Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creating a blog header

So, today I decided to try and create a header for my blog.
I googled up some tips on how to do this. I found this great blog post, describing how to do it, step-by-step.
Unfortunately, while my intentions were good, the product was not. I was not in the most creative state of mind and after about 3 hours of tinkering, I ended up making a header that I think is really sad looking. This was the first failed attempt:

I didn't think it was TOO terrible, except that you can see the copyright image over the middle pattern (which I borrowed from the net...) So, I thought I'd try something a little different, which ended in failed attempt #2:

Again, not exactly what I envisioned. In fact, almost worse than failed attempt #1! The only thing I like about it is the picture of Mirabelle (on the Left....isn't she cute?!)
I think I need to sleep on it. Maybe tomorrow I'll have more brain energy. For now, enjoy failed attempt #2 everyone!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The New Digs!

Obviously, our new place (along with selling our current place - Check!) has been taking over my thoughts. Now that the deal is firm and we're working towards figuring out exactly when the closing will be, I wanted to post some photos of our new place, so that you have a better idea what I'm rambling on about all the time!

The house is adorable. Of course, I am dying to get in and make *a few* changes to the decor (aka: repaint most rooms, and the kitchen!) As much as I am a fan of yellow, which can be light and airy and brightens any room, I don't necessarily want it in EVERY room. So, that will be one of the first changes. Luckily, the house is carpet-free, and mostly hardwood (my favourite!), so flooring won't need changing anytime soon.

And here is the house :) I will most likely be giving another, very different tour in a few months when we actually get possession! Some of the pictures are from the site where we found it, and some we took ourselves.

The front of the house is very quaint. It has dormer windows and very nicely kept shrubs. After being a landscaper through university, I swore I would never live in a house that had shrubs that needed pruning. And here I am, months away from just that. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this...

The entryway: Dining/Living room to the left, sitting area to the right, kitchen straight ahead. *I love their carpets! Alas, they do not come with the house.

To the right is probably my favourite room in the house. If you've been reading my blog at all, you probably know why: The fireplace! I love fireplaces, and think this one is particularly pretty! We will probably have a similar set-up, with the dining table at the back, but will have more of a sitting area in the front half. (Please look past all of the fur...)

To the left of the entrance is another sitting area. Technically, this is the dining area. We prefer the idea of having two separate sitting rooms. The room is much bigger than it appears...that is just one huge sectional!

Of course, at the end of the hall is the kitchen. It has almost all new appliances and granite countertops. Joe and I aren't really fans of the cupboards, and are trying to figure out how we can repaint the and make them look a bit more our style. The kitchen also looks over the gorgeous backyard, which is a bonus.

The basement is fully finished, and has neat tile floors. Again...look past the fur. There is also a finished bedroom, a full bathroom and a laundry room. 

We think we might keep the basement bathroom just the way it is for a while :) Or not...

Up the stairs there are three more bedrooms. The first is the master bedroom. It is pretty awesome, and has a walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. I love the dormer windows! 

The ensuite.

Bedroom number two.

 Bedroom number three, currently being used as an office. We will probably use one of the bedrooms as an office for the meantime, until we need more space :)

A view of the upstairs landing.

Of course, the backyard was probably the selling feature of the house for us. It is really big and private (fully fenced), and has a pool and a hot-tub! This will be where we spend our summers :)

Those are most of the highlights! We are really excited. The hardest part will be waiting to move in!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Some of you may have been wondering...why isn't our house up for sale? Or at least, why haven't I been mentioning it? I mean, isn't this time sensitive?!

Well...in an amazing twist of fate, We Sold Our House!!!

I know!! Isn't it crazy? And awesome?!
Let me go back and tell you how this happened.
About 10 days ago, I wrote this post, talking about how thrilled we were to have bought a new house! When I wrote this, I was excited, but also anxious at the idea that our house wasn't even up for sale.

Little did I know, but my lovely friend, Shannon, and her husband, Kyle, had been perusing through my blog and were feeling a little interested in our current house. They had been looking to buy their first home, and ours had everything they were looking for. They wanted a century home with a big backyard that didn't need a ton of updating (which is exactly what we had to offer!)

About an hour after posting about our new place, Joe and I were looking into options for selling our house when I received a message from Shannon asking if our house was for sale. A couple of days later, her and Kyle were walking through, and putting in an offer!

