25 Things


Thursday, June 28, 2012

1. Ever had a black bear in your driveway? It's kinda freaky deaky. We had a big one. He took a bag of garbage out of our garbage can, dragged it into the neighbour's perennial garden, and went to town. Dear Neighbour: I'm sorry your garden is now full of poopy diapers.

2. My mom came over and picked off all of the mushrooms that were growing in the front lawn. She said it was urgent so that they didn't make spores. Spores? What the heck are spores? Oh yeah. Thanks mom. You are an excellent mushroom remover.

3. Mini-Coop had his two month vaccinations yesterday. He slept for a few hours and then woke up screaming like a lunatic baby. I cried on the inside. It was so sad to see him not feeling well. :(

4. Alex went over to The Fixer Upper yesterday after work. He was there until 10:30 at night!!!! He worked on putting up a makeshift fence around the pool (insurance guy is coming today) and sanding/priming some drywall patches (painters starting on the walls tonight). Such a trooper.

5. The rest of the fam (that's me, Cooper, Roary, and Lexie) have been walking over to visit everyone at the Fixer Upper almost every day. I offer to help but we all know how much of a help I would really be with two dogs and a baby in tow.

6. I ate a Costco-sized box of Corn Pops by myself in less than a week. Ummmmm, yeah.

7. Have you ever heard of the Cereal Diet to lose excess baby weight? I just invented it. It might be working. Mmmmm, Corn Pops.

8. I think I have a sugar addiction. Do NOT ask me how many sugars I put in my coffee every morning. {Note to self: Schedule a dentist appointment ASAP.}

9. This blog has had over ONE MILLION pageviews. I thought that deserved some capital letters. That is so wild. Hmmmm, maybe I should start doing grammar and spell checks. And stop starting sentences with the word "and".

10. The other day I watched our youngest pup, Lexie, do the most ridiculous puppy runs around the backyard. Under the deck, over the deck, around the deck, along the fence, around the tree, repeat, repeat, repeat at lightning speed. She's crazy y'all.

11. I made my first homemade dinner since coming home from the hospital with Cooper. (I am definitely NOT one of those super-mom types.) It was the tastiest (and spiciest) chili I've ever made! The ultimate secret is.... don't put too many beans.

12. I didn't have time to dry/straighten my hair today. It dried all wonky with ten cowlicks at the front and even more tangles in the back. I'm pretttttttty.

13. My cute friend sent me a text urging me to download an app for my iphone ASAP: myfitnesspal. I played around with it for a bit before bed and I am already addicted. It's not 'cause she thinks I'm fat it's because we like to have fitness / weight loss bets with eachother. ;) I still have about 10-15 pounds to go to get back to my pre-baby weight. And maybe I might want to try and get rid of that post-baby flabby belly thing I've got going on, too.

14. You want to know how much I weigh right now don't you! Shame on you for being nosy. Bahahahaha. I'll tell you that I gained 43 pounds when I was preggers and so far I've lost 28 of 'em.

15. I hope no-one notices that I've been wearing the same capri shorts, oh, for the last 20 days straight. (Minus a few hours here and there when I had to trade them in for some stretchy jogging shorts while they were in the wash.) None of my other shorts/capris fit yet. Wah wah waaaaaaaah.

16. It's 5:30 a.m. right now. Here I am typing a random, ridiculous post when beautiful sleep is calling my name.

17. I have an illogical fear that a bad guy is going to crawl through one of our windows at night if we leave any of them open (I've never been able to get the Elizabeth Smart abduction story out of my head). I always, always, always close and lock the windows on the main floor before bed. Even when it's a thousand degrees in the middle of summer.

18. I miss road trips.

19.  I'm doing another summer photography workshop because I loved the last one so much. It starts tonight!

20. Alex and Cooper will be having their first boys-night while I'm gone. I'm going to try not to be the crazy mom who phones every 5 seconds. Now texting, that's different. ;)

21. I'm still saving up for this camera lense: http://www.henrys.com/364-CANON-EF-24-105MM-F4-L-IS-USM-LENS.aspx. It's dreamy and I want it so bad. (It will replace the crappy kit lense that came with my camera.)

22. I kinda wish I had gone to one of those blog conferences after seeing all the photos and reading about all the fun that was had. I want to meet Layla and Kevin, tooooooooooooo (whiny voice).

23. Working on The Fixer Upper makes me really want to flip houses for real. (This is more of a rental property right now.)

24. I miss baking.

25. I like that you read my dorky blog.

26. I just looked and saw that the fonts are all messed up in this post. But I am just way too tired to go back and fix it. :)

The Story of the Fixer Upper - Part Two


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In The Story of the Fixer Upper - Part One, I explained how we put an offer on a house once the sellers significantly reduced their asking price. A lower cost meant that we would be able to finance the major renovations it desperately needed.

