Monday, 12 October 2015


Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and in the spirit of being thankful I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the subject.

The last year has been a fairly difficult one in a few ways - living a long distance marriage again and losing two loved ones. Lucky for me working in Medicine I am constantly surrounded by people who "have it worse" and it keeps life in perspective. Absolutely no matter what you are going through things could always be worse and I have that reminder almost daily.

Over the last six months I have started to catch myself when I find myself complaining and instead I thank God.

"I'm so tired" instead becomes "I am so thankful I have a job to go to every day."

"I miss Hubby and Leroy" instead becomes "I am so thankful I have two people in my life to miss."

"We waste so much money on gas driving back and forth" instead becomes "Thank you, God, that we have a car and the money to pay for gas."

I have the tendency to be a little bit on the pessimistic side of things - although I consider it being a realist - and this has really been helping me. If you're like me and sometimes forget to count your blessings, I hope you take this as encouragement to do so.

Top photo taken in Bern, Switzerland. Bottom photo taken in Lucerne, Switzerland - atop Mt Pilatus. Summer 2014.

Monday, 14 September 2015


Do you remember my series of curb appeal posts last summer/fall? If not, let me remind you what our house looked like before.

Recap: brown paint, crumbling concrete steps (that we attempted to paint but then the paint crumbled off as well), old rusty house number, unruly spiria plants, and red bricks lining the flower beds.

Now for the excitement. This is as good as it's going to get, people. Photo credit below to Jordan and Judith Photo/Film. 

Recap: green paint, new wooden front steps, new adorable house number, window boxes, hostias (that unfortunately did not really grow this summer), and new stones lining the flower beds.

So there you have it! We spent the better part of last fall and this summer painting that baby - mostly waiting for good, dry painting days!! In the end we had to hire someone to paint the back side because it's a walk out basement and we didn't have the equipment to do it ourselves. The rest of the job wasn't all that bad.
It's never going to happen but the last of my to do list would be: stain the front steps and cut down the pine trees (to the left of this photo).

Looking forward to the Trick or Treaters that will be stopping by in a month and a half. :) It's such a good neighbourhood for that!! We love our sweet little first home.

Thursday, 10 September 2015


All photo credit in this post to Jordan and Judith Photo/Film

Hubby and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary last month and every time we reach a new year I always think about what I've learned about marriage since we wed in 2008. I was nineteen when we got married which is just shocking to me now but thankfully I would do it again a hundred times over. Even more thankfully God must have really guided that decision because holy - nineteen!! I don't like anything that I liked when I was nineteen!

I certainly am no marriage expert - heaven knows I lose my temper far too often and to be honest I don't think anyone ever accused me of being low maintenance (oops!) - but I do feel like we have learned a lot together over seven years of marriage (three of those being long distance).

We think the most important thing is to keep God at the center. If both people focus on their relationship with God and being more Godly themselves you will be a better partner. And we believe that being focused on God (and spreading His love) is what is most important in life.

Though one can be overpowered , two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Don't get me wrong - marriage can be really hard. We have had difficult days and difficult months/years, to be honest. Thankfully we always get back to good days eventually but at times that takes a lot of work. Once we were at a wedding and a groomsman said, "Most people say marriage is easy." At that point we had been married for a few years and maybe only just began to live together. The two of us looked at each other incredulously as if to say, "We must be doing this all wrong." HA! Hubby and I still laugh about that.

So to take a totally different direction (I'll quit while I'm ahead sounding very sage and wise and hope you skimmed over the temper and high maintenance part - hehe), this anniversary has got me thinking... what are things that last for seven years? I know you've been wondering the same thing. :)

1. A high quality vacuum - we spent almost all of our wedding money on an Electrolux Oxygen vacuum. We bought the Oxygen 3 at the time - the link is for the Oxygen 12. Worth every penny.
2. Santa's Solution Tree Stand - we have this baby which was created and fabricated near my hometown. It's called Santa's Solution and we swear by it. It holds more water than any other tree stand by far and your tree will not fall over. It is literally THE BEST. Made in Canada. (Just like me!)
3. Books - some of my best friends are books! Books will stand the test of time, I tell you. They are beastly to move though. (My apologies to all of our friends who have ever helped us pack!)
4. Hubby's free tshirts - I actually typed this last week and then tonight got hubby to cut back to max ten free tshirts. After we counted them I realized he had less than I had thought...I would have been better off to ask him to keep five... :)
5. Childhood stuffed animals - Dumbo and Theodore (mine and his) are still sitting beside each other on our dresser. Besties. Dumbo is far better looking.

