Tag Archives: home living

February mid-month update

It’s mid month already and time seems to be moving really fast this year. It didn’t seem like that long ago when I was crying myself to sleep at night and in an utter state of despair an depression, but here we are – and I’m feeling pretty good emotionally. Don’t get me started on my physical symptoms. January was a rough month with bronchitis and migraines.

My sleep schedule is back on track and I’ve been waking up anywhere from 7:00 am to 9:00 am most mornings. Opting to get out bed earlier to make the most of the day. I don’t remember the last time I had a nap and sleep seems to be getting better at night – though last night, I was awake until almost 2:00 am. So, the insomnia is still there too. But it’s slowly getting better.

The first thing I noticed when I woke up today, was that it was dark in my condo yet, it wasn’t pitch black outside. There isn’t much sun today, that doesn’t seem to matter – it means the days are getting longer. The nights are still long with sunsets starting around 5:40 – but soon. Very soon, we’ll see the sun setting even later.

Our weather has been unusually warm and I’ve made the most of those sunny days. While I haven’t left my condo in over two weeks due to bronchitis, I’ve used the balcony several times and that felt good. There were even a couple of days where I didn’t need a jacket. It’s supposed to get cold this week but then back to spring-like temperatures. We can only hope that maybe, the worst of winter is over. But we always get a few more surprise snow dumps before spring.

I’m looking forward to Spring Equinox this year and am planning a big ritual for myself. If the weather cooperates, maybe I’ll even get outdoors for a walk. I’m hoping to actually go walking this year and make the most of the trails near me. I miss it.

River Valley 2013

Spirituality

Devoting myself to one practice has been like a spiritual awakening of sorts. I’ve done the hard part of shadow work and am still focusing on healing – both physically and emotionally. This is making room for new friendships and I’ve already built another family online. True, they live all the way down in California. But we talk often and are supportive of each other. These people have been with me the last year and are becoming very special to me. Friends. Family. They’re teaching me about compersion, which I will write in a separate post.

I’m learning to incorporate spiritual practices into daily life and it is helping overall. Not so much with energy, but moods. I meditate, have herbal baths every other day, using Tarot, and doing rituals once a week. I’m also filling my days with learning and watching other videos as much as possible. I just want to learn as much as I can and share that knowledge with you.

The next big ritual will be on March 07 for the full moon and then Ostara, or Spring Equinox, on March 19-20. For that one, I’d like to get outside if the weather is agreeable.

I can’t wait until I can spend my evenings on the balcony again. My rug had an accident and needs some stain removal care – water stains from the snow and I tried to clean it with baking soda that is now a big mess. That is a project for next month. I need to wash it down completely too. I think if I have to move next year – for raising the rent, I might move ten minutes further south to be closer to the parks and trails.


Fitness and health

I’m back to working out daily and eating healthy again. Cooking two or three meals a week. I can’t do more than that, because I tend to have lots of leftovers. My freezer is jam packed. I am shopping around for a bigger freezer so I can batch cook for summer months, when it’s too hot to turn the oven on. I have good energy today and plan to make the most of the day. I also have a doctor’s appointment later, and really need to see my dad. I’m down a few pounds since Christmas but the more I exercise, the more muscle I’m putting back on so the scale isn’t budging. But, my clothes are starting to fit better and I have a little more energy. So far, no migraine this week and that’s a good thing.


Good Reads

My Good Reads challenge is going very slowly. I’ve started a few books but have been unable to finish them. I think it’s mostly my attention span. I’m currently reading an interesting book about a detective who solves murders because she can see the crimes they’ve committed when she touches them. Sort of like Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis. I’m trying to read a little bit every day and am running out of time to finish the book.

I’m also flipping back and forth between this book, The Green Witch which is more of a text book, and another book by Colleen Hoover which I just cannot get into.

The Gift is available on Kindle Unlimited which is where I read most of my books these days.

Detective Grace is a small town detective that solves murder mysteries using her gifts.


