspoons cream of tartar
1teaspoon baking soda
1/4teaspoon salt
1cup unsalted butter
1 1/2cups sugar
2large eggs
2tablespoons milk
1teaspoon vanilla extract
6tablespoons sugar
2teaspoons cinnamon


*In a small bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. (I think I only left it in for an hour...I was hungry and impatient)
*Preheat oven to 350?F.
*Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

*Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Then try to resist eating  them all at once.

Monday, November 21, 2011

ecoEnergy Retrofit

I recently found out that the ecoENERGY grants had been extended (weeeee)! Something G and I have discovered as the days are getting colder, it's that our home is not great when it comes to heat loss.  Step one was getting our furnace looked at, but now step two will be having one of the energy auditors come and let us know ways in which we can make the house  more efficient.  Check here for details  I'm not sure how much we would qualify for, but based on how badly we don't want to get out of our warm bed in the morning, I think anything might help.  Perhaps we can just super insulate our bedroom so that could make our mornings less frost bitten!  It's my understanding that they give you a list of ways to make the house more energy efficient, and then you can get some money back based on the changes you make.....This is coming at a good time as I am starting to get a bit nervous what our gas bill is going to look like in the coming months....*gulp

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mega Bed

I guess because we have been sleeping on a low profile bed for the past 4 years that now that we have the new bed I feel so high up! Here's a view coming up the stairs:


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Family Time

Had the nicest afternoon with my family today. My Aunt and Uncle who live in Victoria were visiting so we did a really early family dinner and spent some QT together which was nice. The crappy thing about having family so far away is that our visits are always so rushed...although tonight i realized I always try to guilt them about coming to see us more, yet G and I haven't been to see them! (bad niece!!)
Next year's a bit tight cause of the wedding but me thinks we should save up for a trip. My cousins are super awesome and I never get to see them either :( I think we need to budget for an annual west coast family time!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shopping list

After waking up to a full blanket of snow last night we discussed a new shopping list to be procured tonight:

Ice melty stuff
Another car scraper
Wiper fluid!

The joys of winter...countdown to Christmas commences

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What to write about...

This whole posting something everyday for a month is hard! Also making me realize how boring I am. Aaaand how much I don't like working on the house when I get home and it's cold and dark. Tonight G is working late so I am going to do the usual fun day to day stuff...laundry, cleaning the kitchen and making a giveaway pile from clothes I don't wear anymore. The thrill the thrill!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I guess we are getting old

So instead of our big date night last night we decided to stay in. We cleaned the house then had pizza and a movie on the mega couch. We do love going out but we now derive such satisfaction from having a clean house that that won out over an outing. Are we cool or what?!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

4 years in...

4 years ago today something so simple ended up changing my life in such a huge way. Garret called me out of the blue and asked me for coffee...wanted to catch up, and reconnect.  I remember thinking that my little brothers friend grew up to be a babe...I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that 4 years later we would be crazy in love, planning a wedding, and owning a house.  My friend Melissa has a poster in her home that says "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all" So very very true.  Just for fun I dug up some pics from the past few years...I can tell exactly when everything happened based on my hair length/colour hahaha....interesting way of keeping a relationship time line going.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Not to keep talking about this...

But...I love our new bed!!! It so far has the perfect ratio of firm to soft and I slept most awesomely last night. It's funny you don't notice how crappy your bed is until you get to sleep on something better! So I think we will be going to bed super early for the next week to revel in the comfyness.

It's only Monday so I think I can still feel optimistic about what we can get accomplished this week:
*put away the Halloween decorations that are all folded/piled up in the corner...I even have a bin in the basement for them!
*list and sell our old mattress on kijiji
*buy some bleach so I can fully scrub window frames. The cleaner I had at home just didn't cut it
*go through my clothes...this seems to be an ongoing process. We both are clothing hoarders "we might wear this someday" type of people. We need to realize that if we haven't worn it in a few months it's gota go!

What's everyone else up to this week?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where did today go?

