Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in Pictures

Just a few pictures taken over the last couple of days. Apologies for the blurry/dark/noisy shots, this Christmas I've ignored all the settings on the camera and decided to just shoot away.

First of all, mum and dad's Christmas present showed up a few days early:

Mocha! An 8 week old Labradoodle, who won't stop growing.

Dad loves her, and woke her up early on Christmas morning to build her a fire to keep her cozy.

Also, a few small photos of the living room at our place all decorated for Christmas:

And to wrap it all up, the perfect use for those cast iron rads? Drying mittens!

It Snowed

So I'm up earlier than usual for a Christmas vacation day...although let's be honest, the latest I ever sleep in on any vacation is about 9am. I was shocked that the snowplow didn't wake me up at 4:30am. This first year in our house will be a constant learning experience. A few days ago I learned that the snowplow comes at 4:30am. And when it scrapes the snow from the concrete and then tries to back out of our little dead end street by doing some kind of three point turn (that is really more like a 17 point the turn by the time it actually gets out), it sounds like the world is ending. When I heard it for the first time I thought perhaps the Mayans had miscalculated by a few days and it was actually the 23rd of December that the world would end. Our bedroom overlooks the street, and as you have seen from the pictures, our house is practically ON the street. I half expect the snowplow operator to just knock on my window and say good morning. Anyway, this proximity means that the sound is magnified 500x. So, something to look forward to this winter. Another thing I have learned is that we will have to shovel. Those who currently live in apartments, do not take snow removal for granted. I know I know, at first, it seems kind of fun. You're shovelling snow! You're in the outdoors! All the neighbours are out, shovelling their snow. There's comradery, you're all in this together. And you're all wearing toques! (That's right, I bought myself a snow shovelling toque. It has a pom pom.) But here's the reality: Those comrades? They've been doing this longer than you have. They don't appreciate your cheerful "Isn't this great? SNOW!" sort of attitude. No, they already understand just how awful snow shovelling is, and they approach it with a different sort of demeanour. There's no prancing through the freshly fallen snow, no, they just GET IT DONE. And you know what? Halfway through shovelling your little path to your vehicle, you realize that this is serious business. Snow shovelling is no joke. It's sweaty, and the snow is heavy, and your shovel is ridiculously awful and in no condition to shovel this snow, what were you thinking? You need one of those push shovels that can shovel ALL THE SNOW. You're going to get one straight away. Except you can't get out of your driveway, because there's snow in the way. And then you learn this: neighbours are awesome. They will help you shovel your snow. They'll bring their own push shovels and shovel your driveway in less than 3 minutes (partly because your driveway is kind of small and partly because those push shovels are AMAZING). And then during the next snowfall, when you awake and throw a coat over your pyjamas and shove your feet into your rubber boots, you'll notice that good old Wayne has gotten up even earlier than you and already shovelled off your deck and made you a path to your car. Neighbours are the best. Especially the neighbours on Chestnut Street. Which is great, because we're supposed to get another snowstorm on Sunday. Just kidding neighbours, stay in your homes. I've bought a push shovel. And now I leave you with a little song:


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter's Night

Our blog has been severely neglected this month. I was thinking it was due to all the preparations for the Christmas season and other things, like laundry and running from school to school for sub days, but you know what I've realized?

WE'VE SETTLED IN. That's right. Weekday evenings and weekend afternoons were usually reserved for blogging, but this last month or so we've been putting the blog on hold and instead settling into the coziness of the kitchen and living room with extra cups of coffee and the Vinyl Cafe on the radio. "What blog?" we've said. "We don't blog. We drink coffee in our living room now. We bake things in the kitchen now. (me) We build things in the basement now. (TJ)"

I have to admit, it's been nice. But it also means that we've abandoned all of our little projects. Sometimes even in the middle of projecting. Like painting the furniture in the blue bedroom. Right now it has a coat of primer and a coat of paint, and is also sitting on top of plastic. Completely unfinished. But it's easy to forget that, especially when you can just close the door. Anyway, I'm thinking that the new year will revive us, and we'll get back to our projects in 2013 with a new energy. It will also help to have TJ back in the country, as at the moment he's at home in Ireland, celebrating Christmas with his family. I had to stay home to hold down the fort. It's not been too bad, although I won't lie, I've spent the majority of my time at my parents' house. It turns out that with TJ gone, our house is suddenly bigger and scarier, and there's new noises that I've never heard before.

Anyway, the point of this particular blog post is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and holiday season, and to thank you all for following along on one of our biggest adventures so far. We love hearing all the comments in the comment section, as well as in person. It always makes me happy when we go out and someone stops us to say how much they are enjoying the blog and seeing the progress we are making on this cute old house. I promise that we'll get back to it all in 2013. Until then, tuck yourselves into your own cozy homes, pour yourself a glass of something delicious, and enjoy the holidays with those you love!

We'll leave you with some of my favourite winter music:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

From the Kitchen...

Just a quick blog post before heading out to my sister's house on this snowy day for meat pies and Christmas parades and cider at the Railway station.

Do you know how much I love my kitchen? So much. I love the farmhouse looking sink and the old fashioned taps, and the chef's table and the old meat grinder TJ saved from the antique dealer. I love it even more now that I have inherited my grammie's cookbook. And let it be known that this one has the good recipes inside, not the edited ones she would pass out to those who asked her for her tasty recipes. Also let it be known that she refers to recipes as "receipts" throughout the entire book, and has her receipt for salmon loaf included about three different times.

Today was the first day that I actually made a receipt from the book. Cranberry nut bread. It smells amazing, and it was the perfect thing to cook today. We have our Christmas decorations up in full, and it's been snowing lightly all morning. I put on a pot of german chocolate cake infused coffee, set the radio to the Stuart MacLean show and got started by chopping cranberries, pecans, and zesting an orange. I love baking already, but to be able to use my grammie's cookbook made it all the more special.

Love this book. It's an old scrapbook from what appears to be the 1950s, filled with construction paper pages that are covered in my grammie's beautiful handwriting. The recipes are in no particular order other than how she came across them (the salmon loaf must have occurred multiple times in her life...). Also included in here? The original recipe for the Frosty Treat's clam batter, invented by my grammie.

Chopped pecans, hazelnuts and pretty in one of the pottery bowls made by Joyce (the lady who lived here previously).

And the finished product, minus the lemon glaze. If only everyone could smell this....

By the way, remember my previous post wishing for snow? DOESN'T IT MAKE THE GARDEN LOOK SO MUCH BETTER?

Told you so.