It all seemed a little too good to be true. But, tonight they came through with a home inspector, and they decided that they were, indeed, going through with it!

We are so excited! And we are also excited about WHO is moving in! It's their first home! So great! Plus, I know they are going to love it as much as we have (and we may even get to see what it looks like once they've done it in their style!)

When it was all said and done, we cracked the champagne to celebrate selling our first home, and for Shannon and Kyle buying their first! What an exciting day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Latest Thrifting Find!

Joe and I often stop at a local thrift store after Saturday Market. This past weekend, we saw a really awesome, solid wood, retro hutch. And we couldn't believe that it was only $40! It is in amazing condition. So, we bought it, and negotiated a price to have them drop it off right at our house. So, for a grand total of $63, we bought our hutch and even got it delivered today! Here it is:

I LOVE the hardware, and everything about it. I am considering re-painting it and doing something fun with it. I am inspired by the green buffet found on this blog's main page. We're excited to find a place for it in our new home! For now it will spend it's days under-used in the 3-season sunroom.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Official!

It's official. The house is ours!!
Yesterday we did our home inspection.
This was the only condition on our offer to buy our dream home, seen here.

It was a lot of fun walking through with the inspector. It meant we got to spend about 3 hours in our future home, which gave me lots of time to start dreaming! Of course, the inspector found a few minor problems in the house (which is expected.... I mean, what house is perfect?!) and so we felt comfortable waiving the condition. Tonight we went over and officialized our purchase!! We are thrilled.

To be quite honest, we have LOVED the process of buying our home (and hopefully selling? More to come on that at a later date) privately. It meant that we got to meet the actual home-owners, and hear their stories about the house. They also gave us advice about the house, the pool etc. We even got the scoop on the neighbours! When a sale is done through agents, although maybe more efficient and practical, the personal part is left out.

And on a further note, we actually really like the people we bought the house from! They have been so welcoming and fun, and even brought out wine for us after we put in our offer...and again after the home inspection! It has made the whole process so much better (The sellers...not the wine! Although the wine was great, too!) We've really enjoyed talking with them, and even sitting to chat during each visit.

So, back to the house itself...it needs very minimal changes. But that doesn't mean that I'm not dreaming about paint colours and new furniture! I've been spending a lot of time on Pinterest these days. For those of you who have yet to join, it's a fun site that helps you to organize your interests and ideas. Right now, I've been using it for decorating tips and ideas, but you can use it for many things. If you want to follow me on Pinterest, add me here! If you can't figure out how to join and want to, just leave a comment on this post.

It has been a pretty exciting (and crazy, and hectic!) week for me, as all of this has happened in the midst of report card season. As of next weekend things should hopefully be a little more settled.

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our New Place

I have had quite a few people asking for the details on our new place.

Yes, we did buy it yesterday, and depending on the home inspection we hope to do this weekend, it will be ours in July! 

I thought that looking back on our "Must-Haves" and "Bonus" lists on what we were looking for in a home (seen here) would be a great way to introduce our house 

Here was the list I came up with in December. This time, I shall highlight the things that it has and cross out the does-not-haves. 

The "Must-Haves":

- Good Location Although the location is not where we wanted to buy originally, it is great! It is still walking distance to most amenities, and we will still make full effort to be car-free commuters. 
- Lots of storage Yep, closets in every room makes my heart happy!
- 4 Bedrooms (Or room to add a 4th) It is technically a 3-bedroom, with a 4th in the basement. And, if we need more space one day, there is plenty of room for an addition. 
- At least 2 bathrooms It has 2 full bathrooms and a 2-piece attached to the master bedroom. Woohoo!
- A large kitchen The kitchen is nice. It is not yet our dream kitchen, but what fun would the house be if it didn't need any changes? Oh, but it does have beautiful granite countertops! 
- Good schools It feeds into a great school where there is, indeed, French Immersion!
- A garage It has a garage-and-a-half. This will be awesome.
- A usable finished or finish-able basement It is fully finished, including a sitting area, bedroom and full bathroom.
- A mud-room or at least an entryway closet There is a tiled entry hallway with a large closet. Nice.
- A nice backyard I've rarely seen nicer: 1/3 of an acre, private with trees and perennials, and did I mention the pool and hot tub?
- Good bones We think so.
- A fireplace Yes! My wish came true! There is a beautiful fireplace with a white, wooden mantle! Gorgeous! It is natural gas... no wood burning for me! 

