Tuesday, January 31, 2012

try it tuesday: laying tile

Well, I'll be damned. It's Try it Tuesday.

In our ongoing adventures in home ownership, we had to tackle the landing at our back door. The linoleum there was just plain yucky. Our plan: cheap and easy. Enter Traffic Master groutable vinyl tile

One box was more than enough. The tiles, while they look like ceramic, are actually vinyl. That means we were able to cut them with a utility knife, rather than having to rent a tile cutter. The great thing about these tiles, though, is that they're super thick and tough, so they resemble ceramic completely, but there more forgiving when you walk on them and don't get as cold.

Since we were dealing with a small space, we just arranged the tiles a few times (with the backing still on) until we were happy with the general placement. Then we removed the backing and stuck each tile in place over the old floor. We used plastic spacers to give a 1/8 inch space on all sides for grout.

Husband did a fantastic job trimming all sides so they fit the wall perfectly (with many thanks to the school board for giving him a snow day on which to do the work).

I don't have an official before photo, but please journey back up to the first photo to note the difference between the grungy grey-blue from before, and this after:

We are beyond happy with the way it turned out and would highly recommend this to reno novices like us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It's 8:30 am, and I've already been awake for five hours. FIVE. How does that make you feel? It makes me feel like I need another cup of coffee.

Jacob is getting molars, and if I ever said I understood what a teething baby was like, you should've slapped me, because frankly, I had no idea. He jumps between his normal happy-go-lucky self, to completely inconsolable, to sheer exhaustion from dealing with the discomfort.

And I know it's worse for him than it is for me, but I'm starting to feel like a walking zombie. I'm not a fan of complaining about lack of sleep because I chose to become a parent, and sleep deprivation was in the fine print. But commiserate with me for just a sec. I'm tired.

So I'm looking for advice, helpful hints and anything else you can throw my way. What are your favourite teething tactics and remedies?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 to 2

Enter this scene as Husband and I discuss baby names.

DISCLAIMER: Not pregnant. Our bro-sis-besties are giving us a new nephew, and a good friend is having a girl, both in April, so babies are top of mind. 

Me: I really like E********* (names have been hidden to protect from name stealers).
Husband: Me too. Maybe our kids initials could spell a word. J ... E ... Jello!
Me: Oh, so we're having five kids now, are we?
Husband: Hmm. How about Je? It's French.

Monday, January 23, 2012

another monday

What a weekend. We did nothing and everything all at once. It all started with a snow storm. We were planning to visit family, specifically this weekend in honour of our sweet niece's second birthday. Sadly though, we were kept back by the weather.

Ah that snow. It's the kind that crunches under your boots and almost doesn't seem real because it's so sparkly. As much as I can detest winter, I can't bring myself to hate the winter wonderland that our yard has become. Maybe I love it too because it's on our yard. We were out and about plenty this weekend, but the time we spent in under (and around) our little roof was just perfect. Playing outside, rearranging furniture, cooking and baking, laughing and hiding and finding and laughing some more. We did errands, went on a wonderful play date, got lots done and spent lots of glorious time doing nothing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the current

listening CBC.
eating pumpkin cranberry scone.
drinking coffee.
wearing a bracelet I forgot I owned.
feeling ambitious.
weather c-c-cold.
wanting a power nap.
needing to do laundry.
thinking constantly.
enjoying wearing winter hats.
creating birthday cards.
pondering d├ęcor.
loving my boy's mischievous laugh.
anticipating the weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the day our tub became a toilet

Husband: Wife?
Me: Yeah?
Husband: Can you come here? [... he asks from the bathroom, where he's scrubbing up the toddler.]
Me: Just a sec; I'm in the middle of something.
Husband: No, nowww.
Me: [annoyed] Agh, what is so important?

Then I round the corner to see Husband, holding up our dripping-wet son over the tub. Toddler grinning from ear to ear. Husband raises his eyebrows, glances down, and nearly drops the soaking kid as he busts a gut laughing.

Me: Oh. My. God.
[Trying to keep a straight face.]
Me: Jacobbb! What did you do?!
[Cracking up at the look on J's face, to which we all completely laugh out loud.]
Me: Guess daddy's got some fishing to do!

Moms, please tell me, after this happened once, did it happen again? I'm really hoping he doesn't decide use the tub as his own impromptu version of potty training.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

no-spend week: attempt #1

The very fact that this post has the word "attempt" in the title sort of foreshadows the ending, doesn't it?

This week, Husband and I decided to try a no-spend week. It's all part of wanting to save more in 2012. We usually don't spend too much during a work week anyway, but making it official made it feel more difficult for some reason.

We started Monday, which was easy. But by Tuesday, we had failed. On Day 2, Husband forgot his lunch at home, so he had to spend $5 to eat. Then, after work, I took J for his planned haircut. In all fairness, I took him on Tuesday because it was cheap day at a local shop and it only cost $10 with tip, but still, it cost money.

