September

Where did the summer go? I mean, it’s still 40C out there with the humidex, but I can’t believe it’s already September. I don’t feel like we’ve been busy this summer, and yet it has flown by.

The past few weeks have been a bit tough here. I had some bleeding a couple weeks ago, and so my health team is keeping an eye on things and telling me to “take it easy” (which, you know, with a 3 year old is kind of interesting). There have been some miscommunication and a case of too many cooks I think, so I’m switching from shared care (GP and OB) to just my OB. I won’t lie. I’m a bit stressed about everything right now. I had an appointment this past Thursday, another this Friday and then another two weeks after that. Somewhere in there they want me to get an ultrasound done too.  As far as we can tell, baby is fine, but they want to keep a close eye on things.

This, of course, has ramped up project “OMG, time to get ready for baby!”, so I’ve been making lists, researching and started packing our hospital bag. I am mostly freaking out about how Liam will fair during Go Baby! time, but I am telling myself that we have a wonderful group of friends and family who will jump to the rescue whenever we need them. Also, it has helped me think about our birth plan/guidelines this time. Want to see what I’ve come up with? Click to enbiggen.

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So, with all of that going on, Liam and I took a week to hang with out friends and do what makes us smile. I booked the week off work and we did what ever felt right. We had a great time visiting parks, friends’ houses, having people over to our place and basically having a staycation. I managed to sneak out with my girlfriends one night and had a great time.

At the park, Liam plays on his scooter with his friend riding his bike in the background

Today we are going to be rearranging our master bedroom to prepare for Baby (I know, I know, 3 months away. Mama needs to nest!). I have been slowly working away on our mountains of laundry and prepping all the baby clothes for his arrival. We maaaaaaaay have agreed on a name, but I’m hesitant to say it’s chosen for sure. It was on our list for Liam, and I had somehow disregarded it this time until Pat brought it up again. It’s not as… unique or historic as I would have liked (RIP Finnigan, River, Rowan, and Ronan; the names that I loved and were vetoed) but I think it works and fits well within the family. If I feel more certain about it, I will share it (with the disclaimer of it being possible that we change our minds when Kiddo arrives and we see if it actually works for him). In the mean time, I am working hard to convince Pat to at least go with some alternative spelling, but I doubt that will come to fruition ;)

Oh, I wanted to add that I’m sorry for the lack of ipsy review this month. With everything going on, I just wasn’t into it. Doesn’t help that my bad this month was incredibly uninspiring and disappointing. Here’s hoping this month is better.

And with that, I am off to make myself a tea. Mama needs all the “get up and go” that she can get.

Making Space

The last few months have been tough for us, financially. We have been job hunting for Pat, hoping to find something a bit more in line with his interests and schooling. (He just finished the Cisco Network Administration certification at Algonquin College. He would love to have networking be a part of his job). I have gone back to work at Belly Laughs (which is both awesome and dangerous. Being pregnant around all the awesome products? Siiiigh). We’ve been cutting back where we can, and taking a close look at what we have in our home and lives and whether or not it’s actually necessary.

One of things we decided to finally be done with is our portable storage unit. We’ve had it in our driveway for a year now. We got it when we were planning on moving and needed to store some of our stuff for showings. Then we used it to store Pat’s motorcycle(s) over the winter. Well, there’s no reason to be paying for something like that when it really is time for us to tackle the stuff once and for all. There were boxes in there from Mom’s estate. That’s stuff that has been sitting, boxed up, for 5 years. So, we emptied it out and had them come take it away. That means that our house is a bit of a disaster while we slowly make our way through the mountains of STUFF.

Mountains of boxes in our dining roomYeah, that’s our dining room. How are we ever going to fit another kid in this house? No, seriously, how? Do you have any tips or suggestions? I have no idea how to store the mix of preschooler and baby toys, and where are the big baby gear is going to go. Playpen? Swing? The house is feeling very very small right now.

So, here we are, beginning of June, and I am finally facing a ton of estate stuff that has been hidden away for years. We can’t keep it all. We just can’t. Our place just isn’t big enough. Time to get serious and really only keep useful, loved or beautiful items. Wish us luck!

 

Putting the Home in Starter Home.

