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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Five Good Memories

  As my mom's dementia grows worse, I find myself thinking a lot about my childhood. I started this post months ago, but never finished...in fact this is only half... my other five memories will have to be a post for another time. I haven't been doing much blogging lately, so I thought this post would be a good way to let you know what is occupying my time and my thoughts.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Decorating Kids' Rooms

 I come from a family with eight kids. When I was a girl, all I wanted was a pink bedroom. My parents weren't crazy about bright colors, so what I ended up with was more like white with a pink tinge. We didn't have much money either, so I didn't even have flooring...just bare plywood, but I did have a little purple rug beside my bed!


 When our older kids were growing up, Brian and I didn't have much money either, so their rooms weren't much better than what I grew up with. In fact we often joked about our decorating scheme being stripes and polka dots....meaning we had mudded the joints and screws in the drywall, but there was no paint. I guess that's why I got a little carried away with decorating our kids' rooms in later years!


Decorating and making memories

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March Memories

A photo tour around the Carberry MB area

Each month we do a photo tour of scenery in our area. This month the photos were taken in the Carberry area, about 20 minutes away, where Brian grew up, and where I attended school. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Faux Painting Ceramic Tile Walls

 I'm always looking for easy and inexpensive ways to decorate our home. I love the look of tile in a bathroom, but it can be pricey. Keeping those grout lines clean can be a chore too....Boys and bathrooms...need I say more?!

 A few years ago, when we were finishing our basement, the money for tiles just wasn't available, so I came up with another solution. We had already painted our basement floor and liked the way it turned out, so why not the walls?

 Today, I'm going to show you how we did our bathroom walls with the same faux painting technique we used on our floor.

Faux painting with a sponge.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cheap and Easy?

 I want to preface this post by saying, if you are one of those people who actually do make all of your own cleaning products...I applaud you. Let me just admit something right now...I'm kinda lazy...Remember this post? I'm the Cheap and Easy Blogger!

Cleaning with natural cleaners

 Many years ago, my sister developed extreme sensitivities to many products; even to fragrances...whether it was perfume, cosmetics or household cleaners. Just being around some scents caused a reaction. While I didn't have the extreme sensitivities that my sister suffered from, I did get headaches from cleaners....even walking down the cleaning aisle at the store gave me a headache! My sister's and my own experience were enough to make me question what was in all of these products. I did some research and found that they were full chemicals, some I had never even heard of.

These are some of them: Phthalates, Perchloroethylene or “PERC", Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”, 2-Butoxyethanol, Ammonia, Chlorine, Sodium Hydroxide.

This article provides information on each of these.

 That was 13 years ago. At that time I cleaned all of the toxic cleaners out of my house, and replaced them with natural products; baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, along with some products that I was able to buy online. My daughter told me about a company where I could not only buy my cleaners, but also toiletries, lotions, supplements, even dog shampoo! I started buying from there, and I've used natural products ever since.

 But a while back I had the brilliant idea that I could find these products locally, or maybe even make some of my own cleaners. I had seen all kinds of recipes on pinterest....hahaha...ya, I hear you laughing.

Homemade natural cleaners
 So, I stocked up on all my old favorites (really stocked up!) and cancelled my membership with the online shopping club. These products are super concentrated, so I was able to make them last a very long time, but little by little I started to run out of things. Even though I squeezed every last drop from bottles, and then rinsed them out with water to get every last bit, eventually my cleaning spray bottles were empty. 

 I tried some of the natural products offered by another company, but wasn't really impressed with the quality or selection....and the price was way more than I wanted to spend! I continued to use huge boxes of baking soda, and gallons of vinegar, but make my own laundry soap...who was I kidding!? So the store bought detergent soon found it's way back in...and the fabric softener...how do you make your own fabric softener anyway?? Still, I refused to buy other cleaners from the store...and as much as I hated to admit it, my bathrooms and my kitchen sink were looking dingy...no matter how much baking soda or vinegar I used. 

 Homemade may be cheap, but I also like convenience...I like to be able to spray a surface and wipe it off and I'm done! So this scrubbing with baking soda was getting old fast.


Cleaning with baking soda

 Then one day my last family size shampoo bottle was empty....my facial cleanser was gone....my last bar of soap was a tiny speck....my liquid soap was just water, and I had even used a knife to cut open my lotion bottle to get the lotion coating the inside! I had high hopes of buying homemade bars of soap, but never did....other than some that was so highly perfumed I couldn't use it. You can't imagine my excitement when I found a partially used bar of soap in the back of a cabinet! It was a little shriveled up, but nothing a little water wouldn't fix! I can't help but laugh at how silly this was.