Project Updates

As for writing my own book, I have 150 pages done but am stuck on editing. I know where I want the story to go but it’s the filler details I’m having a hard time with, that and vocabulary. I realized my first attempt at the book had too many story lines for the length it was. So, I’m trying to do more of a character build up and give background stories.

It’s a lot more work and creating a timeline is a challenge in itself. I understand now why authors tend to use outlines. I’m pouring a lot of myself into the main character and it’s been quite cathartic. I’m also trying not to do too much daily or wear myself out. Otherwise, I can get lost for hours.

Stay tuned for further updates. I’m looking for beta readers and editors for this political fueled drama, filled with supernatural themes and the spicy kinky stuff too.

I reopened my Etsy store and have made one sale. I don’t expect to make a lot of money selling digital downloads. Mainly, if I could just earn some hobby cash – enough to to pay for my many addictions like building my an altar, and also – paying for food. Disability pays just enough for the basics. So even if I can just cover the costs of these websites and fees – and software upgrades, I’d be a happy camper. That said, I do have an Amazon wish list if you’d like to buy me gifts 🙂

My altar so far. It needs some greenery, and I wish I had shelves. The desk belonged to my grandfather and passed it down to my mother. So, it already represents ancestral heritage.

My friends in California already bought me something from the wish list and I can’t wait to get it in the mail! I’m creating spiritual themed posters for Etsy, so definitely check that out.

Anyway, I think that’s it in a nutshell. Feeling a lot better after bronchitis and I think the worst is over. Hopefully I can have a few good days of this energy, get caught up on some cleaning, shopping, see my dad. And visit with some friends. There’s also a Witchy flea market this weekend that I really hope I can get to. Maybe on Sunday after volunteering.

On that note, ciao for now, and have a great week!


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Christmas has arrived early this year

Christmas has arrived early at my place. With everything going on this past year and the cranky mood I’ve been in lately, I’ve decided I needed a little cheer in my life. And so, last night I went through my many boxes of Christmas decorations that I inherited from my parent’s collection, and I got out my tiny tree. It’s a work in progress.

The key is to make sure all the lights are in working order before decorating the tree. One of the strands burned out last year and so I have to order in a new one. I was hoping to remove these lights and use mixed color lighting this year, but this was a prelit tree and it’s going to take some work to remove them. So, perhaps I will wait until the white lights die out.

Ignore the mismatched colors. I’ll be fixing that once I get to the store. I’ve been checking Amazon for some hooks that I can use to hang lights on the fireplace without damage and Command hooks were suggested to me. I’m also on the hunt for inexpensive garland to wrap around the fireplace. And maybe some LED candles. I’ve been pretty careful about money the past couple of months and so, I feel I deserve a little pick me up. The little tree does light up – I just need to put batteries into it. And all the decorations you see on my fireplace, were either from my parent’s house or gifted to me by my mother.


Precious Moments

I love Precious Moments figurines. My mum was hooked on these back in the early 2000s. I don’t remember when she gifted me this little set, but I’ve had it for nearly forever. I have a few other pieces that I need to find a home for, including an angel and Christmas star. I have quite a few ornaments from this series too and think my theme for my tree this year will be a very Precious Moments kind of tree.

Taken in 2012, playing around with macro photos.

This is my fave – Tinker Bell


Christmas Memories

Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday. I mean, she loved all the holidays, but she shined at Christmas time. She’d spend most of December in the kitchen baking meat tarts, pies, Yule logs, meringues and other delicious treats. As kids, we’d gather with neighbours to spread cheer around the neighbourhood and sing carols. Then we’d head back to our house for hot chocolate and dessert.

As a Danish kid, we’d celebrate Christmas Eve with my dad’s family and then we’d host Christmas Day with mum’s family. At least until the family got too big and my generation started having kids. Now we only see the aunts and uncles at special events.

The house was decorated early in December and mum would spend hours perfecting the tree until she became too ill to do it herself. Then my sister took over with her kids. And after mum died, and dad fell ill, she got him a table top tree so he could still have a bit of Christmas cheer in the house.

