a brand new blog

Just wanted to let you know that Phillip started his very own blog, called Fun Stuff From Our House, today! We had been working on a print newspaper, but since he wanted to send copies to everyone he knows, we decided that a blog might be more efficient.

He takes all of the pictures and writes everything; I just type it and keep track of punctuation and spelling. You can see his first post, a short story, here. (I think he might appreciate a comment if you have a minute to spare.) Good night!


dishwasher tip that will change your life

I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't know these two simple household maintenance things until recently. Not so embarrassed that I won't share - I'm sure that if I didn't know, someone else who reads this will be hearing it for the first time!

A week or so ago, Thomas slipped a piece of paper into the door of our dishwasher. Adam was concerned that it might interfere with the washing of dishes, so he took the door apart to get it out. After that, the dishwasher started leaking out of the front door, and got progressively worse over the course of a few days. After some searching online, I read about the filter on the inside of dishwasher doors that needs to be cleaned. I regularly clean the bottom of the dishwasher where the food bits collect, but this filter was news to me! Not sure that it would solve the leaking problem, I popped it off to give it a clean anyway, and YUCK. It definitely needed a good cleaning. Since it was cleaned, we've had no more leaks, and it's washing the dishes really well. When Adam took the door apart initially, it must have jostled the goo in the filter, blocking something so the water couldn't take its usual path.

So your homework for today will take 5 minutes max: clean that filter! On our dishwasher, it's really easy - it's made so you can just pull up on it and it pops right out. If you can't pop it out easily, search for your manual online and you'll find instructions for your model. Give it a scrub in warm soapy water, rinse, and put back in place. 

While you're at it, you might as well clean the filters in your dehumidifiers, too. Just up above the spot where the water collection bucket sits when in place, if you reach up, you can slide out a filter. Give it a quick wash in warm soapy water, a good rinse, put it back in place, and you're all set. Our dehumidifier actually stopped working because the filter needed a simple cleaning!


friday news & thanks!

Thank you all so much for the app suggestions yesterday! I've downloaded some new ones and am excited to try them out. 

I have some potentially life-changing housekeeping information for you tomorrow; in the meantime, don't throw away your leaky dishwasher, and enjoy a few photos from the week. (Thanks to Vickie for the magnetic theatre! Thomas loves it.)


thursday news

Good morning!

Things are quiet here, for this minute, anyway, so I thought I'd pop in to say hi and give you a few little updates of the week.

I have a new iPhone. Up until this week, I had a (gasp!) flip phone that I only used for work. I had no idea that I needed one so badly (of course I didn't, really). I *love* having everything in one place. Camera? Check! Calculator? Check! (I actually use a calculator ridiculously often.) Phone? Check! E-mail? Check! Netflix? Check! Twitter? Check! Podcasts? Check! This thing is awesome. I'm going to try keeping all of my work calendar, to-dos, etc., on it this coming school year and see how that works out for me. I do love pencil and paper, though, and typing on a phone can get frustrating, so I'm not expecting miracles. I got a good deal on the phone, and work pays me a bit each month toward it, so I'm pleased. Do you have any tips for scheduling / organizing your work / home / everything on your phone? Do you have any favourite apps that I should know about? I'm thinking of more practical, tool-type apps, rather than games. But of course, if you have a fantabulous game you must share, please do.

My goals are to: a) not use it incessantly, b) be at its mercy, or c) be looking at it while having a conversation with someone. There aren't many things more rude, in my opinion. Also on phone etiquette, I detest call waiting. We're probably the only people in North America without it on our landline. "Oh, wait - someone potentially more important is calling. Just wait a second while I check and see if they are." Incidentally, we also don't have call display on our home phone, so it helps if you identify yourself.

And secondly, we painted the dining room yesterday. It had been Martha's Westport Tan since 2005 when we bought it, and I was tired of it. So we painted it a beautiful cream, the same colour as our bedroom, which I haven't gotten tired of in five years, so I don't think I will. The living room is next, but will be a bit more of a project. Light and bright is what I'm aiming for, and I love how it's turning out.

Thomas fell on concrete yesterday and has an awful goose egg on his forehead, poor kid. Still cute, though. Phillip's at his first day of daycamp, and I think he's probably having an amazing time. I can't wait to hear his recap later on.

I hope that you're having a lovely Thursday.



