Our Wood Home

Our Wood Home: December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goals for 2014

Do you make resolutions each year?  I sure don't.  But having goals is always a good idea, and it seems to make sense to start focusing on them at the start of a new year.  Here is my attainable goal list for 2014 (in no particular order)

  1. Find a job
  2. Take more online classes
  3. Stop using my credit card completely  
  4. Save $10,000
  5. Finish landscaping the yard
  6. Decide on paint colours for the rest of the house
  7. Redo the basement bathroom
  8. Stain the decks
  9. Have monthly date nights
  10. Go to church on Sunday
All of my goals are things I can do if I really apply myself.  Like finding a job, for instance.  I've struggled with finding a permanent job since I finished college in 2010.  I've held various contracts but I'm looking for something longer lasting.  I'm going to accomplish that by utilizing career counselors and taking online classes to build my skill set.

Refraining from using my credit card and saving money go together...I don't need to use my credit card because we have the money to buy things we need.  But sometimes one loses track of time and may forget to pay the credit card bill on time...which is what maybe happens with me.  Using just my debit card will help me save money because it's easier to track my spending and balances.  I'm going to accomplish my goal of saving $10,000 either by hiring an investor or putting my money into high interest savings accounts.  

All the house related goals are easily accomplished in a few weekends.  But finding the motivation to do it may be a bit more difficult.  

David and I decided to have a monthly dinner date out.  We both enjoy going out and limiting to 1 night a month will give us something to look forward to but also helps us save money.  

Going to church on Sunday may be the hardest on my list.  We used to attend a church together before we were married but left when the pastor made some serious changes.  We tried various churches in our area before taking a break.  Once we got married and moved to our new home we weren't that motivated to find a new church.  But a friend of mine invited us to hers, so starting January we will be visiting there.  I'm hoping it's a good fit for us!  If not, I'm not sure what to do next.

Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2014?  I'd love to hear them!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in review: blog edition

Here's a look back at some of my most popular bog posts from 2013:

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog:)  Without you I'd just be a weirdo with an online diary.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in review: personal edition

2013 was definitely a busy year!  Here is a look back at some of the events that stood out for me (in no order).

  1. David got me a kitten
  2. We went away on a weekend retreat for David's birthday, had to hike through snowy woods to get to our cabin and went for long walks in very deep snow
  3. I painted the dining room, master bedroom and basement
  4. We planted a vegetable garden right in the middle of our front yard.  David also planted trees for his orchard in the making
  5. David finally bought the truck he has been wanting for some time.  I had to sell my car and start driving his old one...oh, the sacrifices I make! But the next new car we buy will be for me, so it's all good!
  6. We sold our pool and hot tub (which is a big deal for us because we didn't want either but the people we bought the house from refused to take them)
  7. Water leaked into our basement via shoddy siding...we took off the offending boards, dried out the insulation as much as possible, applied more spray insulation and coated the whole section in water proofing seal.  ugh.
  8. The pump in our basement responsible for transferring grey water to the septic failed and caused our basement severe water damage (I'm talking soaked carpets, saturated drywall and a compromised bar).  Thankfully insurance covered it all, but it took about 3 months for such a small job.
  9. I decided to go back to school, realized the program wasn't for me and ended up taking classes online.
  10. We hosted Easter dinner for both our families.
  11. We saw a City and Colour in concert!
  12. I went from a bob hair style to a pixie cut (and I probably won't ever go back!!)



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas at the Cottage

Every year someone on David's side of the family hosts Christmas dinner.  This year his parent's offered to host at their new cottage, so that's how we spent Christmas evening.  We opened presents, listened to Christmas music, played with 4 dogs total and had a great meal.  Here are some pictures from yesterday.


