My first FabFitFun box

A few months ago I splurged and spent the day at a spa being pampered. At the end of my treatment the esthetician asked about my beauty routine, which I sheepishly replied that it hasn’t much changed in the past 25 years. I’ve used the same moisturizer and face wash since I was 17, purchased at the drug store and very cheaply too I might add. She politely lectured me on the importance of good quality, age appropriate products to which I kind of smiled at and quietly shrugged off figuring she was only trying to up-sell me the spa’s own products. When I went home and started thinking about it and After a week or so it got into my head that I need to start trying some new products. A friend of mine had told me about her experience with the FabFitFun box. I was intrigued, yet cautious. I want to try new products, but I’ve spent the past year purging and whittling down odds and ends and doo dads around the house. I was worried about this box containing too much ‘stuff’. I want products that I can use, not more things to collect dust around the house. I kept checking last reviews of boxes and sure some seasons were most “stuff” heavy then others, they were also filled with full sized beauty products and that is what intrigued me. Last month my Husband asked what I wanted for Mothers Day and I decided this would be the perfect way to get the box, without feeling guilty about spending $49.99 USD on myself, on something I don’t actually need. Luckily, he misunderstood me and instead of getting me one box, he bought me an entire year subscription! The first box was delivered this week. Guys, I can’t even. My son was with me when the box was delivered and he was just as excited as I was. Though I was surprised as I thought the box was to be delivered in a discreet package, it was a bright flowery box that waited for me. It was okay today because I was just coming home as it was being delivered, but I’d be worried if it had to sit for very long outside my door as there is a lot of foot traffic outside my house. We brought the box in the house and opened it up and there were 10 beautifully displayed, full sized, tubes and boxes. We spent a good half hour going through each product, smelling it, testing it and figuring out it’s worth. This $49.99 box actually was filled with over $450.00 USD worth of product! Honestly, I nearly fell over when we added it up. Also, because my Husband bought me the Annual Subscription, I was able to customize 4 of my products (1 choice was 2 separate products). The other 5 options were surprises that I didn’t know about until I opened the box, but I’m not disappointed in any of them. I have to say that for a first box, this was a good one. The first morning I showered and got ready I used as many products as I could. Some brands I’ve heard of and some new, but all in resale prices I would never have tried if it weren’t for the box. I’m already excited for the next box and it’s 3 months away! Best Mothers Day present ever. …….. If you’ve been thinking about trying FabFitFun, this really is the season to try, in my opinion. You can use this link and receive $10.00 off your first box!

Address sign, diy

The jellybean mailbox I had made had been sitting on my front table for a few weeks before we finally hung it up outside. Mostly, the delay was because I hated our number sign and didn’t want to hang up the mailbox without a new one, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to attempt to make a sign or just buy one. After searching online and checking out a few big box stores for ideas, I stumbled across some MDF numbers at Walmart for less then $2.00 each and decided, of course I would just make my own.

I started with finding a scrap piece of wood in our basement, cutting it down to size and sanding the corners and edges to give it a softer, less severe look. I also pre-drilled the holes for screwing the sign to the wall.

Bonus of keeping leftover scraps of wood from basement renovations, instant and free crafting supplies!

I couldn’t decide if I wanted black on white or white on black, so I tested out both to see which I preferred. I dug into my existing paint supply and pulled out some black and white paints and got to work.

In the end, white on black won out. Next, I gave the base a few thorough coats of black acrylic paint and painted each of the numbers in a chalky finish.

I found some leftover gorilla glue from a previous project and decided to use it to attach the numbers to the sign. DIY tip, when you use gorilla glue, trust the instructions when it says to just use a small amount. If you ignore this tip and generously apply the glue, this is what happens:

Gorilla glue mishap. You really do only need a little!

I may have shed a tear as I scrapped away the excess glue and had to do a little bit of retouch with the paint to fix it up, but in the end I was still happy with the look.

