Time to Put The Gardening Gloves on!

So, I am a huge lover of plants (if you saw the inside of my house, you will find plants that are over 15 years old!), but I have never really tested out gardening.  I think my need to nurture and maintain has finally succeeded over my fear of failure!

This year, we haven’t been able to tackle much in terms of yard maintenance, but I finally decided it was time to remove the ugly grass patch in front of our bay window and plant a nice garden!

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Thankfully Josh wanted that grass patch gone too- so he helped me remove all the grass, and he tilled the clay ground best he could.

Norah and I had a lot of fun picking out shrubs and flowers at our local greenhouse!


We were in a race to beat the rain this week, so I went out after work in the evenings to plant and rake the soil.

It is hard to tell now, but once these grow in the next couple of years, they will look beautiful!   We planted a few boxwoods, hostas, and ninebarks (I cannot wait to see those grow!) as well as a couple of ground covers (wooly thyme smells AMAZING btw)

Gardening is an amazing teacher for patience and care;  I look forward to maintaining this garden and teaching Norah too!  Plus, it gets us outside in that wonderful summer weather!

So, what outside projects are you working on?

Until next time..T. xx

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Meal Planning/Budget tips

As we are a family on a very tight budget, I have picked up a few great tips to stretch our money out and now have some routines revolving around groceries and meal planning.

Between 2 adults and 1 child, we spend about $700/month on groceries (this includes diapers right now, and the odd bottle of wine..).  Not bad I think! (this does not include dining out, which we do once a month if that)

In order to stay within that budget, and to cook up quick meals within the half hour time frame I have when I get home from work, I had to figure out some little tricks/tips to meet my goals. 

Here is what I have learnt:

  1.  Meal Planning.  I never believed that this worked, but it is actually SO important!!  You do not have to stick 100% to it (some people are very diligent and get a meal planning calendar), but I usually have at least 7-10 meals planned within a 2 week span.  note: try and plan your meals around leftovers for lunches as well, this has really helped us save!  
  2. Stock the Freezer.  Every other weekend I will make a couple of freezer dishes- giant batches of chili, spaghetti sauces, soups, shepard’s pies, etc.  I buy in bulk and cook in bulk so there are leftovers for lunches and for the freezer-this saves time and money!
  3. Waste not.   When I cook a meat (ie a ham, chicken, roast), I try and make at least 2 meals out of it (and lunches if I can).  Meat is so expensive these days, and by splitting it into 2-3 meals (ie-for a whole Chicken–1)chicken with rice 2)chicken nachos  3)stuffed peppers), you really save money!   note: you can always freeze the left over meat by wrapping in siran wrap and into a baggy for another week, incorporate it into your meal plan for a stir fry backup!
  4. Couponing/Grocery Apps.  Living in the modern world, there aren’t as many paper coupons out there (I still find the odd one that pertains to my grocery list!), but there are so many apps out there that help you save on your grocery bill!   Here are the 3 main apps I use:

Flipp-This app contains all the flyers in your area.  You can clip deals and compare grocery store prices, and it also provides coupons that you can print!  This app is great for meal planning as you can compare this week’s flyer and upcoming flyers to determine the best pricing for certain items.

Checkout 51– This is an app where you actually get money back!   Each week there is a list of items (food, toiletries, diapers) offering money back after purchase.  Scan your grocery receipt with the items on it, and you will receive money in your account almost immediately.   I started this account half a year ago and I have earned $34.50 (any cent counts)!

PC Plus– The main grocery stores in our area offer the PC Plus points system, so I use this app a lot.   There are instore points and online points, so if you follow this app well, you will save more!  When my usual food staples are being offered, I stock up.   I have received over $500 in savings with this app in the past couple of years!

5.Recipes Organization.  I am a big pinterest fan for gathering recipe ideas and then making them my own.  When I use the recipe a few times, I put them in a ‘favourite recipes’ category.

There are many ways to store recipes- recipe box, recipe apps, and recipe books.

I am a huge fan of the recipe book. I had too many recipes in multiple books, so I finally bought this amazing recipe book to put my favourite go-to recipes in!


I’ll play around with this one, but I also have my eye on a recipe box as well.. (nice and easy to organize in categories)

Happy planning!! until next time..T. xx 

Valentine’s Day; at Home Date Nights

Valentine’s Day: the day dedicated to love.

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Unfortunately, for so many, this is a hard reminder of a broken heart, financial struggles (not being able to live up to the extravagant commercialization), and feelings of loneliness.   For these reasons, I am not a fan of this day. anti-valentines-day

My husband and I have never celebrated Valentine’s day.  We always skip the large bragging gifts, the romantic getaways, the flowers, everything.  I find the pressures of this day really trump the true meaning of love.

This does not mean I am a scrooge about this day! We have a daughter now, and this day is a little exciting for a child, so we make it special for her (she now is a proud owner of a brand new pink dollar store bucket for her pom poms, which she has been decorated with Dora stickers)– the littlest gift, but it has made her so happy!tenor.gif

For Josh and I, we like to have random date nights- those are so special to me.  However, times have changed and now we very rarely make it out just the two of us. (Come to think of it, I don’t think we have gone overnight somewhere alone since our honeymoon 5 years ago!)  With us both working full time jobs (plus planning around a toddler which can be tricky), we now wait until we both are feeling only semi-exhausted, and enjoy a night in together; an at-home date night!

