Friday, 10 May 2013

Hitting the Big Time!

Casa-de-Christine is stepping up their game- we're guest posting on someone else's blog! *gasp!*

little house big heart

Head over to Little House. Big Heart to check out my post featuring some fun Mother's Day gift ideas. Be sure to check out Jess & Kevin's blog while there. It's one of my favourite blogs! They're currently on a European vacation and have asked some bloggy friends to fill in while they are away.

In the meantime, what are you guys up to this weekend? Any big plans for Mother's Day? What'd you get your mom?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Playing with Paint

I had such good intentions of regular posts this week. Instead I ended up missing two linky parties and not posting for most of the week. Well done.

This past weekend, I babysat my niece on Saturday night. She's five and loves crafty stuff, being outside and staying busy. I usually need a plan. I decided that since it was GORGEOUS outside all weekend, we needed to do something crafty outside. Enter Pinterest and my Kids board.

paint eggs
Pinned here. The original source has been blocked.

Those are eggs filled with paint. How could that not be fun?! It was definitely going to have to be an outdoor activity so that fit and paint counts as crafty so it was a win-win. I purchased 24 eggs and got to cracking. I'm pretty sure the store clerk thought I was planning on egging some person/car/house so that was entertaining. I used some utensil my mom had on hand that was long and pointy to poke a small hole in the top of each egg. I then carefully broke the hole a bit bigger until I could get the egg and yolk out. Then we poured the egg white and yolk into a few different bowls (we were trying to use them up. We had scrambled eggs for breakfast, made cupcakes with 3 eggs and my mom saved some to make a quiche). The shells got rinsed out and then put upside down in the carton to dry out.

empty eggs

Once they were all empty and dry, I simply filled each egg about 3/4 full of different paint we had on hand. You can see we had a few casualties along the way. My niece was helping to dump the egg out and she got a little over excited.

eggs with paint

Then we all changed to paint friendly clothing, grabbed a couple pieces of large Bristol board we had and headed outside. My mom, my niece, my step-dad and myself then proceeded to take turns throwing or dropping the eggs on the paper. It was pretty fun.

egg drop sequence

Jixer was even near by and helped out by walking through the paint and trying to eat it. She's helpful like that.

egg painting 1
This was a pretty fun craft - we all enjoyed it. Here is the finished artwork-
egg painting 2
egg painting 3

egg painting 4

I'm pretty sure we could have sold it for millions until my niece proceeded to mix the paint with her hands after we were done- hence the blended areas. We don't really plan to use it for anything but it sure was fun to make! It's all about the process.

If you are going to take this on yourself, here are my words of advice. Do it outside. Prepare to get paint all around your paper. Either cover the ground around it or just be okay with paint getting there. Wear paint clothes. Put your dog away if you don't want them to have colourful paws. Also- do it on bath night. My niece managed to get some purple highlights through this process - not that she minded. It meant a bath in my parent's whirlpool tub. Jets are endlessly fun to kids- haha.

egg painter extraordinaire!
If I was smart I would have linked this up to the Pinterest Challenge yesterday when I didn't finish my art project in time but that would have meant better time management and planning...

Any one else making a big mess artwork lately? I have been working away on some new art things for our house lately. Hopefully I can finish and share soon!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Planning for a Vegetable Garden

I've always been envious of the beautiful vegetable gardens shown around Pinterest and the blogosphere. We don't really have a backyard that is conducive to a garden though. There isn't a lot of space and the sun light/shade conditions aren't great. Thus, we have never tackled a garden. That changes this year.

I've decided to team up with my older brother and my mom and turn this little plot of land into a veggie garden we can all share.

veggie garden

It's located at my parent's place and it's had some attempts at vegetable gardens the past few years but nothing overly successful. It needs some love.

Naturally, making this decision has put me into planning mode. We came up with a rough list of what we want to grow. Our list includes pumpkins, cantelope, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green and yellow beans, peas, lettuces, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower. Peppers, and beets may make an appearance as well. We'll see how our spacing works out.

I've been looking around for ideas and inspiration we can implement and here are some of my favourites. We likely won't be able to do most of these but this is best case scenario. A girl can dream, right?

Gutter gardens. I think this idea would be great along the backside of the old chicken coop (the white siding building in the photo). It would allow us to grow more things in a small foot print and would help elevate the leafy lettuce, spinach, etc so the bunnies can't eat it. Bunnies are problematic for the garden.

gutter garden
Image from here.

In an ideal world, we would build some raised beds and have cute little paths between them. I loooove the look of this. The brick path is my favourite but seems labour intensive. A mulch or pea gravel path would likely be just as effective.

brick path garden
Image from here.

mulch path garden
Image from here.

I like the idea of keeping herbs that tend to spread in buried pots. This would be great for mint. I hear mint tends to spread like wildfire so this would help contain it. My brother loves mojitos so I'm sure he'd be all for this!

buried pots
Image from here.

If we do get around to building raised beds, I like the tip of using cardboard or wet newspaper as a weed blocker. That weed blocking fabric is a pain and never seems to work just right- at least in my experience. Cardboard or newspaper is less expensive too!

I'll be honest, I know little about vegetable gardening. This will be a big learning experience. What I am excited about is crafty projects like plant markers. Oh and eating the vegetables- that is right up my alley too!  Here are some of my favourite plant marker inspirations-

plant marker ideas
123, 4

Now that I have thought about the pretty things, I guess I should look into the actual planning of plants and such. The pretty part is just so much more fun than the dirty, manual labour part though ... haha.

