28 June 2011

I blog therefore I am...

I am so enjoying this world I have only just become a part of.
I have always had lots to say and well...no one to say it to (or who will listen), so sending it out there in the ether that is the interweb is a wonderful thing for me. I am a long ago letter writer who used to put pen to paper when something was bothering me...or pleasuring me. I almost never sent them but I would write them and thereby it was out not in. I can often be heard saying 'better out than in' when referring to sneezes, gas, piggies (our name for the lovely mess that comes from a child's nose) and the like...the same has always held true for me and my inner most thoughts.
Exploring the world of blogs out there has been wonderful, enjoyable, sometimes perplexing, but most of all inspiring. I have been away from my professional world as a designer for many years now as I have been home raising my two young daughters. It has been hard to feel connected to a world I have been so removed from. Gone now are the days when I would wake at 5am to be in the city for 6am wearing killer heels and a fab outfit all to make sure the current project was going according to plan and that we had not missed anything along the way. I loved the pace, the energy, the problem solving, and most of all being creative each and every day. The only problem solving I have done recently is to break up the fight over the fisher price puppy or the argument over who gets to have their bath first (when bathing in the kitchen sink...otherwise they bathe together). What is the point you ask? Well the point is that with this new (to me) world of design blogs I feel a connection to that world I forgot I loved and have missed so much. I feel true inspiration for the first time in what seems like forever and the inspiration is not fleeting, because it comes with each new post...even if the post has nothing to do with design.
So thank you to all the bloggers out there that I am so happy to follow. Thank you Lisa Roy you were the first blog I started reading and in a sense introduced me to so many more. Thanks to Sarah at A Beach Cottage, a world away and so much inspiration. And thanks to the 'Authoress' of  Wind Lost as her most recent post about flowers being the best accessory along with her gorgeous photos (one of them is below) inspired this post.

27 June 2011

Making a house a home...or trying to

So I'm addicted to Pinterest...there...admitting it is the first step. However I have a really good reason for needing all that inspiration...my house.

We have happened into buying fixer-uppers. Our first house was an adorable 2 bedroom bungalow that needed lots of love a care both inside and out. We spent two years working on it a little bit at a time and after we had Isobel realized that we needed more room for her and for Caitlin who was in her late teens at the time...not exactly ideal to have them sharing a room. We were lucky, we sold at the top of the market and managed to buy our next house (almost three times the size) just as the market was on the downturn...sold high bought low. Again however our budget only allowed another fixer-upper.

Now, almost three years later, we are still fixer-upping. Our house when we bought it was 70's-80's-tastic.

Great bones, but carpet on the walls,

Carpet on the doors,

Brown shag on the stairs...80's wallpaper,

Plus carpeted base boards, and an awful kitchen...

It scared everyone else off, so we were lucky that I could see beyond and my husband could trust me. That, and we were running out of time and other options.

The day after we moved in, Caitlin and I tore up the carpet on the stairs (ewww).

This is what they look like now (though I still want to replace the railing)

My in-laws were visiting from England a month after we moved in, so I quickly set to work on the kitchen. Though we couldn't (and have yet to) afford a complete reno, I went for a quick coat of white paint, new hardware, a new counter top and faucet and last summer tackled the backsplash.

Slowly but surely we are getting there. The carpeted walls and doors are all gone. Most rooms have had a coat of paint, and it is just the bathrooms with their blush and baby blue fixtures that show signs of the house that was. This summer and fall we hope to finally tackle the laundry room and main floor washroom, and if we can get the timing right sand and re-stain the living room floor.

Still lots to do...and maybe some day we will get that kitchen reno we both want...until then we will take it one room at a time.

25 June 2011

Simple Food, Food for Thought

We woke early in this household this morning...before 7am and Jake and I are longing for the day that the girls know what a weekend morning should look like. It is rainy here in Muskoka and I am longing for some sun, there seems to be hope for tomorrow...but will everything dry out enough to play outside..we'll see. The girls have been struck by a monster summer cold so vegging out inside today won't be the worst of things....however I digress

As the girls veg comfortably in front the of the TV watching Super Why (love it btw) I take the opportunity to read a few of my fav blogs. As you will see to the right the first in the list is A Beach Cottage and her post this morning was a day in the life (I'll apologize now if these links do not work as planned). Anyhooo... Sarah's post this morning touched on simplifying life and how she shops for food. Based simply on buying local and organic where possible she is making small changes to simplify this part of her family's life even if only by being more aware. I can relate as we are trying to do that here as well.