Over the past couple of years I’ve talked about our plans to move, to find a bigger place with a bigger yard. We have made several attempts at this plan, and yet each time something happens that takes us down a different path. Life has a funny way of changing things even when you aren’t ready to hear it or see it.

We bought this home almost 7 years ago. We weren’t even engaged yet, and had both just finished school. We bought for the “now” instead of the future and as a result the house isn’t exactly what we expected to be in for nearly a decade. So, how does one take a house and make it a home, after they have already decided to leave it behind? Much like you can make any space, big or small, a home. It’s a process, that’s for sure. Today, I’m going to share an overview of what we’ve shared so far here on IAtH, with updates coming in the next few days. Later in the week I will share tips to help make your own space more homey. This is our starter story, as inspired by Urban Compass, a New York City real estate platform who invited us to be a part of their collection of blogs sharing their own starter stories.

Outside:

outside1Our place was built in the early 90s, the time when pink was Queen. This was definitely a challenge when we looked at the exterior of our home. Pink brick is something we had to work around. The windows and doors were all wood and showing their wear, so we knew they had to be replaced too.

outsidenewWe chose a dark bluey grey for all of the wooden trim that we were keeping, as well at the garage door and the front door. The storm door, main door and front window were replaced by one larger door and window, each with a panel of stained glass. We touched up all the white paint, and replaced the mailbox. I hope to replace the light fixtures this coming summer.

Liam’s Room

cr1  The previous owners of our place had used the smallest of the three   bedrooms as a craft room. I did the same for a little while, but once Liam was born we knew he was going to need his own space. I wanted to keep the larger guest room as a multipurpose room, so we decided that the little guy would get the little room. I wanted something bright, fun and with a mix of decor. We ripped up the nasty teal carpet and replaced it with a plush beige carpet. The dark teal blinds had to go too, so we replaced them with black out curtains. The pink walls were painted something much more fun and suitable for a toddler’s room.

lr5  We went with a bright leafy green for the walls. All furniture and frames are a mix of light and medium woods. with accents of white and bright colours. While it may not be super pretty, we have a dark green lazy boy in the room, as I am still nursing my big guy. The room is set up with a montessori approach in mind. This means that everything is designed for Liam’s perspective and appreciation. The art is low, the toys and books are accessible, and everything in the room is safe for him.

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The Man Cave

The Basement, before Oh, the basement. It was important to us to have a space for hanging out. Ours was a huge fixer-upper. The previous owners had cats and smoked, both of which did major damage in the basement. We tore up the gross carpet, and discovered water damage. We left the space unfinished while we saved up and started to do work ourselves. Unfortunately, the pipe that had burst in the past did so again and we had to start over.

The only thing that we kept was the drop ceiling, which was still in good condition.

BasementThe basement, like most, was cold and dark. We added pot lights, and decided on floating laminate floors. We painted the walls a rich taupe to warm up the cool space. We chose a huge comfy couch that was on sale with plans of many movie and video game nights. The basement is large, so we have a few different area. Across from the seating area, we have our entertainment system and our desks. Both my hubby and I like our tech, so we put it all in a place where Liam can’t get to it without supervision.

Basement We chose darker colours and accents to create a more cozy and adult space. We wanted a place where people would feel comfortable hanging out for hours on end.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little round up. I look forward to sharing our home with you :)

Still in the middle

What a whirlwind life has been. The house prep has been a all consuming project. I plan on sharing some pictures with you soon as part of my UFYH series. We finally came to an agreement with the bank (who own the house we love) and have conditionally purchased it. The three conditions that we made were: 1. Home inspection 2. Financing 3. Selling our place

Yesterday was the home and septic inspection. I have to be honest and say I am overwhelmed. I still absolutely love the house, but there was more than I hoped. The place is almost 70 years old, so I shouldn’t be surprised….but we have to now sit down and really decide if we can live with what we now know.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

In the mean time, we are getting all the last bit of information to the bank to get our mortgage application in, as well as finishing up all the prep to get our place listed. On top of that, I am still working in the evening a couple days a week and Pat still has classes two nights a week. I haven’t been this exhausted and stressed in such a long time. I have cut my hours down, and Pat finished his course next week, so hopefully things will mellow out a bit. I was hoping to have our home listed by now, so hopefully this delay won’t screw up our plans.