And the "Bonus" list, or things that would be nice to have: 

- Wood floors It is a carpet free home, all hardwood or ceramic tile!
- A sunroom Not yet...maybe one day.
- A pool and/or hot-tub BOTH!!!
- Private setting Very. 
- Open concept Kind of. It has great flow, at least. 
- A double garage Nope. 
- A garden shed It has 2 sheds, although one is considered a pool house. There is a really neat one in the back that looks like a cabin...we plan on one day making it a bunkie where our future kiddos can have sleepovers. We are going to have the coolest kid hangout! 

Amazingly, somehow, we have almost all of the things on our wish list in this home! It still seems a bit unreal. We're pretty excited that it isn't an overly huge house, and that all of the space seems usable. It's definitely our style!

Now, send us good vibes as we venture out to sell our current home!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Second House

Wait a second...didn't I just blog, uh, yesterday? About our first house?
Ok, I did.

And, after 7 months and offers on 3 different houses, we finally found our second house!
It is beautiful! We are in love. I don't want to write too much now... we need to process. Here it is, in all of it's glory. Oh, and did I mention that it has a pool? I have a feeling you'll want to visit us this summer :) We're going to have a family here! This may be the house that we live in until retirement and beyond. There is so much running through our minds right now. Pretty exciting.

Out of respect for the current owners, I'm going to wait until we take ownership (in...July, I know, it will be a long time to wait!) to post pictures of the inside. You'll just have to wait and see :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Our First House

Joe and I have still been seriously looking for a new home. Before I did that, I thought it would be a good idea to do a little tour of our current (and first!) home, with all of its quirks!

Most people who visit us love our house, and we do, too! However, after living here for a year and a half, we're realizing that a century home, while beautiful and full of character, isn't necessarily our dream home long term.

Unfortunately the photos aren't great, but you'll get the idea. We have been "de-cluttering" our home to make it sale-ready, in the case that we do find our dream home any time soon. This way, we'll be ready to sell our home very quickly.

As you enter from our front door, you are greeted by our tall ceilings and equally tall (and steep!) staircase. You can see ahead our dining area, which is open to the kitchen. It's really neat to have a seemingly "open-concept" home, which is in fact over 100 years old.

To the left is our parlour. I love all of the tall windows... another perk of having an old home like this.

The kitchen is next. It is a lovely oak kitchen with tons of storage. If I was to have long term plans for this house, I would find a way to make it white...I'm always dreaming of my white kitchen.

Behind the kitchen, there was an addition added to the home in the 70's, which includes a bathroom, another bedroom (making this a 4-bedroom home) and a storage/sun room. (You can read more about the sunroom here.) After much work on our part, it is all updated and looks great! The addition now has new walls and insulation, new windows, a new roof and even a new eavestrough.

Upstairs, there are technically 3 bedrooms. I find this debatable, though, since one of the "bedrooms" is only about 9 by 8 ft and has no closet. We use this as our office room.

Bedroom #2 is also missing a closet. Luckily for us, we aren't in need of too much storage space these days with just the two of us. There is also some strange writing on the wall from the previous owners, who used this as a nursery. Since we don't use this room much, I've never felt the urge to cover it up.

Although it DOES have a closet, the master bedroom is the strangest of them all. For some reason, the previous owners installed a bathtub IN the bedroom. There is an ensuite bath attached, right behind the tub, where the walls could have been placed differently to include the tub. It will forever be a mystery to me why they chose to do it this way. Most people who have had our house tour either "love it" or "hate it". I tend to wish it wasn't a part of the bedroom, but have gotten used to it. Again, if I had long-term plans to stay here, the tub would become a part of the bathroom.

Our yard is massive. I'm talking 230 ft. long. Unfortunately the best shot I have of it at the moment was taken through the office window after our first snowfall. You get the idea. It goes back past the big tree. We've had some great campfire gatherings in that backyard!

Those are the highlights. I'm choosing not to show our creepy, stone basement. If you really want to see it, you'll have to come by!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why I need a fireplace.

