Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

"Let it be said I've played the friend, have lived and loved and laboured here, and made of it a happy year." - Edgar Guest

To the new year, 2012 - a gift we haven't opened yet.

To new beginnings...hope you all enjoy tonight!

We'll be celebrating with close friends, food, bubbles, a game or two, and happy dogs!  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Energy Audit

We rang in this Christmas with the news that we needed a new furnace. What was planned as a precautionary check - new house and all, winter coming etc., turned into a five minute appointment with a furnace technician and a 30-day red tag issued for our furnace (meaning 30 days to install a new furnace).

So, we've done our research, and have the furnace installation appointment set up for next week.

One step before that is the eco audit - an audit of our house's energy efficiency - air leaks, moisture build-up, ventilation efficiency, heating and cooling intake and output etc. Scheduling an audit before we install a new furnace allows us to take advantage of some rebates extended by the federal government. For more information about the program, you can go here.

Our house did pretty well! Some areas for improvement - i) furnace upgrade (check!) - the old one is actually bringing in quite a bit of cold air from outside - between its construction and venting, we have a "soccer ball" size draught in our furnace room, ii) adding some additional caulking to some corners of our window frames, iii) adding additional foam to the attic trapdoor, iv) upgrading our attic insulation from R-25 to R-50, v) plugging the electrical outlets on our exterior walls with child-proof plugs (which we already have from when Juno was a puppy!) - we couldn't believe the air flow coming in through those holes in the outlets.

So we'll do some of these improvements between now and March 31, 2012 when the program expires, book a follow-up audit, and based on the improvements, watch our eco audit score go up, making us eligible for some significant rebates from the government!

We'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Indoor Challenge

There's a winter storm warning in effect for our parts!

We've salted the driveway, stocked up on groceries and firewood, and have the bird feeders filled and ready for some avian entertainment while we're tucked inside until the snow stops.

Indoor challenge - book strategy time! This week's challenge - weigh the merits of filling our book with illustrations or photos. Approaching, negotiating with, (and paying for) an illustrator, or editing through the thousands of photos we already have of Juno for the pages of our book.

We've seen both. Both can work. Time for some serious consideration and discussion.

Anyone with any experience finding illustrators, publishers, app developers? We'd love to hear from you.

Hooray for 'snow days'. Oh, and Juno LOVES the snow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We enjoyed a wonderful day of rest and relaxation yesterday.

Hope you were all able to enjoy the same.

Oh, happy, happy holidays...

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Having an orally-fixated (see: Labrador) dog has certainly taken a 'bite' out of our Christmas tree decorating.

We have a half-decorated tree.

The top half only.

While we're pretty sure Juno wouldn't attack the Christmas tree as much as she used to, we've simply gotten into the habit of decorating our Christmas trees from just the middle up.

With the proverbial glass still full, here's to half-decorated trees everywhere!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hot Water With Lemon

My latest drink of choice - hot water with lemon.

'Feed a cold, starve a fever'? Well I'm doing it.

I've gone through two lemons since Saturday.

Hopefully it comes with a cure to this hanger-on of a cold I've managed to catch.

And frankly any resulting canker sores will be worth the price of getting rid of this cold!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Wrapping

I walked by this scene on our dining room table Saturday night, and quietly, happily, remarked at its humble cheerfulness.  I had just been in the midst of this very happy scene for some time, but hadn't quite 'taken in' just how wonderful it was to be doing what I was doing...wrapping up Christmas for our dear friends and family.

And yes, I drink beer while I wrap presents. Don't judge.

Hopefully you had to go back up to the picture to look for the bottle?


I hope this scene brings a little holiday sparkle to your busy, maybe cold, dreary Mondays. Oh, and just so you know, Juno's under that table of festivity too - sleeping away...visions of sugarplum rawhides dancing in her head.

