Friday, April 29, 2011


My Mom will be leaving in the morning. I'm very sad to see her go. There's nothing like a week with Mom to help bring things back into focus.

There's nothing like a taste of back home when you're feeling incredibly homesick and lonely.

The first few days they were here, I thought to myself, quite proudly, that we're doing alright here, and I really did make the right decision. I confidently showed off my home, my well developed navigational skills, growing history knowledge, and appreciation for the flora and fauna of the region. Maybe it's just having someone from home visiting me here, finally. Maybe it's just that it's my Mom, but it's important I think... Things were said, and I don't even remember what now, but things were said that made me think, finally, this really is our home now. Which also made me a little sad. I've moved on, somehow, even though I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above the water some days.

And then today, many many many times today, I dreamed about going back with my Mom. Dreamed about escaping here. Wished that we'd never come. Thought to myself that I'd like to go home now. Home to Vancouver really, not even home with my Mom. Just back.

I'm an escapist really. I'll be happy when I'm out of here, where ever it is I happen to be.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I must have died in a tornado in a past life or something.

Yesterday was nearly 30 degrees outside, and my Mom and I went for a 7KM walk, resulting in sunburned shoulders for yours truely. Yes, I put sunscreen on before we left, but apparently I missed a few spots. But we had thunderstorm warnings, and wind warnings, which resulted in a bit of crazy rain, but nothing spectacular.

It's super windy today, we have a wind warning in effect. Wind speeds of up to 93km/h, with gusts over 100km/h. Now, I know that's not a tornado or a hurricane or anything, but I have to say, it's got me a little on edge. Or maybe the wind is blowing my stomach around. Whatever it is, it's got my stomach in knots.

I was up before 8AM this morning, the wind rattling my windows roused me. I peeked out the window to see garbage blowing across the yard. The recycling truck was just going by, emptying the recycling bins, so I figured I'd better head outside and hide them securely away if I wanted to keep them. I ended up picking up an assortment of paper, bottles and cans and shoved them into our own recycling bins before stowing them carefully back in the garage.

I think I've been outside about three times already, collecting other people's recycling bins that were making their way across our yard, returning them to their various addresses, and trying to find a secure place to stash them.

Our yard is littered with branches again.

We saw a basketball roll down the road and there's no way I could have caught up with it, even if my shoes were already on. I feel bad for the guy at the end of the street. He's going to have one heck of a mess.

The windows in my living room keep rattling. They don't even open, so that's got me a bit freaked out. I keep waiting for them to blow in or something. But they've been here for 50 years or something, they should be fine, right?!?

My Mom went out into the backyard to collect some garbage, and she wanted to "experience" the wind she said. Unfortunately, she didn't really get a good taste of the wind, but did find herself nearly ankle deep in water, in my flip-flops.

Now she wants us to go for a walk. What is she thinking?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Tiramisu

For Easter dinner I made Strawberry Shortcake Tiramisu. The recipe can be found at It's Lady Finger biscuits, dipped in orange juice, and then layered with marscapone cheese mixed with whipping cream and strawberries. They topped theirs with chocolate sauce, but I thought it would be fine with some extra strawberries on top, and I left out the chocolate altogether this time. It was a fabulous. A wonderful spring dessert. Try it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spotted: Starlings and a Lone Cowbird (I think)

They may not seem very exciting if you know anything about birds, but I do not (know anything about birds that is.) So every time I see a new bird in our yard I get really excited, even if they are pest-like birds, or incredibly common. Up until now, I could identify a bluejay, a crow (usually), and a sea gull. I think I can pretty much figure out ducks, geese and swans, too. But my bird knowledge is really minimal at best. So the first time I saw the shiny, iridescent grackles, I was practically hopping. Now they're in the yard every day and I wish they'd quite their squeeking.

Now, I know the following birds are apparently fairly common, but I've never seen them in my yard before (in the long 6 months we've lived here now.) And actually, truth be known, I saw them and took these photographs a few weeks ago. I've seen the Starlings back a few times, but certainly not daily. And I've never seen the Cowbird again. In fact, I'm only assuming it's a female Cowbird, but if you know what it really is I'd love to know!

The Starlings are dark, like a brown or black, and a little bit shiny, with yellowish-whitish spots all over them, and apparently they like to eat something in the grass in our front yard. I don't even think I've ever seen them in the back yard.

This Cowbird is kinda pretty! She reminds me almost of a parrot or something. I wish she'd come back so I could see her closer!!