And of course to complete the list, things that do not last seven years!

1. Sheets/towels - I followed someone's advice when we first got married and I only used some of our towels so those ones are pretty much worn out and now we can move onto the stack of unused wedding towels. My mom bought us really nice sheets and we used them exclusively for three or four years. I threw them out about a month ago - just shy of seven years.
2. A futon - the bane of my existence. We watch TV while sitting on the futon in the basement literally every night. I mean, it doesn't owe us anything but let's just say one of the supports has been held together with butter knives and duct tape for many, many years now. It will not be making the next move with us.
3. Drinkware/coffee carafe - we broke all of those suckers in the first year or two of marriage. Glass cups? One by one we slowly whittled them away. Coffee carafe? Lasted less than a year.
4. Unity candle - this momento from our wedding survived three moves. The fourth time we moved (ugh) was one month after the third move (ugh). Strangest life decision yet. Sorry unity candle. I hope this doesn't mean we're not unified anymore.
5. A coffee table - it would have held up for seven years (and it's just from Zellers or Wal Mart!) but unfortunately I was talking to my best friend on the phone and spilled nail polish remover on it. Better days, better days.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


This taco salad is something my aunt has made forever and we have adapted it as a regular meal in the last couple of years. It's so fast to make, feels relatively healthy (if you go light on the chips and dressing), and really inexpensive. The best thing is it only takes a few ingredients and we basically have all of them on hand all the time anyway.

This post is for my friend K who sent out a request on facebook today for some new meals to add to her meal rotation. :) We all end up cooking the same thing all the time, don't we?

I fry up some ground beef with taco seasoning and then put it in the freezer to cool down while I prepare the veggies. I like meat in my salad to be room temp so it doesn't wilt the lettuce. So then I cut up romaine lettuce, a bell pepper, a tomato, and shred some cheddar cheese. At the end I throw in the ground beef and some tostitos chips, then drizzle with catalina dressing. It's soooo good. This is seriously my favourite at home supper right now.

Friday, 14 August 2015


Two posts in one week. Totally on a roll. See you again in 8 months. Kidding, kidding.

I have some exterior house updates to share eventually - the house is looking waaay different than last summer. But for now we're going to stick with a second post about summer meals. Earlier this week I shared burrito bowls. I had leftover corn and black beans from that meal so decided to add them to rice and stuff them in green peppers cooked on the barbecue. We had mussels as our protein (we're big fans) which I cooked in a covered pot on the stove.

Here's what I did for the stuffed peppers.

I cooked half a cup of basmati rice in the rice cooker for two stuffed peppers. Then I hollowed out the peppers (I used green but you can use any kind of bell pepper). When the rice was done I mixed in some corn and black beans, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin... I can't remember if I used a couple of other spices. I think I might have added a little cinnamon and garlic powder? I mean really you can't go wrong no matter what you add. Then I added a couple of spoonfuls of salsa and some shredded cheese on top. Hubby put them right on the barbecue for 10 minutes or so. I toyed with the idea of making the stuffed peppers a meal by themselves and adding some sausage, but I decided I was in the mood for mussels.

Now for our secret mussel recipe - world famous. Just kidding, but I do have a little cousin who loves our mussels and requests them when she comes to visit. :)

We do the same thing every time - I add crushed garlic to a pot (5 or 6 cloves), chopped green onions, and sliced hot peppers (jalapenos etc). The hot peppers make the dish - trust me!! Use lots and lots of them - you can't go wrong. I pour in a quarter or a third of a bottle of white wine (I buy the cheapest wine at the liquor store for cooking). When I made them this week for the first time I bought non-alcoholic wine at the grocery store because I was feeling too lazy to make an extra trip to the liquor store. I didn't notice a big difference, to be honest.

Now, I'm not a chef so take this with a grain of salt (hehe), but I usually throw out the raw muscles that are open and won't close. I must have seen this on the Food Network at some point or something. I think it's basically the same as not eating the ones that aren't open once they're cooked. The idea is that the raw ones that don't close are already dead so you don't want to eat them. I don't know.

I cook them on high just until the shells all open. It doesn't take long. 10 minutes max! Just in time for your stuffed peppers to grill on the BBQ!

Enjoy, my friends!