I. Am. Freezing.
First of all, Joe is away for a few days on a camping trip. A big empty house always feels colder than a house with people in it. I am wearing fleece pajama pants and a really fuzzy housecoat, but I am still cold! All I can think about is how much I wish I had a fireplace right now.

As I have mentioned here, a fireplace is a "must-have" for the next house Joe and I purchase. A lot of people might not be too concerned about having a fireplace, but I sure am! I'm going to give a few reasons I feel this way.

1. A fireplace adds instant warmth to any room, and let's face it, Canada is cold! It is cold here for half of the year! And it's especially cold when you're like me, and set your thermostat to a low temperature to save energy and money...

2. It also adds instant style! So long as it's not an ugly brick monstrosity... although even those can be made to look great with a few coats of paint! Anyway, fireplaces make an otherwise plain room look amazing.

3. A fireplace makes Christmas better. I mean, otherwise what will I say when I have kids? "Santa comes...through the window"? "The stocking are hung by the...wall? with care?" I mean, really, give Santa a chance!

4. I love ALL types of fireplaces...

From old and rustic...

to traditional...

to new and modern!

Ok...and I'd even take a re-painted brick one :) They are nice, too!

5. And last but not least, my electric fireplace (found on Kijiji for $100! And pictured in this post,) just doesn't cut it. It looks nice, but it is not the same experience.

Basically, I just love fireplaces.

One debate Joe and I have had about fireplaces is whether we would prefer wood burning or natural gas. Joe is all about the wood-burning fireplaces. He argues that they save money and energy on heating since you can use wood to heat parts of the house. I personally love natural gas fireplaces. First of all, they throw off some amazing heat. Secondly, they don't spit smoke into your house, and lastly, they require MUCH less cleaning and maintenance. We'll see...right now we'd take ANY fireplace! I would love to hear your experiences with fireplaces....gas or wood-burning?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to the grind.

It was inevitable.
Tomorrow at 9:00am, instead of being here:

I will be here:

My 20 kiddos are back and I need to be back on my toes! I'm feeling bittersweet about returning to work after my relaxing (and hectic, if it's possible to mix the two!) two-week winter break. I'm excited to see my students again, and to get back into routine, but can it really compare to being able to sleep in and go the the gym at my leisure? Or being able to hang out with my cute nephew way more than normal? Or spending so much quality time with my wonderful hubby? Or meeting up with so many family and friends?

As much as I'm not looking forward to work right now, being a teacher is an amazing job and one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I love getting to know so many great kids and their families. I love when my students won't leave without giving me a big hug or when they give me something they made themselves. I love when parents come in and express their gratitude for something I've done for their child. The relationships you build, and the opportunities to inspire children are amazing. The kids' "aha" moments are equally amazing. I'm going to need to focus on the great things about my career over the next few weeks with the looming report cards I need to write. It will be busy.

I do feel ready and well rested. Bring it on!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Et Voilà!

At last, the linen cabinet is finished! Joe and I carried it to our ensuite bathroom today and the results are great!

Before I show the finished product, I wanted to remind you what it looked like when we bought it:

The colours don't quite translate on camera, but the green in the shelves adds a lot of character to the cabinet. Here is the finished product:

If we had long-term plans for this house, I would definitely change the tile in this bathroom! For now, I'll only do things that we can take with us!

The legs are still not 100% sturdy, so I'm going to try some wood-glue next to create some grip. It was a fun project, and the final cost was still only $10, since I used existing paint and painting materials. A great thrift find!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Project #2

My second mini-project this week has proven to be much more work than I expected. I planned on having my new linen cabinet up and being used by now. Unfortunately, 2 days and 4 coats of paint later, it is still drying on our basement floor.

The first problem was that I decided to use paint that we had in our paint collection. It was actually left by our home's previous owners. The paint was not only eggshell (instead of semi-gloss, which would have looked WAY better) but it also seemed to be a bit thin. Which is why it needed so many layers.

The second problem encountered was one that we were aware of when we purchased the cabinet. The legs were very wobbly. I discovered that the screws underneath were loose, but the threading was pretty much gone in the wood. Every time I tried to tighten on the legs they would inevitably loosen again. So, I decided to try and make new grip by pushing the screws into the leg even further. It seems pretty good so hopefully it will hold up!