We don't usually like to sleep in on weekends because it makes them go by too quickly. However this morning we lay around until after 10 before we got going. is a theme with this blog, we didn't get as much done as we had hoped...but to look on the positive side we still managed to get a bunch done. Aaaand we are about to head to a friend's place for dinner so all is not lost!
*We finished sanding the doors so now they just need to be stained and hung.
*G cleaned all the leaves etc out of the boat in the backyard and we covered it up to hopefully keep snow out (not sure if I have shared the story of the boat in the backyard...i'll make it short. When my dad passed away my brothers and I inherited his old speed boat. It has seen better days. Now it's living in our backyard until we have the money to make it amazing again)
*did more laundry---where does it all come from?
*got all patio furniture put away
*cleaned out shed and organized it
*set up our awesome new bed...cant wait to go to bed tonight!
*got some carpet tile to put down in the back room

So I'm feeling good! Wish we could have done a coat on those storm doors, but it will get done at some point....anyone want to start a pool of when they will get hung? My bets on January 17th ha

Saturday, November 12, 2011

And it's Saturday again

The weather was awesome today but we were both busy doing other things and didn't get much done at home (aside from the usual dishes and laundry) Here's hoping that it's nice tomorrow so we can get our love nest fully ready for winter!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm not ready!!!!

I was preparing a post for today titled " Before the Snow flies" but I guess it's too late. We woke up to:


At least I have some eye candy who will clean off my car:


Remembrance Day

I guess one doesn't say "happy remembrance day".....what is the sentiment?   Perhaps "Have a reflective remembrance day"?  I'll spend some time recalling all the stories that my grandparents have shared with me over the years...and give thanks for sacrifices made by them and others.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dreams are coming true!

Just got a phone call and our new bed is being delivered on it weird to be daydreaming about sleeping?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Getting our Game Face(s) on

We have T minus something like 300 days before the big "I DO" and I am really getting into wedding mode.  We have been engaged for over a year now, and Garret, like most men I keep hearing about,  has minimal interest when it comes to the planning stage. I think he would rather skip to the enjoyment part and hope someone else (me) figures out who is coming, what we are eating etc. One thing we both agreed on is how we want to look at the wedding...Healthy!  Our busy lifestyle didn't leave a lot of room or energy, for working out.  Or I guess I should say we didn't make it a priority until recently.  We aren't overweight nor do we eat bags of chips instead of meals type of thing, but there is definitely room for improvement with each of us.  Also, both of our families have history of heart disease so we realized that the best wedding present we could give each other is to start out with better eating and fitness habits. That way we can continue to drive each other crazy for many happy healthy years to come. 

Phase one of this has been a focus on meal planning.  I used to feel really overwhelmed to come up with yummy healthy meals for every night, and I tended to be the main meal preparer in the house.  I think recently G realized that he could lend a hand in this department and now he has been trading off with me and helping plan and prepare.  He bought us a book called Living Lean and we have been looking at quick and easy recipes from there.  I am also learning (yes mum I know you have told me this for 31 years) that if in the morning you know what you are having for dinner, your evening will run smoothly.  Who knew? She was right! So I have been trying to make two meals some nights (like two things of soup on Sunday)  and on some nights it is SO good to come home and reheat something healthy instead of caving while starved and getting pizza.

Phase two is getting out there and being active.  I will be the first to admit that I don't love the gym.  My brothers both get so excited to go and just LOVE being there....I am not there yet, but I have started less foot dragging when we go.  We joined GoodLife in September and have been trying to make it out a few nights a week when we can.  I recently joined a hot yoga studio with my girlfriends from my carpool and I LOVE IT.  We had an introductory special this month so we have been going 2-3 times a week. I am feeling strong and my posture is phenomenal.  There are some great crosscountry ski and snowshoe trails near us as well, so once we get a big dumping of snow I think we will start getting outdoors more often as well. 

We don't want to go for a quick  fix wedding weight loss plan, but something more we can incorporate into our lives and continue to be fit and fab moving forward!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

Nothing exciting happened around the house last night as we were at the gym. So in keeping with the whole posting every day thing I'm going to share a slow cooker recipe I made Sunday that we had for dinner last night!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Crock pot edition)

*chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (I was lazy and just ripped the meat off a BBQ chicken from Zehrs)
*jar of salsa (as spicy as you like)
*tin of black beans
*carton of chicken stock (but since I'm working on my Suzy Homemaker merit badge I used homemade stock)
*a few handfuls of frozen corn
*tin of green chilies (optional)
*tin of diced tomatoes

--Throw all this into with chips, shredded cheese and cilantro (could also top with guacamole, sour cream etc)

I cooked it on high for the day...and served it with some crushed up nacho chips, chopped cilantro and shredded light cheese on top. Super yummy! I love this recipe because you could throw pretty much anything in with it and it would be delicious.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Review

I'm extremely proud of our progress this weekend! We incorporated the correct ratio of work to fun for Sat and Sunday so it worked out!