Oh, how I miss Christmas at home. More than anything, I’d love to have just one more family dinner there. But sadly, we no longer own the house. It was sold last year.

This was one of the last trees my sister decorated before switching to the table top tree. And yes, those chairs may look familiar as they’re in my living room now. I cannot express how hard it was to let go of this house. My family wanted me to buy it – but it was way too much upkeep for one person – and money too. I have a feeling mum is still there. It was her dream home. And she used to joke that she would find a way to stay there forever.

After we moved dad out of the house, we started celebrating Christmas at my sister’s home. She loves to celebrate and her husband enjoys cooking. They do a turkey every Christmas day, and we all bring dishes for a family potluck. We stopped buying gifts for everyone a few years back. Instead we do a gift exchange of one gift for all the adults. I’ve learned to buy something I like and no one else would want. It’s what they all do!

My sister has a beautiful home. I was just there on the weekend and spent most of the day with her family. It was a nice visit. We also got my dad out for his birthday too.


Danish Christmas

Every year for the past 15 years, I have played the organ at the church for the Christmas services. The Danish celebrate Christmas on the 24th so it is always a busy day. We have two services. Before the pandemic, we would have a Christmas party and then a turkey dinner. We’d also go caroling as a group and sing funny Danish Christmas songs. But sadly, all that has been cancelled since 2020. It’s something I’m really missing this year.

One year, the church was so cold upstairs, that we had to move the service to the basement on Christmas morning. We had a small group but it was a memorable day and I got to play the piano for the service. I don’t talk about the church often here. Religion is not part of my life. But I’m there for the music and community. And to learn more about my Danish heritage. It’s important to me. I’ve cut back on services and will eventually reduce that to one service a month.


Christmas Decor

Every year we would have a party where the kids would decorate the tree with handmade paper decorations which is a long time honoured Danish tradition. I really want to make some decorations this year. Where I’m going to hang them is another question.

Last year, I bought a $40 four foot tree from Michaels. I hadn’t had a tree in a few years due to the mice and said to heck with it. I wanted a tree. I was going to buy a bigger tree this year, but meh. This tree is still works for now.

Christmas 2020


Christmas warms my hearts

I have no idea what’s is going on for Christmas this year. But I thought decorating early might perk up my spirits. I made the mistake of listening to some Christmas music on YouTube yesterday and I wound up crying at the emotional performances. This time of year always makes me a bit sentimental. I miss my mum. I miss our house. But I guess that’s part of life. Things change. You grow. You adapt. And now Christmas for me, is wherever dad and my family happen to be.

I do know that I want to decorate my new home and bring some merry cheer into my life. I’m going to work on new music videos for YouTube, and will get started early on baking. And of course, there’s my special little Christmas dinner that I do for myself every year.


Christmas Time

What’s your favorite part about the Christmas season? Do you celebrate Christmas where you are? And what are your family traditions? I’ll be sharing more stories as the season draws closer. I love the lights, the trees, the music – all of it.

If you love Christmas as much as I do, please follow my blog!


Saturday thrifting adventures!

Thrifting is not something that I grew up with in my life. My mother always enjoyed the finer things in life. We weren’t rich by any means but she sometimes acted like we were and would spend so much money shopping. I think she passed on the habit down to her girls because it’s definitely something that I like to do as well. I spend many hours on Amazon each week looking for new things to try.

But in an effort to remain “frugal” and be more conscious of how much money I’m spending, I suggested that my bestie and I go thrifting today. I’ve been so excited for this, that I went to bed at midnight last night and woke up bright eyed at 5:00 am. I sat outside for a bit but it was so cold – I bundled up and went back to bed.

I’m sitting here with my morning cup of coffee, a bowl of Special K cereal, my water, almond milk and some piano music in the background. This – is my new happy place.

My bestie has a booth at a local antique mall. We’re going to hit that and then check out some garage sales. She’s the one who got me into thrifting a few years back. We would head to the mall after work or on Saturday morning, go for brunch and have some quality time together.

