Monday, April 10, 2017

Birthday Girl

I'm referring to myself, of course. Because everyone knows how much I love birthdays and how much I absolutely love to be the birthday girl. Even my friend Tory knows me that well, so when she sent me a package in the mail she wrote my name and then inserted "Birthday Girl" between my first and last name. My birthday is all about me. And I love it!

My birthday was last Friday, April 7th, and it turned out to be quite a fabulous day. I was a little concerned, seeing as I came down with a cold earlier in the week and was feeling pretty wretched on Thursday. But I took some cold medication and ate some pre-birthday cupcakes while watching tv and that seemed to rest me up enough for my actual birthday. Thank goodness.

Pre-birthday cupcake
I'm so glad I was organized enough to make myself cupcakes on the Wednesday before I started feeling too bad. Because a birthday without cake would have been sad.

I woke up all cheery on Friday morning (who couldn't wake up cheery on their birthday) until Dan told me to look outside. To give you some background, the past week had been feeling like spring and all the snow had melted and life was good and I was hoping for warm weather on my actual birthday. No such luck. I looked out my bedroom window to this view.

Snow everywhere. It was like a winter wonderland out there! I pouted and stomped and felt quite sad that the snow had come back. But upon further investigation into the upcoming weather, I discovered it would melt over the next few days so I decided to just suck it up and pretend it wasn't there. I climbed back into bed and waited patiently for my breakfast in bed.

Dan made me pancakes with strawberries and raspberries on top. Delicious! Growing up, we always got breakfast in bed on our birthday and so I have convinced forced Dan to continue the tradition. He loves it. :::sarcasm::: 

Moving on. Once I ate my breakfast, I opened my first present from my friend Tory. She sent me a package with five presents that had little notes on them specifying the time I could open them. The first one was at 7am and so I tore into it quickly (since it was now past 7am) and was delighted to get some birthday tea!

At this point, Dan and I cuddled back down under the covers and fell back asleep for a bit, until certain family members called and woke us up for the second time (I'm looking at you Jackie). It was for the best, since we didn't really want to sleep the day away. After Jackie's second birthday call, Cora and I video chatted and giggled quite a bit over the different features we could add to our faces over Facebook. Who knew so many fun hats and decorations existed!

Before getting up and facing our day, I called my mom and we looked through my baby photo album together. Another fun tradition we have.

Dan took the day off work because he loves me that much. Isn't he the best? He just knows me so well and knew I would love to be spoiled all day.

We had some errands to run in town and then Dan was taking me out for lunch, but before we left I did some research on dance shoes and found which ones I'm going to order with my birthday money from my mom. And then I opened my 10am present from Tory.

Yay for cute dance shoes and new mystery books!

We ran our errands, none of which were overly exciting, and then we hit up my favourite little cafe for lunch. Seriously, this place is the best ever. It's small and adorable and the owners are super sweet and remember me and I can actually eat some of their food! I can always have their soup and they can make most of their drinks with coconut milk and they recently added some banana bread I can have. Like I said, BEST PLACE EVER!!

After our tasty lunch we headed home to put up my birthday shelves. But first, I had to open my 2pm present in the car. How fun to have designated presents to open at certain times!

Now about these birthday shelves. Ever since we redecorated our last bedroom (like 3 years ago), I've been wanting some floating shelves. I put the dream on hold for a bit when we decided to sell and then when we had higher priorities in this place. Dan insisted he was going to make them and so I asked him for them for Christmas. But once again, higher priorities. Like our kitchen. So Christmas didn't happen. But my birthday did! Dan super lovingly made my floating shelves for our bedroom that matched our bedroom set and bathroom door and he put them up on my birthday. There was quite a bit of grief involved, seeing as floating shelves aren't that easy to make, but they are up and they are beautiful and I love them. Here are the before and after shots of the wall we put them on.

This view is taken from the bed, looking towards the hallway and bathroom. I'm still working on choosing the right frames and knickknacks to put on them, but they look fabulous. Wouldn't you agree?

Next up, opening another present while Dan made me supper.

We had pesto pasta with bacon and watched an episode of White Collar. Then we had cupcakes for dessert (duh) and headed out to dance! It was just a social dance at a church but we had lots of fun and showed off some of our sweet new dance moves from the workshop we attended. Because we're super cool like that.

We returned home and I quickly opened my last present before we headed to bed. It was a super sweet book that we are going to read to our baby/child one day. Thank you Tory, all the presents were fabulous.

And that was the end of my actual birthday. It was really good and was the perfect way to turn 28.

But the birthday celebrations rolled over into Saturday! Girls night! Me and some friends went out for dinner and then to the theatre to watch Beauty and the Beast in 3D. It was my first 3D movie experience and it was really fun.