If you don't really care about birds, you have my sincere apologies! I never really cared about birds either. I guess it must just be boredom or loneliness or something.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ding Dong the Carpet's Gone

Okay, so this post is a few days late, but it still makes me happy. It's like a huge weight off my shoulders. Like 30 rolls of carpet-weight. That's right. 30 rolls of carpet. Plus under-padding. 42 rolls total Ian tells me. 42 rolls of carpet and underpadding. A mountain of carpet and under-padding that has been steadily growing since we moved in, taking over our garage, making it a renovation dumping zone, and rendering it un-fit for parking our car.

And the garbage truck took it all away! YAAAY!!! It made me sing, ask my Mother-in-Law, I told her. I even sang it to Ian.

Ding dong, the carpet's gone, the carpet's gone, the carpet's gone.
Ding dong, the carpet's gone, oh YAY!!!

PS My Mom is still here and I'm sure we'll have some more exiting posts once I have time to think about it. Loving having her here!!! :D

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

I'm so lucky this Easter. I get to spend it with Ian, my Mom, and Bob! And Ian's parent's will be coming over to our house for turkey dinner tonight also! It's my first turkey dinner, I sure hope it turns out okay!

I think, for me, every holiday is just a fantastic excuse to get together with family. This holiday is extra special for us because it's only the second time we'll have my family and Ian's family together in the same place, besides at our wedding. Once, about 5 years ago, Ian's parents came to visit us in Vancouver and then we took them up to Kamloops to meet my family. Then they met again at our wedding last year. And now, for the first time ever, we get to host members of my family and members of his family for a meal at our own house! Actually, we may have cheated a bit, we had Ian's parents over for lasagna last night, too! But tonight's the extra special holiday turkey dinner.

I hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday weekend with the people you love.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I'm writing about my little buddy today because I haven't seen him yet.. I think I heard him singing out front, but he hasn't knocked on the window even once. I wonder if he knows that my Mom and Bob are coming tonight, and Bob might just shoot him. No, I'm just kidding, Bob wouldn't really do that. But I'm not sure he's going to find it as interesting as my Mom will. Or might. I'm sort of assuming she'll care. But he really is a neat little guy. Stupid, but neat.

So if you didn't already know, Cardinal knocks on our den bedroom window daily. Like seriously, every single day. I've posted a video of him doing it here, and I've also got a clip of him singing here.

So I'm a little concerned that I haven't seen his smiling face yet today. Well, maybe not smiling face... but cute little face none-the-less.

Anyways, maybe because I miss him today, here are a few of my favourite shots of him.

Isn't he nice to look at? And you should really hear him sing!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blue Jay

A week or so ago, back when I thought it was spring, I was outside picking up branches from our muddy yard. I was noticing buds on some of the trees and bushes, and went inside to get the camera, excited to document these first signs of spring, at least two months later than I'm used to seeing them, coming from Vancouver. This has felt like a ridiculously long winter, and I'm desperate for it to come to an end. I realize that rain indicates spring in most regions of Canada, including Vancouver, but having spent the last number of years in Vancouver, rain to me means winter. Rain mixed with sun, and sprinkled with cherry blossoms, bright pink flowers outside my winter, early bulbs, and buds on trees, means spring in Vancouver. So far in Niagara Falls, I've seen a few, a rare few bulbs sprouting, and finally, FINALLY, buds on the trees!

So here I was, ecstatic to see evidence of spring in my own muddy yard. I was in the front, under the Oak tree, when this Blue Jay flew past me, and came to rest in the branches. So I stood very still and snapped his picture. A few times actually. And I crept my way a little closer to him, and he just ignored me. Actually, I think he just didn't see me!

I think maybe he just didn't see me, because when we did make eye contact, this is what he did...

That's right. He hopped straight up in the air, and then zoomed towards me. Then he actually flew right past me (a game of chicken, perhaps?) and flew on into my back yard. Now, I'm no yellow-belly! So I took my camera and I marched right back there after him. Quietly. And slowly. And he agreed to tolerate my invasion of privacy, and humour me a little more. 

Then he gave me the cold shoulder before flying away again. 

P.S. Did I mention that we drove through a snow storm on Sunday that I thought was going to turn into a hurricane? And last night I was awake for three hours watching my bedroom light up and listening to the sounds of rain and thunder? *Sigh*

P.P.S. Did I mention that my Mom is coming tomorrow?? I AM SOOOO EXCITED!!!! That's why I didn't post yesterday; I just plain ran outta time trying to tackle several last minute projects around the house. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gone Squirrelly

Hmmm, what's this?

