Happy Friday! Thank goodness it’s the weekend tomorrow because I could really go for a nap right about now. You see, I haven’t been sleeping well lately and I know the culprit. We went mattress shopping recently and tried out a bunch of different ones (plush, firm, foam, etc). The moment we laid on one of those new super comfy plush clouds from heaven, we had to buy it. I knew our little double bed was bad, but I guess I never realized how bad.  The new king size mattress will be delivered the day we move into the farmhouse, but in the meantime it has made our ordinarily fine bed feel like I’m sleeping on rocks. Do you think if I called the store they’d just let me sleep there until the move? Maybe? That first night (after a long day of moving) when we get to collapse into that new bed will be such a good reward. It’s the light at the end of this insomniac tunnel.

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Spring Flowers: Before the big cold snap came this week, I went out to the garden centre with my family to look for some flowers for my mom’s planter and check out cedars for the new hedge they’re building this year.

I think my mom may have squealed out loud when she saw these ranunculus. We fell in love with them while designing my wedding bouquet last spring, but neither of us had ever seen them as potted plants in Canada before. She grabbed a couple of them to add to her planter too.

 Pansies are a springtime must! There were flats upon flats of them everywhere. I took a walk around and found about a thousands things to add to my future garden wishlist. I doubt we’ll get to much of it this summer as we work on the exterior reno work, but a girl can dream.

Lunchtime Walks: In an effort to get my foot feeling better again, I’ve been trying to walk on my lunch breaks, weather permitting. Garrett and the dogs met me for lunch one day this week, and we took a very sunny walk around an older neighbourhood to check out ideas for new posts for the front porch. I never realized there were so many options! Round or square? Rails or not?

Dinner Guests: Every time we’ve tried to have our friend’s Jenilee and Christian over for dinner lately, it has either been a horrible snowstorm or someone has gotten sick. Thankfully the stars aligned and they were able to make it over this week. I was so excited! We had spaghettini bolognese (I really need to share this recipe), garlic bread and a big caesar salad. Dessert was the Vegan Apple Blackberry Crisp and they brought two really great wines for us to enjoy with the meal.

And the real treat – getting to meet this little three month old cutie! Look at all her hair! I got to meet Alison’s baby last week and Jen’s this week. It’s almost too much! It feels like just yesterday I was sharing that they were having babies…and now they’re really here. Combine that with the fact that this is the year that all our housemates will be moving back to Ontario, makes me think that it is definitely time for a reunion!

We tried to get a photo together, but this sweet little gal wasn’t having it. This is a good one to keep to show her in years to come, ha!

And the hairy eyeball we got in this one too.

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I hope you have a nice weekend!

Last night we had friends over for dinner and I was trying to come up with a last minute dairy-free dessert idea. Everything I found online was either really complicated or had ingredients that I’d never even heard of. I just wanted a good old fashioned dessert that would finish off a great night with friends. That’s when I remembered the power of the crisp. Seriously, no one can resist a crisp/crumble/cobbler/buckle.

This one has a good fruit to oat ratio, which I think is key. Not enough fruit and it doesn’t hold up, too much topping and it’s dry. I based it on my Nana’s Apple Crisp recipe, making a few little tweaks, including swapping out the butter for coconut oil or shortening. The big difference – adding in extra salt that you would have got from the butter. I served it up warm with some whipped coconut cream (you can also make it from scratch).

What you need  •  Printable Version

FILLING:

  • 4 large apples, pared and sliced
  • 2 cups blackberries, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

TOPPING:

  • 1 cup quick rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or shortening

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a deep baking dish. Add your apple slices and blackberries to the dish. Toss with brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and salt.

Add the oil or shortening to the dry mixture and cut into the mixture until it resembles a coarse crumble

Sprinkle topping mixture over the fruit. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with whipped coconut cream or your favourite dairy-free ice cream.

I’ve been making some good progress packing up the apartment and giving away what we don’t need. Usually around this time of year I do my spring cleaning, so it seemed like while I’m packing stuff up, I can put all that cleaning to good use too. There is no point in packing things away dirty or dusty, so I’ve been cleaning everything as I go. For an idea of what I try to accomplish in that time, check out my Spring Cleaning Checklist (and my Fall Cleaning Checklist too!)

All our picture frames got a good cleaning before being packed up with newspaper and bubble wrap. I’ve been wiping down books before they go into boxes (or into the donation pile).

While I’m cleaning out the closets I’ve been keeping things aside that need to be mended before they are packed up. Anything that needs to be dry cleaned is going to be sent to the dry cleaners closer to the move in date and I can pick it all up afterwards (saves me an extra trip!). I’m washing our big heavy winter coats this week so they can go right into storage when we get to the new place.

Canadian winters are brutal on our shoes and boots, especially the salt. I’ve been slowing cleaning the massive pile in the closet. Once they’re clean and dry, I’m packing them in a box with newspaper stuffed inside the shoes to keep their shape.


Before I pack up the Mini Keurig, I’ll be giving it a thorough cleaning too.  Same goes for our other appliances like the microwave and stand mixer.