This past winter Jake and I decided it was time to make a change in our lives. As Izzy prepares to go off to JK (I trust you'll here more about that as fall approaches...sigh) we started looking closely at ourselves. Both having been overweight most of our adult lives we knew it was time to shift life to ensure our girls a better chance at healthy bodies. Now, I cannot speak for Jake but part of my motivation was not wanting to be the fat mom...and so begins our tale of clean eating.

Since starting in mid February we have both lost just about 40lbs each.... to put that in perspective we often say we have each lost one of our children (actually more now as they are each only 30lbs soaking wet). I started by asking one of my best friends (and a personal trainer) Natalie for help. Nat talked a lot about eating clean and I had no clue what she meant by that...did she wash everything before she ate it? When asked the answer was simple...clean eating is eating whole foods as close to their original state as possible. So, little to no processing...fresh fruit, veg, meats, whole grains healthy proteins. She begged us to pick up a copy of Clean Eating Magazine and the rest as they say is history. We were hooked. We are seriously eating the best food imaginable. We feel fantastic and by nature the way we eat is better for the environment...less processing means less packaging...and fresh foods (and their scraps) mean a huge compost heap. Last night we had Grilled Chicken and Veggie Quesadilla's with tomatillo sauce...yum yum yum! The recipe can be found in this month's Clean Eating Magazine...or email or leave a comment and I'll share.

Now that we are into summer here, our farmers market is up and running and while not huge it does offer us the chance to purchase some local produce which is sooo much nicer. The problem with living in Canada, in that we only have a few months of growing...so getting local fresh produce year round is impossible, and living in Muskoka, the land of lakes rocks and trees there is not much land suitable for farming so finding much variety can be difficult. However living where most come to play it is a trade off I am willing to make.

So this me...before and after (well during really) ... We are thrilled with the food the flavours and how much better we feel.
Thanks for joining me today


24 June 2011

My Personal Editor

They say behind every good man is a good woman...in this case the reverse is also true.
My husband Jake is an editor, though not currently. I discovered yesterday (well I already knew) that while you can take the editor away from the editing, you cannot take the need to edit out of the editor.

Being new to the world of blogging I thought well how will anyone find me if I don't tell them about it, so I posted a link to my blog on my Facebook page. My husband appears to have been the first to view the blog and was quick to comment on FB. His comments were not however words of encouragement or congratulations they were edits; it seems I got the saying 'funnier than I'll get out' wrong as it should be 'funnier than all get out'. I had to smile. This is my husband and he has to edit the grocery list because for reasons unknown to both of us I insist on putting an apostrophe in banana's though I know and he always points out, it does not belong there.

Jake is a wonderful funny man who makes me smile even when he's not trying. He is the best dad I know and I am lucky he found me.

23 June 2011

Another First

Hi and welcome to my first post on my first blog.
As I start out I cannot tell you what this blog will be about other than it will be about me, who I am, the life I lead, the people in it, and the things I find funny, sad, frustrating, and most importantly beautiful.
I suppose I should tell you a little bit about myself in order for you to determine if you wish to return.
I grew up in a small town and after having lived in a small city while raising my first daughter as a single parent (she is Caitlin and she is now 21) I met and married the love of my life and my best friend Jake and we settled in Bracebridge, the heart Muskoka, Ontario's cottage country. Jake and I have two daughters Isobel 3 and Lilah 2. My mother and father live in an apartment in our basement and this makes life just about perfect, if not much easier. Just over a year ago Jake and I bought a business, an Art Gallery...Silver Bridge Gallery, a wonderful (if I do say so myself) gallery featuring emerging and established artists and artisans from Muskoka and across Canada.
So there you have it...the basics...no real insight into what makes me tick, but that will come later. I love the life we are creating and I love to be surrounded by beautiful people and things. My girls are the lights of my life and funnier than I'll get out. My mom can make anyone smile on the darkest of days and my husband makes my heart happy. I hope you come back to join me in this the journey that is life.