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Last weekend, Josh was off work before Norah and I were home, so he picked up a pizza and a bottle of wine, and turned our Friday night into a mini date night!  Norah went to bed after eating pizza with us, and Josh and I continued the night with movies (ok, it was one movie-it would not be realistic to try and stay awake for two..) and some snacks/wine!  That night was so simple, relaxing, and fun.

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We have become hooked on at home date nights.  For our anniversary last year, we stayed home, cooked appetizers and baked peaches for dessert, and played scrabble.  We talked and laughed- it was a great evening, and still kid free!

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So, for those that do celebrate this day today, but either can’t afford an elaborate celebration or are too tired to go out tonight, here is a list of some fun at home date ideas (Im going to keep these in mind for our random date nights):

-movie night

-indoor picnic

-paint a picture together

-cook a meal together-sushi, pizza.. something hands on

-have a beer or wine tasting

-bundle with some blankets and have a bonfire

-fondue or raclette

-watch a sports game together- get some vendor snacks and beer and cheer your favourite team on!

-video game night

The list can go on!  Be creative & have fun!!  (and happy love day!)

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Until next time…T. xx

DIY- Fairy in a Cage

I have been finding so many little diy house projects while browsing pinterest, but have not had the time to pick up the needed supplies for all of these great crafts that I seem to think I can do!


Stranded with no supplies, I was desperate to be creative!!  I am in no way a crafty person, but have been needing some sort of outlet these days while my basement is in construction mode.


As I sat in my living room wondering what I could do with just the items I have lying around, I spotted this birdcage I’ve had for a couple of years (I think purchased at Homesense).


It has awkwardly been sitting on a shelf, not tied to any decor theme; it was lonely.  Yet I just love its classic look, so I started brainstorming!

My daughter’s room is nature themed- soft pinks with white and beige neutrals, and a lot of wildlife! Owls, rabbits, deer, all of the woodland creatures.

She was also given an adorable fairy statue from her grandmaman (my mother in law) and I hadn’t figured out how to display it yet in her room.

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A little side story- every year my mother in law makes a little fairy garden in her yard each spring.  Filled with little lights, fairies- it is so cute and magical.  Her and I have always bonded over our fascination of fairies.  This year Norah will be helping with the garden, so we are both excited for the tradition to continue!

 

That’s when I figured out what to make! A little cage for her fairy statue!  I had the letter N from a failed craft (I warned you that I am not crafty), some twine, a few little butterflies from my baby shower two years ago, and the statue!


It didn’t take much to make this, and when I hung it from a hook in my daughter’s room, it really added to the magical woodland feel!

Now, each time Norah walks in her room, she looks up and says, “wowwwww!” with gleaming eyes and it just warms my heart.   (Let’s ignore the fact that “wow” is one of her favourite phrases for anything right now…. lol)

Until next time!! xx

A few of my favourite decors..

I live in an area surrounded by trees and bush, so the Christmas season is quite beautiful with the snow, frozen lakes, and evergreen trees. I would love to decorate my home as a wintery forest wonderland to compliment my surroundings. Next year I hope to enhance my seasonal home decor to create that feel.

Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Lights– i love all Christmas lights, colourful, white, blinking, i love them all. They set the mood for the Christmas season! These aurora copper string lights would be the perfect touch.

 Copper String Lights-Anthropologie

2. Stocking Holder: Stockings hung by the fire is such a classic look! i love these pieces as they can really tie a theme together with cuteness and elegance.

 Stocking Holder- Anthropologie

3. Pillows: I know it isn’t a common decoration, but when going cozy and simple- pillows can be that perfect touch. This pine and berry pillow (maybe two or three…) would look really nice in my living room!
 Pine and Berry Pillow- Target

4. Nativity Scene: I LOVE nativity scenes. They are by far my favourite decoration as it represents the true meaning of Christmas; they are so beautiful.

I already have 5 or 6, but this one is so simple and rustic!  Nativity Scene- Pottery Barn

5. Wreaths & Garland: Nothing creates a wintery feel better than a wreath and lots of garland! It’s perfect indoors and out!  Wreath & Garland- Pottery Barn

6. Deer: anyone that knows me knows how much I love decorative deer. I think they represent peace and tranquility and are calming in the home. I love all types– classy, realistic, gold, wood.  Deer- Pier 1 Imports

(I love throwing other woodland creatures in the mix too… foxes, owls, birds)  Critters Ornaments- Pottery Barn

Hope everyone has a fun time decorating this season!!

God Bless ~

Necklace Holder

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Necklace Holder- all that is needed is a towel rack (mine is a basic one from Canadian Tire) and some shower hooks!

For a more vintage look, try browsing some yard sales for an old fashioned rod iron towel rack!

(Im really starting to love pinterest and its wonderful spacesaving/organizational ideas!!)