Oh, Canada

Ellie loves Canada. She asked in the summer if her Birthday (which is in January) could be Canada Day themed.

We put a little shin dig together with her preschool buds & cousins.

We did a scavenger hunt, though admittedly my expectations were too high for preschoolers and kindergarteners, BUT they still had fun. I had set out clues around the house, then within each clue icon along with the next set of wordplay was a Canadian icon they were to take and keep and once they collected all the icons, they got the prize. BUT…they just kind of ran in a herd from one clue to the next.

I DEFINITELY stole the scavenger hunt clues from: http://www.melissaanddoug.com/blogpost?postId=puzzle-play-activity-a-counting-by-10s-puzzle-hunt-printable

We also had a craft where they were to make their own flag for the land they all think they rule. We did a Canada flag pinata which although was a hit, definitely looked extremely un patriotic.

Finally, we did a spin on pin the tale on the donkey but instead, was pin the maple leaf on the flag.

Although Justin Trudeau & Sophie Gregoire Trudeau didn’t make an appearance, they were present in true cardboard cutout form.

We love this girl so darn much, and if she ever questions my love of her, I have pictures of me glueing tissue paper to an empty box to make her her coveted canada flag pinata and showing up to Staples asking for 3.5′ high printouts of our Prime Minister and his wife.

 

In Da Club.

Our latest project is done (well, at least 90% done, which as you know is our MO).

Off of Charlie’s bedroom is a small bonus room. It used to have a door which lead to a small platform. When we had our roof redone, the platform was interfering with the integrity of part of the roof we, we had it removed. SO now, we had a door that actually lead to nothing but some broken bones.

So, we when we had the windows replaced in the house, we had them convert the door to another window.

With the many issues of the roofers we used, this room also had lots of water damage done to the ceiling. SO, that needed to be replaced. There used to be a small closet in this bonus room, too, but we opted to take it down to get some more space.

We thought this room was going to be a quick fix (rookie mistake), but all in all it worked out as the extra work lead us to some wires that were rubbed bare and a fire waiting to happen. SO that was remedied in a hurry.

Once we got all the major headaches out of the way it was just some paint, some laminate flooring, and some cute kid accents to make this room transformed into a super fun kid hang out.

I wish it were my office!

 

 

Sod Off.

Or, rather, rip of 52, 301 layers of concrete, lay down oodles of top soil, then gently lay ON the sod….

We have a very long driveway. And are fortunate to have a set back double car garage. BUT, we never use it for our cars. So the big debate started. Do we…

  1. keep the concrete slab at the back and have a mix of grassy area to play around in, and hard? Or….
  2. Tear up the concrete (little did we know what exactly that meant…)  and lay down sod to increase the grassy area.

I’m sure by now you guessed what we chose….

Like any project we start, we naively think it will be a “quick weekend project…”. I think it was a Friday night when Rob decided to start digging up the concrete. Then that lead to twenty thousand more nights of digging up the concrete. I helped. My father in law helped. My brother in law helped. Our neighbours helped. Rob barely did anything…. *wink*

 

It was a MONSTER of a project. SO MANY LAYERS OF ASPHALT AND CONCRETE.

Finally, all the dust settled (aka, many loads of a big truck taking away all the rubble. All. The. Rubble.), we laid in lots of top soil and triple mix, then a nice new plush layer of sod.

Sod on, I say. Sod on.

 

 

Who’s Side are You on?

Wow– it’s been some time. Maybe you thought we got stuck into some huge DIY mess where we were locked up and couldn’t get out. Orrrr maybe we just lost track of time and now need to play catch up with the goings on in this OldNewHouse of ours.

Let’s start off with the siding,  I think that’s where we just about left off from the last post.

The original wooden siding of the house was nice and full of cute & clever details, BUT it was starting to rot, and Rob nor myself enjoy heights, so didn’t want to volunteer to get up there and scrape/sand then paint. And because of the beginning stages of rot, we decided to go with aluminium. SO happy with it. What’s even better is we also had them add a layer of insulation, so hopefully that will help keep the upstairs a bit more warm in the cold months that lay ahead.

The original siding was dark brown, but after some humming and hawing, went with a cream colour that balanced with the new window trim. SO happy with the results!

I present to you; The Mudroom.

This has been a long work in progress. The plans will that this mudroom will serve as the main entrance for the house for the family (read: school years). For a couple of reasons…

1. we put on a code padlock, so no need for keys and lost keys and forgotten keys and i accidentally ate my key keys (I can see it happening..)