 I think there's food in here...

Maybe I can get it down...If I can just chew through here...

Or maybe I can chew through this side... Hmm, no...

I know, I'll just take the top off!

Or not... Hmmm..

Maybe it's a twist-off...

Or it could be one of those child-safe tops that you have to push and twist...

Whoooa! It's a little bit slippery!

Hmm.. How am I going to get in there?

Stupid... Guys like that give us squirrells a bad name...  

Friday, April 15, 2011

The "Den Bedroom"

This is the "den bedroom" before we moved in.

It is a bedroom, technically, but Mrs. S. used it as a den, and we'll probably have a similar use for it for a while. So we'll call it the "den bedroom." The door to the room has been removed, and we have no immediate plans to replace it. Also, she had a curtain hung over the closet, in which she had yet another set of four storage shelves. She's left us more storage shelves than we know what to do with, no kidding! I never thought I'd say that. And as a special treat, she left us her stereo: an old tape player, record player, blown speakers, and even German Christmas albums, on good ol' fashion cassette tapes of course! Luckily, Ian has held on to the box of records he found in the garbage room of our old apartment, so we'll have records to play on our record player! And this is how hoarding starts... 

So once all her stuff had been moved out, the den bedroom became our upstairs storage area. This is where we seemed to dump stuff we didn't want to put downstairs, didn't know what to do with, or were using but didn't want in the living room (like all of the painting or repair tools we were using at the moment.) After I moved all of that storage stuff into various closests, and found new homes for the other stuff I didn't know what to do with, this is what the room looked like. 

 You can really see the smoke stains on the walls in these shots. This is what pretty much the whole house looked like, if you didn't see it before.

After I pulled off this wall paper, which happened to not be 30 years old like the rest of the house, but 15 or 20 years old (I can't remember, but whoever hung the paper had written their name and the year on the wall underneath it, and I thought I took a picture of it, but now I can't find it so I guess I didn't...) Anyways, after pulling down the wallpaper, this is what I ended up with. 

And this bright, lemony yellow paint, covered with wall paper glue of course. 

So my intentions were to leave the paint on the walls, and patch the areas that had water damage, or had flaked off for other various reasons. That way we wouldn't have to fill all the gouges the scrapers end up leaving in the walls, and we wouldn't have to worry about the cracks in the plaster bubbling up in the primer, like it did really badly in the dining room. But after wetting the walls and trying to scrape the glue off for about ten minutes, and making pretty much no progress, Ian and I decided to take the paint off instead, like we ended up doing in much of the rest of the house. It's still not an easy job, but it beats scraping the glue off. 

Now paint is done. I re-hung the original curtains, just until we have some money to get new curtains. Still needs 1/4 round on the floors. And we're going to be building a desk in the closet, to keep the printer/scanner upstairs, and giving us an area to use our laptops, if we want. And we're going to need to work on the furniture.. And one day, a rug. Probably this will become the TV room for a while, too, because neither of us want the big TV in the living room. Maybe a smaller one, some day. All in due time, right? Always a work in progress...

Funny how the colour looks very similar to the paint that was under the wall paper. It's not the same colour though, I think it's just the light. It's a much warmer yellow, not so lemony.. (I keep saying that, don't I?)

The floors in this room were the absolute best in the entire house. They're gorgeous. I love them. Couldn't have asked for more.

Sooo that's all the painting on the main floor DONE!!!! Until we get the crown moulding and 1/4 roudn in anyways... Then I'll have some more to do with that, and I have various touch ups to do around the house, also! But YAY!!! In 5 months we managed to get the whole main floor livable, where I can touch any wall, or walk around in bare feet, without feeling like I have to go sanitize myself afterwards! 

This is the view from the den bedroom. It's the perfect place to sit and watch the birds. It's also the Cardinal's favourite window.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pretzel Buns

Last weekend we went to Ian's parent's house for his dad's and sister's birthday dinner. Their birthdays are about 3 weeks apart, but Ian's sister will be away for hers, so we had a birthday dinner in between their two birthdays. So while Ian and his dad were repairing our chimney, I was making pretzel buns to bring with us. I've never had pretzel buns, I've never heard of pretzel buns, but I found a recipe for them and thought, "mmm pretzels! That would be good!"

I'm not a very experience bread maker, and I don't really think yeast and I are friends, but these turned out pretty good anyways. I didn't have a thermometer to check the temperature of my water before I put the yeast in, and it didn't really look like it foamed, but it turned out okay.

I sort of want to call them pretzel bums when I see them...