An old bar of soap

 Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, supplements? Once they were gone, I had to buy them somewhere.....and soon they were all coming from the store. All of the products that I had removed from our home 13 years ago.....

 And once again, my daughter came to the rescue.....and once again, I have all of my favorite products....no chemicals, no smells that give me a headache, inexpensive and EASY!....and my bathroom is sparkling clean! 

A sparkling clean bathroom


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Snapshot, After the Storm

snowbanks are almost to the top of our fences

The blizzard is over, but the snowbanks left behind are so huge that our dogs managed to jump the fence in one part of the yard!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Manitoba Blizzard of 2017

While so many of my blogging friends are posting pictures of plants coming up in their gardens, and making plans for the new garden season, I'm sitting here looking out my window at snow and ice! 

Blowing snow, white out

I have no idea how much snow fell, because the wind blew it all into huge snowbanks, leaving other parts of the yard bare. This storm lasted over 24 hours! 

Faux Painting A Concrete Floor

  If you're looking for an inexpensive way to finish your basement floor, why not paint it? This is a project that we did a few years ago, and it has held up quite well, with just a few scratches. We've done a lot of painting projects, but we'd never painted a concrete floor before. We have, however, spilled enough latex paint on concrete to know it doesn't come off easily, so we knew latex paint would work well for this job. It's also the easiest to work with.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pathways I Have Known

  Maybe you are looking for ideas for a pathway through your yard or garden...or maybe, like me, you just love pathways. Whatever brought you here, I hope you enjoy taking a stroll through the garden, a hike through the forest, or just a walk in the park. Brick, stone, sand, or grass, wooden or strewn with leaves....I love pathways!


A split log and rock pathway through the flower garden

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February Spring

In spite of some dreary grey skies, February has been unseasonably warm, and we're seeing signs of spring everywhere. But this IS Manitoba, and we know it won't last...winter will have it's last hurrah....but we're trying not to think of that!

Looking for spring in February

Monday, February 20, 2017

Manitoba Sky Monday, February 20/17

I know, I know...it's more sunrises and sunsets.
But I never get tired of them...
hopefully someone else appreciates them too!

The moon at sunrise
The moon at sunrise

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Home Made Bird Feeder

Looking for a simple project to do with the kids? We love watching birds, and ever since we moved here, I have planned to buy a bird feeder to put up in our yard, but somehow, just never got around to it. But this year, I came across a really simple way to make a homemade bird feeder from mesh bags.

Mesh bag bird feeder

Monday, February 13, 2017

Manitoba Sky Monday, Feb.13/17

Welcome to another week of Manitoba Skies!

I'm not sure how I got this one, but I really like the way it turned out!
Beautiful orange sunset

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Meet Me at the Market



 I met Brenda Newton last year, at the Brandon Farmer's Market when I purchased some delicious grapes from her. I recently had an opportunity to talk to Brenda about her involvement with the farmer's market, as well as her many other endeavours.



Monday, February 6, 2017

Manitoba Sky Monday, February 6/17

We had some grey, dreary days this past week, 
and I wasn't doing a lot of sky watching, 
but I did get a couple of nice ones.

There's some blue sky!
Nothing better than a pink sunrise!

See you next week!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

An Experience Of a Life Time

  Sixteen year old, Junior, arrived from Almas Pernambuco, Brazil on September 3/16, with a very short bucket list; he wanted to visit the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, he wanted to go to a comic book store, a dollar store, a movie, and he wanted to see the Northern lights. His host family set out to complete that list and ended up doing so much more!

Exchange student, host family

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Our Family Tree

 When I was a child there was a big maple tree in our yard that we spent hours playing on. My brothers hung swings from one branch that reached out across the lane. If you look closely at the photo, you can even see where the stretched out branch has been scarred by the ropes of our swings. 


 Another branch reached out the other direction, running along the ground and then angling up toward the sky; the perfect climbing tree. 

 As we grew older, it became the favorite backdrop for many family pictures. Eventually, the tree started to die, and my parents made the decision to have it removed....but those roots stretched deep, and the seeds from that maple tree had been scattered for years. The tree may be gone, but it lives on in our memories and in the many new trees it seeded.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Manitoba Sky Monday, January 30/17

Last week's sky had some amazing clouds!
I took these over the course of a few days...
starting on Wednesday.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January Journal

 The month of January has brought us everything from blizzard conditions with high winds and blowing snow, to frigid temperatures dipping down to - 47 with the windchill, to balmy spring time weather, bright blue skies, and then rain and fog. Only in Manitoba, eh?

Garden Arbour in the snow

Monday, January 23, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017