*Fought a losing battle against the leaves in the back and side yard. We were out there for a few hours, filled up 4 bags and then G mulched a pile. But then this morning I noticed a bunch more had fallen! Urgh...

*switched the light in the kitchen and dining room to dimmers...glorious mood lighting for cooking. I love it

*we took turns yesterday sanding the storm doors and I'm excited to say they are finally (almost) done. We just need to stain 'em and hang 'em back up and we are in business. Next time I'm going to convince G we should just buy doors cause this was a project I HATED. Once they are hung up I'll post a pic.

*we went to the Brick and bought a new is like sleeping in heaven (or somewhere else heavenly) we've had an ikea mattress for the past 4 years and while G can easily sleep on a rock, or sitting up etc, my sleeping tastes are a bit more discerning so I'm extremely excited

We also caught up on laundry and made some meals for the week. I love the sense of accomplishment I get when it's Sunday night and i feel like we are ready to face the week ahead! What did everyone get up to this weekend?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pinterest Challenge!

Much like Sherry of Young House Love, I spend a lot of time pinning things on Pinterest and don't get around to making anything I note.  Sherry and some other lovely blog ladies have made a pin challenge where they all commit to make something that they had pinned.  I have done one so far that  I find to be blog worthy.  I pinned this several months ago in anticipation of my Mum's 60th birthday and wanting to do something special for decoration.

[caption id="attachment_283" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Happy Birthday Stranger"][/caption]

I LOVED this image and thought it was a really creative way to showcase a bunch of photos of the birthday boy or girl.  I showed this to my friend Natalie who helped me make it even better! (and 10 years older)

[caption id="attachment_284" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Happy Birthday Mum"][/caption]

As per usual I didn't take a picture at the height of the decor (picture hot pink balloons and streamers) but I have to say that I was thrilled at how it turned out.  It definitely makes me want to make more of an effort to actually attempt some of these things I want to try!

Weekend Plans

Recently I decided that G and I are terrible when it comes to "to-do lists". We seem to have home improvement ADD, and even though we have a clearly laid out list, we always end up working on something else.   However, I do take such satisfaction from successfully crossing things off a list, so I think I will make one for this weekend anyway

*Finish those stupid storm doors that we started in July (herein lies the ADD....we have started working on these twice, but I think because it is just such an annoying terrible job we kept putting it off. Now it's nearly winter and time to get those done!)

*Organize our clothes..summer stuff gets banished to bins in the basement and winter stuff rejoins us.  The downside of having a small space is even smaller closet space (I am sure I have commented on this before!) so organization is the only way to go

*Rake the gigantic pile of leaves that have fallen on the yard.  Trees are our best friends in the summer months, however in the fall they are proving to be more of a pain in the butt

*Weather strip the doors

*Clean the windows and window frames (the new pretty blinds deserve better!)

And likely a million other small jobs...let's see how many we actually can tackle

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaBloPoMo...also it feels like winter in my house

November is a big month...has a lot going on I should say. It is write a novel in a month month, grow a mustache in support of men's cancers, and it's also national blog posting month. I think you get bragging rights and some form of nerdy street cred for blogging every day. I'm thinking that I could use this in a motivating way to get stuff done!!! If I have to write every day I will probably feel compelled to get something done each day (as I don't want to bore you good folks with nonsense) So, 30 posts should probably reflect 30 home related that even possible? Oooh competitive up for a challenge Julia....ready...set...go!


