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!