Happy Friday! Today I headed into downtown Toronto early in the morning to celebrate a huge milestone in my family – my sister was called to the bar and is officially a lawyer!

My sister is one of the smartest people I know with an incredible work ethic and a big heart to boot. She is going to be an amazing lawyer and I can’t wait to see how she changes the world.

The ceremony itself was in the beautiful Roy Thompson Hall, complete with a real organist!

There was great energy in the room, with the excited articling students waiting to be called up and equally excited parents who’ve supported them through this endeavour.

It was so nice to see my sister’s law school friends and congratulate them as well. They’ve all worked so hard to be where they are right now and I’m excited to see what the future brings for them all.

Congrats lil sis! I’m so proud of you!

Growing up with a severe peanut and tree nut allergy, there were very few foreign foods that I was able to experience safely. It wasn’t until I was an adult that allergies become well known and restaurants started preparing food safely. It was about seven years ago that I was first introduced to Indian food and since then it has become one of my favourites.

grilled-tandoori-style-chicken
Seeing as there aren’t too many nut-free Indian restaurants near me, I’ve had to learn how to make dishes myself or at least variations of them. This Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken is a great summer weeknight dinner that’s easy to marinate when you get home and then toss on the grill. You can prepare the chicken ahead of time and marinate it overnight too.
grilled-tandoori-style-chicken
Traditional tandoori chicken is marinated in yogurt with a spice mixture to give it a fiery red colour, and then roasted in a tandoor oven. This recipe uses the same style of marinade, but it’s cooked on the grill. I served it up with a small side salad, naan (Indian flatbread) and buttery basmati rice…with lots of cilantro!

Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken

Serves 4-6  ·  Printable Version

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large sealable plastic bag and knead to combine. Add chicken to bag and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes.

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When we first talked about buying the farmhouse, I was a little worried about how much work we would be taking on. I was scared we’d mess it up or it would cost a fortune to turn it into a home, but through it all my dad has been there cheering Garrett and I on. Telling us we can do this. We can make this into our dream home with our own hands, and what we don’t know he is willing to teach us…and what he doesn’t know we can look up online, haha.

He has always taught me to be handy and learn to do things myself and in many ways it was this life-long encouragement from both my parents that gave me the courage to start this blog all those years ago. It’s about learning how to do things and sharing it so that others can do it too.

I’m so grateful for all the help and support my father has given us since we bought this house. He’s always been one of my greatest cheerleaders in life, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he would support me in this too, but I still appreciate all the countless hours he has already put into helping us make this a home. It’s not uncommon these days to find out he’s been by the house while we were at work to fix or install something. Garrett and I are both very lucky to have parents who are supporting us through this adventure and we’re so appreciative of all their expertise and knowledge as homeowners. Just about every day my parents or Garrett’s parents are over to help us out with something. I don’t know how we’d do it all without them.

Yesterday on Father’s Day we asked my dad if he wanted to go out for a boat ride on the lake or go for a drive, but instead he decided to spend the day helping us clean up the yard and get some prep work done for the restoration work we’re doing on the outside. Thank you Papa Bear!

After a long day of working away, this is our “work crew” admiring what we’ve done so far.

This is what the house looked like when we first put the offer on it in March. By the time we moved in, everything was lush and green…and overgrown.

And four weeks later, it now looks like this. The porch will soon have four new posts and new stairs (those ones are just there for safety right now). The shutters will be up this summer too, along with a fresh coat of paint everywhere. The screen door leaning on the wall was found in the shed and I’m going to give it a fresh coat of paint soon and hang it up soon too. We’ve pulled out so many shrubs, invasive plants, half-dead trees and rotten stumps and we’ll slowly start replacing them with good ones.

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Happy Friday! Usually I have at least a few pictures or a story or two to share on a Friday, but this week it’s been about the same routine every day:

  • Wake up still exhausted, sore and so so happy
  • Feed the chickens
  • Walk the dogs
  • Feed the dogs
  • Make breakfast and pack lunch
  • Leave for work
  • Do house related errands on my lunch break
  • Head home after work, stop for groceries or errands on the way home
  • Walk the dogs
  • Feed the chickens
  • Feed the dogs
  • Work outside until dark
  • Pull something together for dinner
  • Work inside until I’m falling asleep standing up
  • Go to bed with dirt under my nails, paint in my hair and lots of joy in my heart
  • Wake up and do it all over again!

It’s an exciting time for us right now and I’m trying to use all this steam to get as much done as we can in these warmer months. We’ve got some big projects coming up in the next few months that I can’t wait to share with you all!

We did take a break on Monday night to go see Jurassic World and loved it. A very fun and thrilling summer movie that reminded me of everything I loved about the first one. It’s definitely worth checking out!

And just to throw a picture into this post…

Awkward teenage chicks! They’re losing all their baby fuzz and are getting the most beautiful feathers coming in. Weather permitting they may be moving out to the coop in the next few days.

Have an awesome weekend folks!

 

When we first put an offer on the house, one of the things that really sold us was what we could do with the outside and in particular the front porch. It was in rough shape with a lattice fence and old posts of varying heights, which had led to a wonky roof. From the beginning we have had big dreams about what we could do with it. We just love sitting out there enjoying the view and it’s my new favourite place to blog.

When I look at what the house was like when we first moved in (even before the vines took over), I can’t believe how much we’ve done already. The plants (and weeds) have been neglected over the last five years and much of what we’re doing right now is trimming it all back.

Taking down the lattice, pulling down the vines and digging up the bigger weeds made a huge improvement to the front. It also gave us the chance to start planning out the porch restoration.

My parents found an old picture of the house from the local library and we could see that at one point it had just four main posts with a wide concrete step. We fell in love with the idea of making the house look like it did back then and restoring the front porch.

Garrett and I spent many an evening pouring through different porch designs, post styles and debating about railings. In the end we decided to keep it simple and go for four posts like these ones above (source). We liked the clean lines and the simple trim on the tops and bottoms, which fits with the Loyalist Georgian architecture of the house.

For the steps, we’re going for a wide, deep and low step – the kind you can sit on to have a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day! We were having a hard time getting the measurements just right, so I drove back to our old neighbourhood to snap a few pictures and take pictures of houses that we always loved. This one was the winner!

Next up was removing the old concrete step. I would have loved to have found a way to move it and reuse it, but unfortunately it was too big to safely move in one piece.

Garrett was happy to head out with a sledge hammer, pick axe (and safety goggles!) to start breaking it apart.

It took him about an hour and half to break it all away and we’ve saved the concrete and stone pieces to use elsewhere on the property.

Right now we’re leveling out the area for the steps, removing the old wooden platforms on the right side (see first pic up top) and finalizing the drawings. Fingers crossed we can get working on it in the next couple of weeks!

My job is to come to a decision with the paint colours, but it’s hard to chose with so many great colours! The chicks have been happy to offer their opinions.

(check out this cute video of them on Instagram. I wish they could stay this small forever!)

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