And then, knowing that we had already lost the no-spend game. I bought a coffee at work on Wednesday, because apparently I have no self-control. None.

* In all honesty, I started typing up this post on Wednesday, while the memory of my forbidden coffee still sat as an empty cup on my desk, and guilt overcame me.

As a result, Thursday and Friday? Both winners! So we had a no-spend three days. This really doesn't amount to anything in terms of our budget, but it did give me a bit of a rude awakening about how easy it really is to drop $20. Turns out, way too easy.

We're planning to give it a go again on Monday. The real premise is to not waste money on things we don't need, like purchased lunches and coffee, and also to thing twice about any spending ... if we want/need something on Monday and it's still important come Saturday, then we'll know better whether it's worthy of our hard-earned bucks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

waa hoo

Our carpet is in! Our carpet is in! Our carpet is in!

And by end-of-day tomorrow, it'll be in our house! Eeeeppp!

After going several rounds with a certain big, orange box store, our custom-ordered carpet is ready to be installed. I can't wait to do a proper before and after reveal.

Martha Stewart Living Wilderstein carpet in brook trout. Love.

Now ... accessories, coffee table, storage, TV (yay or nay?) ... so many decisions. I will be back for your opinions soon!


What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

what's on a mantel?

Do you have a mantel? What's on it? Tell me, please, in detail. Because I can't figure out, for the life of me, what to do with mine.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

our casa

I keep forgetting to formally introduce you to our new house. 

She's warm, inviting and even has a sense of humour ... by way of wallpaper. But I'll get to that.

Our main level is exactly what we wanted: three bedrooms, a spacious bathroom, linen closet, broom closet, coat closet, open-concept living and dining areas, and an eat in kitchen with a pantry. Believe it or not, for a girl with a whole lot of cookbooks and gadgets, I actually have empty cabinets in my kitchen. Once things are just the way I want them, I'll give you a full-meal-deal tour. Until then, on to the renos.

So, when we moved in on December 9, we decided to only live on the main level in order to tackle some of the aspects we weren't so in love with in the finished basement.

The lower level of our back-split home featured floral wallpaper, country-scene border, dark, forest green trim and dark brown carpet. It's split into the following areas: play room, living room, laundry room, foyer and half bath. The remaining side of the basement, which is closed off by a door, houses our workshop, and the furnace and wood room.

There's nothing inviting about that (except for the amazing wood stove and brick surround, which you can't see in this picture anyway, so you are getting an accurate depiction of why I had. to. change. it. yesterday.)

Step 1: Peel the wallpaper. After living only 12 hours in our house, I decided to take the plunge and just grabbed a corner of the paper and start ripping. To my surprise, it came off with relative ease.

Hidden behind the smaller floral design was a layer of whoa-70s-inspired poppies. And honestly, if a wall of this paper had remained intact, I probably would've kept it. Sadly though, it all was ripped in the process, so was inevitably removed.

If you've ever peeled wallpaper before, you know that it isn't an easy feat that the best of times. The second layer was less than a picnic, but with generous assistance from friends and family, and a whole lot of elbow grease, we de-wallpapered, crack-filled, sanded, crack-filled some more, sanded some more, and finally* got to a place where we could re-paint.

Oh, and you may have noticed, we ripped up that terrible-awful-no-good-very-bad carpet, too.

A rare photo of Husband and his twin bro in matching T-shirts.

Picking colours was tough, but now that the walls are completed, I couldn't be happier with our choices. The walls in the play room, family room and foyer area are CIL's light taupe.

I wanted to do something different in the laundry area, and with inspiration from John and Sherry's grellow (green + yellow), I chose CIL's spring thaw.

It's a work in progress -- more after photos to come!

*Take the word finally with a grain of salt, of course, because we painted less than two weeks after moving day.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

year in review

We travelled to Cape Breton to celebrate our niece Niamey's first birthday.

We enjoyed a great visit from NB family and friends.
Jacob started using his big boy high chair and eating more solids.

Jacob welcomed buddy Ethan Andrew to the world.
Jacob marked several milestones, including sitting up like a champ, learning to clap and his first haircut.
We celebrated Ayyam-i-ha over March Break in Cape Breton.

Jacob cut his first tooth.
We spent Easter in New Brunswick with family.

Jacob and I enjoyed our first Mother's Day.

Jacob started crawling!
We travelled to Cape Breton to celebrate two good friends' wedding.
Jacob and Daddy celebrated Father's Day.
I got a new job at The Chronicle Herald.

Husband turned 27.
Jacob got to stay home for two whole months with Daddy.

Spent a week lake-side and pool-side with family in New Brunswick.
Jacob took his first steps.

Spent the long weekend in Cape Breton with family.
We celebrated Jacob's first birthday!

Husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary!
We carved pumpkins.

I turned 27.
We put in an offer on a house, and it was accepted!

We moved into our first house!
We spent the last week of the year with both sides of our big, happy family ... a perfect way to round out a wonderful 2011!