Tuesday, June 18, 2013

White Out: Entry and Hall Edition

Remember I mentioned I was planning on whiting out the new house....well we are on our way.  After testing 4 whites that I randomly chose from the CIL white pamphlet at Home Depot I settled on Artesian White a whole 20L pail of it.  To test,  I painted a square block in the main room, hallway, mudroom and entry for more than week to see how each white looked in every light situation.  Picking a white is frekin difficult, it could be too pink, yellow, blue and beige. I found Artesian white to be the purest white with a slight creaminess to it. We splurged on CIL Premium paint and I'm glad we did, it only took 2 coats to cover a medium beige and it went on super smooth.

Check out the afters, I am super pleased with the results!  So much more to do though! We need to change out the flooring in the entry, I am thinking a brick tile. I know that may sound crazy but I have seen some awesome pictures and it camouflages dirt so mopping is not required EVERY day. I also bought two IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinets to be installed against the longer wall. Notice anything else? The front door is now black! The plan is to also do the hall doors black but I am waiting to find five matching 5 panel doors from Habitat for Humanity Restore to replace the existing hollow core wood panel doors.

As for the rest....trim, art, rugs and a little bit of styling will complete the spaces.  Don't the pendants look great too?!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Surprise Wood

HA! Tricked you ladies, unfortunately this post is not about pop-up tents but about a discovery that only happens to people with blogs.  We found the original hardwood under the dirty old 70s' rug!! Whenever I read about some blogger or watched a DIY T.V. show about homeowners pulling back the carpets to find the original hardwood I thought WHO THE HELL does that really happen to?!?! Well this time it's me!!! Sorry to gloat but do you know how much money this saves us!? When we bought the house we knew there was the original school flooring in the main room but we didn't know it was hiding under the nasty carpet in the whole main floor!! Boo ya!

I'll tell you how the best day in my life happened...I was painting the ceiling in the spare room when I happened to look down and saw a little piece of brown peeking at me through the closet door floor hardware.  I immediately got down on my knees and started peeling up the carpet in the closet.  It was wood........a lot of enthusiastic screaming followed by Mr.Loonie asking WTF was going on. He couldn't believe it either! We then went to every bedroom closet to reveal more glorious wood!!

Now the wood is not in pristine condition so it will need to be refinished, I'm not sure yet how much this will cost us but I know it is a heck of a lot less than new hardwood! 
The carpet is now serving as a drop cloth when painting the walls and ceiling.  As painting is completed in each room we are removing the carpet and painstakingly removing the nails and staples and washing dripped stucco and years of dust. There are paint and other stains remaining but should be easily sanded out in the refinishing process.  Time to start calling specialists for quotes! 

Pictures below are taken in Penny's Room.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hanging Lantern Update

My friend introduced me to the Habitat for Humanity Restores in the Edmonton area and now Mr.Loonie and I are obsessed.  The jist of how it works is people drop off their unwanted home decor items such as furniture and lighting and also home renovation material like doors, tile, toilets, you name it.  It was pretty amazing actually, we know it will be our first stop when thinking of replacing anything in our house.  They literally have hundreds of interior doors that are in awesome condition.  Anyways....the point of this post is the awesome lantern style pendants I found for $15 each for the two larger ones and $5 for the smaller.  A few days prior, I was browsing for a similar style light on the Home Depot website but they were all over $200! When I saw these lights hanging there in all their glory I was so excited, I had to have them.  

In between the time we moved out of our Fort McMurray house and into our new home, we were staying with my in-laws with not a lot to do so it was a perfect time to fart around on little projects such as this....tedious taping.  It's always awesome having extra help too.  

The plan was simple.  Tape off the inside windows (they were soldered in) and then spray paint black even the cord and the chain.I decided it was too difficult to paint inside the lights but the gold lines inside give kind of a vintagey shimmery look when hanging and light. On the largest one hanging in the entry I did paint the inside light pole by hand with black paint which were unlike the other 2 where the bulbs were flush with the top.

We were in the new house when it finally came time to spray.

Remove the tape and hang.  We had to shorten in the chain in both the hall and entry.