As luck would have it, when the furnace guy was checking things out on Wednesday, he noticed that our sensor was on the fritz.  So, he removed it and  is replacing it today (hopefully this helps with some of the heating issues we have been having.  The unfortunate issue is that he had to remove it to fix it. So we haven't had heat since Wed afternoon.  This morning was brutal. Our noses were frozen and they were the only things peeking out from our sea of blankets.  Thankfully furnace guy is coming back today to put the sensor back in...because I really don't think I could have handled having it any colder. (and I dont think G could have handled listening to me say "...but I'm freeeeeeeezzzzziiiiiing" much longer)  I have been reading some frugal living blogs lately and they talk about not turning the furnace on until Nov 1st.  I am thinking maybe we should try that next year and save some moolah, however, I think I will need to insist on some sort of fuzzy rug on my side of the bed and a heat lamp in the upstairs bathroom!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ho Ho Ho

I bought a wag jag this week to have my furnace cleaned and inspected.  They were only able to come yesterday afternoon.  It wasn't a practical time with my work schedule so my Mum offered to come and let the guy in. When I got home from work, I noticed that she had done a lot more than aid the furnace guy.  She had 100% unHalloweened Casa ShWalsh, cleaned the floors, organized a pile of our random stuff and just all around crazy cleaned my house. It was a really unexpected treat to come home to.  Then she called me upstairs to discuss something in my room....We stood there and chatted for a few minutes before I noticed that this:

had turned into this:


[caption id="attachment_289" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Snazzy new blind!"][/caption]

So, we now have matching blinds in our bathroom, and the three upstairs windows.  It was a GREAT early Christmas present and a total surprise.  I can't get over the difference it makes in our bedroom...Im finding that each little thing we do ties in to make huge changes in our surroundings.  In January Garret's Dad is coming to help us put hardwood flooring in upstairs and I really think that will totally eliminate the "cottage" feel we have going on!  Also, last night we discussed that the theme this winter will be 'Paint' so should anyone care to come to our house and help paint....I wouldn't say no. Heck I will even supply some wine and a slow cooker meal.

Thanks again Mum!  I am so glad Christmas came early!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Party people

If there is one thing G and I have learned about ourselves it is that we don't want our friends to know how messy/unorganized we can sometimes be! So whenever we have company coming we somehow pull it together and get our space in order. When we lived in the apartment this was easy---we would throw random stuff into our bedroom, shut the door, and there you go...clean as a whistle! Having the house now it isn't so easy...way more surfaces to clean! We had a Halloween party on Saturday night and cleaned our place like crazy people all day Sat. G built all the ikea furniture my mum and I had brought home earlier in the week.(direct quote "while I appreciate you surprising me with ikea stuff it would be an even better surprise if you built it yourself") I don't have the brute force strength or the patience for it...although I blamed him by saying that his tools were in the truck so I couldn't do it anyway (ha!) He assembled and I tidied and we finally got around to tackling the piles of paper that had been building for ages and dishes and laundry were sorted and cleaned. For an added bonus G's mom Char had
come for a visit on Thursday and hung up our decorations! We were party ready way before guests even showed up...we've since discussed that we should have a party every weekend...think of all we'd get done. I hope everyone had a fun as safe Halloween.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

6 months!

The end of last week marked 6 months for us in the house!! Time flies I can't believe it. Sometimes I feel that we are still settling in (because we are) and other times I feel that it has always been our home. I pulled into the driveway one night last week and knew I was coming home. Such a welcome feeling. The apartment was where we got used to living together but this place has been where we have really settled in, a real place of firsts and new beginnings. We've got off to a slow start this first 6 months when it comes to stuff we've accomplished....can't wait to see if we can motor through some to do lists over the winter.

I also just realized that it's 6 months since we have had cable. I was hesitant at first as we are big fans of the couch snuggle/tv watch...but to be honest I don't miss it! We got Netflicks which we can watch when we crave the lazy....but I'm impressed with how little I miss having TV!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We carved pumpkins last night!!!! Well, more like Ashley and I carved pumpkins last night while G and my brother Elliott watched The Unit on the couch...their contribution was more so just putting a dent in our Halloween candy stash...but let's just pretend it was festive togetherness!



Monday, October 24, 2011

I had to open my big mouth...