So far, we have:

-Decluttered. We have a storage unit outside full of large pieces of furniture and items that were clogging up the space

-Made some repairs

-Painted trim.

Doesn’t sound like much, but I swear it is. I have been a hermit for weeks, focusing on this place. Gods, I hope it all pays off.

Overwhelmed

I am having one of those weeks where I am so overwhelmed by the events of the world that I don’t know what to say about any of it. My heart is broken and I am scared for the world, really.

Life continues on here. I am still decluttering and packing. I’m not sure that we, as a family, have for sure decided to move, but I have decided, as an individual, to take the leap and start prepping for it anyway. I have a storage unit that arrived yesterday, and we have a short list of houses left to see. We have two contenders at the moment, so we are close. Once we have decided on the house we want, we will list ours. I am absolutely dreading the showing process, but it’s a necessary evil in this process. For those looking to snag some free stuff, I will be posting a lot of the stuff I am hoping to get rid of on facebook. Add me! :D Local pick up only, please. Ain’t nobody got time for the post office.

In an attempt to get past all the crazy in the world right now, I want to focus on the things that make me smile. Here are some of my current favourite things:

 

For the Home:

One of my fave things in the world right now is the Buy Nothing movement. Inspired by the various Freecycle communities online, the Buy Nothing groups are neighbourhood specific. Ours in Barrhaven is super busy and has some great items and services. This is where I am posting the majority of my stuff. I have also snagged some amazing items here for us. So, if you want to find some great used items for your home, while being frugal, or you need a place to declutter, check to see if there is a Buy Nothing group near you.

For my Kid:

Liam recently received a Tricycle from a neighbour and has been practically attached to the thing. To keep my kiddo safe and to practice safe bicycle riding, I insist on him wearing a helmet. Good habits are awesome when they start young. We especially love this great Nutcase helmet we got him:

For my ears:

I’ve been really digging this Hey Rosetta! song, “Welcome”, about the birth of a child.

And my tune for the summer has for sure been Kongos, Come with me now.

And my latest obsession is July Talk. They are just so cute.

And with that, I am off. I will try to post more “Stuff I love” posts as I have plenty of those things that I adore. Cheers!

 

Fall Back

Oh, Daylight Savings Time. So many people are so well rested, thanks to you. Parents, not so much. Luckily, our little dude didn’t get me up too early (6:30 new time, which is totally tolerable for me. Thanks little man). He’s already up there napping, so I’m taking advantage of the quiet by sharing a few things while I have the chance.

Firstly, here is our Halloween costumes that I mentioned the other day:

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Definitely not my best picture, but we are so awesome that it doesn’t even matter

We went as Mama and Baby Wookies. It was a blast. Liam absolutely loved being able to run with abandon through stores and hallways of the mall. I loved seeing all of the adorable halloween babies. Definitely my favourite day of the year.

We didn’t do much after hanging out at the mall, sadly. Little man was completely exhausted after having such a great time that he passed out from 4-7, and then again at 9 for the night. I ordered in Chinese food and set a plate out for the dead passing through. Before bed, I put out a small bowl of honey and milk and called it a night.

The other thing I wanted to share should probably fall into its own post, but I’m feeling lazy (thanks left over halloween candy!), so you get to enjoy it here. We recently moved Liam over to his own room, and as a result, I have another UFYH chapter!

UFYH – Liam’s Room

This space has gone through many makeovers since we moved into the house. Originally, it was used as a craft room/catch all/cat’s space by the previous owners.

cr1This is from their house listing. As you can see, it had teal carpeting, and a hand made cat ledge at the window. This room was my space, but I didn’t have much of a budget to work with. First, we replaced the carpet with a plush beige carpet and painted the walls a vibrant leafy green. Pat helped me install floating IKEA shelves on the inner wall to accomodate my large collection of comic books and knitting patterns.

This was my refuge. All of my books, crafts and music went into this room. I loved it!