We have hit a few roadbumps on our lead-up to Christmas this year, making us more appreciative of what we have, and grateful for what we have gained, while remembering what we have lost, and thriving in the healing company of those around us.

"As [a year] ends, we grieve what has been lost and cherish what has been gained. We measure the rise and fall of our hopes, and...remember. As we enter a new, uncertain season, our destination is unknown, yet we travel against the flames of fear toward the promise of [the] future ahead." - Shirin Neshat

Happy wrapping.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spreading Joy

We live for the mailbox in December.  Something about heading out into the chilly air and opening the box right on the street is a little magical.  Juno doesn't mind the extra walk either ;)

Seeing a red or green envelope peeking out from the pile of business-sized white envelopes - maybe even with a handwritten address on it - makes us giddy!

We keep our cards in a huge candy jar right in the foyer so we can see the notes and cards and photos on our way to any room.

Thank you to all who have spread joy to us this season! We hope we have returned the favour.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Arrival

Congratulations to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law on the arrival of their beautiful baby!

"Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." - A.A. Milne

Welcome to the world, Lilly.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


We have about a thousand different nicknames for Juno. She responds to pretty much anything that comes out of our mouths. Although, we're also pretty sure intonation also has 100% to do with it.

A few of the names you'll hear most around here are Muncher, Junebug, Boogywoogs, Punchkin, and a really strange one that just came out one day and then stuck, Bobodense (pronounced Bobo-densay).

Now comes the tough part - naming her for the book series. Do we stick with something simple like Juno and have it stand on its own? Like Marley, Dora, or Barbie? Or do we drum up something longer and potentially punchier, and maybe also alliterative like Spongebob Squarepants, Thomas the Train, or Lalaloopsy?

We've got the script. We've got our leading lady. She just needs her storybook name.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Importance of Slowing Down

Adam received some surprising, cautionary health-related news this week - and so, as a direct reminder of why we started this blog in the first place, and why we continue to work towards our book series, we decided we needed a weekend to s-l-o-w down.


Our ssllooww numbers:

Naps on the couch - 4
Trail and park walks with the dog - 5
Slow cooker meals prepared - 2
Sleep-ins - 2
Good movies watched - 2 ('Hanna' and 'When Harry Met Sally')
Good reconnecting-with-family phone calls - 2
Christmas trees decorated - 1
Seasonal iPod playlists made - 1
Seasonal iPod playlists repeated - still counting

Errands run - 0
Extra house projects done - 0
Bills paid - 0
Lists made - 0
Lords-a-leaping - 0
Maids-a-milking - 0
Ladies dancing - ok, 1 - (me - but only because I love me some seasonal tunes)

We really do love Christmas, and find it a pleasant and relaxing time of year, but we're p-r-e-t-t-y darn happy that our pre-Christmas rush schedule allowed us to just enjoy some 'slow living' this weekend.

Have you tried this lately? How do you slow down when things get busy?

And to our American readers, we hope you enjoyed a nice slow-done Thanksgiving - complete with family, friends, fun, food? (some dogs?) Happy turkey coma :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exterior Illumination

Catching apologies for being away - we've been spending a significant amount of time sorting out the administration of our new house - billing, repeat billing, know the drill.

We've spent the last couple of weekends tidying up outside and sorting out some maintenance before the winter comes.

Ironically, this weekend appeared to be Christmas light weekend in our neighbourhood.  We had fairly pleasant weather this weekend, and on our tri-daily walks with everyone's favourite neighbourhood dog, Juno, we observed our fellow suburbanites hard at work hanging Christmas lights and accompanying seasonal ornamental yard decorations.

Noteworthy are the oversized snowflake pathway stakes, the multi-coloured sets of jumbo holiday orbs hanging in the front yard oak trees around the corner, and the 6-ft wide garage wreath down the street.

Christmas in suburbia? You bet 'ya!

Hopefully our strand of white lights and two mini trees by the door will do.  We're in for a heck of a season!