To our disappointment, we lost the house because the owners accepted the conditional offer that had already been presented by another buyer. 

Alex and I were pretty bummed. We kept looking for houses in our little town but the ones that popped up on MLS weren't in the best locations. After a few weeks, Alex decided to place an ad on Kijiiji saying that he was looking to buy a house in our town, in the $____ to $____ price range. He got a response right away from a man who mentioned that he was renovating a property and would be looking to sell in a few months.

Alex asked the address of the property. Whaddayaknow it was The Fixer Upper. The other buyers bought it to flip it. 

{Didn't they get my memo that I'm supposed to be the one flipping houses in this town!?!?!} 

The man asked if we wanted to come and check out what they had done to the house so far. Of course we said yes....... I should've changed my name a long time ago to Snoopy McSnooperson.

We were quite surprised by some of the changes that the Flippers (that's what we'll call them for the rest of this story) had made already. They moved the basement stairs to a different location, turned one of the upstairs bedrooms into a bathroom, and divided up the back mudroom / laundry room into a bathroom, bedroom, and hall closet. As we got the full house tour, we chatted about how we were looking to purchase a house for Alex's parents to live in but that we had a set budget.

The Flippers mentioned the asking price that they would be selling the house for afterwards. It was WAY more than our budget. Just when we thought all was lost (dramatic much?) they mentioned that they would consider selling the house to us mid-way through the renovation.

Translation: we would pay less but have to finish some of the work ourselves. So, we went for it. To make a long story short, we made a list of renovations that we wanted to be completed by the closing date, as well as a list of renovations that we would be responsible for finishing.

Here are some photos of the progress the Flippers had made by the time we took possession of the house last week. (I'll go into more detail about the changes that were made in a future post.)

Obviously Alex, his parents, and I still have tonnes of work to do on both the interior and exterior of the house. However, the Flippers were able to make quite a bit of progress on the interior. The major improvements being:

- gutting the basement
- removing a tonne of garbage
- all new electrical
- all new windows
- new plumbing to two new bathroom locations
- new drywall and refaced plaster
- new kitchen cabinetry & countertops
- refinished old doors
- refinished floors
- refinished stairs
- addition of main floor bedroom
- addition of laundry to second story

While some of the layout and finishing decisions were not what I would have personally chosen (remember me, the ultimate picky one?) we are still grateful for the opportunity to purchase the house mid-flip so that we could:

a) afford it

b) add our personal touches to the finishing details

c) have Cooper's grandparents nearby

So, that's the story. I can't WAIT to share the progress with you. Thank you to everyone who left positive comments on "seeing the potential" (although you were probably lying to make me feel better).

Ha ha!

The Story of The Fixer Upper - Part One


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A few days ago I shared the wild news that we purchased a second home which from now on we'll call "The Fixer Upper". I explained why we bought the house, and in this post I'll share how we bought the house. It's kind of a weird story.

As you already know, I realllllly wanted to find a house in our little town. We looked at other locations in the city but the homes just didn't have that small-town charm and feel to them. Alex showed me a few bungalows and other styles of homes but I just couldn't do it. None of them had the cute factor. (Alex really hates my totally unpractical house-shopping criteria btw.) 

After months and months of stalking MLS, a house showed up that was in our town, AND one street over to boot. We got excited. Really excited. Especially since it was the same style of house that our friend's live in and we knew right away it would have potential.

Then we went to look at it.

I cringed. I held my nose. I tiptoed over the grimy floor. I let the real estate guy open all the doors so I wouldn't have to touch the door handles. It was that.gross.

Would you like to see just how gross? You asked for it.

{Keep in mind these photos were all taken on our second viewing, after the real estate agent asked the owners to clean up. It was way worse the first time. Shudder.}

Side Entry / Mudroom / Laundry Room

Side Door

Mudroom / Laundry Room / Door to Basement

Mudroom / Laundry Room

Main Floor Bathroom

Dining Room


Dining Room / Living Room

Living Room


Upstairs Hallway

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Second Bedroom

Third Bedroom

Second Floor Bathroom



Basement Stairs

After walking through the house the first time, we were so grossed out that we unanimously said, "No freakin' way". Not only did it need a total cosmetic gut job inside and out and all new electrical, it had structural issues all over the place. At the price they were asking, there was no possible way we could have done the amount of work that needed to be done without going way over budget and without investing too much money into the property that we wouldn't be able to get back resale-wise.

So, we walked away. It was pretty disappointing but we decided that the right house (at the right price) would come along eventually.

A few weeks later, we got a call from the real estate agent that had shown us the house the first time. He told us that even though we hated the house the first time (at the original asking price), the sellers had just dropped the price drastically. They dropped the price so much that if we were to buy it, we would be able to hire out some of the major renovations.

