Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jon’s Birthday Dinner

Yesterday was Jon’s birthday and we thought we’d try something a little different for his birthday dinner. While Christmas shopping we wandered into a new store in Kanata called Grace in the Kitchen and to Jon’s delight they have an artisan cheese counter. At the time we had no desire or need for cheese so we tucked the information away for another day – well yesterday was the day.



We went in and sampled several different cheeses and here’s what we came out with: 
  • Manchego - sheep’s milk cheese from Spain
  • Glenphilly  - Whiskey Cheddar from England
  • Pleine Lune -  brie with ash rind from France


Then we added (from the grocery store):
  • Havarti
  • Roasted red pepper goat cheese
  • Cracker Barrel medium and old 

With:
  • Turkey Kolbassa
  • Polish sausage
  • Liverwurst
  • And of course mixed crackers.





It was a nice change of pace; but I’m not sure we’ll do it again. We all felt like we had too much cheese by the end of the evening. We might have been full – but not too full to enjoy a slice of birthday cake.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Before and After

I’ve been discouraged lately about the amount of work Jon and I have done on our home since we bought it. All the jobs seem to be dragging on forever. There are many reasons for why things have gone slower than I thought they would. Money and time constraints top the list – of course.

When we bought this house we talked about it being a 5 year plan, we’re only 17 months in (and actually ahead of schedule), so I shouldn’t be whining, but some days I just want to be done with it all.

It doesn’t help that I read old house magazines and old house/farmhouse blogs. They always show these absolutely beautiful, over the top elegant homes. They show kitchen and bath renovations that often cost more than the purchase price of my home. They very rarely show budget renos or modest homes. I know this.  And yet I’ve been feeling a little discouraged.

I’ve never bought a ready to move into home – I never have, and I think it’s pretty safe to say I never will. It’s just not what I do. Jon and I want to make this home exactly what we dream about – a well done (read – not over the top) modest farmhouse that’s comfortable for us, for our family and for our friends. I’ve said it many times before and it bears repeating; we bought our home for many reasons, the most important one to us is our beautiful property.

I was going through pictures the other day looking for a shot of our front porch (see I have a Sunroom - if you haven’t already) and after I found the one I wanted I went back to look at the pictures again...I mean really look at them. WOW!! A not so gentle reminder of all we’ve done here. I went from frustrated and discouraged to amazed in about 5 minutes. We have a lot to do yet but we’ve come a long way already.

I’ll never have one of those fancy farmhouses you see in magazines. I’m not going to wake up any morning soon to discover my home has grown from 1800 square feet to 4000 square feet. I don’t have 6 bedrooms and bathrooms and that’s perfectly OK with me. Looking at our before pictures reminded me of our dream for this place – for our home, and for our life together. I’ve fallen in love with my home again....and I’m so grateful to be here. 

This is the kitchen window during, you wouldn't
believe the before even if I showed you!!

The kitchen window now. My sunroom is the
room you can see through the window.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Have a Sunroom!

When Jon and I bought our house there was a horrendous front porch on it that we contemplated what to do with. Because our house isn’t huge we really need the square footage but it was just so ugly we seriously thought about removing it.

In an old house you never know what you might find when you’re renovating and usually the things you discover are not good. When we decided to keep the porch and incorporate it into the kitchen and dining room we had to remove an old set of garden doors between the two spaces. We were very surprised and pleased to discover that an original hole in the shell of our house (our house is log) was hidden and we could make the opening larger than planned.

Jon and I were back and forth as to what we were going to do with the space – would it have windows or doors and what would we be using it for? We decided on doors, even though everyone thought we were a little crazy. This past weekend Jon and Bradley installed our doors – three patio doors and one garden door and I’m sooooo pleased we decided on doors. I have a sunroom – I’ve always wanted a sunroom!!

Although the doors are in, the room is a long way from finished but I’m so excited to see our vision start to come together. One job down and about a million to go!

Second front door.
Newest (and last) front door.
Ugly old front porch.
My new sunroom!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Country Girl

Today I’m happy to be a country girl.

One of the things I enjoy the most about living in the country is the opportunity to share my life with wildlife. I enjoy all the different animals and birds we have on and around our property. Over the time we’ve been here we’ve seen lots of animals – but our most abundant visitors have to be the wild turkeys. This time of year they all but take over the surrounding fields with regular visits paid to us and the dogs.

Last winter there were hundreds of turkeys in the fields and they occasionally made their way through the edge of the yard or our front field. They sometimes got brave and wandered too close to Meg’s house and she’d scare them off by barking at them.