My goal is to have this installed in the bathroom by tomorrow!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Projects for the week

Since I still have a week of holidays, I have a goal to get a few little projects done.

My first project was minimizing the draft of cold air that comes from our unheated 3-season room. For the past 2 weeks, we've had a towel propped up by the door to block the draft, comme ça:

As you can see, there once was a draft blocking door shoe which must have been removed during the summer renovations. So, we got a new one, and I installed it this morning. Since the door is smaller than most, I also had to saw a piece of the door shoe off, which proved to be the most challenging part of the task. And here it is...hopefully this will solve the draft problem and help with the energy efficiency of our home.

Unfortunately, this creates a new project...I was hoping the door shoe would cover the old screw holes but they do not. I may need to repaint the door.

Another project I have on the go is re-painting a second hand piece of furniture Joe and I bought this week for $10. Here it is:

 We thought it would be great to use as a linen closet in our upstairs bedroom. (As I may have mentioned before, perhaps the biggest flaw of our house is the serious lack of storage).

My plan is to paint it white. I am, however, considering painting the back of the shelves in a different colour, like in the two examples below:

We'll see. More to come!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!!!

I've been MIA for the last week or so. Christmas and New Years and everything in between has been amazing and busy and relaxing. I would blame my lack of posts on the endless parties and gatherings and food and games over the past week, but probably the biggest reason has been me catching up on sleep...I have been loving sleeping in, but it makes for rather short days.

Anyway, in the spirit of the New Year, I'm going to write down my top 10 highlights of 2011, and also some goals for 2012 (goals are always more serious when they're in writing!). When brainstorming the highlights, I realize what an exciting year it was!

Top Ten of 2011 (In order of preference)

10. Getting back into Cross-Country Skiing: Joe and I were out quite a bit last winter, and discovered Schneider's Bush...inquire if you are interested and don't know about it!

9. Spending time with the family at Rick's Cottage: At the end of the summer, Michael and Micaela made a stop in Ontario between living in Vancouver and heading to Taiwan for the year. This gave our family an opportunity to head to my mom's partner, Rick's amazing cottage up on Lake Shewinagog. Good times!

8. Staying at an Argentinian Estancia: Joe and I spent about 4 days horseback riding and enjoying life on an Argentinian cattle ranch. It was beautiful and relaxing after weeks of roughing it through Peru and Bolivia!

7. Becoming a French Immersion teacher: This year is my first year with my very own class. While some days are challenging and it has been a huge learning curve, I adore my students! It is extremely rewarding working with them. Sorry, no photo!

6. Huacachina, Peru: This is a desert area where we went dune-buggying and sand-boarding. We then spend the night under the stars in the desert. One of the coolest things I have ever done!

5. Getting Beau: The newest addition to our family, our sweet cat, Beau!

4. March Break in Vancouver! Joe and I spent a whirlwind week in the Vancouver area visiting our brothers, Mike and Bob. We spent a lot of time enjoying the beautiful outdoors, and climbed the Stawamus Chief!

3: Climbing Machu Picchu: This has been a long-time dream of mine. This was definitely the most challenging hike I have ever (and possibly WILL ever) done! The scenery was beautiful and the altitude added to the challenge, the the grand finale of Machu Picchu itself made it all worth it.

2. I became on auntie! On February 12th, my sister, Kate, and her husband, Phil, gave birth to Braden Alexander Bauman. My family will never be the same in the best way possible :) He is the cutest little man ever!

1. Getting Married! On June 23rd, I married Joe. This will probably take the cake for the best day of my life! I love him so much and can't wait for many more years with him.

And there are MORE exciting things that happened in my family this year: Dad retired and sold the Lanc (Wow!), Mum bought a new house with Rick, Erin got a contract job, Mike and Mic went to Taiwan, Catherine and Ryan got engaged, Bob met a lucky lady, Jim started training a service dog pup...exciting year!
Goals for 2012:

  • Stay fit: I would love to get to the gym at least 3 times per week. 
  • Find a new home with Joe...hopefully this year!
  • Post a photo a day! This is a new project I'll be taking on, which will be posted here on my blog. I give full credit for this idea to Annica Napier.
  • Become an even better teacher.
  • Travel: The plan right now is to go to Europe with Joe...this one may depend on the housing situation :) Alternatively we may do a few smaller trips.