I even got spoiled with more presents, I'm so lucky. Thanks to my lovely ladies for a fun night out and fun presents!

I have a feeling 28 is going to be a good year. Bring it!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When in Doubt, Just Dance

As I mentioned in my goals post, Dan and I attended our very first dance workshop last weekend. I had added this to my goals for 2017 because I knew that if I didn't, I would totally talk myself out of it. I hate doing anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and I usually steer clear of uncomfortable situations. So attending a dance workshop with a bunch of couples who were probably better than me and having to dance with strangers? Super not my thing. But you can't get better unless you stretch yourself, right? Right. So we signed up and went. And we survived. Barely.

Back in 2015, I put on my goals list that I wanted to take a class with Dan. Any class really, I wasn't picky. Dan chose dance and that is how we got started dancing West Coast Swing. For those of you not familiar with West Coast Swing, here is a little Youtube video to clear things up.

That's basically a clip of super talented people.That is not at all what we look like. See video below to see a little more of where we're at.

Please do not feel like you have to watch the whole thing, it's just to give you an idea of what WCS is, since most non-dancing people don't know.

Moving on. We attended this workshop with three other couples from our dance class and that totally helped us feel less lonely and overwhelmed. It was nice to have people we knew there and who could encourage us when we ended up crying in the bathroom. True story. Well, true story for me. Dan didn't cry.

Basically the weekend looked a little like this:

8:00pm - Musical Sugar Pushes Workshop
9:00pm-12:00am - Dance Party

2:00pm - Music Theory for Dancers Workshop
3:15pm - Musical Movement Workshop
5:00pm - Applied Musical Movement Workshop
8:00pm - Ride or Slide Workshop
9:00pm-1:00am - Dance Party

It was a little intense for our first workshop weekend and I may have gotten super overwhelmed after the first workshop on Saturday and almost quit. I cried in the bathroom and then hid in a backroom for a bit until Dan convinced me we should go back in and see what was going on. I rallied and we joined back in and I'm so glad we did. I am super proud of myself for not giving up and I did learn quite a bit. It was just so much information!

Our teachers were awesome though and we really did learn a lot. All in all, I would probably attend another workshop and hopefully it would go better, since I know more of what I'm getting myself into. Plus, I'm now super comfortable dancing with strangers! Ha, just kidding. It still stresses me out.

My sister Cora and her husband Jeremie met us for supper and the Saturday night dance, which added a super fun element to the weekend. And helped get us through the stressful afternoon.

We had a ton of fun at the Saturday night dance (maybe because we knew it was over) and I was feeling more confident. We didn't take any pictures of the weekend, so good thing Cora snapped some and shared them with us!

It was a fun weekend away and it was also a super fun group we were part of, we even partied it up after the Friday night dance with drinks and pizza in one of the hotel rooms! Ya that's right, we can still pretend we're young! Although now I have a cold and I'm exhausted.

So there you go, Dan and I the budding dancers. Who would have thought that we would be dancing on a regular basis? But seriously, it is so much fun and I tell all our friends that they should take up dancing too. It's a great date night and gets you moving. So I dare you, take a look around your town/city and see if there are any dance classes you could take!

Friday, March 31, 2017

17 Goals for 2017 - Progress Report #1

Time sure does fly and here we are at our first goal check-in. Let's see how I've been doing with my 17 goals of 2017!

1. Read 12 books I've read 5 so far, so almost halfway! I did make an easy goal for this year though...
2. Renovate basement In progress! Updates will be shared on here soon
3. Run my fifth 5k Have sort of started training for it and it's scheduled for April 30th
4. Set up a nursery Not yet, the room is still full of stuff
5. Blog at least twice a month So far I'm doing okay with this one (barely)
6. Take a pottery class with Dan Done! We had so much fun and I will be blogging about it soon
7. Visit the ocean Still just a dream
8. Go on a weekend camping trip Waiting for warmer weather but are excited to plan a few of these!
9. Clear backyard and bring in fill We have to wait for the snow to melt 
10. Make a budget Have been making monthly budgets and have sort of been sticking to them
11. Go on a date once a month with Dan Success for the first 3 months of the year
12. Buy new windows for the basement Not yet
13. Start a couples infertility support group This is in the works
14. Colour more often This is ongoing but so far I'm doing okay with it
15. Start organizing photos on the computer So daunting...
16. Attend a dance workshop Attending one this weekend!
17. Do bookkeeping at least once a month So far this has been a success!

So far I've been doing good! I've only crossed one thing off but a few more are in the works and should be done by the next time I check in. Plus, a bunch of them are for the whole year so I can't cross them off until December. I'm proud of how I'm doing though!