I gave the entire sign, front to back, four coats of waterproof varnish as the sign would be outside and I wanted to make sure there was a good moisture barrier, especially with using MDF numbers. In the end, the entire project cost less then $10.00 because other then the numbers I bought, everything else was made using existing supplies we had in the house. I’m so happy with the way our front entrance way looks now.

Here’s to ups and downs and staying down

Four years ago, after 18 months of hard work, I lost 108 pounds following Weight Watchers.  I learned how to cook cleanly, instead of reaching for a package, learned how to run longer then two minute intervals and most importantly learned to take care of myself.  

Over the past four years I’ve had my ups and downs with my weight.  After training and running a half marathon, I gained back 10 pounds of the original 108 lost.  When I stopped running 25-35 kms a week my metabolism took a bit of a beating and I just couldn’t stop that 10 pound gain.  But, I found my groove again and was able to stop the weight gain there. I was okay with that gain as I still felt good and was comfortable in my skin and hey, 98 pounds of a loss was still  pretty good. 

Then, almost two years ago, we began a very stressful time at work and without realizing it, I gained 26 pounds over 8 months.  I was floored by the gain, even though I shouldn’t have been surprised by it.  I wasn’t moving and was making poor food choices, I took full responsibility of each of those pounds gained and worked hard last year to get them back off. 

I decided to cancel my WW membership last fall thinking I could keep it under maintain my weight on my own.  But here it is, end of February and after realizing my jeans were snug again, I finally got back on the scale to see that sure enough, I’d gained another 10 pounds since fall.  

It’s a slippery slope of 10 pounds turning into 100 pounds that I’m not willing to let happen.  So, today I signed back up for WW and know that I can get these 10 pounds off by following plan.

The plan does work.  You just have to want it.  And boy, do I want it.


I love the New Year. I love that it’s cold outside and we spend our evenings cozy in front of the fireplace reading or watching movies or playing board games. I love the possibility of new beginnings, new adventures and opportunities. But mostly, I love the feeling of wanting to start fresh and an entire 12 months with a blank slate in front of me.

We’re in the fourth week of the year and I’ve already re-organized my both linen closet and pantry. I’m eyeing my closet and dresser drawers, both of which are currently bursting at the seams. Last year, we went through a major purge of ‘stuff’ and I thought I was done. But this year it feels like a challenge to do it again. I’ve decided that 2019 is the year of less. Less possessions and less purchases. Why do I feel the need to shop for things that I don’t need or that just make me happy at that moment? How many platters does one family really need?

A few days ago I was on twitter and saw that everyone was talking about Marie Kondo and how many books she feels you should own. I’ll be honest, at first I laughed and thought, not me! There’s no way I could live without my books. I have nearly every book I’ve read over the past 22 years. Stacks of books filling book shelves, two rows deep. My books make me happy, they’re comforting and I love to look at them. But then, a few days later, I began thinking of it more and more.

Over the summer I finally brought all my childhood books to my niece. I’d been holding onto them for 30’ish years, boxes of books about babysitter and blonde twins. Books about vampires and witch craft and ghosts. My niece, an avid reader, welcomed them with open arms. It was hard to part with such a big piece of my childhood, but one day it just occurred to me that they were going to waster and what was the point of a book if not to be read. The books had been sitting in boxes through several moves, enough was enough.

Thinking about my childhood books, I gave myself a challenge. I went to my book shelves and, book by book, I went through and thought about each of them. Did I enjoy the book? Would I read the book again? Did the book give me joy? And as it turns out, a lot of them didn’t.

After one run through of all the titles I ended up with a pile of books that I couldn’t imagine ever reading again. Books that yes I may have enjoyed 5 or even 15 years ago, but why was my attachment to them so strong that I had to keep them knowing I would never read them again.

So this is my starting pile. My Aunt volunteers at a woman’s shelter and these will be on their way to the shelter’s library. I’m giving it two weeks and I’ll give my books another run through and see how many more I can add. Books were definitely meant to be read and it’s time for me to let them go.