2. Our main entrance, though equipped with a front hall closet, doesn’t lend itself for a lot of drop-your-stuff-space. If we fast forward life a bit, I wanted a designated area and easy access for school bags, muddy rain boots, running shoes, dog leash and accessories (read: poop bags. All the poop bags), ALL THE HATS AND MITTS (oh my gosh.), etc. So you know….by very definition, A Mudroom.

When we moved in, the porch off the kitchen was a touch worse-for-wear. The wooden beams everything was rotting, not insulated, was sinking, and was basically a mouse hotel. While we did the kitchen reno, I mistakenly loaded up the back porch -which then had lots of build in shelves and storage – with dry goods. Well, a day later when I opened up the pantry to grab some crackers EVERYTHING was shredded. And eaten. And pooped on. So that was nice. Enter mouse traps— exit an entire family history of mice. Sorry guys, but, you asked for it.

So from then on that room until we could give it some attention became a bit of a drop-zone for stuff. But once the weather warmed up…

  • down came the walls
  • new window
  • new door
  • new walls
  • insulation
  • new floor supports
  • new floor
  • new light fixture
  • upper shelving/”cubbies”
  • Bench w/ storage
  • Magnetic display

Keep in mind, this was about a 2 year project. Because it wasn’t something like a kitchen reno where it NEEDED to be done to have your day-to-day life function, we just picked away at it as both money and time allowed.

Initially we had some contractors quote out to do the cubbies/bench/storage solution. But….it came with a hefty price tag. We were willing to pay for the work to be done, but also had a budget. Those quotes…well, they blew up our budget. Like…exploded. So…what else to do but turn to Ikea…and make it so.

We got all the shelving from ikea. We spaced out the upper shelves and then put in fake face plates to make it look super custom. Still need to do that on the bottom unit, but…time. Added a strip of Crown Moulding to the top and bam. Custom cubbies at a fraction (f.r.a.c.t.i.o.n.) of the cost.

For the bench, we had a long strip of foam custom made and cut for us. Then I got some outdoor fabric (60% off ….woop!) and covered the foam cushion. THIS WAS EASY. Seriously– no sewing skill at all needed. Barely any skill needed, really.  So we had the wooden base for the bench, the cushion, and fabric. Lay down the fabric good side down, put the cushion down and centred, topped with the wood. Pull the fabric up one side at a time and staple. Boom. Done.

The Magnet Wall, is quite simply a metal sheet with moulding attached to frame it. What’s better about this is the metal was left here in the house, AND the trim was leftover from another project. So this cost us virtually $0.

For the baskets up top…ugh. Don’t get me started. You’d think for an Ikea shelf that ikea boxes/bins would exist. Well, sure, they DO, but not the size I wanted. They needed to be big enough to hold a fair amount of hats/mitts/etc but I didn’t want them to overhang the shelf. I was very picky about the boxes. One night I went to 5 different stores but couldn’t find anything that I was happy with. So, you’ll be surprised to discover the end result were diaper boxes covered in raw canvas….

 

 

 

 

 

Lumberjack

Huzzah! Lumberjack Charlie is 1! But let’s be real, first birthdays are more for the parents than the babes. Huzzah! We made it! We powered through night time feedings, nap schedules that changed every 3 months, deciphering  hungry cries/poo cries/IM JUST CRYING BECAUSE cries, and more.

We got to see our baby boy’s personality come alive in a different way this time, too. We got to see Ellie interact, grow with, teach,….fight……,  and adjust to life with an addition.

Charlie is our chill boy. He’s easy to please, super smiley, a deep belly laughing, brute force power house, eager, every-ready-battery-when-it-comes-to-climbing, face hugging, sweet, sweet Charlie. He -so far- idolizes Ellie. For a long time, she was the only one who could get him belly laughing. Love watching them together — that is, when Ellie isn’t freaking out over Charlie touching one of her toys that she was playing with last week and was about to touch again. She likes to take his hands and help him walk, jump up and down when he cries (because it was the first thing that ever made him laugh), and help feed him breakfast (…that and giving him the pieces of her meal that aren’t her favourite…sharing is caring?).

Wouldn’t trade a day without our Charlie Boy in it.

We did a Lumberjack themed party for year one. Made some bunting banners, food tags, water labels etc, as well as a some burlap, plaid banners, and wood decor from a friend and neighbour who is also doing a lumberjack party in a couple of weeks. Perfect!

Rob got a burst of energy last night and made mini-axes for parting gifts. You’re welcome, parents! Axes are appropriate for a 1 year old party, right? Thought so.

