Cheeky Dish Cloths

Cheeky dish cloths!

One of the easiest changes I’ve made in my home is getting rid of paper towels. I was initially very intimidated by this aspect and put up so many barriers to doing this – if I use rags, what type of rags? how much more washing will I have to do? what if I’m out of rags? cloth towels cost more than paper towels!

As in most things in life, the initial investment in cloth napkins and kitchen towels can be a lot to pay at once, however the cost of paper towels is a lot more in the long run, costing families an average of $200 or more per year – and it’s all being thrown in the trash!

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Tomorrow we’re taking a long weekend. There’s no holiday here, but we’re pulling my daughter out of school and we’re taking a mini-vacation up to Whistler for the weekend. I love these ‘staycations’ – hotel stays that are a 40-minute drive away from home, only for a few days – it means minimal packing and no crazy car drives filled with annoying children…!

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Holland & I

Splash Pad Fun

This summer seemed to fly by! July was spent packing up our home, purging unnecessary items, storing the rest of our life in a storage locker, and we spent the first three weeks of August back in Ontario visiting my parents and sister. When we came back we had a week to unwind, unpack in our temporary apartment, and check out the spawning salmon before school had started again. Here are some pictures of our summer!

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I’ve written quite a bit about my experiences with post-partum depression (here, here, and here), and I’ve received quite a few emails and messages from readers who have had experiences with all forms of depression and anxiety symptoms. I’ve hesitated writing what I’ve been doing lately – I’m doing a lot better, but as anyone who has struggled with depression knows, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for it all to go ‘bad’ again.

First, if you think you have some sort of depression, you should go talk to a doctor. I turned to google and researched the hell out of it before breaking down in tears at my doctor’s office when I couldn’t find a cure for myself. Why did I even go to the doctor? There was a point where I was constantly living in the ups and downs of emotional highs and lows. When I felt good, I felt great – life was great! Family was great! Nothing could go wrong! And then the next day I’d wake up and just not feel good, bickering with my husband, talking down to my loved ones, yelling at my children – I never was “suicidal”, I never wanted to cause physical pain to myself, but I would often think of how much happier my family would be without me. How they would be sad at first but they would survive without me. These weren’t good feelings to have, and I really couldn’t hold them in anymore.

Why did I wait so long to talk to a doctor? Because I didn’t want to be another statistic. Yet another person – another woman – on mood-altering drugs, on medication that is supposed to be temporary but ends up as a permanent way of life for people. I didn’t want to be “one of those”. But sometimes you can’t do it alone. Sometimes there are hormone imbalances at play and life becomes difficult. I know this now, and I know there is no shame in asking for help or admitting ‘defeat’. This is life. We can’t always do it all, nor should we. View Post


Bea Johnson

the ever chic Bea Johnson

I moved to the West Coast in the Autumn of 2009. It wasn’t quite the cultural shock some would have you believe, say if you suddenly moved from Toronto to Istanbul, now that would be a culture shock, but moving from Toronto to Vancouver is quite a bit easier.

First, the country is the same, so everything that could possibly make things difficult – ie. language, currency, food – isn’t quite as shocking as one might think. The first true shock came to us in terms of real estate prices – we couldn’t afford a single damn thing. The other major difference I took note of is that people in Vancouver seem to work to live, instead of the other way around.

Case in point, in Toronto at 6 pm you will see the lights in office buildings still on, you will talk to friends who are finishing up their office work, their construction job, they will put in the extra work, even if it means staying until 7 or 8 pm on a Friday, and then they’ll go out and play hard. Toronto = work hard, party hard.

Try to make a phone call to most major offices in Vancouver at 6 pm on a Friday – and NO ONE WILL ANSWER THE PHONE. You will listen to the message and realise they close at 4:30 pm on a Friday??? How the hell is anyone supposed to get any work done? And of course these people are off kayaking, and doing yoga on paddleboards, rock climbing, playing golf, even shooting guns at the range – they’re doing stuff, not just going to some club and getting their drank on, which is why the city is dubbed ‘NoFuncouver’ because of the lack of selection in nightlife activities. Vancouver = work well, play hard, usually outdoors.

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Summer went by in a fast blur, and it seems autumn has already fallen upon us, literally. It has been pouring for 4 days straight, monsoon-like rainfalls that stop for an hour or so at a time and then continue all night long. I really don’t mind the rain, but since we’ve moved into this tiny apartment it gets hard entertaining the children. They are literally bouncing off the walls all. the. time.

Our lease on our old place came up at the end of July, and because of construction delays, we aren’t able to move into our house (because there are no windows on it… or walls, or plumbing, or electrical…), so we’ve rented a tiny apartment of 750 sq ft. I realise that’s not SO tiny, I realise there are smaller places in the world and that we are lucky to have a roof over our heads… but squeeze a family of four into a one-bedroom plus den apartment, (we sleep in the den, which doesn’t have doors) and the kids share the master bedroom, and suddenly you start to understand how sardines feel in their tin cans.

To combat the feeling that this space is too small for us, which it really isn’t, only we’ve grown accustomed to a larger space, we’ve left most of our items in storage. I’m slowly going through the boxes in our storage unit to find more fall-appropriate clothing, but the kids toys will be limited and they will be allowed to ‘swap’ them occasionally, the only kitchen appliance I have is my Breville Keurig coffee brewer (which I absolutely adore!) and it works as a kettle for hot water as well.

The less stuff you have, the more room you have.

I am turning that line into my new mantra.

Living in this tiny apartment is a good exercise in ‘minimal living’, where keeping clutter under control is a never ending chore.

I am looking forward to the next couple of months living here, seeing what stories come about, what my children learn from ‘downsizing’, and eventually moving into our own-built home.

How has your summer been? Anything new?

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Depression is such a boring topic. It’s not even an accurate descriptive of my feelings. I am not sad. I don’t have the “baby blues”. I’m just stuck inside of a bucket deep in a well of my own making, there are times when the bucket rises and I can see blue skies and butterflies and then other times the rope seems to slip and I delve deeper into this dark pit of nothingness.

The horrible part of all of this is that I KNOW THIS IS HAPPENING. And I can’t seem to pull myself out of it. I shake my head at myself in constant amazement that I cannot seem to “level” myself out.

A big problem for me lately is my anti-social behaviour.

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