Saturday evening we had our friend Regan over to help us install the ceiling fan in the living room (that had been sitting in a box since August!) It went pretty smoothly and looks awesome--I'd throw in a picture but I updated my phone since then and deleted all my pics oops!
Garret was manning the BBQ so I mentioned to Regan he could help me change the light out in the know, quick project while G finished dinner. He said "that will be a quick job no worries" he moved the ladder and got to work! About 3 minutes later he said that he had spoken too soon....and my heart sank. I have come to realize that no job in our house is a quick one! Turns out that the wires were super old and crappy and he wasn't comfortable hooking the light up to them. After freaking me out that he'd have to cut a giant hole in my wall and ceiling Regan and G did some sleuthing and made it work with just one small hole. Phew! I'm realizing that no matter how small/fast we think a job will be, we need to be sure to leave tons of time to do it.
I'll put up a pic of the new light later--I'm really happy with it (thankfully!!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Special day for a special gal

Since July, my mum's best friend Barb and I have been doing some serious sneaking. Party planning sneaking that is! My Mum turned 60 this month and we really thought it would be great to throw a surprise party for her. After many email, text and phone call planning sessions, this past Saturday came and the party was a huge success! She was totally surprised and it was even better than I thought it would be. (tears, incessant giggles etc) Lots of friends and family, laughs, cake, delicious snacks and bevies. Lots of people helped make it run so smoothly. (Barb made a ton of food, opened her beautiful home as a venue and played hostess with the mostess, Renee made a beautiful cake and some delicious appies, Nicki brought a yummy spinach dip, my brother Taylor even made a bean salad...)  The party colours were black and pink so I got G to contribute by wearing his pink shirt.  He obviously loves me since he put up with some mild mannered ribbing from Uncle Dave regarding the pink shirt!  Anyway it was a lovely lovely day. Turns out I loooove throwing parties! I guess it didn't hurt that I love the guest of honour so much--made all the running around totally worth it.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Nearly Ta-done

Phase 1 of Shwalsh kitchen renovation is complete! Last night G pulled a feat of strength and got the fridge out of the way. (I didn't take a photo of what we found when we moved the fridge...but it was several years of dirt--belch) So we now have a fancy black chalkboard wall in our kitchen which we LOVE.



Granted this would look more impressive if id waited til the fridge was put back to take the pic...or if I used our good camera and not my phone. But get the jist. Now we just need to agree on a backsplash and change the lighting (we scored a sweet track/directional light from my mum), floor mat for the door....then I think we could call it quits in here. Oh...and a pot rack, I've got my shopping goggles on for just the right one. Then kitchen is done! And we will rock, paper, scissors to see if our bedroom or the front hall is the next project.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekend was wonderful

We had a great weekend this past weekend and finally got out of our slump! G has been so busy at work the past while that the last thing he feels like doing at home is more construction! Friday night we went out for dinner and to the Leafs game (which they lost...but anyway...) It felt so nice to be out on a date and recharge our batteries I guess you could say. See us in our matchy jerseys (also note this is the only time g has allowed us out in public looking remotely similar)


Then Sat and Sunday we did some cleaning as we were having all the neighbors in for a back yard BBQ on Sunday.( we decided we need to have guests every week it really makes us power tidy) So the back yard is just about ready for Fall and we had a blast getting to know our neighbours better.

This is Wendy our next door neighbour's dog. We LOVE her and hope to get one of her sisters or brothers some day. She was the guest of honor at the BBQ and loved snuggling. After everyone left and we had tidied up we thought we should start to tackle something we had been talking about forever---the chalkboard wall. We had taped it off probably a month ago so what was holding us back!? So I'm attaching some photos of the progression:





We are really happy with how it looks but we need to do another coat with the roller to smooth things out. Maybe this time G will let me paint.....?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Soup for Annie

My colleague Annie was curious about the recipe for the soup I made the other she goes:

Sweet Potato and Coconut Quinoa Soup

2 Large Sweet Potatoes

2 Tbsp water

1/2 cup onion

1/2 cup Quinoa

3 cups Vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp Chili powder

1/4 cup plain yogurt (optional)

 Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into  2-3" pieces.  Boil until just soft but not mushy (roughly 6 mins I found)

Place water and onion in large saucepan over medium heat and cook until the onions soften.  Stir in quinoa and vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 mins until quinoa is cooked.

 Add sweet potato to the saucepan. Puree the mixture with a hand blender. Return to low heat and stir in coconut milk. Add cayenne and chili powder.  (yogurt can be added on top when serving)

This was delicious and I am a crazy big fan of Quinoa!!! I would have added a bit more spice next time and I think if you want to reduce calories you could probably add less coconut milk.  However it was super delicious and lasted me for quite a few lunches.