2018, one hell of a year

Back in January, I thought that being woken up at 3am by fire fighters pounding on your door was the scariest thing to live through.  Turns out, I was wrong.  Having a stranger pound on your door at 9pm, while you’re getting your son ready for bed, to yell at you to get out of the house because the house next door is on fire, is much, much worse.

That’s exactly what happened to us earlier this week and I have to tell you, it’s awful.    Standing outside watching the flames just a few feet from our house, the embers landing on our roof, I was convinced that our house was going to burn down.  Just that afternoon our home insurance renewal came through and was I trying to figure out how we could possibly call the insurance company just 10 months later to tell them this.

People often talk about what they would grab during a fire, or an emergency.  If you had just minutes to decide, what would you take?   Over the years I’ve had this discussion with people and I’ve always thought; paperwork (birth certificates, etc), money, pictures and certain jewelley that means a lot to me.

During the flood when we were evacuated, I wasn’t worried about our house being destroyed because I figured the water could only go so high.  I knew the city workers were on the way to shut off the water so I grabbed my sons and my iPad and our winter gear and headed out the door.  We were still in our pyjamas, but my parents only live down the street and I figured by daylight, once the hydro was shut off, we’d be allowed back in the house to get more items.

The fire was a different story.  Once we realized what was going on, we saw the flames through our back and side windows.  They were just a few feet from our house.  I didn’t think about pictures or money or objects or anything like that at all.  I scooped up my dog while yelling for my husband and son.  I only thought of my purse because it happened to be sitting at my entry way table by the front door.  We threw on shoes and ran out the door, without even grabbing winter jackets.  We literally left with the clothes on our back and that was all.

Somehow, the universe looked out for us.  The wind was blowing in the right direction and the dampness from the day of rain protected our house.   My heart is broken for our neighbors who are now homeless.  Their house pretty much burned down and hardly anything could be salvaged.  Other then a few scorch marks, some bubbled paint and a cracked side glass entry door, our house was spared.

Standing on the front lawn watching the fire department battling the blaze all I could think of was the year we’ve had.   Beginning with the flood, the asbestos nightmare, I stood there thinking to myself, I’m not sure how much more I can take.  But then a neighbor pointed out my son and I didn’t have jackets and rushed to grab one for us both and I thought about it.   We were safe.  Again.  When the time came and I had to decide, all that mattered to me to save, was us.

I love my house.  I love my things.  I love my pictures and books and memories.  But more then anything, I love us.


picture frames

I’ve slowly been working on updating our master bedroom.  At the end of the summer, I painted a side table to match our headboard and have been searching for new/old dressers to paint for months.  Along with the dressers, I’ve been keeping an eye on sales for a new square picture frame for my favourite picture that hangs in our bedroom.


It occurred to me a few days ago that perhaps I didn’t need a new frame after all.  I grabbed my paint box and found the white paint and took apart the picture frame to get to work.  If you were wondering just how cheap I am, well I’m cheap enough that I’d rather paint an existing picture frame then buy an entire new one!



It only took a couple of coats but it covered up quite nicely.  A quick coat of varnish and I didn’t have to search for a new frame any longer!


Jellybean house mailbox

I love the Jellybean row houses in Newfoundland.  The colours, the shapes, everything about them appeal to me.  A few years ago I noticed someone in my neighborhood had a jellybean row house mailbox and I’ve wanted one ever since.  I’ve kept my eyes out at craft sales, but never found one.  I searched online and found some beautiful crafted mailboxes, but they’re all more then what I’d be willing to spend on a mailbox.

A couple of months ago I started to think about how I could make my own jellybean mailbox.  I love crafting but wasn’t sure if I had the skill or patience to take on this project.   I found a simple black metal mailbox at Home Depot for less then $17.00 and decided to give it a shot. A quick trip to the craft shop and $15.00 on paint later, I was ready to start.