When we found out we were expecting, despite having a larger guest room as an option, we both knew that the craft room was a better space for a kid. Firstly, it doesn’t share a wall with our loud neighbours. Secondly, while small, it was the perfect size for a wee one. It would force us to keep it tidy and to keep the number of toys in the space limited. I loved the colour for a nursery, so it was great that I didn’t need to repaint!

cr6While Liam slept in our room (either co-sleeping with us in the bed, or in his larger crib), the nursery was the place that I took him to have some wiggle time on the floor, or to read a story in my lap. We brought in an old dresser that had been my sister’s dresser when she was a child. We purchased a cheap small bookshelf to hold on to our small children’s literature collection. Tracy and I put up the few insect decals that she had gifted us from Toys R Us around the room. The cradle was a gift from Jan and Cathy. It’s a family heirloom. All of the Heffernan girls slept in it <3 While the space acted more like storage, Maddie’s Crate was moved back in, making it more of a baby’s playroom and the Dog’s Bedroom.

Last week, Pat and I tackled the space. It was time to get little man out of our room and into his own space. I was waking him with my tossing and turning. It hurt my heart, but I knew it was time.

First we moved Maddie’s crate into the guest room. We then gave the carpet a very deep cleaning. We removed the blinds and hung some black out curtains (darkness is very important to baby nap time!). We hung some art and set up his new and wonderful Montessori bed (a birthday gift from Jan, Cathy and the girls!). We went with sort of an eclectic fairy tale themed space. Natural mixed woods, vintage pieces, woodland animals and bugs, dragons, child-like without being too cartoony. The art is hung low to compliment the Montessori aspect of the space. I want him to be able to see the art and enjoy it.

What we have in the room:

  • Bunting by A Fete Beckons
  • Liam’s Name Letters – Created by our friends S & K. Letters were painted white and decorated with Star Wars characters
  • Strange heirloom embroidery that I found in my mother’s trunk.
  • Decals by Carter’s, at Toys R Us
  • Owl Night Light from Belly Laughs
  • Bedding from Zara Kids.
  • Nursing chair by La-Z-Boy
  • Curtains from Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • Wall Mirrors & Floating Shelves by IKEA
  • Elephant & Animals textile, gift from Pat’s co-worker.
  • Vintage Fox Art – from Pat’s nursery as a kid
  • Word Art, from grassgreendesigns

I’ll try to post some better pictures of these details later. The room is mostly done,  but I still have plans for it. We have a beautiful owl fram that Tracy had given us for the room when Liam was born. I’d like to print a picture of her with him for it. I also have some art from my own nursery as a child that I need to get framed. I’m also thinking about getting something like this for the space:

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There’s also some art I was considering:

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So many things!  Anyway, I hope you liked this little look into Liam’s room. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. <3

Samhain Eve

There is something about this time of year. It gets into my blood, into my bones. I feel super unsettled, like I’ve had too many coffees. It’s deeper than coffee though – I feel it in my chest. I am more prone to anxiety, to excitement. I feel like I’m nesting, but in preparation for the coming cold and snow rather than a wee babe.

I’ve been driven by madness, it seems, to declutter like mad. I tore through our main floor yesterday. I stuffed and sorted diapers, listing those that I didn’t love. I did dishes, sorted through papers, I cleaned out corners and organized toys. I scrubbed and vacuumed. Over the weekend, I tackled our outdoors. Not so much the gardens, but I moved all the outdoor play stuff into the backyard. I cleared the deck of crap. The UFYH people would have been proud. Clearly my instincts were right – I woke this morning to a light blanket of snow covering everything outside. Halloween usually marks the first snow here, so I had a feeling it would be coming soon.

The snow was already gone when I went to take a picture.

The snow was already gone when I went to take a picture.

I’m still not sure what we’re doing to celebrate tomorrow. I’m going to take the little man to the local mall for some costume fun, and then I’ll probably take him to a couple houses for some treats. I was thinking about doing some “ancestral food” for dinner (Right now the plan is for latkes and perhaps steak. The latkes celebrate my mom, and the steak is for Pat’s dad). We’ve done some decorating and some craft projects. It’s going to be so fun when he’s older to really get into it!

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We’ll leave some milk and honey outside and I think I’ll do my annual tarot reading. Every year I try to do one big reading for myself to get a feel for the upcoming year. I think this year I’m going to focus on the wisdom and lessons of the past.