Over and over again this week, I've been stumbling upon posts and being reminded of the choices we have every day of how we're going to live.

10 things to make you happier at home. Simple, practical things that you can do at home which can actually make a difference in your happiness. Reading this list, I realized that we do almost all of them, and they do make a difference, as silly as they may seem on the surface.

Choosing our perspective for the day. (I could have written one of the lines in her post: "Is it me still living in town and not yet in the country or is it my family in a safe, beautiful home[...] a home that keeps us warm and dry and a home that we love?" Amen!)

Which brought to mind this post from Erin last year on choosing.

I'm sure that making chamomile tea from the garden should be on a happiness list somewhere. And I am very pleased to report that the hummingbirds have been coming to visit our bee balm! The day after I posted my wish to the universe, there they were.

On that note, I hope that you choose the good today.



Thomas is napping, and Adam took Phillip out for a bit to help at the Yarmouth Waterfront Gallery, so I have a few minutes to myself. The weather has cooled down and there is a lovely breeze off of the water today. We have plans to go to the beach with friends (including a brand new little baby I'm hoping to get some cuddles with!) this afternoon. In short, a perfect day.

In the picture above is part of a funny little crafty thing I did with the boys - tape popsicle sticks together as show, flip it over and draw a picture. Take off the tape, and you have a puzzle to assemble!

I thought I would quickly share a few of my go-to's today - you know, those things that you discover that just work, and you always have them around. As always, no one's paid me - these opinions are all my own! I just like to share.

In no particular order, here are the ones that immediately came to mind:

Oakmoss - Amber's essential oil blends are amazing, and her sweet peppermint lip balm is better than Burt's Bees. (It's a wee bit softer and more delicious and amazing.) My favourite of her essential oil blends is the licorice one - I bought one of her candles several months ago and stop to smell it every time I walk by it on the pantry shelf. My mom loved it so much that she asked me to buy her one, which is almost unheard of. All of Amber's soaps, candles, and oils are scented with only essential oils, and she certainly has the knack and knowledge for blending them well. Her Etsy shop is here, and  she also has a lovely blog, here.

Also on Etsy, Country Life Naturals make the best reusable snack bags. The velcro is strong, they're extremely sturdy and well made, and I can't recommend them highly enough. We sent them in Phillip's lunch all year, and I take them to work regularly, and they look like new.

Athena Creates for un-paper towels, which we use for cleaning up spills, wiping faces and hands after meals, and anything else that people might usually use paper towels for. They wash up well, dry quickly, and are perfect.

I love Zhena's Gypsy Teas. They are completely fair trade and organic; they have their own tea fields and you can watch their 'Beyond Fair Trade' video here.

The Body Shop's Aloe line. The only commercial face care that has absolutely no scent and doesn't make me break out or dry out - the second ingredient is actually aloe, and it's soothing and nourishing and I love it. I especially love the cream cleanser and the day and night creams. And the mask is lovely, too. (When I just went to get the links, I saw that they have 40% off online today only (here in Canada, anyway - just thought I'd let you know!)

Speaking of faces, Neutrogena's Pure & Free SPF 50 face sunblock is lovely. Goes on well, no scent, blends right in and works under makeup.

Down East laundry detergent. Made right here in Nova Scotia, unscented, EcoLogo certified, and effective.

Meal in 20 minutes: pasta. I prefer salad form.

TV show to watch by myself on Netflix - Murder, She Wrote. (There are 264 episodes total, and I'm somewhere around 215. I don't know what it is about it, but I love it. The episodes set in Cabot Cover (Pop 3560) are by far my favourites.)

TV show that Adam and I watch together: Downton Abbey. I can't recommend it highly enough - the most beautiful show I've ever seen. (Unlike Murder, She Wrote, I don't feel the need to explain why I love it and how wonderful it is.) We're finally all caught up - I can't wait to see what happens next!
Now, what are your go-to's that I need to know about? Do tell!


salt & pepper tray

I was just getting some soup started for lunch, and when I put the salt and pepper back in the cupboard, I thought I would do a super quick post to share a little kitchen trick I use. (I love that hideous Paderno salt mill - it works amazingly well.) I often find little trays like this (I think this one is the bottom of a butter dish) at Frenchy's or Value Village for next to nothing. They're perfect as trays for salt and pepper mills, as they catch all of the little bits of salt and pepper that inevitably fall out of the bottom. Just wash out the tray, and you're set - no need to take everything out of the cupboard to wipe the shelf down. It also is great for honey or other things that might get a bit messy.