Please excuse the crappy picture but I don't want to give away the entry or hallway reveal, which will be coming soon!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday Geocaching

You know what's one good thing about moving to a new city? Un-found geocaches! We were out of caches to find in Fort McMurray so we would have to patiently wait for a new one to be planted but not here! We have literally thousands in a 50 km radius and hundreds within only a few kilometers.  On Monday evening we started our hunt.  The picture below is from one of the caches we found (a mailbox screwed to a fallen log). We were asked to spell our team name using scrabble pieces included in the mailbox, pretty cool idea.  This picture was harder to get than you think, Penny wanted to eat the T....babies.....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baby Approved Smoothies


How do you make both mommy and baby happy? You hide yo green in there! I had to write it like that because I couldn't help but think of this old SNL skit....You put yo weed in there!  It came out just when I was at the age to think weed was hip and cool but I hadn't actually seen it really knew anything about it.  Fast forward to today.....


Penny is usually a great eater but can be picky about veggies so this is a fuss free way of getting them in her. The secret is to just add spinach or kale to any fruit smoothie but the recipe that Penny seems to enjoy best is:

1c Frozen Mango Chunks
1/4cVanilla Greek Yogurt
1/2 Banana
Handful of Greens (Spinach or Kale) 
Big Splash of OJ for easy blending

I love our Magic Bullet for these single serving smoothies and the clean up is super easy.
Now have fun tricking your baby or even yourself into eating those extra needed veggies!

The BEFORE House Tour

Before I can start showing you all the progress we made I have to first set up the before situation.  The following pictures are from the listing so the owners had the place in clean selling condition but when we viewed the house it was everything but clean and orderly as it was occupied by renters for we're not sure how long.  There were toys, dishes, underwear(!) and dog mess everywhere, they obviously didn't give two shits if the house sold.  It was probably better for them if the house didn't sell so they didn't have to move out.  We did end up giving them some time because buying a house takes time!  We had a little bit of financial problems because of our Fort McMurray house not selling and it is not as easy to buy a house like it used to be with all the new CMHC rules.  We also had an inspection which got us a little worried resulting in us having a contractor come in to assess some of the issues brought up in the report.  Things turned out to be  not as bad as we expected just normal for an older home but we ended up negotiating for a small sum off the purchase price anyways.  We knew we would need new shingles this year since they in cupping and in generally rough shape and eventually we will have to replace the 20% of windows that are not updated but we ended up negotiating over a few things like attic insulation(we were told the R rating was higher than what was really there) and "Stryker's room", a little addition which was built on the ground without foundation - in the long term it could pull away from the house causing quite a bit of damage.
Need to Replace Shingles, Grass in area where they drove and create walkway.

*The kitchen, dining room and living room is all one room**
Paint cabinets and walls

Dining Room
Paint walls, door and remove blinds.
Living room - view facing entry 
Living room
Paint walls
Master Bedroom
Paint, Replace Flooring
Penny's Room
Paint, Change Flooring
Basement Bedroom
Lots of work-update later
Master Bath
Paint, Change Flooring

Bedroom 1 (Smaller one of the three upstairs)
Paint, Change Flooring

Lighting, Shingles, Flower Boxes, Maybe Paint
Back Exterior showing Stryker's room - the section of the house to the right jutting out from the house.

So that's it! Just like most listings the basement wasn't shown because of the horrific state it's in...kidding it's not that bad to the trained eye anyways.  It is just unfinished - in the main room just drywall, flooring and a drop ceiling is needed and the rest of it....well it could use a bit more! I will update pictures of the basement closer to when we decide to tackle it.

In the picture captions I included the very basic plan of what is needed to be done but like every reno there is quite a bit more to it.  Let the projects begin!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We've Moved!

We moved......from my hometown (Fort McMurray) to Mr.Loonie's hometown (Fort Saskatchewan) - close to it anyways.  It has been our plan for a few years now to move south once we were established financially and had some careless baby-less fun. So since little Pen Pen was baking in the oven, Mr.Loonie has been on the job hunt.  Our luck finally came quite a few months back but because of the lengthy big company interview and testing process, our move was only official recently.  Our house hunt started all over the place....it covered Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan and NE Edmonton with anything meeting our search criteria of an older bungalow in the minor renovation category backing onto green space.  You wouldn't think this would be so hard but it was.  After a month there was nothing, we weren't in a big rush as Mr.Loonie's company would have supplied accommodations for 3 months but I did not want to live in a condo during the summer with a baby, a cat and a dog.  Then a house came up.  We were going back to what we dreamt of years ago...an acreage.  But the house is the best of both worlds....country and city living.  We are 5 minutes from the Fort, 15 from Edmonton but our front yard is a river and the backyard is a farmers field.....it's amazing.