On that note, I’d like to offer 5 readings for my followers. Comment on this post, be sure to include your email address. I’ll get back to you and confirm what it is you’d like to know. Be as specific or as vague as you’d like.  I’ll email you your reading once I’ve done it.

Going in a completely different direction, I found a super cute nail polish that is perfect for Halloween.

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Meet Revlon Elusive #736. I just happened to come across it on sale at Shoppers when I was picking up some late night groceries the other day and couldn’t resist. It’s a matte black with flecks of beautiful teal glitter. It dries super fast. The coverage is fantastic. I’m only wearing one coat in the picture. I could use another one, but…

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On that note, this momma has to get going. I’m working on some top secret Christmas/Yule crafts. SHHHH! Details to come later, I promise! Don’t forget to comment if you want a reading. <3 If you are comfortable with me posting the results, let me know! I’ll do a post if people are cool with it.

A Responsible Sandwich

I’ve been meaning to share this for a few days now, but due to life getting in the way, I haven’t been able to take the time to make more of these sandwich buns and photograph the process. As I mentioned in my first post about responsibility, one of the changes we made was making some items at home, rather than buying. Here’s what went into that decision.

!. When attempting to work on our finances, we wanted to make some easy changes to our day to day lives. We looked at where money was going, and pin pointed areas where we could save. In this case, Pat was buying lunch Monday-Friday (usually at Subway, though occasionally at a local deli/sandwich shop). The average cost spent was 8$/day or about 160$/month, with no prep required.

2. I then tried a less labour intensive solution: Purchasing ready-made sandwich buns from the local store. The cost break down is this:

Buns: 1.99/sandwich

Meat: 1.70/sandwich

Condiments and other toppings: 0.35/sandwich

Total Sandwich cost for the month: About 81$ (about 50.6% of the Subway cost)

Prep Required: About a second or two more to my grocery shopping time, and about 5 minutes to make the sandwich.

As you can tell, there was a significant price difference here. We started on that route. We did, however, notice that the buns purchased were rarely available the day they were made (ie: they were already a day or two old when we bought them), and as a result, wouldn’t last the week, resulting in either a day of purchased lunch or dipping into other groceries for a different meal.

3. In an attempt to save a bit more money, force myself out of my comfort zone, try to make something that would last longer and to try something new, I decided to make my own buns. Here is the cost breakdown:

Buns: 0.74/sandwich

Meat: 1.70/sandwich

Condiments: 0.35/sandwich

Total Sandwich cost for the month: 56$ (35% of the original subway cost)

Prep Required: This is where there is a major difference. While the actual work involved was maybe only 10 minutes of actual effort, the buns took the better part of the day to make and require staying close to home.

So, is it worth it? Depends. When I have time – Absolutely. I found the process of making the bread extremely soothing. I felt proud that my efforts yielded such tasty results. Having said that, I will definitely rely on store-bought when we have a crazy week. On a personal level, I really love the challenge of getting back to the basics. Homemade bread, homemade sauces, etc… I feel better about what my family is eating when I know every single ingredient in each part of their meal – because I made it myself. As a bonus – There is nothing better in this world than a slice of bread, hot from the oven, smothered in butter and honey with a cup of tea. Seriously.

And now for the recipe itself. I found it here. It really is a perfect fit for the delicious po boy bread of New Orleans (squishy soft inside, thin crunchy crust). I won’t re-write it all, but rather share my experience with it (if you haven’t made bread before, please don’t be nervous! This is seriously my second time ever, and it wasn’t hard in the least.)

A Responsible Sandwich Bun

1. Following the recipe from The Galley Gourmet, mix your ingredients on low until bread pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add salt and then set to knead for 10 minutes on medium. (Note: I used a blend of white bread flour and multigrain bread flour)

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2. Form a ball on a floured surface. Place in a greased bowl, cover with clingwrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise (about 1hr 1/2. I used this time to put the baby down for a nap, eat all of the left over Apple Crisp from the Farmer’s Market and watch some Weeds)

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3. Deflate the dough on a floured surface. Divide into as many “loaves” or buns as you would like (recipe recommends 6-8). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 15 minutes

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4. Form rolls, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth, let sit for an hour.

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5. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375.

Let buns cool completely for tasty sandwich bread, or, dive right in like me and enjoy the hollow tasty (and cheap) goodness.

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