We went and had a second look, this time ignoring the dirt, the furnishings, the junk, and the overall ugliness. We brought some family members through to give their honest opinions.

They all told us to go for it.

So, we worked until midnight getting an offer put together, held our breaths and waited, as there was already a conditional offer on the house. The agent told us we had a good chance of getting it seeing that the buyers who already had an offer in were getting cold feet about the knob-and-tube wiring. 

The next day we found out that the sellers accepted the other buyer's offer and we lost out. Wah wah wah.

To be continued............. :)

Silly Mini-Coop Pics


Saturday, June 23, 2012

We're over at The Fixer Upper today mowing the lawn and getting rid of all the garbage in and around the building. Alex and his Dad have already been to Lowe's to pick up a quart of the wall colour I chose so that I can test it out before buying a huge five-gallon pail. He also picked up all of the window trim which we're going to paint in the basement while the painters work on the ceilings. (We're paying my cousin and his friend who work for a local painting company to paint most of the interior). We're kind of all over the map but I'll explain why in my next post... remember I told you that this house purchase had some interesting parts to it?

Anywhoooooooooo, I thought I'd share a few photos I snapped of the little man a few days ago. The cheeks just keep getting bigger and bigger every day..... :)

The many faces of Cooper at 7 weeks:

I'll fill you in with some more details soon, soon, soon! Gotta go!


We Bought a Fixer Upper - Say What!?!?!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm not sure if I've ever told you this before, but we live in a tiny little mining town about a 5-minute drive from the main city. It's the total opposite of suburbia where the homes have three garages and 5000 square feet of living space. (Which is totally fine if that's your thing but for some strange reason I much prefer the creaky floors and lack of closet space that you get in older homes.) There are quite a mixture of house styles here  - from one street of old three-story mansions to many streets of tiny shacks. We are fortunate enough to live on one of the nicer streets - about two minutes from the local school and several parks. While some folks have done an amazing job at maintaining, updating, and fixing up the houses in the area, many of them have become run-down and, well, ugly.    

I'm not sure if I've told you this before either, but it's always been my dream to flip old houses. I love the idea of taking a crusty old out-dated house and fixing it up all cute-like while still maintaining it's old-fashioned character and charm. More specifically, I've been dreaming of fixing up some of the run-down houses in the town where we live.

The problem that Alex and I have is that we are just waaaaaaay too busy. With two full time jobs, renovating our own home, two dogs, friends and family, hobbies, and now a new baby - it's basically impossible to even conceive how we could pull off flipping a house.

I'm sure you are wondering then, how and why did we just buy a fixer-upper? Well, let me explain.

Right now, Alex's parents live out of town in a small retirement community. They've been wanting to move back to our city for awhile (to be closer to the Coopster of course) but house prices are ridiculous right now and the thought of taking on another mortgage and the hassles of owning another home isn't what they were looking for. They are retired and want to enjoy traveling, etc.

So, Alex and I bought a second house. His parents will live in it and pay just enough rent to cover the mortgage. They will get the perks of living in a house without any of the responsibility. We will gain the equity of another property AND have babysitters close by. Win-win if you ask me. 

Wanna hear the fun part? We went one street over from our house and bought the UGLIEST, MOST DISGUSTING HOUSE ON THE STREET. Just to give you an idea, the previous owners apparently kept snakes, rabbits, chickens, and goats in the basement. Goats, people! The house was so grimy that I wanted to throw away my shoes after walking through it the first time.

I'm sure that many people will think we're crazy, however we were able to look past the grime, gunk, and junk to see that the house had good bones and lots of potential.

Are you ready to see how horrible it is? Here is the fixer upper in all of it's ugly glory:

Ummmmm, yeah. Now that's ugly.

What's really neat is that friends of ours live on the same street as our fixer-upper, in the exact same style of house. They've worked really hard to fix theirs up and it's sooooo cute. We'll keep their house in mind while we work on fixing up ours. 

Here is our friend's home (and inspiration):

To say the least, it's been a crazy busy two months (me with the baby and Alex with working out the house purchase). We get the keys tomorrow so I'm sure it's about to get even crazier around here.

P.S. This story has some more interesting twists and turns to it that I'll share for another day....... ;)

P.S.S. Raise your hand if you think we're nuts!

P.S.S.S. My hand is up. What were we thinking!?!?!? Hahaha.

Ugly Kitchen Quick Fix: Kitchen Carts x 2


Thursday, June 14, 2012

I haven't posted about our super ugly kitchen in quite awhile. In case you were wondering, it's still super ugly.

Wah wah wah.

But, I have been making a few small changes here and there to make it more functional and slightly less crusty (if that's even possible).