My sister is a cake genius. She made a mini stump smash cake for charlie and a BIG stump cake that WAS PLAID ON THE INSIDE. And, on top of it all, she also made cupcakes. My goodness are we ever lucky to have her! For that and many reasons ❤

And, because I’m in the giving mood, here is a download file to some free lumberjack printables for any lumberjack party in your future. Pages are 11 x 17 FYI .

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-9-53-55-pm

 

 

Putting the Arty in Party

We decided to give Ellie a party this year with just her wee-lil-friends.

We survived!

The theme was “arts-n-crafts” as per Ellie’s request.

After some pinteresting, I came across these two links as pin-spiration for the party.

https://innerchildfun.com/2011/11/pretend-sweets-made-with-sponges.html

and, http://www.todaysparent.com/kids/birthday-parties/birthday-party-ideas-art-theme/

For the game I cheated. It had nothing to do with arts or crafts. Just a presentation board with holes cut out, covered with tissue paper then a paper bag attached to it with a prize inside. Game? Well line up, go punch a hole, take your prize. Ta-da! Game over.

After discussing with my sister, kids seem to be totally content just being in another space with news toys and things to look at. But, I was nervous of not having enough to do and having 10 eyes stare at me like “what’s next?”.

I made a banner of Ellie’s favourite things (recited by her) so everyone helped paint the big poster. We bingo-dabbed the picture frames and then added in a square from the big giant poster for everyone to take home a part of Ellie’s favourite things “….awwwwwww.”

But now I must leave and go investigate the basement toy room….wish me luck.

Three.

THREE YEARS.

Three years ago to this day I was still in newborn-glow-phase. Little did I know, I was about to enter into a handful of months where I felt inadequate more times to count, cried over things from neighbours shovelling my walk, to thinking about how I would ever manage to cut a watermelon again. I would be leaving those handful of months feeling some of the lowest lows I ever felt. It was tough– I was even tougher on myself. I would go through those months wondering “WHAT HAVE I DONE?! WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN HAVE BABIES?!?!”

As you can guess, those feelings very much diminished (…enter January 25th, 2016…haha kidding Charlie.) On the flipside of the “little did I know” tale…. Little did I know, I would be entering to a new world like never before. A world with Eleanor. This is a wonderful place and a place I never want to not know. Eleanor is filled with such wonder and imagination that I sometimes turn up her monitor extra loud during her “quiet time” where I can listen to the stories she tells her stuffed animals and the worlds she creates. Just this afternoon our living room was a pirate ship. Pretty awesome world.

Little did I know my days would be filled with such laughter, sunny spirit, furious determination, fierce independence, and a love so deep that I can say with utmost certainty that part of my life was made for her. Made for her to meet her, know her, love her, teach her, and most importantly…learn from her.

This year, we witnessed her accept Charlie into our family with such certainty and embraced him from day one. Eager to help as we hit the floor running.

She sets the pace, and though it can be hard to keep up (i.e. the scene changes from our living room to a pirate ship to a canoe going to the cottage in seconds. Tiring!) She blazes through any and all trails, and I love to follow.


Now that I’m a blubbery mess as I reflect on the year and look through photos of the year, let’s switch gears ABOUT THESE SUPER CUTE DOLLS.

Santa was so kind to bring Ellie a dollhouse for Christmas. This dollhouse is gigantic…and in retrospect, maybe a touch of buyers remorse (but the people at the garage sale didn’t take returns…). It didn’t come with dolls, and would fit Barbie’s perfectly fine. But for some reason that I can’t really explain, I didn’t want to introduce barbies juuuust yet. But, all the other dolls readily available were just too small and looked out of place. I turned to etsy and found my inspiration to get little wooden dolls and paint them to be members of the family (!!!!!!). Enter next roadblock, the tallest I could find these little dolls was 4.75″. Not tall enough for this doll house. UGH. After  lots and lots and lots of searching I finally found 8″ ones. And the angels rejoiced.

It was super fun, but more fun watching her open them for her birthday and realising they were us, in weirdo bendy doll form. So excited! so happy!

THREE!

Thanks Eleanor for infusing imagination at play back into my life. Bringing me back to make-believe and story building (apparently a make believe world where I play the piano for the family’s entertainment…) Can’t imagine going back to January 3, 2014….because there that was when the world didn’t know you, the wonderful, crazy, energetic, dinosaur loving, book hoarding, crafting enthusiast, wonky wordsmith You.

Catching Up.

Our days are packed and we are pretty busy people, and apparently 3 year olds live pretty social lifestyles for us to keep up with. The household of  a young family is undoubtedly a busy one. That paired with orders coming in for freelance and my small etsy shop— there’s not a lot of time left in our days. But, with that time that’s left we tend to tinker on the projects in the house. It is kind of like our downtime, as backwards as that may be.