Loving every minute of it :)

P.S. As my husband and brother-in-law joke annually with their Dad, (my father-in-law), "Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination." - Chevy Chase as Clark W. Griswold in Christmas Vacation

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Real Halloween!

We had more than 2 kids!

We gave away all the candy we bought!

Juno was a trooper - and now she's pooped!

Our first 'real' Halloween.


Hope you enjoyed a great evening too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Test Pots

One thing I haven't blogged about is our very 'retro' kitchen at the new house.

In addition to the matching blue lightbox and blue chandelier that completely remind us of the pizza dinner scene in E.T., pink and purple shaded track lighting above the sink, and greenish-blue remote control undermount lighting - our kitchen now also has three strips of potential paint options, courtesy of three itty bitty, super cute test pots, in three different spots around the room.

Enter the contenders: (all in our favourite brand, CIL Dulux)

Chelsea Fog

Reflecting Pool

Canadian Sky

Also in the running is our favourite green from the old house - no swatch, sorry - it was a custom mix the previous previous owners came up with - that we liked - so much so that we used it for the kitchen, basement TV room, and laundry room.

And I know, I know, the colours all look pretty similar. Even the paint supervisor at Home Depot said so. But they're not so alike once they're up on your kitchen wall!

And with plenty of trim, cabinets, windows, doors, etc. to paint around in this kitchen, we'd really like to do this just once.

We'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Conversations with the Vet

In between yard maintenance and errands this weekend, we got to talking about our dog's first stay at the vet a few years ago.  That first conversation with the vet went a little like this:

Vet: "Well, Juno is fine. She did great in surgery, slept well last night, went for a walk this morning, and ate all of her food at breakfast."

Us: "Oh, that's great! So we can take her home?"

Vet: "She also ate the bowl."

Us: "Oh, ok."

Vet: "Um, I'm not sure if you heard me...she ate the bowl."

Us: "Ok."

Vet: "Uh, that doesn't concern you?"

Us: "We're concerned, we're just not surprised. That sounds like something she would do."

Vet: "We've made a note in Juno's file - stainless steel bowls only."

Us: "Oh, ok, that's great, thank you."

"Labrador Retrievers are prone to chewing objects, having a well-known reputation for appetite, and some individuals (see Juno), may be highly indiscriminate, eating digestible and non-food objects alike." - Wikipedia
N.B. I added the 'see Juno' part.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Down by (in) the Bay

Last night's torrential rain and wind were fun.

Sleeping in a bay window was less fun.

(Minor) casualty count: 1 ripped canvas deck awning cover (kicking ourselves for not having taken it down last weekend!)

Currently: Battening down the hatches. This is supposed to last a few more days!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Juno is making herself right at home in this new house; she has already cultivated a new collection of 'lost / abandoned treasures' gathered during her walks and park runs.

The collection currently has one large previously-enjoyed stick, one medium new stick, and one fuzz-less tennis ball.

The large stick lives at the back gate to the park...

The medium stick lives on the back Juno can pick it up, allowing her to multi-task on her just-before-bed pit stop. Seriously, this dog needs to have something in her mouth when she 'goes'...

And the ball, as I mentioned in this post, lives in the mail box so she can feel 'useful' on walks that start out from the front door.

I'll update as the collection grows.

So glad you feel at home here, Juno. We do too.

"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." - John Grogan

Monday, October 17, 2011


In transferring all our services to the new house, we made the big decision to cancel cable.

Our reasoning was two-fold - we weren't watching much TV, and it was costing too much for something we weren't using.

Our evenings have since become pretty productive.

We have been indulging in fairly regular movie nights though - but only after the dinner clean-up is done, any errands are run, bills are paid, laundry is done, etc. during the week. And we're watching movies we already own.

And because we start the movies later into the evening, after all the 'work' is done, each movie has been lasting us two nights. So it may just take us until Halloween itself to finish the boxed set of horror classics we've been making our way through this week and last!