Monday, December 23, 2013

why we chose to live without internet and TV

When David and I got married and moved into our new house we decided not to get internet or satellite TV. First it was because we didn't want an unnecessary expense, then it was about not really needing that kind of entertainment.  We can never agree on what TV shows to watch and we had access to internet at work or on David's Blackberry.  We finally broke down and got internet a few months ago, and I'll tell you why later on.

Our lack of TV and internet often came up in conversations with people.  And their first response was always "You DON'T have that? What do you do all day?!"  Good question...what did we do in our spare time?  Well, we were newlyweds;) And we did actually have a big, brand new flat screen TV and a rather large collection of DVDs that we'd watch.  We also read books, cooked, made things and did house stuff.
We gardened. planned, decorated, organized.  We shoveled snow, baked, fixed things.  We just spent time together and sometimes enjoyed doing nothing.

Internet was something we eventually realized we really wanted but finding a provider was another story.  We had our hearts set on wireless hi speed internet because we both have laptops and wanted to watch videos online.  I called every provider I know but nobody could give us what we wanted.  I finally found a provider with the services we wanted for a reasonable price.  Having internet has made our lives a lot easier (what should we have for dinner tonight?  Let's look for a recipe.  The shower pipes froze?  Let's find a way to thaw them online).  We still don't have cable or satellite TV, but we don't need it.  We're fine watching movies we've already seen or now watching new movies and TV shows online.

I'd like to point out that we both went from daily TV and internet access before our marriage to having nothing.  We quit cold turkey.  And it wasn't as hard as you may think.  If you've ever considered forgoing either of those entertainment sources, I strongly suggest you do it!  It's especially awesome if you have kids because then you can do more family activities together (if we had kids we'd take them for nature walks on our street, ID animal tracks, make crafts, cook, etc).


Saturday, December 21, 2013

our alternative to a Christmas tree

Sadly, we are not getting a real tree for Christmas this year.  I've been working a seasonal job in retail all month and my hours have been crazy.  I'm talking working 9 days in a row, day off, another 9 days in a row.
I'm blessed to have found this job, so I'm not complaining at all...it's just been keeping me from doing much holiday prep.  We were going to get a tree on Saturday (December 21) but David pointed out that it will only be up for a few days and nobody will see it.  So we decided not to get one.  I was still left with the puzzler of where to out the presents if there is no tree...

I saw this picture on Pinterest and was inspired to create my own version.

Pinterest version.

I made my chalkboard from an old piece of plastic taped to an empty frame.  All I did was use chalkboard paint on the plastic sheet, let it dry and then use packing tape to secure it to the back of my frame.  The paint was a birthday gift from my mom and the frame was picked up at a yard sale a few years ago for 25 cents!  The plastic I used was from a large poster frame, so it was pretty heavy duty.
And, not gonna lie...it took me several tries to even draw a decent looking tree!  I have zero art skills, but my husband said this one looked good.  I'm hoping to buy some coloured chalk and add some little colourful ornaments to my tree.

my version!
I leaned this frame against the railing in our living room, atop our red dresser (that serves as dinnerware storage).  Our wrapping paper happened to coordinate PERFECTLY with the dresser, which is just a sheer coincidence.

Our birch bark 'stumps' and soapstone chess set are always on the dresser.
We just swapped out a vintage glass bottle collection to make room for the frame.

this is what you see upon entering our home.
I would have like to get a real tree this year, but I'm pretty pleased with our alternative.  I actually like the chalkboard frame so much I may keep it up all year, without the tree drawing of course!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY stocking

Today I'm haring a super easy tutorial for making Christmas stockings.  I used a thrifted plaid shirt to give it a rustic look but Christmas-y material would look nice too.

Here's what you need:

  • material
  • chalk
  • scissors
  • needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
  • straight pins (optional)
Tracing out 2 stockings. 

Of course the cat wants to help!

  1. Draw a stocking shape on your material using chalk.  I used a template made of cardboard.
  2. If using straight pins, place them on the inside of the stocking outline to hold fabric in place.
  3. Cut out stocking and put the "wrong" sides together.
  4. Sew inside out, leaving the top open.
  5. Turn stocking right side out and stitch a cuff, if desired.