There - now you're equipped to continue your day. Happy Wednesday!


jar lid tips! (and bee balm)

I'm hoping the bee balm might bring some hummingbirds to the yard. We've had many, many more butterflies than usual this year, and they seem to like it.
What's that in my fridge? Goat's milk! From Dorothy, the minor celebrity. Naturally, I am beyond excited. My aunt and uncle have a dreamy little homestead, with a small organic blueberry operation, some hens, and of course, the goats, and we are so happy to have some of the milk!

Take a peek at the lids on the jars - they're standard Mason size, they fit perfectly and don't leak (I tried!) and best of all, you might have one waiting to be recycled already. My aunt shared her tip - they're reused lids from Magic Baking Powder containers. I don't know if it's widely available in the US, but it's the go-to baking powder here. Of course, you can buy the screw-on plastic lids made by  Bernardin (Ball in the US) but they leak. If you're looking for the perfect solution for keeping and pouring, you can use ReCap lids (mine is on my kombucha right now; I have a post about that in the works); they're just coming out with a wide mouth version. And Cuppow just came out with a regular mouth lid that fits straws for your iced tea and other chilly summer drinks! (Marisa has a review, here.) Oooh, the excitement! I can barely stand it.

Have a lovely Tuesday. I have the day to myself, and I'm going to try my best to relax. I think I just might watch Midnight in Paris again this afternoon. I watched it one evening last week, and loved it. And maybe a walk on the beach or in the woods is in order. Oh, the possibilities!


rose petals

One evening last week, we met my parents at the beach by their house for a cookout for supper on an absolutely perfect evening. It was lovely, and since it was at the beach and within sight of their house and his boat, my Dad even stayed for awhile. Before we left the beach, I gathered up a bunch of petals from the rose bushes that grow everywhere along the shore here in Nova Scotia (rosa rugosa) and dehydrated them when we got home. I made rose water with the ones that didn't fit in the dehydrator, too.

In September, I'll go back to the roses and gather some beautiful red rosehips to make some jelly. Last year's batch ended up as a delicious syrup. Which, naturally, was intentional. *Ahem*. I think I might be more successful with the jelly-fying this time around.
And I'd like to thank my sister again for the dehydrator - such a great gift! And to Margaret, who pointed out that I could make my millions selling these.

I could use them for some of these ideas. Candied rose petals sound so Victorian and pretty. Or maybe I'll make some Rose Petal Granola. I'm delightedly excited to have a bit of time to myself tomorrow, so I think I might gather and dry some more. 


le village part 2 + activities as of late

A few more pictures for you from our visit to le Village a couple of days ago. These were ones I took for reference; the ones in yesterday's post were for the pretty.

In the picture above, the little building in the back is a chicken coop; this awesome fence is their enclosure. I'm thinking that when our house finally sells and we move into our forever home I'd love to make something similar around a garden to keep the hens out. Isn't it lovely?
 And these tasty-looking little porkers are pretty cute, too.
 In other news, Adam had the boys outside doing some art this week.
And here's what they came up with, taped to the shed, below. See the little painty finger smudges below their work? Phillip's is on the bottom right. They did some using masking tape, and some with marbles.

The Pennsylvania Dutch Hex was a gift from Amber. We love it!
We've been doing all sorts of other things this week, too. Definitely not the most exciting, but most rewarding was my Wednesday afternoon spent cleaning the sheds. Now we know exactly what we have and where it is, and there's no danger of an avalanche upon opening the doors. We had a cookout with my parents at the beach by their house which was wonderful, we've gone to a couple of playgrounds, other beaches, and visited people (and goats!). The weather has been really hot and dry, but today is hot and extremely muggy, which is more typical. It's supposed to be thundery and stormy tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. I love a good summer storm - it clears the air.