Tonight is the conclusion of 'The Terror' with a 26-year old Jack Nicholson (!).

Pass the popcorn :)

(Image from here)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Closed for the Season

That's it! We're closed for the season!

And here's Juno after a long day of watching us close the pool - it took all she had to 'just watch' and not 'help'.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Out of the Box

So everything on the main floor and upstairs is out of boxes! Well, except for books. But boxes keep the books contained, so it's really better to keep them in their boxes. It feels less 'move-ish'.

Yeah, I don't buy it either.

(At least it's not like this.) 
(image from here)

But this means that I can get back to the book project soon - with a clear head - and a clear path! I just think my book notes might be in a box in the basement. Ack.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flyers and the Ninjas Who Deliver Them

Our new house is on a flyer route - oh happy day! We love us some flyers.

And whoever delivers these flyers is silent and snappy. One minute we've got a mailbox with nothing more than Juno's park ball in it, and, the next, our mailbox is brimming with coupon-y goodness.

Whoever this person is, we like you, and thank you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Turkey, and Worms In The Pool

Thank heavens for time-saving Thanksgiving turkey dinner leftovers! We spent tonight skimming and vacuuming leaves and worms out of the pool. And an equal amount of time wondering how worms end up in the pool exactly - are they crawling along the pool surround and fall birds drop them? Where exactly do they come from, and particularly in the quantities we had?

 (Image from here)

Now we're thrilled and very lucky to have a pool to clean, and we like worms as much as the next person, but this was gross.

Anyway, the pool is now skimmed, vacuumed, and covered for the night. Tomorrow we repeat, and maybe Thursday, Friday, and Saturday too, until our pool closing tutorial with the previous owner on Sunday.

Thank heavens for kind previous owners too.

(Image from here)

Friday, October 07, 2011


Just a quick post to say that we're slowly resurfacing!

We are in the new house, and connected to the world by phone and internet again!

The move was almost seamless and we're just trying to settle in a bit. Progress is good on the unpacking front - it certainly feels like home - and now it's starting to look like it too!

Adam vacuuming on move-out day

Juno settling in and enjoying all the cool tile in this house!
Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers!

Friday, September 16, 2011

What Does Your House Look Like?

Continuing on in our 'five senses' posts...

This house had us at "hello".

 (Move-in day 4 years ago)

The character, the age, the craftsmanship, the charm - a front porch! so many windows! crown moulding and big ol' baseboards! beadboard! stained glass windows! leaded glass french doors! hobbit doors! curved plaster walls!  We fell in love. We're still in love:

(Juno in one of the many hobbit closets. Despite her terrified expression, 
she wandered in there on her own!)

One of the afternoon treats in this house are the travelling prisms of light from the stained glass windows. Tough to capture well on camera, but here's an example:

Now you're more likely to find dog toys that roll themselves into corners, drips from a water bowl tracked across the kitchen, a few dishes on the counter or in the sink, a basket of laundry that hasn't made it upstairs yet, a coffee cup or two on the counter, books on more than one horizontal surface, good memories posted on the fridge, a dog napping on the couch, a throw blanket waiting in the remaining available chair, keys, glasses, and phones near the door, some shoes stacked in the mudroom, towels out for muddy paws, a few to-do lists scribbled into different notebooks on the counters, a newspaper or magazine dog-eared on the bar, a stack of flyers marked with post-its...and amazing sunsets out the window...

You're welcome to come by. Just watch your step - there's a lot of "living" going on in this house.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Does Your House Sound Like?

Have you ever listened to your home? I mean really listened and really heard it? If you closed your eyes and heard those sounds, could you place each one?

We have a few sounds in this house that, once we're gone from here, will take me back.

There's the thump of the refrigerator motor, the thud of the front porch when someone's at the door, the creak on the ninth stair, and the pop of the siding when the sun shines.