G and I watched Rango last night and had an important discussion.  I have written it up in list form:

Creatures G vetoed me bringing home EVER as pets:

  • Hedgehogs

  • Toads, Frogs or Newts

  • Bunnies

  • Turtles

  • Lizards including chameleons

  • Mice

  • Rats

  • Rodents of any kind (yes including moles)

  • Snakes (didnt really want one so its ok)

  • Fish

He is NO FUN AT ALL.  I am however allowed to have a dog (yay) and one day soon we are going to get a Wiener dog named Gus and our family will be complete...for a while at least.  I am pretty sure he only said yes to a dog in the hopes that it will make me want to wait 3 more years for a baby. (psssst just a secret between us?  It won't work!)

 ***Just saw your comment Mum--no GusGus yet...but one day soon I hope!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lunchie munchies

Does anyone have any healthy, yummy, make ahead type of lunch ideas? I've been making my mother in law to be's tuna pasta salad a fair bit lately but I wana change things up. (I love the tuna but don't want to get sick of it so I need some more ideas) I am allergic to eggs so that option is out! Am accepting any and all recipe ideas!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday morning necessity:


Coffee and Baileys! This will kick start our weekend of homebodyness! Hopefully I will have more pics to share later today/tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Fall is definitely on it's way! We have been so chilly the last few nights I decided to make some soup. Behold! The beginnings of sweet potato, quinoa and coconut soup:

We also went and filled our freezer with a years supply of meat--it's obscene but will help with meal planning. "what shall we make tonight? Perhaps a metric ton of meat? Sounds amazing!"


Friday, September 2, 2011

Official To do

We are really looking forward to the satisfaction of being able to say “one down” followed by a happy dance in our one finished room. I haven’t run this past G yet, but I just decided that that room will be our kitchen (merely as it requires the least amount of work) Our one wall is prepped and ready for paint–and depending on how much fun we have at the wedding Sunday, might get tackled on Monday. Last week we swapped out the socket covers from dirty white, to a brushed nickel to match the handles/drawer pulls. So all that will be left would be:
*paint chalkboard wall
*remove the old door hardware that has been painted over in the door way
*fill in the holes this will leave
*clean and repaint the white trim
*do a backsplash
*paint and get countertop for our butcher block
*new light fixture (this is a want more than a need)
*cap the top of the cupboards so that the 8″ headspace is no longer a dust depository

Then happy dance….shortly followed by starting a new room to do list!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sense of Satisfaction

Ok, ok, ok.....there was a lesson I learned while I was in school and I really think I need to apply it to everyday life as well. It goes like this: however long you think a task will take to complete, times it by 2 then add 30 minutes. The things I think I will get done tend to vary from the things that do get done simply due to time constraints...and that pesky sleep habit I have. We managed to get a bunch of stuff done this weekend, but not quite all the things I was hoping to. Since we are both DREADING finishing those doors we keep putting them off and soon it shall be December. Instead we cut the lawn, grocery shopped, cleaned bathrooms, replaced mailbox, updated our house number with some spray paint, hung mirror in downstairs bathroom, filmed part 1 of our engagement video, prepped Kitchen wall for painting, went for dinner with some awesome ladies on Fri and attempted to freezer shop. Oh and we also had a hot date at Boston Pizza. Not bad for a weekend! We learned something too- you can't just go out and buy a chest freezer...nooooo. You must pick one out, wait around for ages (see pic of Garret from Sunday) only to have them tell you it's out of stock. So then you drive all over Barrie to hear people tell you the same thing. Urgh!!! Finally found one but we can't pick it up til thursday--which was problematic as we were to get a big meat delivery Monday. Thankfully we were able to push that back a week! This also taught a valuable lesson about we nearly had 6 months of meat with no where to put it--bad news!
I'll leave you with a before and after.... Or you could call it the 20 min porch tweak.



Clearly we have a way to go on this porch re do!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Freezer shopping


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bedside Blogging

Am laying in bed but instead of sleeping in our weekend to do list is scrolling through my brain. As usual it is overly ambitious but hey...a girl can dream!