If you made goals, how are you doing with them? Care to share? Anyone else shocked at how fast the first three months of the year flew by?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kitchen Renovation - Part 3

Now that it's been two months of waiting for you guys (well, those of you who don't follow me on Facebook at least) to see the final pictures of the kitchen, I thought I would get around to writing up part 3 of the kitchen renovation! Aren't you excited? I know you are.

So in part 2 of the great kitchen overhaul, I ended with this picture that shows you a little bit of how our kitchen was going to end up, minus all the pretty stuff.

Oh what fun it was to see our kitchen coming together and have more of a feel for the layout! Despite having no counters or sink or functional space, I still managed to cook us meals. Sort of. We ate a lot of noodles and sauce.

We got the counters cut and in place pretty quickly and then Dan shaped the peninsula to make a nice little seating area. He's got mad skills like that.

This part was really dusty again. Sigh. It seems like all parts of renovations are dusty. Except for maybe painting.

Once the counter was in, it felt like things moved fast. We oiled it with a food grade butcher block oil and sanded between the many coats. Finally, after 5 months with no proper kitchen sink, I came home to this beauty one day!

I may have squealed and then gone and hugged it. For real. Doing dishes felt so glorious for a few days. It's amazing how much you can appreciate washing dishes normally after washing them not so normally for so long. The novelty did wear off eventually though.

Once the sink was in, we moved some stuff into the kitchen to make it feel more real. Important stuff like wine and chips.

Isn't it beautiful? At this point I was feeling really good about things and thinking how we were almost done. Oh bliss! I could see the finish line and took off on the last final sprint!

Which led to priming and painting the cabinets. Now, if you've never primed and painted cabinets, you don't quite understand the painful process that it is. It takes so long! And it is so frustrating and time consuming and awkward. Oh I hated it. So much. Especially the open shelves and the wine rack. That wine rack was a beast to paint.

But I persevered and pretty soon the cabinets were looking fabulous. We chose a lovely off white colour for the cabinets called Spun Cotton and we love how they turned out. Nice and bright but not too stark. Just perfect. And it blends with the wood so nicely.

We then got a dishwasher! And back splash! Oh so exciting! We totally lucked out on the back splash, since everything we were looking at was so expensive. We couldn't quite justify almost $20/sq.ft. But we found this gorgeous grey subway tile at Lowes for $5/sq.ft. and it goes so nicely with the kitchen. Win for us!

Shortly after this point we were able to start putting things into the kitchen for real. Like actual things that stayed put in the cupboards. I still had no drawers (they were being painted) but the upper shelves were usable. Hallelujah!

I was getting excited and feeling like we were nearly done. Again. You'd think I'd learn and stop thinking we were nearly done until we actually were. Because if I thought painting the cabinets sucked, try painting a bajillion doors and drawers. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But there were a lot of doors and drawers. And I wanted to make sure I did a good job so I sanded and washed them well and then did two coats of primer and two coats of paint. I loathed those doors by the end of this process. Thank goodness for Young House Love Has a Podcast to keep me company or else I would have pulled my hair out.

It did finally end. And I didn't die. The whole painting process was really hard though. The basement was cold and dark and the floors were hard and my hands got cramped. I may have whined a lot to Dan during the process, because by this point I was so over this kitchen reno.

But oh boy was it worth it. Our kitchen is beautiful (although not quite done yet) and I love using it on a daily basis. Plus, I'm proud of the fact that we basically built it!

We love the colours and the flow and the stools at the counter with the pendant lights. We love the back splash and the brightness and the stove. Every little bit we love. Well, minus the fridge. I hate the fridge. One day we will get a nice new one but for now, I will glory in the beauty of my mostly finished kitchen.

We finished it on Christmas Eve and it was the best Christmas gift ever. Over 6 months of renovations to end with this transformation. (Excuse the crappy dark iPhone pictures for the afters. We are waiting until everything is done before taking fabulous after photos. But you get the idea.)



Improvement right?

So there you have it, the great 6+ month kitchen renovation. I'm not sure if I'll ever be convinced to do this again, since I honestly don't know how I survived it. But it's done and it's beautiful and that is what I'm focusing on.

Anyone care to share their kitchen renovation stories with me? Tell me I'm not the only one who nearly lost her mind during the process.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five Things Friday

It has been forever since I wrote a Five Things Friday post! I like these little posts because I get to share random tidbits of my life with you that normally wouldn't get a whole post written about them. Plus, they're quick and easy to write and fun to read! Or at least I think so.

1) I finally caved and bought myself some essential oils! I'm pretty excited about them and am starting to diffuse them and research how to use them in my everyday life. It's going to be slow going because that's the way I roll, but for now, super excited about this fun adventure I've started. Plus, some of them smell so good!

