A New Look for our Fireplace and Getting Fit

Hello everyone! As you can see, winter is in full swing. Not a leaf in sight! But the snow’s melted and the rain’s holding off, so it’s a perfect time to get outside and do some walking. There’s a small dog park down the road from us right in the middle of an industrial area. It’s not very pretty, but it’s a great place to let the dogs have a good run.

Yesterday, we bought coffee and muffins

 and sat on the bench to watch the ducks

and check out parts of New Westminster across the water

There’s something strangely beautiful in the unattractiveness (is that a word?) of it all.
While we were enjoying our coffee and the muffins – and the view – the dogs were supposed to be running around enjoying the park, but they seemed more interested in sniffing everything

There must have been some very lovely-smelling dogs that came before us!
I’ve been wanting to redecorate my fireplace and mantle ever since I took the Christmas decorations down at the beginning of this month, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted. This is what it looked like before

Very uninteresting and not very pleasing to the eye. And then last week I found this on Pinterest
and I used it as inspiration for my own mantle. Now, bear in mind that there’s no way that I could duplicate this one completely – having a toddler and kittens in the house takes care of that. But I did have a lot of the same kind of things already in my house. This household runs on a very tight budget, so I end up shopping my house first and then visiting the dollar store. This is the end result – and it only cost me about $10!

You can read about the details of the mantle/fireplace transformation in my organization and decorating blog – The Jane Effect – here
To end off the week, Mr. Lifeology and I joined our local gym. Apart from having all the equipment and classes, they also have hydro-massage beds, massage chairs and tanning booths. Yesterday, after my workout, I lay on the massage bed for 20 minutes – bliss!! Today, my muscles are complaining just a little, so I’ll be back at the gym tomorrow.
I’m off to enjoy the sunshine and then an evening out with my Red Hat Society ladies.
Talk to you soon!

The Usual Yearly Clean-up

Hello everyone,

This was taken from my living-room window just last week! Now it’s all melted and yesterday’s temperature was 10 deg. C! Crazy weather. How temperatures can go from -10 to + 10 in a matter of days is amazing.

I’m always a little disoriented at this time of the year. The crazy rush of Christmas and New Year is over and all the decorations have been packed away. Everything is, well, kinda quiet. On top of it all, I lost my job just before New Year, so I have all this time on my hands! I started a new blog in the hopes that I can earn an income from it and do something that I love and I’ve been spending this last week learning all I can about blogging and e-books. It’s called The Jane Effect and it’s all about organization – household management, meal planning, budgeting, decorating – that kind of thing and much morend. If you get a chance, pop over to thejaneeffect.com and take a look.

Since I do have all this time on my hands, I decided to do some decluttering a reorganizing. I’ve been putting it off, but the other day I misplaced something and am still searching for it! I hate that. I like to be able to find things quickly.

Since I need to save some (more) money on the grocery bill, I started with the pantry and fridge.
The fridge looked pretty full just a day before grocery shopping day,  and I wanted to see exactly how much food we already had before I bought any more.

So I took everything out a put in on the kitchen counter
That’s a lot of food! It didn’t look like that much when it was inside the fridge!
Then I made a list of everything I had on hand from the fridge, the pantry and the freezer, and tried to match up some meals – list of food on the left, possible meals on the right
I managed to find 8 dinners, 2 weeks’ worth of breakfasts and a couple-three lunches. That’s a LOT of savings.
Before I put everything back into the fridge, I gave it a quick clean (I couldn’t resist!)
And threw away some dubious-looking stuff
And gained back some containers

And moved some fridge shelves around so everything would fit properly
Next – the paperwork. I’ve been meaning to sort out our paperwork and file it all properly without much luck. This time, I don’t have an excuse, so yesterday I got down to it. When the kids moved in, we made some space in our bedroom for some of our things. It all looked pretty organized 4 months ago, but yesterday, I opened the closet to this