*make our engagement video ( this is getting done for sure as my friend is
Coming over with his video camera a bit later)
*Buy a chest freezer from Costco.(this has to happen as we have a large order of meat coming on Monday night)
*finish stripping the doors I started in June (blush)
*Paint wall in kitchen
*hand out block party invitations
*500 other things I will think of once G gets up and makes us coffee!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Block Party

When we first moved in, we heard from
some neighbours that the lady who owned the house before the people we bought it from was lots of fun (ok that seemed complicated--hope we didn't lose anyone) She used to throw a party every year in the mega back yard and have neighbours over for a Pot luck BBQ. I loved that idea and G and I decided to bring it back! We are going to do this mid September and have a bocce ball/ horseshoe tournament/meet the new neighbours BBQ. Mum and I were feeling crafty the other weekend so we made some invitations:


This weekend I am going to add the where and when details and drop them off to the neighbours! We've met a few of them already but I'm looking forward to having them over to hang out in our backyard. Am just debating if I should buy Garret a kiss the cook/ grill master apron as he will be manning the grill.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I sense trouble coming....

Many a night before, Garret and I have firmly declared that we will not sleep in past 6am. We will get up and ready with time to spare! Coffee and breakfast will be made at home and we will leave in plenty of time for a stress free commute.

As the alarm begins to blare the next morning, we tend to snuggle up convincing ourselves and each other that snoozing is a far better option. We assure ourselves that we can get ready and leave the house in 7minutes flat. (this is a flat out lie...but we tell it to ourselves daily) Instead of a leisurely morning routine there we are fighting for prime real-estate--the upstairs bathroom mirror. We inevitably leave something behind remembering it as we close in on the city. Items forgotten include: sunglasses, cell phone, lunches, and one memorable morning: one contact lens!
This has all been happening in the spring and summer months. Mornings where at 6 or even before, the sun has started shining in our windows, rays creeping across the pillow causing me to bury my head further into blankets. Fall is approaching! This morning I noticed it was still dark when we finally raced out of bed. This is going to be problematic as the days get shorter and we can find better reasons to keep hibernating in our bed. Maybe I should inquire about the possibilities of working from home a few days a week. Surely no one would know I was answering emails and phone calls from

Monday, August 22, 2011

Best laid plans

We had decided that Sunday would be it--the day we finally got around to finishing some of our to do list (frankly at this point I would be happy with starting it!!!!) However we both had a little bit too much fun on Saturday night at a family wedding. The bride looked beautiful and everything was lovely. There were a few drinks, midnight pizza and poutine, a late night dance party, and G, Elliott and Taylor had a 3am swim! (I missed out on that as I went to bed at 2am like the sensible gal I am haha)
I will post some photos as there were a few classic moments for sure--- but I only have 1 on my phone:


My Nanny hit the dance floor and we rocked out to Justin Biebers "Baby" before she retired to drink some beer and people watch.

So Sunday was spent being lazy and eating grilled cheese sandwiches perfectly grilled by my mum. We had ice cream cake for Ashley's birthday and several naps. Nothing got done but it was SO worth it!

***Some additional glimpses of the night:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New addition to the family

Freedom is:


That's right ladies and gentlemen....I bought a car. It is by no means a new car. In fact by vehicle standards it would be considered elderly. But, it runs, it was inexpensive and most importantly it's MINE! I have learned over the years through sharing a car with my brother, then much later with G, that sharing a car is a fallacy. The vehicle most definitely belongs to one person and the other person is just allowed to use it on (rare) occasions. I'm excited to be able to have some more freedom and no longer rely on G, my mum and public transit like I was a teenager.
Drum roll please.....


Isn't it beautiful? G and I were throwing names around last night. I suggested Burt while he thought Sally Jesse Raphael (SJ) for short was a good option.(Garret is creative and weird and that is why I love him folks) Any other suggestions for names?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quick jobs are never quick

As I mentioned a few posts back, my cousins gave G and I a West Elm gift card (aka heaven in plastic form) as a housewarming present.  We spent AGES trying to decide what we wanted and we finally ended up buying these lights to put in our dining room:

[caption id="attachment_167" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="pretty snazzy light fixture"][/caption]

We got three of them which are going to look fantastic hanging over our table and will definitely be a welcome change from the Ikea track lighting that is currently there.  The problem we are having is with the lighting plate.

