What you want and what you get.

We bought a house with no stove, cooker, oven, range...whatever you want to call it.  There was a wine fridge?  But no roaster.  Funny enough this wasn't the first time we did this.  Our first house, very dear to my heart, had a stove top but NO oven.  We eventually picked up a second-hand range and that went in the basement.  If I wanted to bake or broil or braise I had to duck downstairs.  And I mean duck, literally,...it had a looooowwww ceiling.

So why did we do it again?

Because we have a little i m a g i n a t i o n.

Shortly after we moved in, I was swinging baby Court out front.  A man bicycled by with his family.  He stopped.  He asked how we could have bought that house...with that kitchen and all?  NO imagination.

Here's one of my favourite kitchens and the inspiration behind our little update...

Photos Better Homes & Gardens

Here's our little kitchen, mid-construction...

We removed some cupboards, to make room for a range.  And there weren't that many to begin with.  We also removed some of the uppers, to make way for the range hood.  In order for the range to be able to open, we had to shift the dishwasher down a bit and then the sink. 

I painted all the cupboards.  We installed some subway tile and open shelves. Some new hardware.  A new countertop.

And this is what we got...

This house needed A LOT of work. We couldn't sink it all into the dream kitchen.  I hope one day to get closer to my inspiration above...we can open the kitchen up to the dining room beyond...where there is a FIREPLACE and room for a BIG island.  I'd really love to have more than 3 little drawers...and doors that don't fall off.  But I think with a lot of hard work and a little imagination you can almost get what you want.

Scallops and ruffles

This post was supposed to be about pretty things.  I was hoping to make a scalloped basket liner and some ruffly pillows.  Instead of a day spent at the sewing machine, it was spent trying to get my hubby off to Montreal and me over a dreadful stomach flu.  To top it off, winter finally hit us here and dumped loads of snow on us.  I am stressed. 

It is at these times that I wish more than anything I did not work OUTSIDE the home.  I want to hunker down with my kids and not worry about my mother making it to my house in the middle of a snow storm so that I can then, a nervous nelly, make my way slowly through the storm to an office where those there really do not care about how horrible a drive it was for me or my dear mom.  But we will do that today.  My mom and I.  And I will also pray that my love has made it to Montreal.

Until I have the time and the calmed heart to make the pretty things, here is my inspiration...

Photos courtesy Country Home

I'm also inspired by her ruffly pillow.  And her ruffly table cloth.

Is r u f f l y a word?

I hope so.

Do you know....

My boy is generous like his father...

and crafty like his mother...

and he likes to teach us lots of stuff.  We learned the following on the way to hockey (it's really Learn-to-Skate, but don't tell Court) on Saturday...

Grandpa's bigger than me but do you know what he's not bigger than?
A dinosaur.
Do you know what's bigger than a T-rex?
A giant.
Do you know what's bigger than a giant?
A bean-stalk.
Do you know what's bigger than a bean-stalk?
A knight's castle.
Do you know what's bigger than a knight's castle?
A dragon.
Do you kow what's bigger than a dragon?
A menosaur. He grows bigger than anything.
Do you know what's bigger than a menosaur? (Ok, I thought a menosaur was the biggest? I guess not...)
A big giant tree.
Do you know what's bigger than a tree? (Kevin to me - your mouth)
The high-N tower. (translation: high-N tower = CN Tower in Toronto)
I'm smart right?
Do you know what's bigger than a mouse?
A tea pot.
Guess what's bigger than a tea pot?
OK, I'll tell you  - a cat and a dog.

My Funny Valentine

On our honeymoon -  Carmel, California - May 1999

I met my love in a bar.  But not how you think.  I wasn't drinking. I was slinging.  Drinks that is.  Behind the bar.  I was working my way through a second degree in a University town and he owned a pizzeria a few doors up the street.

He sat down and told me how much he LOVED his family.  How GREAT his parents were. We spent many long nights talking and laughing.  He was so FUNNY and suprisingly SMART and simply GORGEOUS.  I wondered when he might get around to giving me a kiss...

It wasn't long after our first kiss that he needed help when he was working at the pizzeria.  He needed money but couldn't leave the joint.  Could I take his debit card and run down the street for some cash?  Of course I said...what is your PIN?  It's 8-2-7-2 he said.

It was at this moment that I knew we were destined to be together.  You see 8- 2- 7 -2 just happend to be my PIN.  Because it is also my name T - A - R - A.  When I told him this he said 8 - 2 - 7- 2 was his badge number when he worked as an officer at the US/Canada border as a summer job.  Yup...destiny.