I decided on five colours and played with the paint bottle arrangement until I found the colour scheme I wanted


I began my painting the front of the mailbox white.  I wanted a nice clean slate and was worried that the paint wouldn’t cover over the black well.


Next, I used painters tape and taped off areas so that it was broken down into five paint-able sections.  I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I painted three of the sections first, then once fully dried I taped up those sections and painted the remaining two.   It ended up taking a couple of coats of paint each colour in order to get a nice cleat coating of paint.

I was worried about how I would paint the windows and doors as I don’t have a steady hand and am not the greatest at painting or drawing straight lines.  I dug through my craft cupboard and found little square tiles that I could use as a guide.  I lined up seven, two for a door and five for windows, and using a fine tipped sharpie, outlined the tiles.  After I outlined each section/house, I used a fine paintbrush and carefully painted the insides of all the squares.

I struggled with outlining the black windows and doors, but found an oil based sharpie white paint pen at the crafting store.  Of course I had a coupon, so it cost only $4.00.  Using a ruler as a guide, I traced the shape of the doors and windows with the white sharpie paint pen.   I varnished the front with four coats of leftover Americana varnish in matte and was very happy with the results.

After spending only $36.00 in supplies, I finally ended up with the Jellybean Row house mailbox I wanted.


side table refinishing

Okay, I’m going to admit, after my success in furniture painting with my back porch and my entry way cabinet, I’ve started looking around my house trying to figure out what to work on next.

A few months ago I had decided that it was time to update our bedroom.  I’ve never been one to put a lot of effort or cost into my bedroom as it’s just never seemed necessary.  A bedroom is a place to sleep, not entertain.  However, now that we live in a bungalow, I’ve started thinking more about how our bedroom looks, especially when I don’t remember to shut the door before company comes over.

The change in thinking started when I found our headboard.  Fabric covered and rivet filled, it was lovely and definitely an inspiration for wanting to have the rest of the room match it’s prettiness.   I started looking around and realized that none of our bedroom furniture matched, but with a little DIY, that could all change.  I set my eyes first on my side table as it seemed the most easiest choice for painting.

Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve had this piece for 14 years.  It’s lovely on it’s own, but I wanted my bedroom to be light and airy and this dark wood just no longer cut it.


I decided to use two colours, white for the bottom and grey for the top.  I gave the entire piece a good sanding because there were years of built of wax all over it.  After sanding, I wiped it all down to make sure it was clean and got to work.  I started with a sponge brush but ended up using a soft bristled small paint brush.  I began with using Americana, Multi-Surface Satin in Cotton Ball on the base, but it quickly became apparent that this paint just wasn’t going to cut it.

Three coats in, I was starting to regret ever beginning this piece at all.


I decided to leave the base for a while and started to work on the top of the table.  I switched to Americana Satin Enamels in Grey Taupe and went back to my sponge brush for application.  I found I had the same problem with covering as I had on the base.  It just wasn’t covering well and was streaking.


I’m not sure what went wrong, if I should have sanded the piece even better or maybe chose a different type of paint.  But I decided I just needed to plow through this piece to get it finished and switched up the base paint to chalk paint.  Chalk paint has a great reputation for covering quickly and easily so I crossed my fingers and hoped it would work.  I ended up using Americana Chalky paint in Everlasting and was happy to see that it was doing  a much better job covering it up.  The top I ended up lightly sanding and repainting a few times before I finally felt like it was covered well.  Finally, I topped the piece with several coats of Americana decor Satin Varnish.

In the end, this piece was a pain and took way to long to finish.  But, after putting it back into my bedroom and seeing how lovely it looked, it made it all worthwhile.


flood clean up

It’s been 10 months since our basement flooded and I’m finally starting to feel like the end of the renovation is in sight.  We still have a lot to do, but going downstairs no longer feels like were entering a dark and scary cave.