This is what each of the three lights came with:

[caption id="attachment_168" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cover Piece"][/caption]

What we want is one of those with three holes in it to hang the three lights.  The man at West Elm assured us that we could buy that easily and we would be off to the races with our light....not so much.  Yesterday we finally got around to dealing with this and skipped off to Lowes to buy the piece so we could hang out light.  No luck there. Then we headed to Rona, and found out that this isn't something that the average store sells.  (hurrah!/also SUCH our luck)  The lighting department guy was trying to tell us we needed to buy a whole new light fixture (for instance a pendant with three hanging lights) and just replace with ours.  So this tiny easy to buy cover piece is starting to seem like it will cost us $100!  Which is crazy!!!! So we are going to google some specialized lighting places in Barrie in the hopes that a store like that might sell them.  Because it seems crazy to me that we would need to buy a whole new lightfixture when all we want is the plate part!

House warmed

Our friend Alaleh gave us a super cute house warming present this weekend:


Absolutely stunning plates from Urban Outfitters! I think they are so awesome...I need to have another couple over to dinner soon so I can use these for either dessert or side plates. They will look really cool with our white dishes and serving plates. Maybe I can convince G we "need" a new black tablecloth. How funky would that look!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Before and after (or: yes I love shoes)



I have complained before about a lack of closet space and this is the area that bothers me the most--no front hall cupboard. Until such a time when we can make the back room our mud room, (likely1-2 years from now) our front door remains the main entrance. As much as we tried to make neat piles of shoes (and G even banished a few pairs of mine to the basement!!!!) this always looked like a cluttered area and it made me nuts. One quick trip to Costco and problem solved:


Granted a shoe rack in the dining room isn't exactly a high point for design, but at least it's cute and tidy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My mother is always right

I somewhat hate to admit this...but my mother is ALWAYS right. I used to try to fight it but over the years I have come to just accept it. She would tell me to bring a jacket, and I would say I'm not cold. Inevitably 30minutes later I would be freezing...I could go on and on citing examples but I'll get to the point of this post (but trust me the list of examples is endless)
Those of you who know me, or I should say knew what my bedroom looked like when I was growing up, could comment on my untidiness. In fact those who know my mum's obsessive tidy gene might question how I am her daughter. We would have countless "discussions" over the years about the need to have a clean bedroom. My argument was always that it took too long and that it would just get dirty again (excellent argument young Julia!!!) Over and over Mum would repeat her mantra "maintenance!!!!" if you do a little each day then it's never a big job. To which I would scoff as I put away my laundry by throwing it on the floor.....
Fast forward a few years to now. SHE WAS RIGHT!!! (And side note it is way more difficult keeping a house and yard clean than it was just my bedroom, or Garret and my teensy apartment!)
We have been away the past few weekends and going to the gym a few evenings a week which leaves minimal time for a big cleanup. So we had a chat last night about how to best keep stuff organized and you will never guess what we mantra for the ShWalsh family "maintenance"!
We are going to make a list each week with jobs on it so that we can make sure we are tackling more than just the kitchen and laundry. (and those two things sure pile up quickly too) I wonder how everyone else makes time?! Any pointers? (aside from "always listen to your mother")

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thumbs up

My brother is notorious for giving the thumbs up to everything in It movie tickets or his Wendy's burger. The other afternoon I introduced Nanny to Palm Bay and had her pose for a picture we could send to Taylor:


I should have got an "after" shot as well... She did not so much like the smooth smooth taste of palm bay, and she traded it in for a bud light lime instead!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Channeling my inner Martha

Last Saturday my mum and I spent some time canning. G was at a bachelor party so I wanted to show him just how much fun he was missing ;) I have started feeling a big sense of accomplishment in the past few years when I tackle a successful kitchenesque project...So I thought I would delve a little deeper into the land of mason jars and preservatives! We aren't a huge jam family so we decided to start with spicy pickled beans (the perfect accompaniment to any caesar or bloody Mary)


They look quite lovely but we have 2 weeks until the taste test will let us know for sure! We have started a list of everything else we want to can this year (while I am a newbie my mum has definitely done this before) We are going to do sweet peppers, pickled onions, dill pickles and an antipasti type of veggie. Is it super nerdly that I can't wait to see jars lined up in my basement so I can pretend to be Laura Ingalls?
Or I guess I could just say It never hurts to be prepared.... You know, just in case?