So, that being said, we have been playing a bit of catch-up with some things around here.

SEWING & CRAFTING & STAIRWELL.

Whenever I was going to break out the sewing machine, I had to lug it into the dining room to set up. Set up was annoying. To reach a plug I had to either hunt for the extension cord or shimmy the table closer to the wall. I would have to dig out my cutting mat stored under the couch, then gather up all the supplies that were squirrelled away. Then to clean up again, which lead to putting things away when I was tired and not at all interested in putting things back properly so enter: losing all sorts of things and/or screwing up any organization I had done with a fresh state of mind.

The idea was to eventually make a sewing/crafting room in the basement tied in with the laundry room. It was a Saturday morning while changing loads of laundry that I looked around and decided “no time like the present”. Rob came home from morning errands to find me shuffling furniture around things torn apart.

We had shelving units and an empty table and it was just becoming a breeding ground  for STUFF. And I’d rather sort through the STUFF (toss or otherwise) and get this sewing room under control. So we cleared things out, raised (and painted!) a shelving unit for it to be a better height for cutting etc, painted and plopped up some peg board, ta-da!

As for the stairwell, Rob patched up all the holes still leftover from the electricians from when we first moved in. And we (okay, he) painted it and then for a little variety, painted the ceiling bright (bright.) green. Because, why not? It’s a hallway. Have fun.

 

PANTRY & MILKBOX.

We painted the stairwell & pantry white. And while painting decided to give the shelves inside a little facelift & tummy tuck.

Super simple: resident wrapping paper, glue, water, tape. Done.

Same idea with the pantry, except substitute in scrapbooking paper and no need for tape. Easy makeover just because.

 

** MORE PICS & INFO OF THE REC ROOM BELOW, REMEMBER CLICKING ON PICS MAKES THEM BIG**

 

 

REC ROOM.

Finishing touches galore! Trim up! Quarter round up! Photos up! Shelves and toy storage, done! TV up! Heating Plate Up! Revived shelving unit done! We now spend a LOT of time down here. The kiddos love it.

Where did Summer go?

I have been out of school for some time and I don’t yet have children in school to re-experience summer, but man…it went fast!

So fast that I don’t think we did one blog post. Maybe we did. But I’m feeling far too lazy to go back and check when the last post was.

We had the entire house outfitted with brand new windows. Oh my gosh. Best decision. The ability to get breezes in the house and fresh air is just the best. Our front porch was all glassed, like a sun room. Though it’s nice in the winter to have an enclosed area acting as a primer before going out into the frigid, I still thought I’d prefer it opened up again. So, while the windows were being installed, we had him take out the biggest pane of glass and then we finished off the job. It’s way easier bringing in the groceries and stroller not having a door at the very top step that’s for sure.

I love it. We spend way more time out there now than we did when it was closed in. Rob also installed an outdoor ceiling fan to keep bugs at bay and a continuous breeze-a-comin’. We need to change out the flooring on the porch because it won’t withstand the extra moisture/dirt/snow/ice/salt it will now be exposed to. The next debate is now to paint the front door or not. The verdict is still out. (…but it will probably be yellow…)

However, those lovely breezes aided a bat family to find their way in the house. Hooray! Except not at all hooray. And of course they were always discovered swooping over our heads between the hours of 1 and 4 in the morning. So it was totally convenient.

It’s been a busy summer of bigger & necessary projects (re: window replacement and bat removal & prevention) so haven’t had as much time to do the fun things.

We’ve been picking away at the basement rec room as well as the office. Happy to say the office is done! Okay– we need to put the curtains back up…but a project done by us wouldn’t sound right it was anything but 90% complete!

The basement is looking amazing. So in love with it. And it’s been a great spot to head during the super hot summer we’ve had. All that’s left there is hanging (…and purchasing) a TV, hanging up artwork, and then the baseboards. You know, all that 10% stuff!

We kept 3 of the old windows from the office and are going to hang them up above the counter. It’s a good solution because that wall has been bare for far too long.  The office’s theme was basically wood. But nothing matched. The wooden desk was a different wood than the floor, which was different than the trim, which was different than the counter, which was different than the beams up top. SO lots of wood. So, to break up the wood, we painted the shelving unit (colour: Denim Blue by Behr) as well as the top slab of the desk. Also added some new handles on the shelving unit. Ta-Da!

As for the next creative/fun project, I think we’re going to get another set of engineering prints done and put them up in the old glass windows now in the office. We’ll see.

More to come including the befores/during/afters of the basement.

Enjoy the last few days of summer!