When the flood was happening and I stood at the top of our stairs looking down at the rushing water that was filling our house, I just kept thinking of the water and how much damage it was going to do.  What I wasn’t thinking of was this:


This, my friends, is what happens when a water main breaks under a sidewalk and floods your house and property.  Not only does it bring gallons upon gallons of water into your house, but mud and gravel.  The power of the water literally lifted our driveway up, bent in our garage door and not to mention, filled our basement with mud.  When we went home the day after the flood I wanted to cry when I went downstairs.  Everything was filthy and covered in mud and I just kept walking around in tears thinking this will never, ever get clean.

At the start of the demo, when they realized there was asbestos and couldn’t continue without a proper abatement, our rec room truly did resemble a cave.




After firing our second contractor (just dealing with the demolition of the rec room!) my Husband, Jay, decided to take matters into his own hands and do this rebuild on this own.

Except, he’s never done anything like this before.

We started by cleaning, cleaning and cleaning like never before.  We purchased a power washer and set to work washing away the final layers of mud that the demolition crew didn’t scrape up with their shovels.  We used just a basic grey concrete paint to give the floors a fresh look.   We knew we’d have to paint the floors again after the walls were completed but we just needed for it to feel cleaner and fresher and much less depressing.


In the summer, Jay researched a product that seems to be a basement renovators dream.  He found these panels that include framing, insulation and drywall in one.  We decided to give it a shot.  The price was comparable to buying all the items separately, and considering Jay had never built a room before, it seemed like a gentle way of easing into this renovation.

Next he installed the panels which were as simple as the reviews stated.  Sure, it took some time to do it, but it was much faster then framing and installing insulation and drywall separately.  We did have to do some framing in the interior parts of the basement, but at a much smaller scale then the outer walls, it didn’t feel too intimidating.


We’ve started the new electrical work and painting the ceiling.  We decided for now to leave the ceiling exposed because we know eventually we want to split the rec room up into two rooms, we’re just not sure how we’re going to configure this yet.  Instead of using a paint sprayer, Jay has been rolling the paint on and using a paint brush for the small spots.  It’s not perfect, but for a first coat it’s looking pretty good.


There’s still so much that needs to happen, but it’s finally starting to feel close to being done.  At the very least, I’m just happy it’s clean again.

2019 Disney Parks Moms Panel!

disney sign

If you’re a Disney Loving Mom like I am, then you know that the application for the 2019 Disney Parks Moms Panel is happening this week.  I’ve been waiting for this week since I first saw that the application process would begin on September 5th.  Trying not to overthink it, I decided to wait until mid-way through the process and then submit my application.

Today was the day!  I logged in this morning and mentally prepared myself to give no more then 1 hour for the process.  I’ve heard rumors that up to 10,000 people apply each year and didn’t want to invest too much time into it to only be crushed if I didn’t make it through.  The questions were a lot easier then I was expecting and the only struggle I found as keep each answer under 100 words.  100 words!  I can use that up in just an introduction!

When I began planning our first Walt Disney Resort vacation, two years ago, I became obsessed.  There’s so many options and things to consider that my research lasted hours a week (sometimes a day!) until I really felt that I understood the inside and outs of each of the various resorts and parks.  The perks of each resort, the tricks to getting the best table service reservation and the in and outs of having the least amount of wait times per ride, I figured out it all.  Over the past two years I’ve happily planned several friends Disney trips, pulling out calendars and spreadsheets to help them pick the best days for each park, giving them tips for getting into and through the parks and making sure that the vacations were amazing.  I even spent two weeks waking up at 6am each day to try to get a reservation at a very hard to get restaurant for my friends daughter (I did it!).  I’ve often have people suggest I should go into Disney Trip planning as a career, but quickly shoot down that suggestion that I love it so much I’d never want to get paid for it because then it becomes a job!  Being a Disney Panel Mom would just give me an excuse for continuously researching and keeping up to date on Disney news.

The thank you trip that they give to you and your family?  Just a perk!  Now excuse me while I head back to the Disney World site and plan yet another make believe vacation for my family!