First, I painted the walls and trim. I used leftover paint from the rest of the main floor (Gray Own 1/2 Tint and Simply White - Benjamin Moore). This made a HUGE difference and I cursed myself for waiting so long to do it.

Painted walls and trim.

Next, Alex and I moved the fridge over and installed some open shelving for display and storage on the wall with no cabinetry. Hello, Ikea.

Open shelving on empty wall.

We also replaced the fluorescent light over the sink with a pendant light.

Pendant light over sink.

Underneath the Ikea shelving we decided to create a bit more counter space and storage by doubling up two Ikea kitchen carts. We already had one in the kitchen already, so we picked up a second one and placed them side by side underneath the open shelves. Like so:

Ikea kitchen carts for counter space and storage.

The extra counter space has made such a huge difference so far. Now we have a place to put the mail down, open up a cookbook, or to cool a pan of muffins. {I love muffins. I should make some muffins right now. Muffins, muffins, muffins.}

I love you counter space!

For a few months we had a mishmash of decorative bowls 'n things on the lower shelves. However yesterday I decided to try and make the space more functional. 

On one kitchen cart I've got a basket, a large bowl, and some glass canisters:

Kitchen cart #1

I use the basket as a bread basket. It's usually crammed full of bagels, English muffins, sandwich bread, and french stick. What can I say, I'm a carbaholic. The large white bowl is usually filled to overflowing with fresh fruit - usually apples, oranges, grapefruit, and bananas. If you're wondering why both are empty it's 'cause the bananas were kinda brown and we only had two grapefruits left. I left them out of the picture. Yes, grocery shopping is on my mile-high list of things to do today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day.

On the bottom shelf are four glass canisters that I use for common baking ingredients. Those chocolate chips are looking pretty hurtsville now that I look at them. Add some of those to my grocery list.

On the second kitchen cart I've got two magazine files, a charging station, and a stack of serving trays:

I just added the filing baskets in an attempt to organize our incoming and outgoing mail. There is also a charging station for my iphone, Alex's blackberry, and our ipods.

I stacked some serving trays on the bottom shelf since we've been using them lots and lots over the last few weekends. We've been entertaining visitors out on the deck and the trays are super handy for snacks and drinks.

In case you're curious, here is where we found the goods: 
 Kitchen Carts - Ikea
Basket - Homesense
Bowl - Hilltop Interiors
Glass Canisters - Wal-Mart
Stick-On Letters - Michael's
Charging Station - Pottery Barn
Magazine Files - Homesense
Trays - Homesense & Superstore
Glass Rolling Pin - Antique Store

Even though the two kitchen carts were kinda pricey and added up to about $500 for both, we plan on reusing them in our future laundry room for clothes-folding counter space and storage. Not a bad deal at all.

So, that's our latest kitchen quick-fix. Now it's time for me to not go to the grocery store ooooh and ahhhhhh over pretty kitchens on Pinterest. One day.... one day.................

P.S. Can anyone tell me why the spacing in Blogger is being so weird lately?!?!?!

Two Cute Homesense Finds


Monday, June 11, 2012

Well hello there stranger. So sorry I haven't posted in a few days. It's been crazytown over here!

Can I just say that it's supposed to be 33 degrees C (90 degrees F) here this afternoon. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat? That is pretty unusual for where we live and for this time of year. We get those temps maybe for a few days in the middle of summer. Oh yeah, and we don't have air conditioning at our house. Oy.

Cutest fan that ever lived.

Which leads me to my first Homesense find. It is the cutest little fan you ever did see. When I saw that the manufacturer was J. Hunt I snatched it up in a heartbeat. I just love the quality of their products. The fan has a little handle on top to carry it around if you need to, it has two speed settings, and it is even small enough to put on a window ledge to blow outside air into the house. 

Alex told me that I should go back and get another one. Did you read that part!?!?! Alex told me to go to Homesense to buy something. The world must be ending because I don't hear that very often. Hahaha.

Must-needed paper storage.

These woven magazine files were my second fun Homesense purchase. I have wanted some of these forever!!!! I'll be using them to help organize our mail/paper in the kitchen. I've got a little spot that I'm thinking of using. I'll make sure to share once I've got it all organized. {Warning: that could take years.}

As you could probably tell, the Coopster and I have been on quite a few shopping adventures lately. He loves Homesense just as much as I do. He told me. With a gurgle.

We both decided that we are going to chillax at home today and do a little bit of this:

Cooper - 6 Weeks

He has a headstart.

P.S. Hope you had a great weekend!

P.S.S. Can you see the "thing" in the background of the first two photos??? I am SO excited to show you what it is and where it's going to go. We just need a crazy ladder contraption first. Stay tuned!
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