I was inspired to make stockings for my husband and I because my mother-in-law made some for her family when David was small.  Over the years she made one for me and all their dogs too. They actually have a fireplace to hang the stockings on, but we don't.  So I chose to hang ours on the railing in our living room.

David's stocking in the one on the left and mine is the right hand one with lace.

I hope this inspires you to make your own unique holiday stockings!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

why getting fired wasn't as bad as I thought

One year ago today, as I was heading out for my lunch break, my supervisor called me into her office where she was waiting with the human resources manager.  They told me that this just wasn't working out.  That my skills and abilities might be better suited for another company.  That I need to clear out my desk and leave right now.  The HR manager hovered behind me as I cleaned out my desk and then followed me out the door.  I was given no real reason for the discharge, nor was I able to say goodbye to the friends I had made there.  Here's the weirdest part of it all:  I had been in that position for 8 months with 2 left on my contract (I was covering a mat leave).  I was given constructive criticism during my 3 and 6 month reviews and tried my hardest to fix my mistakes.  I was good at my job and people said so.
After I was escorted out, I got in my car and headed for home.  I called my husband and told him what happened.  Then I text my mom because she sometimes stopped it to bring me a hot chocolate.  I went home and laid down for the rest of the day.  
I'm going to be honest: the next few weeks were awful...I didn't know what to do with myself.  Here I was, a newlywed in a house we had bought with 2 incomes and now we were down to 1.  On top of financial worries I was suddenly alone all day with no idea what to do.  I was sad, lonely, bored and angry. Thankfully, my husband was very understanding and in January he got me a kitten to keep me company. 

 I spent the rest of winter cooking, cleaning, learning to knit, painting some rooms, watching far too many movies.  We also went away for David's birthday weekend, which was a lot of fun. Spring came and I decided to completely redo all 5 of the gardens in our yard.  I started vegetable seeds inside, ripped out all the ugly plants in the gardens, shopped for new plants and even created a new garden.  

For 6 months  I tried to keep myself busy by doing things I enjoyed.  I spent hours a day gardening, reorganizing closets and the basement, cooking and reading.  I decided to to back to college and got a summer job at the library in town.  I learned how to really budget our money and how to survive on one income.  It's been a long year with lots of ups and downs.  I've accomplished a lot and for that, I'm pretty proud of myself.  The best part of it all?  Getting to spend more time with my husband.  

Getting fired was a huge shock to me.  I had no idea what to do with myself and it took me a while to recover.  But I got over it.   Here are some tips if you should ever find yourself in that situation:
  1. Don't panic. This is only temporary and you will find something new.  
  2. Make a budget.  Determine how much money your family spends monthly and see if there's anything you can eliminate (going out for weekly dinners, for example).  We totaled out fixed expenses like insurance, mortgage and phone bills.  Then we saved out receipts for 1 month to see if we could trim back our variable expenses. 
  3. Look for a new job.  I looked on every job board I could find and even sought help from a career counsellor.  
  4. Take advantage of your time off by doing things you like.  I love reading but buying books is pricey so I utilized my local library.
I hope none of you get fired from your jobs, but if you do I encourage you to follow my tips above.  


Thursday, December 12, 2013

guest post: holiday makeup

This post is brought to you by my friend, Alycia, who is the owner of True You Makeup Artistry and a Lise Watier makeup artist.

Makeup changes every year and everyone has such different complexion, eye shapes, lips, cheek bones and so on.  Knowing what kind of holiday look to do for yourself can be pretty difficult. My advice for you is to starting playing. Look at the advertisements and magazines, try them. There is a basic way to apply makeup; however I can tell you right now I alter it for everyone I work on.