Because of the pandemic, we really haven’t been able to do that in a couple of years. It’s been since 2019 at least and I didn’t realize how much I missed thrifting and looking through people’s treasures until this month.


The Hygge life and thrifting

My journey to a happier life is a work in progress. Something I learned this week about being Hygge, is decorating your home with things you love. One YouTube channel I discovered suggested that finding vintage items like canvas art, candles or other decor items adds more history and character to your home. So, that’s what I’m on the hunt for today.

We’re going to hit Good Will as well. And before anyone jumps down my throat and accuses of being “trendy” – I’m still on disability leave. That means I’m taking home less money than I would if I was working full time. I can’t afford to buy new artwork right now at the prices they charge on sites like Amazon.

And besides, I’ve found some great furniture over the years via places like Marketplace and Kijiji. It’s where I got my last piano. And the piano I have now is one we bought for the church in 2005. It sat in storage unused for many years when we got an acoustic piano and so I asked if I could use it as a practice piano.

There’s nothing wrong with buying second hand items. Especially if money is tight – which this year especially, that’s the case for a lot of people. Most of my living room is full of second hand furniture and items from my parent’s house. The only new item I have is my sofa. And as you know, the reason I bought that is because my last couch broke a few years ago. I haven’t bought new furniture since 2008 save for a few things for my bedroom from Ikea.


What not to buy

If you are new to thrifting and are looking to bring items to your home, do be forewarned. Some items are better to buy brand new. Things like sofas, mattresses and even clothing can have bedbugs in them or worse – cockroaches. Those suckers get into everything. Mattresses are definitely not something I would ever buy second hand. Unless you know the home it comes from – I would highly recommend getting a new mattress and linens.

Other things to consider when buying second items:

  • Look for yellow or black stains. This could indicate that the item came from a smoker’s home. The smell of smoke can linger on fabric items and can be hard to clean.
  • Check for holes in wood or fabric of furniture. Look for rodent droppings, white stains (urine) or tiny little black marks which could be from bedbugs.
  • If buying from Facebook Marketplace, ask for the history of the item. If you can, check out the seller’s profile and their other listings. I’m more inclined to buy from someone with a well kept home. A well kept home, is a good indicator that the item you are buying has been properly cared for as well.

One of the reasons I prefer thrifting or garage sales compared to using Marketplace is people play too many games on Facebook. I gave up trying to sell anything online because of the 20 question game people play and then decide they don’t want the item. And then there are the low ballers who will offer you half of what the item is listed for. I wound up giving away so much stuff when I moved because of that.


Things you definitely want to buy

Today I’m on the hunt for vintage artwork, lamps, lanterns, and anything I can decorate my home with. More specifically, the bedroom and balcony.

Things that are definitely worth buying at thrift shops or garage sales include:

  • Vintage artwork (canvas art, photo frames)
  • Vinyl records – these have made a comeback
  • Art supplies (scrapbooks, paint brushes, paints, etc)
  • Books – I’m definitely going to be looking for old music books to replace some I’ve lost
  • Decor items – garden gnomes, lanterns, statutes, etc
  • Jewelry – rings, gems, stones, beads, (sanitize before wearing)
  • Signage, and posters
  • Trading cards and other collectables (stamps, coins, etc)
  • Dishes (plates, bowls, etc)

You just never know what treasures you might find in a thrifting store or antique mall.

One man's trash is another man's treasure, and the by-product... | Picture  Quotes

COVID Safety

The pandemic is still going strong here in our city. The city council brought back a mask mandate and so we will be wearing masks today. I strongly recommend that you wear masks and gloves when going thrifting at best of times. Or carry hand sanitizer and wipes with you.

While many shops are really strict about the quality of items they accept, shelves can become incredibly dusty. Plus you just don’t know the history of the item you’re picking up. If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust, then gloves are definitely recommended.