Speaking of clearing the air, Phillip had a meltdown of epic proportions this morning that seemed to mellow him out a bit, and boy, has he needed it (to mellow out, I mean. I wish the meltdowns weren't part of it.) Today has been one of those days. Both boys woke up on the wrong side of their beds, which means that Phillip has been yelling at and pushing Thomas, and Thomas has been bugging Phillip and crying over everything. He (Thomas) has a bit of a stuffy nose today, too, so I think that's a contributing factor. Phillip stayed up late finishing reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I'm sure isn't helping (but is really cute. I hate having to tell him to stop reading). His major meltdown was at the market this morning, which resulted in him being carried out, screaming at the top of his lungs. First time that's happened at the market, and I'm hoping it doesn't again. Definitely not our best day, and I'm looking forward to a new start tomorrow.

Well, Thomas just peed on the chair, Phillip's spilled something all over the pantry floor, and it's time for me to serve some overdone ham and hurry up some carrots that aren't done roasting yet for supper. I hope that your day was one of those effortless days where everything falls into place! I'm hoping for one tomorrow.


le village historique acadien


We took the boys to Le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse (Acadian historic village) in Pubnico yesterday for the afternoon, and it was wonderful!

There is a lovely café at le Village, where there happened to be a strawberry festival happening yesterday, with hundreds of people bursting the seams and spilling outside. So we skipped by that happy chaos to do the tour of the rest of the Village. There's a beautiful new walking trail along the water, and plenty of large open spaces for the boys to run. And then there's the Village - a boatbuilding shop, two adorable little houses, a blacksmith's shop (he made nails for the boys), and a little dried fish operation. (And I think I'm skipping a couple.) Each building has interpreters in period dress who can answer any questions (en Français et en Anglais!) and there are even cookies. The boys were a little bit out of sorts, and the weather was H.O.T, so we weren't that leisurely about the whole thing. But we've already made plans to go back when the in-laws are visiting, and I can't wait.

Our friend Ingrid works there now, and these are pictures from 'her' house. I have a bunch more of the other parts of the Village, so I'll have to post about it again. (There are pigs and chickens!)


morning mess

I just walked into the office after nudging a bowl of pizza dough back into the ever-moving rectangle of sunlight on the living room floor.

Thomas and I put the pizza dough together earlier, and as I was putting it in a bowl, he was scooping some water in the sink with a cup. He dropped the glass, it broke, and he grabbed it before I could grab him, cutting his teeny, tiny little pinky finger. It bled quite a bit, and must have hurt, but he only cried when he realized what time it was: "I don't want to go for mine nap!"

 I took these a few minutes before that happened. What a big kid!

He's been doing a lot of pretend play - it was as if a switch turned on yesterday and he realized that he could pretend anything. A roll of wrapping paper has been a vacuum cleaner, as well as a guitar for playing "Moosic songs! Weally LOUD!" He's been a fish, a frog, and a fisherman. With a sword for a pole. And a hilarious running commentary. What a kid.


this and that

A little bit of this and that, and as always, no one has asked me to include anything, or paid me a cent:

I'm super excited that Cuppow now has a lid to fit standard canning jars! Marisa's review (and a giveaway!) are over here.

I took a bunch of cabbage pictures, so there are more coming. Fair warning.

Phillip has been loving Alphabet Glue so far this summer. I do, too - if you have a young reader in your house, this is a great way to fill some summer time with thoughtful, creative activities, crafts and all sorts of good stuff related to reading. It even inspired him to convert his 'store' into a library. 5 stars! There's a Summer Science Special, too! It's only a few dollars per issue, and they're delivered as printable PDFs to your inbox super quickly by Annie. Yay!

Thomas is pretty much toilet trained. On Day 4, we had no accidents at all! And last night, he refused to go to sleep in a diaper. He was waaaay overtired and was standing in his crib, sobbing "I want to sleep in mine underwear! I don't want a diaper!" (He uses 'mine' for 'my' and it's the cutest thing ever. Right up there with googly eyes on a tiny cabbage.) It took Phillip months and months, and you have no idea how thankful I am that Thomas loves wearing underwear and using the toilet. SO thankful!

We spent the afternoon at the beach yesterday, and it was fantastic. We ran into a colleague of mine who was visiting relatives, and her two boys and mine had a great time together. I love summer.

Hope you're having a great weekend!


july 4

It's a beautiful day once again, and I got to spend some quality time potting some new houseplants (succulents are on sale for $1.94 at the Dayton Red & White, for you locals!) and working in the garden. My hands are dirty and I'm all the better for it.

Don't you just want to dive into that dill? Every time I walk by, the scent wafts up. I'm looking forward to dill pickles, take two, in several more weeks.

Happy Wednesday!