There's the whir of the vents, the whine on the garage door when we push to open it, and the two spots where the floor creaks more than anywhere else.

As we get closer to moving day, we sure are getting sentimental about this old house.

I may even turn this into a 'five senses' series - a quint-fecta.

(Five senses images all found here)

You know, for posterity.

Bear with me?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Bare Walls

We debated about leaving our pictures, art, mirrors, etc. up until the week we move, but ultimately decided to take them down to pack each room as a 'whole' this week.

So our walls are bare. The walls that make our house our home.

(Image from here)

(Image from here)

I did have the foresight to take photos of every nook, cranny, corner, and wall just to remember how we lived in this house. And I'm so glad that I did, because boy does the living space look bare - with 22 days of living still left to go.

Oh well, it's the memories that made this house our home, and they get to come with us.

"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jeans Weather

Today was a 'jeans' day! I haven't had a pair of jeans on all summer - it's just been so warm this year. It felt like welcoming back an old friend. 

Fall, are you here to stay? We'd be glad to have you.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Girls Night In

Hope you all had a wonderful Labour Day weekend!  

We managed to make some huge packing progress this weekend!

In packing up our 'media cabinet' (which for us is a handful of DVDs, a temperamental DVD player, a stack of VHS tapes, and a VCR that 'plays' and 'fast forwards' but doesn't rewind - so we do it by hand), we realized that we definitely have the ingredients for the next Girls Night In!

We have copies of these fine movie gems:
  1. Titanic (split into two volumes - on VHS no less!)
  2. When Harry Met Sally 
  3. You've Got Mail
  4. The Notebook
  5. The Bridges of Madison County
  6. Away We Go
We also have ice cream. But the kleenex is packed.

I guess Girls Night In will just have to wait until we're in the new house.

Anyone want to bring the VCR? 

(Image found here)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Long Weekend Plans

We discovered the wonders of this week, so will be rendering a digital plan of our own this weekend (something less detailed than the one below) to use come move-time.

(Image from

We may tape one just to the front door or decide to put one on each level to help our movers figure out what goes where on moving day. We've labelled each box and piece of furniture, so we'll correspond the floor plan labels to the labels we've already slapped on what we've packed.

On that note, plenty of packing is ahead of us this long weekend.  The goal is to finish our top floor (everything but our bedroom and bathroom essentials) and move on to the basement to pack up the office, tv room, laundry room, and 'man/work' room.  If there's time, and if the weather's good, we hope to also put a good dent in clearing out the garage and shed as well as the front and back yards.

Here's an 'in progress' shot of packing up our closet/what one bedroom looks like at the moment:

Back next week with a progress report after this weekend's efforts, the packing 'process' post we promised (some tricks and shortcuts we've come up with that are making this pack-up smoother than in the past), and an 'our book' update.

And this is it - the last long weekend of summer, friends!

(Juno likes long weekends)

What have you got planned?

Whatever it is, we hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Can You 'Spot' Them?

Do you see it?  Those purple spots around Juno's left shoulder?

Let's take a blurrier closer look:

What is that?  Paint?  Some weird purple skin infection?  No, my friends.  That is red wine.  Drops of red wine on our dog.  Oops.

Well at least she can't reach around to have a taste.  Nothing short of a bath is going to get this out.  Good thing we haven't packed our bathing suits just yet (she's a bit heavy to lift into the tub, so we bathe her in the shower in our suits).

Bookshelf update!

I'm happy to report that I adored Secret Daughter.  It was sooo good!  My only disappointment is that this is the author's first book, so I'll have to wait a while for something new.  But so it.

I also finished The Help.  It was good, but not great.  I did stick to my goal of finishing the book before the movie came out.

Still on the bookshelf are The Happiness Project and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.  I'm still waiting for my 'hold' email to come in from the library on the latter.  So that might be next......

but after the ones I've started in the meantime! - The Truth About Delilah Blue and Inside of a Dog. I also spotted a copy of Cormac McCarthy's The Road on a recent trip to the used bookstore, so I picked that up for my shelf too.