Cleaning and sanitization

Wash your item as soon as you get it home from the shop or garage sale. Wood furniture can be wiped down with a wet cloth and cleaning solutions – or just vinegar and dish soap. I did this with my sofa when I ordered it from Leon’s because it had that musty warehouse smell. The smell has disappeared from the cushions. I used a wet cloth and warm water and will do this about once a month to keep the sofa clean.

Wood, metals and hard materials are easy to clean. Use products like vinegar, baking soda, dish soap or ammonia for deep cleaning.

Follow cleaning instructions for clothing and fabric items. Check insides of bags and purses for signs of bugs. Machine or hand wash all clothing items before wearing them. One tip I learned is to toss in some vinegar with your laundry. This helps to get rid of some stains and lingering smells.


Saturday Thrifting Adventures

And that’s it for today. I’m excited to just go out for a few hours and be social. My bestie just texted me so I should get ready for our day. I’m hoping to get to see dad later but might have to wait until tomorrow or Monday. There is a COVID case at his residence so maybe we need to be careful of who visits him.

I’ll come back later this week and share my finds with you! I think we’re planning on stopping for lunch today. We have been trying to get out to Elk Island park to go for a walk and take some photos but my knees haven’t been cooperating for that. Hopefully we at least get out for a drive to take some amazing fall photos. It’s a glorious day outside right now with the sun shining and the golden leaves outside my window.

Have you ever been thrift shopping? What kind of treasures have you found at an antique mall? Let me know in the comments.

Autumn 2020

I’m in a nesting phase of my life

Last night after I made that delicious casserole, I was still hungry. I’m not sure why as I ate really healthy yesterday and filled up with delicious foods. Maybe it was hormones or just boredom. Anyway, I decided to make a single serving of mug cake. It’s an easy recipe with just four ingredients. You mix it all up in a mug, and cook it in the microwave.

I got everything ready. The main ingredients are flour, sugar, baking soda and milk. I poured everything into my little bowl which is just easier for mixing. Went to pop it in the microwave when I felt my spoon hit something hard. I thought maybe some of the flour had gone bad. Or something fell into the bowl. Oh, how wrong I was.

It was a freaking BONE! A bone was in my bowl.

It was a small bone but had ridges which made me think it may have been a spine or neck bone. From what animal? I had no idea. But I had all these visions of rats and mice crawling into my food and I panicked.

I tossed out ALL of my baking ingredients. The flour, which had been newly ordered from Walmart. The milk which I had just drank that morning with my breakfast. I thought it tasted funny. And the baking soda. I had no idea where the bone came from.

I’m not worried about a rodent being in my home as there are no droppings or signs anywhere. I had cleaned out the flour bin before even dumping the flour into it. And the baking soda I knew was clean – but I was just so grossed out. I’m so mad still. I tried to forget that I found the bone but I couldn’t. Everything went into the garbage.

I just hopped onto Instant Cart because I had great plans to bake this week. The weather is supposed to be cool all week – lots of rain – so I thought it would be a good project to do around the condo. But my god. I was seriously grossed out and freaked out. Such a waste of baking products.

I took my complaint to Walmart on Twitter but they haven’t responded. No pictures, I just tossed everything straight into the garbage. I’m so glad I found the bone before actually eating it. Could you imagine? Ugh. I’m traumatized.


No Frills is now delivering

I got an order ready last night for the City Market in my area and hit the “order” button just now so I could restock my baking ingredients. And of course, City Market does not deliver in my area.

I’m annoyed as I had just received my biweekly grocery order yesterday from Walmart. After that, I decided nope. Hell, no. I’m not ordering in food from Walmart for a very long time. I know the problem likely came from either Rogers or Dairyland – where the products were made. But what if?? I don’t want to think about it.

Anyway.

I use Instant Cart for all my shopping needs these days. I was surprised to see that No Frills and Superstore have been added in my area. I can’t use PC Express which is usually my preferred service. So, I just ordered $70 worth of baking ingredients to replace what I tossed out. I’m so mad still. What a waste of food.

I’m wondering what could have possibly happened here. I know that there is a certain amount of bugs and fecal matter that slips into our food in the factories. But most of the time we don’t notice this. I mean, this was an all out BONE from some kind of small animal.