So when he told me that he was leaving the University town behind and was selling the restaurant to move to the BIG city and didn't think it could possibly work out....

well, I didn't worry.....

and I didn't look back down the lane...


because I knew he was the ONE.  I knew he would call.  And he did...that very night.

May 15, 1999

I'm still laughing...

and I know I always will.



We did it.  I wanted to make these, which I found on her site. And we did.

Because I like to torture myself, I suggested the kids come up with their own card design instead of the printable pdf provided...

I'm so glad I did.

Tonight I nuzzled Court into bed and he said "Will you be my valentine? I'll be yours?"


Sunday afternoon skating

I took the kiddos and Charlotte's bestie skating at a local outdoor rink on Sunday afternoon.  I am so grateful to whoever it is that stands in the freezing cold, with a hose in hand so that the kids and I can get some much needed exercise and fresh air mid winter.  I have at least 3 rinks within a 5 minute radius of my home.  Lucky us...

My dear girl has the most kissable cheeks ever.  Here they are bursting out of her helmet.  I NEVER wore a helmet when skating as a child.  And I lived to tell about it.

After I finally got the three pairs of skates, helmets and mitts on them and my skates on me, Court had had enough and gave up...

Thankfully he was happy playing Tonka Joe in the truck for a little while.

I know at this point I should show the decadent hot cocoa and homemade goodies I took them home to eat after our outing...but no...I took them for donuts instead.

Recycled Bedroom

This morning I woke up and the sun was streaming into the house.  It made me feel happy.  But that's because I spent time yesterday afternoon dusting, cleaning and vacuuming because yesterday morning the sun was shining happy on all the dust and I was NOT.

I feel compelled to say that my "decorating" budget has been VERY limited in the last couple of years due to the fact that I work part time and my income is directly related to the performance of the Dow Jones and TSX....which has been,shall we say, less than stellar.  It just means I decorate with the things I have, the things I have been generously given, the things I make myself or the occasional thrift shop or discount purchase.

As I previously mentioned here, I am working on updating my bedroom.  Here is the progress so far...

The mattress was a gift (thank you darling).  At this point I can really only justify purchasing the sheets as our Queen ones just wouldn't fit...so I got a gazillion thread count Egyption cotton sheets from Homesense, on sale, for a steal.  The duvet as well.  I am on the lookout for a duvet cover and bedskirt when the price is right...

When we got the king, I really didn't think we would be able to fit a table on either side...until I tried this little marble top I found at the Salvation Army for $15.00.  The standing lamp I picked up antiquing about 10 years ago...

I was pleased that this dresser still fit.  It was my son's "changing table" when he was a baby.  I bought it at an antique store and my mother-in-law generously had it refinished as a gift.  I LOVE it.  The glass lamp was also a gift from said mother-in-law (it really helps when you have a super duper mother-in-law with a good eye, and great taste who knows what you like!). Thanks mom! 

On the other side of the room is another piece I had made when I was pregnant with my first.  I was inspired by this from Martha Stewart Baby ...

I had installed a little bar on the top portion of this armoire to hang all her little pretty things but I made sure to keep the removable shelves as I knew down the road it would serve a new purpose. It was all that I needed for her at the time.  Yes, my principle bedroom is now furnished using cast off baby furniture!  This armoire holds clothes and a small TV.

I want to update the windows.  Those curtains are IKEA, from the AS IS section.  I'll probably re-purpose them as a table cloth...because I'm missing one...because it became a slipcover for my chair...

And because I moved this table and lamp above to our bedroom, I replaced it with these...

Guess where this little table was originally? That's right...the nursery!

Tents and treats

Tent city

The children made a BIG fort in Charlotte's room last week...

and we left it up

for a couple of days.

So Charlotte had to sleep in Court's room with him and that meant Kevin and I got to sleep by ourselves...

all night long.  No visitors.

Charlotte has the biggest room in our house.  It is very pink.  It was like that when we moved in and we didn't change a thing...because she loved it so much. 

We also saw very special friends this weekend and that called for a special dessert....

White Chocolate Cheesecake

2 1/2 cups chocolate crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
3 pkgs cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 squares melted white chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

step 1 - put on your prettiest apron and don't worry about your Saturday morning hair or baggy eyes

step 2 - combine the crumbs and the melted butter and press on bottom of 9 in. springform pan
step 3 - beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, add eggs, one at a time until blended
step 4 - stir in vanilla and lemon juice and melted chocolate
step 5 - bake at 350 for 45-50 min