Remember the part where I said we were willing to do minor renos....HA! Scratch that, looks like we have abit of a project on our hands and I will be chronicling every step of it for ya'll.

So a bit of history....our house is an old school! Apparently we housed the classrooms for grades 5-8.  The main room was for grades 5 and 6 and the bedroom end of the house was for the 7 and 8's.  Now as for the basement, we are unsure of.  From the little bit of information we have, the school was turned into a house sometime in the 50s and then renovated in the 90s such as the windows, insulation, shingles and garage construction.  We hope to learn more as we get to know our neighbors.

Our move has been pretty smooth since Mr.Loonie's employer covers most moving expenses including the packing and transport of our belongings, Realtor fees (our Fort McMurray house is still for sale but fortunately 3 months of our mortgage is also covered by the employer) and house hunting trips.  What hasn't been easy is poor Penny's sleeping habits, which we have finally got back on track after 3 weeks of a pretty tough time - I guess she just didn't feel comfortable with her new surroundings. Also, our trip down with the animal farm was hell.  What should take us 4 hours took 6.5 hours due to a blown trailer tire and a crying baby.  The moving company wouldn't take liquids due to their terrorist policy (?) so our tent trailer was packed full of cooking liquids, bathroom and garage liquids...I guess liquids add up because our little old tent trailer tires couldn't handle the excess weight.  The cat was meowing, the dog was pacing and whining and the baby was crying all while the parents were calm....HA!

What matters is we made it and we have been working our asses off to make this old school our own.  Lots of updates to come....stay tuned!

P.S. And for those friends at "home"...I miss you tons!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bacon & Tomato Barley Risotto

I use the term risotto loosely here because although the end result is very creamy like a risotto, it does not require the time and effort needed for a traditional version of the dish.  Barley is a great alternative to arborio rice, the type of rice normally used for risottos.  It is packed with protein, fiber and complex carbs unlike white rice.  But hold up! It is not 100% healthy, there a half a pack of bacon thrown in there....WAIT....I made up for it with all the spinach!  Everything is in balance again.
I swear my Dad was just telling me yesterday that bacon is actually considered healthy now....suuuuure. He always goes on rants about what one doctor says is healthy today is not healthy tomorrow.  All in moderation I respond or else we would all be a dark chocolate, bacon eating, obese winos (red wine of course - white is not as good for you).

Bacon & Tomato Barley Risotto

Adapted from Oh She Glows - a vegan version


1/2 pack bacon
1 cup dry pot barley
1 small onion
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 large clove or garlic
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of milk
1/3 cup spinach (we buy bags of small frozen cubes)
3/4 cup water
S&P to taste
1/4 cup parmesan or more/less to taste

Cook 1/2 pack of bacon which has been diced.  Remove bacon to a plate and most of the grease, leaving a tbsp or so.  
Rinse pot barley in strainer and place in pot that has a lid.  Coat the barley, onion and herbs in the bacon grease and lightly toast in pot on medium heat.  Reduce heat and add garlic, cook for one minute.  
Add tomatoes, milk and water.  Stir well and bring to gentle boil. Reduce head and cover pot with lid on the angle allowing air to escape.  Simmer for approximately 40 minutes stirring every 5-10 minutes or so making sure not to burn the barley to the pot.  Add S&P and parmesan to taste.
The barley tends to be a bit chewy so cook longer and add more liquid if desired.
Makes about 2 cups.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring: Messy Babies and Geocaching

Spring is just around the corner! Yahoo!! We seriously got hit with one of the coldest winters this year, maybe not record lows but a record had to have been broken for the longest stretch below -20°C. It seemed like months I was stuck inside with little Pens, Mr.Loonie and I were taking turns walking pups as it was just too cold for sensitive baby skin.
It was Mr.Loonie's first day off shift today and with the sun shining and temperatures above 5°C , it was perfect to get outside. We even let Penny crawl around on the driveway, she was having a blast playing with rocks and water pouring out the downspout from melting snow. She was a mess but who cares! That's what being a kid is all about. And yes, by the way, Penny is a kid now not a baby! 