Ugh.

The good news is No Frills is decently priced for baking items. The price of meat however is crazy. I added some chicken thighs and shake and bake as I want to cook up some chicken this week. I’m also going to share my meal plan for the next two weeks for you. I’m still working on the post.


I’m in a nesting phase

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s fall, or the weather is chillier, or that Thanksgiving is coming fast, but I’m in a total nesting phase. I’ve been home for so long now that I am comfortable being at home. The thought of going out and being social is exhausting to me. I have to go to a family event next weekend and I’m dreading it already.

I have some medical testing coming up in the next couple of weeks. I need to get some xrays done and labwork. Fun times.

Now that my living room has been finished and is looking great – I’m focusing on DIY home projects. I’m going to hold off on decorating my bedroom until Christmas time. I have been shopping around for a vintage tv cabinet to match my furniture but I’m not finding anything I like. Online shopping is a fun thing to do while binge watching funny shows like Parks and Rec. I also started watching Gilmore Girls again last night.

The room is coming together. I need to find some affordable and budget friendly canvas art – and a few accents. I’m thinking maybe an area rug too. But we’ll see. I’m also in love with my new couch. And the slipcovers for the chairs look pretty good too.


Kitchen organization

I spent a long time decluttering and organizing my kitchen cabinets yesterday. I’ve ordered too much for a single person. My goal is to waste less food and use up any ingredients that are close to expiration date. So, I ordered in a few cheap Sterlite organizers and my cabinets are starting to look really good. I’m shopping around for good mason jars so that I can store some of my baking items like oats and cereal properly.

I was tired of not being able to find anything when I needed it. I need to get a smaller tray as this one was too long for the shelf. But at least now I can easily grab stuff without having everything fall over. The shelf above this is full of oats, vinegar, oils. This is a work in progress.

A couple of years ago, out of sheer frustration, I bought a stand up pantry shelf from Facebook. It was a second hand Ikea pantry and that’s where I store most of my dried goods like pasta, rice, etc. The great thing about my kitchen is the amount of storage I have. I just have to find a system that works.

My next step is to organize and find a home for all my art supplies. Everything is just sitting on top of my kitchen table. If I want to have company over for dinner, that’s not going to work. I’ll need to get on that this week. I also want to reorganize my storage room and music room. That’s going to happen by decluttering. It’s a good winter project I think. Maybe take a while.


Healthy meal planning

I’ve spent a lot of time on YouTube and TikTok sifting through recipe ideas for fall. There are a lot of recipes I want to try. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with for the next couple of weeks based on what I have in my pantry.

  • Roasted chicken thighs, with a side of mashed sweet potatoes
  • Mini tarts filled with chicken or beef filling like my mom used to make
  • Zucchini muffins or loaf
  • Butternut squash and apple crumble – yummy!
  • Something with bell peppers – I accidentally ordered these
  • Spinach wraps – for daily lunches, maybe a soup too

I have a problem where I ordered too much for myself. But — I’m down to ordering twice a month for groceries. Today’s order was only to replace the baking items I had to toss out. At least they will last a long time.

So, stay tuned. I’ll be sharing a lot of recipes over the next while. And I’ll be going through some older recipes and revamping them. I posted a casserole recipe earlier this morning. It was just OK. I still have some ham left I need to use up.


So, that’s life in a nutshell right now. Focusing on healthy eating, cooking, exercising, getting some fresh air. Stocking up my pantry and freezer with healthy meals to eat over the next couple of months.

I’ve also been feeling nostalgic for older home design shows. Remember the days of early TLC shows like Trading Spaces and Divine Design? I’m also missing Anna and Kristina’s Shopping bag which was a fun show. I learned a lot about cooking and shopping habits from that show.

For now, I’ll leave you with this episode of one of my favorite design shows – Color Confidential.

Is this midlife? Am I having a midlife crisis? Or is this just a natural phase of life? Whatever it is – I’m loving it. And excited to share my creations with you.


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