This year the turkeys are incredibly bold even though Hunter and Astro routinely chase them away. If the dogs aren’t out we often see the turkeys right up in the front yard....one day last week right up on the front steps.

We hear ting ting and realize it’s a turkey up knocking on the door; until Hunter realizes it too and starts her crazy killer barking. Some of the turkeys get scared off by the barking other ones just ignore the dogs until/unless they’re outside and they start chasing them.

I find it so amusing to watch turkeys run around and try to fly if we get too close. They’re not exactly graceful birds and they never fail to make me smile when I see them. We never know if we’ll have one or one hundred of them in the yard. Turkeys sure beat dead moles....so today I am once again happy to be a country girl. J

Turkeys across the yard - taken from the
kitchen window.
This gal is about 15 feet from the front door.
Run for your life!!
Astro keeping a close
eye on things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

City Girl

I occasionally wish to be a city girl again.

We heat with wood and Astro is often scrounging around the wood looking for little bits of bark. She’ll bat it around the floor or chew it up and leave the remnants all over the place, she’ll slide around the floor with it under her paws or she’ll just carry it around with her in her mouth. She also likes little things she finds on the floor – things like Bradley’s guitar picks, or pens that have fallen off the counter. She’ll sometimes find a receipt or small piece of plastic and if you ask her she’ll bring it over and give it to you.

When there’s nothing that strikes her fancy to chew on inside she’ll find something outside – most often pine or spruce cones. Yesterday she was batting something around on the floor and playing with it; from a distance it looked like a cone so I didn’t think much of it, but she became a little cranky if Hunter got too close so I asked her to bring it over to me. Very happy to share with me she dumped a dead frozen mole in my hand.

YUCK!!! Can you guess how many times I washed my hands with anti-bacterial soap yesterday? I kept thinking that if I still lived in town this wouldn’t have happened. By the time I woke up this morning the trauma had passed; but it was still one of those occasional moments where I wonder how the hell I ended up here. J

I don’t think anyone will mind the fact there’s no photos to accompany my post today – lol!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Beautiful Winter Sky

Yesterday I had an unexpected day to myself. My guys were out doing their thing so I had several hours to myself and since it was a Sunday I took full advantage of it. Usually when I’m alone it’s a ‘work’ day so I feel like I need to be doing something useful and productive – but not on a Sunday!

I often lounge in the bath tub, but I often feel guilty about it too. Yesterday I lit one of the candles the boys gave me for my birthday, I cranked up the heater, I got not one book, but two, and I settled into the tub for a relaxing hour of solitude.

When I’m laying in the tub I have a perfect view of the sky and lately it’s been mostly gray and overcast but yesterday I noticed it was as blue as blue can be. It was brilliant like our sky can only be on a cold winter day and it got me daydreaming about all sorts of things. Usually I read when I’m relaxing in the tub and sometimes if my book is good I won’t even notice how cold the water has gotten until someone yells at me to see if I’ve drowned, but yesterday it wasn’t my book that had me captivated.

There really aren’t many things more beautiful than a winter sky and yesterdays transported me into a wonderful reverie where my house was complete, I had a new car, and where all was good in my world – what a great way to spend my hour of solitude. I got out of the tub feeling refreshed, relaxed and very positive about everything. I almost wish I had more Sunday afternoons to myself.

Ahhh....the view from my tub,
soon to change when my new
window (without the grills) is
installed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shane’s 21!

19 days after I turned 22 my son Shane was born; and after a very difficult pregnancy I was so grateful to hold him in my arms and know he was healthy. I counted fingers and toes over and over again and wondered how I would know what to do to look after my precious bundle of joy.

One of the advantages to having children when you’re young is that you worry a little less about doing everything exactly right. When you’re not quite grown up yourself it’s a tiny bit easier to be less crazy about doing what all the “experts” tell you you should be doing.

Of course two of those “experts” are usually your mother and your mother in law, and in my case I was lucky on both counts; my mother didn’t input much unless she was asked and my mother in law did mostly what I asked her to do. I say that not to toot their horns but to point out how it’s nice to be understood and they both understood that I wanted to parent in my own way.

My whole life I imagined having children; in fact I often joke around that I planned two boys and I got the two boys I planned. I feel so incredibly grateful and honoured that Shane picked me to be his Mom. I think we’ve done a fine job of raising each other – I believe that; we grew up together and it’s been an amazing journey so far. I’m learning a lot and hope he is too.

I’m not sure where the last 21 years have gone; but I am sure how much I’ve enjoyed the ups and downs that have come from sharing my life with an amazing young man. I can only imagine what the next 21 years will hold – I love you Shane and I’m so proud of who you are and what you’re doing.

Happy 21st Birthday!!