The colours are gorgeous for the 2013 Holiday season.  Put away your bronzers ladies unless you are using it for your contour. It’s December and we live in Canada, so generally we all lose our tan from the summer.  Being lighter skin toned is not something we need to try and cover up for the year. If you are very fair and don’t have much colour in your skin, bronzer will give you that little bit, but going for the bronzed look is for summer not Christmas or New Years.   Keep in mind that powders are only good for you ladies, like myself, who have oily skin.  If your skin is normal to dry the powder foundation is just going to dry it out more and that is not what we need during this time of year!  Always make sure you have a good primer because it makes it easier to work with different foundations. Primers are the thing to use right now and they work wonders for all skins types!!

 Blush does wonders but some ladies don’t wear it, and I think that reason is a misunderstanding. Blush gives you that natural healthy colour in your cheeks that you should have, and putting on foundation tends to cover it up. Without blush you could look washed out and unhealthy. Since it's cold outside, your cheeks should have a rosy glow anyways that you can create with blush.  The wonderful colours I am in love with for this time of year have purple or red tones; something that is natural but not bright pink!

A lot of ladies love to play up their eyes. The fantastic colours to play with this time of year are golds, bronze browns, navy blue, holiday greens, silver and SPARKLES! When going out for a Holiday dinner, or a Holiday party sparkles are fun! You can use sparkle eyeliners, or just sparkles in general. You can go for a smoky look with any of the suggested colours. A smoky eye doesn't  need to be the traditional black smoky eye, it can just be your normal evening look but smoked out! Using dark browns , navy blue, green, or purples are beautiful options  Applying it can be the tricky part. When you are applying make sure you always start with less. It is easier to add than it is to take away.  Also make sure you are blending it in an upward direction, so it doesn't drag your eye and face down (you want it to lift your eye and face!).  Always make sure everything is nicely blended. Once you complete your eye shadow add some eyeliner. You can go with a pencil, which can be smudged out on the top and halfway on the bottom, or you can use liquid or cream on the top lid and use a pencil on the bottom to be smudged and have a more defined look on top. To finish off that perfect eye you need your mascara, or if you really want to dress things up some false lashes. Any amount of mascara will do as long as you have your lashes enhanced with that mascara. Do what you’re comfortable with. I love to play up my lashes but I am lucky to have full long lashes.

an example of a smoky eye that is perfect for a holiday night out!


Finally Lips! I am not a huge fan of lipstick because I often find it drying and hate having to reapply it to keep it looking fresh.  I usually like to do a dramatic eye and stick with a more natural or nude lip.  In that case I will use a lip gloss with a little bit of colour in it.  That being said, I do love to use lipstick on clients! I love the dark berry or ox blood red for this season.  The holiday season is the time to use darker lipstick shades, so put your brights away until next summer! Browns, purples, reds and berry tones are the colours to rock this season.  Right now I'm loving the look of a dark purple shade on a dark skinned woman...so beautiful!

an example of a more natural holiday look suited for a daytime holiday meal or even for work during the holiday season.

gotta love the winged liner!!!

I hope you find my makeup advice useful this holiday season.   Stay safe everyone and have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love True You Makeup Artistry!

Ps:  for more tips and advice please like my Facebook page.  To see my portfolio, visit my website here.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

an explanation

I wanted to apologize to anyone who reads my blog frequently...you will notice my lack of posts lately.  The holiday season is always busy for everyone, but especially for me right now.  I've been taking an online course since October, so that's been eating up my time.  But I also started a seasonal job in November at a jewelry store.  It's essentially a full time job, just until January.  Between working, studying, knitting a Christmas gift, cooking, cleaning, etc I just don't have as much time as I'd like to spend writing daily blog posts.  I really wish I did though!  I'm doing my best, but I have to prioritize and honestly, a blog that I'm pretty sure nobody reads is not my first.  I'm hoping to post more often again very soon, but for now, please be patient with me.

In the interim, please enjoy some pictures of my cat:)