Aside from going through all my spices, and trying to clear out the pantry, freezer and fridge, the biggest thing is packing things away in good condition so I can use the kitchen right away. I’m going to condition all my wooden spoons and cutting boards before they’re packed.

This is a good time to wash all the outdoor planters too and replant any houseplants (if they’re still alive).

You can also repot your orchids!

I have set aside one of my lunch breaks this week to clean out my car of all the junk it fills up with in the winter, and then I’ll just need to vacuum it, spring cleaning the inside and give it a good wash. I went through one of those automatic car washes last week to get all the salt and gunk off the bottom, but usually I like to hand wash it to make sure it’s really clean.

Hopefully all this work leading up to the move will make the transition a little smoother and give us more time for fun stuff – like renovating!

Happy SUNNY Friday! I just can’t get over all this awesome weather. It makes you feel so good when you step outside. I’ve been taking walks on my lunch break almost every day and in the evenings we’ve been opening up all the windows to get a nice cross breeze. I just love it. It looks like this lovely spring weather will continue on into the weekend too – yay!

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Baby Smiles: Last weekend I finally got to meet this little snuggle bug.

Alison is one of my dearest friends (we met on our first day of university (which is like 11.5 years ago. How is that possible?!?) and it was so great to have her back home for a weekend to catch up and let me hold her sweet little babe. I shared before the story of how she told me they were expecting at our wedding (seriously just about the best news ever) and I’d been waiting since then for this moment. This week I get to meet our friend Jen‘s baby too!

We met up at Alison’s parents’ house in Oakville and the weather was just perfect for a walk along Lake Ontario. In the distance you can even spot the CN Tower and skyscapers in Toronto.

Their neighbourhood is full of big beautiful older homes, and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of ideas for our own restoration.

This is pretty similar to what we’re thinking of doing with our place – white stucco and black shutters.

Getting to see your friends totally rock at the mommy thing never gets old. Someday I’m going to get to tell that little girl all about the crazy antics her mom got up to in university, ha!

The next time I get to see them is later this summer when they start house hunting to move back to Ontario! Phone calls, texting and Face Time are great, but nothing beats getting to have those in person visits where we talk non-stop.

The weather has just been continuing to get oh so good this week and I can’t get enough of it (as you can tell by how many times I’ve talked about it in this post already. You’d think I had cabin fever or something). We took the dogs out for the first windows-down car ride of the year for a drive through town. They were in heaven, taking in all the new smells and basking in the sun. It was a really productive day – we bought a new king-size mattress (!!!), dropped off some clothing donations and picked up more boxes for packing.

Renovation Shopping: Of course we had to stop into Home Depot to look at some fixtures too. I can already tell we’ll be here quite a bit in the coming year and make friends with almost every department.

I truly hope that when we start to pull up the current flooring that we’ll find some beautiful old hardwood or even some wide wooden planks like in the upstairs hallway, but if not we started to look at new flooring options. Ironically enough, all the wood flooring we like is made to look rustic, with a hand scraped finish.

Doggie Naps: I think I could make a whole photography series of Cola and Garrett taking naps together. Garrett likes to lay on the floor and do stretches while we watch TV and sometimes he ends up laying on the mound of dog beds and blankets for a little cat nap. Cola always immediately joins him.

It is just about the cutest thing. For all this little guy’s barking and craziness, he sure does try to make up for it in cuddles. (also, I love this super flattering angle, sorry Garrett…but it was just too cute to pass up)

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I hope you all have a bright and sunny weekend! And if you’re somewhere that the frost warning has been lifted…get out and plant something please!

A month ago I wrote about how I was going to give my little home office an update. At the time I thought that it would be awhile until we bought a house, so I was looking for ways to improve our apartment and make it work better for us. Little did I know that in less than a week we’d be putting an offer on the farmhouse. It just shows you how quickly things can turn around!

I’m about to pack up my office supplies, but I thought I’d share the few things that I get did done with this space before the plan changed. It’s not exactly as I wanted it if we’d stayed, but it’s been working great so far for the past month.

The biggest change was the desk. I’m so glad that we purchased it rather than trying to figure out how to DIY one for this space.

My favourite part is the hanging file drawer. Having all my paperwork filed away properly is a huge relief. My little cubbie for storing notebooks and paper tucks in right below it.

The shelves up top are the same ones that we installed back when we first moved in. I changed things around a little, with some new magazine files and reorganizing the boxes.

The little pink boxes are from when I used to have a beauty box subscription. I always loved the size and kept them tucked away in the bedroom closet – and now I found a purpose for them! They hold things like batteries, small electronics and extra office supplies. If we’d planned to stay, I would have added metal labels like the magazine file to each box.

This is my favourite little corner of the shelves. It hold my business cards, a vase for fresh (or fake) flowers and the clock I use to keep track of time while I’m chopping away at veggies at the table.

I store USB drives in one bowl and paperclips in the other.

This little bright corner of the dining room has really opened up the space and I hope to remember that when we look at carving out a desk space at the new house. I’m still unsure of where I’ll be putting it, but I’m sure we’ll start to figure out things more once we get there.

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