A kid most of the time until it is time for a nap or bedtime and then she is still a little baby with sleep issues.  Who knew it would be so hard to get a damn baby to bed.  Last time I spoke of our sleep "problems" it was during her four month sleep regression and now at nine months, it looks like we are back in it. It is honestly not that bad though because I have given up looking for answers and have decided to just be there for my girl. We are still in the family bed and don't really see our "situation" as a problem because we believe in "waiting it out". We see progress most days and and I feel good knowing that she will never be trained or put into any type of stressful situation. So in an attempt to get an afternoon nap in (we don't normally do this but desperate times call for desperate measures - there are also two top teeth busting through) we went for a geocache 10km out of town off of the main highway.  We have been meaning to get this one for awhile now so it was the perfect opportunity.  Surprisingly we got the FTF (first to find) which was a Chinese ear cleaning pick.....weird.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bathroom Reno Reveal!

Once again I was in a love-hate relationship with this damn blog.  I must have been a deep hate because I am so proud of the bathroom renovation....you would think I would want to share it with you all.  I was even avoiding clicking on the "Two Loonies and a Penny" bookmark in my tool bar until a fellow blogging friend who I play volleyball with asked if we had even finished the bathroom since there were no pictures up.  So Lace, here ya go...thanks for the kick in the ass. It has been at least a month now we have been done.  It really was the longest bathroom reno of all time....about 9 months! But with babies and shift work, things get put off pretty easily.  So first let's have a look at the nasty before...

Blue counter tops, peach tile, green walls and white, blue and pink linoleum....YIKES.

And this was my inspiration picture.....

And now for the reveal.....

We finished tiling in November with the help of my Dad. I love the white hexagon tile with the lightest grey grout.  I realized that I LOVE WHITE! If we ever move (foreshadowing) I am seriously considering whiting out the whole house, by that I mean every. single. wall, WHITE! There are three rooms in our house which are painted a shade of white; the kitchen, Penny's room and this bathroom (which is mostly white) and they are all my favorite rooms in the house.  Nothing beats the cleanness of it. The dark greyish blue color we chose to compliment all the white is "grilled sardine" by Benjamin Moore.

The next step of the reno after tiling was the wainscoting and trim which Mr.Loonie completed effortlessly.  I really am so proud of him, it looks awesome.  Especially after I went behind him twice with the wood filler, silicone and white paint.  ;)

Then it was the accessories, the best part!! It could use a little more styling but I think that just comes with time.  I need to stroll through a vintage store or my Grandma's house to find a little tin or wall hanging for the wall opposite the towel ring, something to just give the bathroom that extra charm.  What we do have is an IKEA accordion mirror, storage boxes and white frames.  To add the needed punch of color I edited two corally colored flower photos that I took on our Oregon vacation.  The grey striped mat is from Crate and Barrel and the white waffle shower curtain and bathroom accessories (cup, toothbrush holder, soap dish, towel, garbage can) are from Superstore.  Hmmm....what else...toilet brush holder and shower rings from Home Sense; mirror from JYSK, cabinet hardware from Lee Valley and the rest I already owned (towel ring, and glass apothecary jars).
You also might be wondering what that silver thing is hanging off the toilet.  It's the cloth diaper sprayer where we spray out little Pen Pen's poop into the toilet.  At least with the toilet surrounded in white, if the poop splatters it is easy to spot and clean, keeps us extra diligent.

So that's it....all for under $4000. I don't have the exact bills in front of me but from what I can estimate we spent around $3500 so add a few hundred bucks for random items.
Approximate Expenditures: $1400 for tub, toilet  faucet and sink. $1000 for cabinet and countertop, $300 in tile and grout, $350 in paint, trim and wainscoting, $160 for lighting and $400 in accessories and finishing details.
What do you all think!?
To view all the bathroom posts while the reno was in progress click here.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sugar Addict