Despite my sad attempt at rolling them out, and the pathetic excuse for a slice down the center, they do look good enough to eat, don't they? And I gotta tell you, they really did taste pretty darn good. I'd make them again for sure! Maybe they'll look nicer next time. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A whole lotta cleanin' goin' on...

Whether it was the feeling of spring in the air, or that the fact that my Mom will be here in just over a week (YAAAAAAY!!), I suddenly realized I had a lot of little jobs to do around the house. Things I had been ignoring. Hoping they would go away. Hoping Ian would do them. Hoping elves would take care of them. Something. It's funny how many things I still have to do around here, considering I'm not even working. I can see how being a house wife really is a full-time job! Who did these things when Ian and I were both working?? No one. And it seems no one does them now either. Until yesterday.

So the following lovely chaotic mess on my counter is actually remnants of when we painted the kitchen. I had boxed up a whole bunch of things and moved them into the dining room, where they sat on the floor, on the table, or on the chair, depending on the day. Most of the boxes have made their way back into the kitchen, where they've been emptied and shoved into some cupboard somewhere. Except one box. I wasn't sure what to do with it. It contained paint sample cards, lots of papers, old calendars (I actually don't even know why those where in there), some black canisters, a few cook books, and everything we had taken off the fridge (pictures, magnets, recipes, etc.) Also, there is a glass shelf that was located on this wall, and I decided to put it back. We are hoping to get some cupboards to hang here, but haven't yet, so I thought it doesn't hurt anything to use the glass shelf again until we do. We never bothered to fill the holes for it when we painted anyways, so no harm. I cleaned up the clutter (mostly) and Ian hung the shelf when he got home.

 (The camera was not in that box, it's more a remnant of my scatterbrain..)

And here are the canister. A Christmas present from my brother, ages ago... I had to re-create some counter room for them. Funny how counters get so cluttered with "stuff." Does that happen to you, too?

In the midst of my chaos, I also had to find time to make dinner. Cue the slow cooker! My favourite appliance I think, though I love my stand mixer too! Beef stew. Mmmm.

Did I mention that I started all of these projects, and then left them in various stages, moving from one to the other like a housewife with ADHD, and not completing anything? I took out the brooms to sweep the floor, then decided to vacuum the front floor mat before sweeping moved beyond the entry. Then I left them all there and moved on to something else, before later returning and sweeping the floors in the rest of the house. 

In finishing the "den bedroom", we turned the spare bedroom into a storage room of sorts. We put a ton of things in there that we just needed to get out of the "den bedroom" (which had been our "catch-all" room since we moved in.) Some people have a junk drawer, I guess ours turned into a junk bedroom... Oh, and I still hadn't re-hung the curtain rod in the spare room yet, so no curtain. A lot of this stuff needed to be put where ever it belongs. I still don't know what to do with some of it. Very kindly, Ian hung the curtain and rod for me last night.

Occasionally I thought to myself, I need to post on the blog, too. Or I'd stop to check my email. Not that anyone emails me anyways. Also, note the black plastic garbage bag on the couch. With that in hand, we head down to the laundry room... 

I'd washed the curtains and bedding and stuff that Mrs. S. left last week, but still hadn't re-folded the shears I had left to dry in the laundry room. I'm thinking I may hang these in the sun room when we open it up for the summer. 

Turn just to the Left now and you'll see my sewing/craft table. A bit of a disaster, I have a minimum of four projects started and not finished. 

Turn to the Right and you'll see the pile of hand-washing I've been putting off for ages... I don't find any joy in hand-washing, though I do like to make my sweaters last longer, and even being nearly 10 years old, I don't trust our sarongs/curtains to not run, so I always wash them by hand. (Sarongs/curtains were sarongs when that was cool, and when Ian was travelling, and then they became curtains in our appartment in Vancouver for several years, and now I'm not sure what they'll become. Probably sarongs again.)

This is the pile of bedding from Mrs. S. that needed to be put into that black plastic bag and given to Goodwill or something. Bagged. Now to get rid of it.

Soooo, all in all, yesterday was a VERY busy day, and despite running back and forth from one thing to another, I got a pretty good handle on it. I have a few things left to tackle, but I have another week before my Mom gets here, and today doesn't feel quite so spring-like. It's dark, and rainy, and feels like winter in Vancouver. Booooooo. I know, April showers bring May flowers and all that, but I had kinda gotten used to January showers and February flowers...

Now off to make a peanut butter pie! Yes, peanut butter pie. Are you coming over?