hollandOver the weekend we were invited to a kid’s Tigger-themed birthday party and it was absolutely awesome. The kids had a great time dressed-up, bouncing around, playing with balloons and just running around.

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In the summer of 2009, my husband Jay convinced me to pack up our belongings, our daughter, and our lives, and move from Toronto to Vancouver. It took a lot of convincing on his part to get this to happen – I was totally against moving to the West Coast – I was a ‘City Girl’. Toronto was a happening place – amazing restaurants, shopping, nightlife – and only a short plane ride away from New York City! This was supposed to be our life, not some hippie granola-munching yoga-pants-wearing sloooow lifestyle that I’d heard happened out in Vancouver.  But I digress, he convinced me, and in October of 2009 I found myself in Vancouver. And thereafter fell deeply, madly, in love with it.

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The fresh air, the mountains, the ocean, it was intensely beautiful. Overgrown trees, beautiful flowers, and even palm trees were seen on a daily basis. The weather was so gorgeous (when it wasn’t raining!), and I even welcomed the rain into my life by trading in my Tory Burch pony-hair flats for a bright red pair of Hunter rain boots.

We quickly discovered that the only real draw-back to moving from Toronto to Vancouver would be the real estate market. The cost of living is a little more expensive here, but the real estate can double or triple in price depending on the area. It was a bit shocking to us, considering we had just sold a place in Toronto and were hoping to put a down payment on a home out here. C’est impossible!

What we wanted and what we could afford were quite different realities, and anything we could afford would either need a total renovation or wasn’t in the right location. Jay always had dreams of building his own house, he is not one that’s happy with a builder’s finishings, he likes to make things custom to his own designs, which leads to the problem of ‘settling’ for a home that wasn’t quite what we wanted and was out of our price range anyway.

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Then one day, sometime in 2010, Jay comes home and tells me about a ‘building lot’. I listened to what he had to say, but I hesitated to agree with him. We had purchased a lot back in Ontario and lost our deposit on it after realising that the project was too far out of our reach to complete. Building a home sounds like a wonderful dream come true, but when faced with a steep, tree-filled landscape (that is 40 minutes away from Vancouver, in the middle of nowhere) you really have no idea where to begin! And I need to see things before I can understand them, whereas Jay is a visionary and gets frustrated when others can’t see what he sees (in his head, mind you….). View Post

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One of the largest fights I have with my seven year old daughter (7 going on 17!) is about video games. Basically she wants to play her video games all. the. time. for. ever. and I don’t want her to. I want her to go outside, and have fun – read a book, play with her Legos – basically enjoy her childhood. I feel at times that she’s addicted to video games. I eventually give in, of course, and allow her to play. If it was only playing, that would be fine, but now there’s also whining involved. How often can she play? How long can she play for? When can she start? Why does she have to finish now? She can’t finish now because she has to go to a save point… ten minutes later the bloody game is still on – it drives me absolutely insane. I feel like she is addicted to video games.

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I used to try and regulate the duration of ‘playing time’, making it one hour long, but this quickly got canned as I NEVER monitored the time properly – and even when I did there were excuses about finishing levels and getting to checkpoints (all valid excuses, but still!). We used “games” (meaning her DS, our phones or iPads, the Wii…) as a means for good behaviour – meaning we would take away games if she misbehaved and give her more game time if she had proved herself to be ‘good’, but I’m not sure the lesson was learnt and really it gave me headaches for days – all the moaning and crying and whining… ugh. View Post

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If you follow me on pinterest you might have noticed all the airstream pictures I’ve been pinning lately… Jay & I have decided to take the plunge and purchase an airstream trailer! We haven’t purchased it yet, and we’re tossed up between a 31 footer and a 26 footer 70s-era airstream trailer, but we’re so inspired to make it our own minimalist dream!

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Jay & I love to travel but since having the kids our travel has dwindled down immensely. We get these grand ideas of road trips down the West Coast, but then I start to get anxious and worry about the kids – the two of us can easily sleep in a car, grab a night in a Bed & Breakfast, eat whenever we’re hungry – basically travel and not have to PLAN it all to the last second.

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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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 longweekend

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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