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem right? Well my addiction is SUGAR. Now that I have cleaned the house out of all the Christmas treats it is time to that I get this under control.  It is really disgusting how much chocolate I have eaten. Part of the process is to be completely honest so I'm gonna lay it all out there for you. Since the holidays have been over the following is the junk I can remember consuming: two boxes of chocolate covered cherries, 2 big bags of M&Ms, a couple bars of salted dark chocolate, frozen Christmas cookies, one case of cranberry ginger ale and a tub of ice cream covered in Nestle Quik powder.  Also throw in there random treats at people's houses and cookies Mr.Loonie brings home from work.
There is also my morning coffee with vanilla creamer, cereal with vanilla soy milk, orange juice, toast with jam, pancakes with syrup, spoonfuls of Nutella, handfuls of sweetened cranberries and all those other hidden sugars.
I always liked my chocolate but I was able to control it.  Pregnancy was the addiction really started because all I wanted to do was sit on the couch with a bucket full of chocolate banana ice cream. I thought it was okay then but little did I know I was on a downward spiral into a full out problem.
So starting Monday that's it! Well not completely, just in reasonable amounts.  Little substitutions like milk instead of soy milk, water instead of sugary drinks and desserts will be a special treat not another meal in my day.  I was seriously replacing lunch with chocolate most days.  Thanks god for breastfeeding which helps me burn up to an extra 800 calories outside of regular activity.  Even though I am back down to pre-preggers weight I should be taking advantage of these extra calories burned and get on the treadmill to really get fit.  Limiting sugar and getting back to healthy eating is the first step.....baby steps.

Candy Shop = A Crazy Lady
From what I have read I'll probably experience headaches and feel lethargic and grumpy for a few days. The only way to combat these feelings and to avoid intense cravings is to keep my blood sugars consistent by eating protein and foods on the low end of the glycemic index like beans, lean meat, veggies and brown rice and pasta. 
Wish me luck! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

December Via Filter

Between Instagram and My365, I filter a lot of pictures.  December is all about the holiday season which means too much junk food, rotten teeth (yes, I eat too much sugar), the fireplace channel, presents and visiting with friends and family.  We headed south this year as it was Mr.Loonie's year.  We alternate every year between our families; they were the lucky ones this year since it was Penny's first Christmas.  She was nothing short of adorable either.  She loved ripping the paper off her gifts to eat.  That's the way it went.  Rip off a big piece, put it in the mouth, mommy take it away and repeat. Pretty much everything was in the mouth this month because of the arrival of two little chicklets on the bottom. The days and nights were rough because of it but I think she is finally over the initial pain as they are half up now and so cute! I love her little toothy smile, so grown up!
Surpisingly Pen Pen didn't cry for Santa! She even smiled a little bit.  Christmas visiting was a little different.  The frequent change of location was hard on her especially since she is in the height of separation anxiety.  It took almost a whole day for her to get used to the new faces which left only a short happy visit before moving on to the next place.  I don't know who was more upset though, Aunties and Grandmas or Penny! All they wanted to do was hug her to pieces but she wasn't having it! (for very long anyway).
Penny's First Christmas
December also saw the completion of Penny's first swimming lessons.  The first picture in her little snow suit and swimming bag was right after a lesson and she was exhausted. All she wanted was a little boob and bed!   Travelling for the holidays means that we have to drive the dreaded highway 63.  Luckily the roads were dry and clear, even Penny drove for a bit (kidding!).  What else....

  • I got a mom hair cut - from past the shoulders to well...short
  • We finished the bathroom reno! I will dedicate a whole post to it soon.  I 'm so proud of Mr.Loonie, he did an awesome job on the wainscoting.
  • We started baby-led solids which means we are skipping purees and Penny feeds herself chunks or wedges of food.
  • My MIL was up visiting and I actually got to have a couple of drinks....cranberry mojitos!
  • We are still in sleep hell.
  • Penny is on the go....trying desperatley to crawl and pulling herself up on everything.

Also, the cold snap finally broke in December after months of consistent below -20°C weather.  We set anything colder than -20°C as too cold for Penny and her sensitive baby skin so on days Mr.Loonie was working, Stryker was stuck moping around the house.  When the milder weather finally came, we broke out our second hand 80's coloured chariot and hit the Hangingstone river.  I was amazed at how well the big tires rolled on the path marked by snowmobiles on the river.  I even bushwhacked with it through some treed side paths, surprisingly it can plow through shin deep snow pretty damn good. Good thing there is a seat belt and a plastic windshield which snaps down and protects Penny from the wind and any branches...oh and Stryker licks too.  She usually falls asleep in the little cocoon pretty quick probably because she is so warm with 2 layers of clothes underneath her snow suit and 2 blankets.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season! From the Loonie family with love. :)