I definitely don't have a shortage of good characters to keep me company as we edge into fall.

(Juno and her fall blanket)

How about you? What literary company are you keeping? Any new favourites? Or revisited classics?

An 'our book' update will also be coming soon.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sending Ourselves Packing

Our packing is underway!  It didn't take long to realize that there's a pretty substantial list of must-haves to carry from room to room to 'support' your packing project.  Here are the things we've found useful to include in our kit:
  • boxes (we ordered ours online from - they were great to deal with - review to come)
  • packing paper / unprinted newsprint
  • bubble wrap
  • packing tape and a tape-gun
  • paper for labelling your boxes (we're just using printer paper - leaving us with less of it to pack in another box) - more on this soon
  • a couple of Sharpies
  • Ziplocs in a few sizes - for corralling furniture / picture / mirror hardware
  • masking tape - for taping Ziplocs of furniture hardware right onto the furniture.  We've also been attaching paper labels to each piece of furniture with their 'new house room' locations.
  • duct tape - for anything...but you already knew that ;)
  • bubble wrap - for breakables
  • shrink wrap - for keeping drawers closed / wrapping the couch / protecting furniture tops and legs
  • hammer - for removing nails after taking down pictures etc.
  • a multi-screwdriver - for removing screws after taking down mirrors etc. (we're using the Retract-a-Bit - Adam has the original black and yellow model - I have the pink one and I'm in tool-love!)
  • scissors
  • a portable vacuum to clean as you go - so much easier!
  • elastic bands - for corralling lamp cords etc.
  • garbage bags - for being ruthless and tossing stuff we don't want to pack / we haven't used in years /  we can donate or upcycle
  • upbeat music - we created a 'Packing Playlist' with about 12 hours worth of our shuffled favourites
  • beer...mmm
  • a camera (for 'before' photos as well as 'during the chaos' photos - and to remind us of how the room / closet / drawer is set up for when we unpack in the new house) - and for being able to capture our puppy doing ridiculous things while trying to help pack
  • patience
  • a Tetris mind
We'll be back soon to share more tidbits on our packing 'process' - some tricks and shortcuts we've come up with that have made this pack-up smoother than the last 5 or 6 (we've each moved a number of times - during university and together, etc.)   

From 'inside the boxes', here is some packing humour to close off for tonight (we couldn't decide on just one to use):

(cartoons all from here)

Bookshelf update coming tomorrow - I've deviated from the shelf a little, so have more to update than planned ;)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I'm just over four months early, but be it resolved that I will commit to P52 in 2012.  Join me, won't you?

What is P52?  Well it's a less ambitious version of P365.  It's one photo a week for a year - less cumbersome and dutiful than P365.  It lets you off the hook a little bit.  No desperate photos of your microwave clock on your way up to bed so you have 'something to show' for Wednesday. 

I'll be back at New Year's with the official launch.  Something like '52 Tuesdays'?  I have some time to think about it ;)

Back again tomorrow with that bookshelf update and list of packing essentials I promised.

There is no snooze button on a dog who wants breakfast.  Goodnight everyone!

(graphic from here)

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Been a While

So I took an unintended blogging vacation.  Being new to this blogging thing, I never realized how much time it takes to commit to it and do it well.  The Young House Loves of the world make it look so easy!

As this blog is my witness, I now intend to dedicate a specific block of time each day to blogging.  If it gets booked in, I know it will get done.

The lame reason for the unintended vacation? In the last month, we've bought a house and sold ours...and we move in 31 days!  So while this blog may become temporarily more focused on moving-related posts, as always, Juno will be involved.  See?  Here she is helping us pack - or making sure we don't forget to pack her!

I'll be back again tomorrow with a bookshelf update and our list of packing essentials - for any fellow crash movers out there!    

"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.