2) We were back in Quebec last weekend for my sister Cora's 30th birthday and the whole family was there. Pretty much super crazy busy and hectic but oh so fun. It's especially fun to see the little ones who change so fast, like my nephew Liam. He absolutely loved Mia (and Dan) and was a pretty cute ray of sunshine over the weekend.

3) I've been stepping up my breakfast game lately, which you might already know if you follow me on Facebook. This week the breakfasts have been apple crisp with plain yogurt and hemp seeds. Super delicious and I plan on sharing the recipe with you guys next time I make it. And if I remember to take pictures. For now though, just know that everyone should be eating apple crisp for breakfast.

4) Because of our crazy backyard goals for this summer, I am unable to plant a vegetable garden this year. Which makes me crazy sad but I am trying not to dwell on it too much or else I just get depressed. Looking back at old garden pictures also makes me sad. So instead of moping about my lack of garden and fresh veggies, I have signed us up for a local CSA program! Fresh veggies boxed and ready for pick up every week all summer long? Sign me up! Which is what I did. I can't wait for June 27th.

5) I hate drywall dust. So.freaking.much. We are currently having our basement drywalled (we hired it out this time since it's such a big space) and there was a mess up the other day. Super not anyone's specific fault, just an unfortunate incident that included the furnace fan running while the drywall was being sanded. Which resulted in drywall dust coating everything in my entire house. I may not have handled the situation well. I have been saying I needed to do a full deep clean of the house, so I guess this is my push to actually do it.

So there you have it folks, some five random things that have been happening in my life lately. There are a few changes happening in our personal life over the next little while and I will hopefully be sharing some of them here with you guys soon. I'm also thinking it's time for a fresh new blog look. Thoughts on that?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Date Days with Dan

One of my 2017 goals is to go on at least one date per month with Dan. So far we are doing well and we definitely did more than one date in February! I thought I would share a few pictures here and prove that you can still do fun things on the cheap.

Valentine's Day was our first date, where Dan lovingly shopped and made me supper. It was so nice to come home from work and just sit at the island drinking wine by candlelight while Dan cooked me a delicious meal.

He made steak, double baked potatoes, broccoli and carrots. He even stopped at our favourite winery and picked up a bottle of our favourite wine.

Everything was delicious and there were even leftovers for my lunch the next day! Dan totally won Valentine's Day this year. Even if he didn't cooperate for the picture I made him pose for.

Aren't we pretty? We like to fancy it up on V-day.

Our next date was a hockey game that we had won tickets to, just our local team playing. Neither of us super love hockey but we were excited to get out of the house and do something different. We ended up leaving after the second period though because we unfortunately ended up sitting amidst what felt like 100 elementary aged children (school group) who had all been given homemade noise makers. Super fun. So we snapped this picture (which totally could have been taken anywhere really) and left early for home. We're so old.

Our final date for February was actually last Saturday when we drove to Toronto for the Outdoor Adventure Show! We walked around for two hours picking up freebies and entering draws before deciding we weren't enjoying the masses of crowds anymore and decided to leave. Dan did purchase a cool backroads program though for a GPS where it shows crown land, boat launches, canoe routes, campsites, etc. He was pretty excited about it.

We forgot to take any pictures while at the actual show (did I mention the crazy crowds?) so we snapped this one in the car to prove we were there.

Since it was only midday by this point, we opted to make a few more Toronto stops before heading home. First up, IKEA! I felt super excited about this one because Dan hates IKEA and has never offered to take me. So the fact that he didn't completely shut down the idea when I suggested it made my day. We walked around for a bit and only ended up buying a few small purchases. But I did find a sectional couch I want, if only we had that much money to spend on a couch right now.

Doesn't the above picture show how happy Dan was to be there?

We then stopped at MEC (Mountain Equipment Hardware) and SAIL on the way home, where we bought important things like chocolate and a GPS (for the above mentioned program).

All in all, it was a fun day out and we came home happy and tired.

So there you have it, some fun dates that didn't cost too much and are totally helping us with crossing that 2017 goal off the list. Plus, we super like hanging out together.

P.S. Did you notice how I just squeezed in two blog posts for the month of February? I really have to step up my game if I want to stick to the goal of two blog posts a month. Hopefully I'll do better in March!

P.P.S. And sorry to my readers who have been waiting for part 3 of the kitchen upgrade, I totally forgot! I will try and get the finished pictures up soon. In March at least.

P.P.S. We love selfies! Can you tell? Sorry for the lack of variety in photos for this post, I will try and be more creative in my picture taking moving forward.