Which plant markers do you like the best? Anyone else out there planning a garden this year?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Motivation

April really seemed to speed by. It definitely didn't feel spring-like and warm, like I had been hoping- instead we got ice storms, hail and snow a few days. We did net a few pretty, sunny days though so I guess I will just be thankful for that. As far as goals went, let's take a look at my April Aspirations-

april to do

I did manage to declutter the basement which was a biiiiig undertaking as well as the tv unit. All that's left is the ensuite vanity and spare room closet but both of those are being held up by renovation- boo! I also got rid of a lot of junk this month- we got rid of the old broken fridge we've had in our garage since Christmas and a bunch of renovation debris that has been lying around from our ensuite. We have so much extra stuff though, I've decided to host a garage sale this Spring. Anything that doesn't sell will be donated immediately. I can't wait. I'm hoping I can whip this place into shape once the extra stuff is gone. This may mean a house tour video. Please note the "may" in that sentence- no promises! 

The shower- I got the ceiling of the bathroom painted. The seams all got caulked. This past Sunday, the end was in sight. Shayne and his dad got the shelves in, the stationary panel in and were on target to get the sliding door and plumbing fixtures in place... then Shayne's phone rang and he got called into work on an emergency call. Great timing. Needless to say, the end is in sight. Let's hope it comes soon! 

My name change has begun and that was the main goal. I need to keep at it but the big ones are started. I'm calling this a win. 

Blog regularly... well I managed to post 3 times last week. That has to count for something! 

As for May- here's what I'm hoping to get accomplished. 

may to do

A garage sale needs to happen this month. For my sanity. 

We have lots of things to do in order to finish the ensuite- drywall work is one of the big ones. I have a feeling the hardest part will be convincing Shayne that the one doorway needs to be closed in again. Wish me luck. 

Vegetables need to be planted this month for our veggie garden. Some need to be started by seed indoors and some can be started right in the ground. A lot of garden prep has to happen before that though. I'll be posting about this soon. 

The blog redesign isn't finished. I need to finish the pages that my header links to. I also need to update my various social media pages - Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. 

Hopefully I can find the time for these things and also find some time to participate in some link up parties! 

What do you guys want to get done this month? 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Chatting with Canadians- Chapter 5!

It's that time again! We got a little off track with these posts with Christmas and all but we're ready to start with this series again.

Chatting with Canadians

In case you are new to these parts- "Chatting with Canadians" is a series I developed with Ashley from First Home Dreams. It happens every other Friday and alternates from my blog to hers. It's just a fun series that highlights some unique features of Canada as most of the blogs we read seem to be based in the United States or other countries. You can read about some common myths about Canada in Part One or read a bit about our pop culture in Part Two on Ashley's blog. Part Three featured Canadian foods and Part Four showcased Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
Today, I was supposed to showcase another travel destination but to be perfectly honest, I had a long day at work, had dinner and ended up crashing on the couch for a 3 hour nap. Whoops! Now that it's midnight, I am frantically pulling a post together for you. This should be interesting! I figured to ease back into this series, I would do a post with 10 interesting geographic facts about our country as a whole before getting into some of the fun details of various places in other posts. So- let's get to it!
1. Canada is the second largest country in the world. It has 10 provinces, 3 territories and 6 time zones. We have 42 National parks, 15 world heritage sites, 167 national historic sites and four marine conservation areas.
Map from here.
2. The Capital of Canada is located in Ottawa, Ontario. It is the second coldest capital in the world and is home to the Rideau Canal which freezes and becomes the world's longest skating rink in the winter months.
Image from here.
3. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world. (243, 977 Km or 151, 600 miles) Also, the largest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick (up to 16 metres or 53 feet!).
east coast vs west coast

bay of fundy
Photos from herehere & here.
4. Montreal, Quebec is the world's second largest French speaking city after Paris, France. Quebec is the province in Canada that is primarily French speaking.
Photo from here.
5. Despite being such a large country, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world. Only three people for every square kilometer. However, 81% of this population lives in cities. And 91% of this population is located within 160 Km's (100 miles) of the Canada/US border. We have six cities with a population over 1 million- Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.
toronto montreal vancouver
edmonton calgary ottawa
1, 2, 34, 5, 6
6. The longest highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway. It is over 7604 kilometers (4725 miles) and spans from one coast to the other.
Image from here.
7. Canada has one tenth of the world's forests. Half of our country is covered in forests.
forests in Canada
Map from here.
8. Wasaga beach in Ontario is the longest fresh water beach in the world.
wasaga beach
Photo from here.
9. Waterfalls- we have some good ones. Della Falls in British Columbia is our highest waterfall at 440 meters or 1444 feet. Niagara Falls, Ontario is the largest waterfall in North America.
della falls niagara falls
10. The most widely attended festivals are The Celebration of Light (international fireworks competition in Vancouver, British Columbia), the Winterlude (a festival to celebrate Canadian winters with skating, ice sculptures and slides, etc in Ottawa, Ontario & Gatineau, Quebec), Just for Laughs (comedy festival in Montreal, Quebec), Canadian National Exhibit (technology & agriculture fair with family attractions in Toronto, Ontario), Calgary Stampede (rodeo and festival in Calgary, Alberta) and Pride Toronto (a festival celebrating the LGBT community in Toronto, Ontario). All see over 1 million visitors during the festival. I have only ever personally been to one- guess I have some travelling to do!
light winterlude laughs
exhib stampede pride
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
That sums up this version of Chatting with Canadians. So did you learn anything from that? I definitely learned a few things I didn't know! Any things you want to see/do now?
**Note: I used Hike Bike Travel's blog for a lot of these facts. You can find the article with 143 interesting facts here.

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