And this
Horrors! How did it get like this? I needed a better solution. But, first things first – the paperwork. A week earlier, I had bought a concertina file as a better way of filing our papers. After going through it all and throwing out a lot of unwanted papers
I put them into categories – you know, Taxes, Personal, Miscellaneous, Bills – that kind of thing. And then filed them all in the concertina file
I had freed up two drawers by filing the paperwork in the concertina file. This meant that I could transfer the stuff from the small drawer unit to the two free drawers in the larger drawer unit
Things like envelopes, printer paper, tape, ribbon and other odds and ends.
With a little help from Moggy
This meant that the small drawer unit could now go into the garage for Mr. Lifeology’s tools – or something.
Next, I tidied up the wardrobe 
and purged some stuff
And now I could store the two tubs from the closet shelf in here
Freeing up space for my hats. (I belong to the Red Hat Society, so I have a lot of red hats!)
Cool huh?
Tomorrow, I’m going to tackle the kitchen. I didn’t think it was that long ago that I turned this

into this

But it was, in fact, January last year. Not only is this cupboard a complete disaster, so are the rest of the kitchen cupboards. I’m pretty sure that I can find better storage solutions than the one that’s going on right now. Check back here in the next couple of days to see how I did.
Until then
PS: The picture below is of light coverings in a new mall we visited last weekend. They are made up of umbrellas – beautiful!

The Best of 2016

Hi everyone. It seems like 2016 really flew by. But then I seem to say that every year. Looking back, it was a pretty good year for us.

We started off the year celebrating with old friends and new

and then on the 7th I became a Canadian Citizen (it only took 18 years!)

The following weekend saw me on a girl’s night out

In February, I managed to get a few things done that I’d been putting off for a while.
re-sizing my pillow cases
And some cleaning and organizing
Powder room/laundry room

Organized the spices from this shambles
to this

And the kitchen drawers from this
To this

 We finished off February with a chair project

March saw the first sign of Spring with the cherry trees blooming everywhere
and planning our container vegetable garden

And then in April we planted vegetables and herbs and flowers

As the weather warmed up, I sipped on Tequila Sunrises and watched our garden grow

In June we got 2 new kittens
And Willow
And then our grandson came to stay from Edmonton and we played at the beach

And tended our garden, which was growing nicely
And then to end off June, a little bit of girl fun
In July summer was in full swing and I few to Edmonton for some family and baby fun
At the park
Canada Day and a barbecue

And the following week, a weekend in beautiful Courtenay over on Vancouver Island with my Red Hat ladies

In August we took some time off work and bummed around Vanouver.
Early morning walks with the dogs
A day at Lonsdale Quay on the North Shore

Sampling craft beer
And having lunch
And then back to our favourite spot in Steveston
and some cow therapy for Tiki
And then it was September and we started preparing our house for our son, his girlfriend and our grandson to move in
from this
to this
and this
to this

and baby’s room

Before we knew it, it was Thanksgiving, and we had a lovely feast
and a birthday party for Neil the following week

and then it was Halloween and pumpkin-carving time
Another birthday in November
and then we all got sick and the house went to hell in a handbasket

and then it snowed the first week of December

We recovered enough to go to an ugly sweater party
Before Christmas crept up on us
Baby took his first steps
and another bout of eating and drinking
And it’s still snowing – in a city where it never snows, it’s hung around for a month now.
It’s been a great year filled with fun and laughter. I’m grateful for it all.

Another New Year’s Eve Celebration

Hello all,

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good New Year. We spent New Year’s Eve with some wonderful friends and just like that, 2016 became 2017. Another new year. Another chance for wonderful times with good friends. Another Spring, another summer … I can’t wait!

I always find the week between Christmas and New Year a kind of no-man’s-land where you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself. But I was taking down the Christmas decorations today and I noticed that my house has become completely disorganized again. How did this happen? We were so organized when the kids and their son moved in with us – or were we? On the surface, it looked like it, but trying to find certain things was proving a bit of a challenge. Like, the clippers for my little dog, or the file folders for our papers (currently stuffed haphazardly into a drawer in my closet), and where did I put the candles?  I guess we hadn’t fully figured this all out 3 months ago. What we’d done was hide everything in a closet in the hopes that we would be able to get at it when the time came. But that hasn’t happened. So I’m going to spend the next week or so re-organizing some stuff to make it accessible when we need it.

So check back in a few days and see how we’re doing!
Until then, have a wonderful short week,