Friday, June 28, 2013

Cowan’s Grad–All Grown Up…The Benefits of Having A Nice Camera

 

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week has gone by quickly. Mine has actually kind of dragged on but I think that is because there is so much fun stuff to look forward to this weekend!

There are a lot of great things about the business that my family owns and that I work in. But one of those items at the top of the list is working with such great people. There’s many people who have seen my grow up through the years. One of those people is a guy named Wayne. Wayne has worked here for over 20 years and has basically watched me grow up. As I got older, Brenda (his wife) and Wayne were always part of many things in my life. I have been lucky enough to watch their own children, Brittany and Cowan, grow up.

Their son Cowan has worked on the farm here as a summer student for many years. We even threw him a little birthday when he turned 13.

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This year, Cowan is graduating from High School! It’s been exciting to hear all the excitement through Brenda, Wayne, his godmother Jill and through Cowan himself. This past Wednesday was the day that the grads got all dressed up for dinner and a dance to celebrate this big milestone!

I was asked to head out to where all the grads were meeting to take a couple of shots of Cowan and his date! I have to say, this is one of the best things about owning a nice camera, being able to be there for people to snap memories of the special events in their life! For that, I am so thankful for my beautiful camera that was given to me a few Christmas’ ago!

It’s hard to believe that the little boy in the pictures above has grown into such a wonderful and handsome young man. I think very highly of Cowan not only for all of the hard work he does at the farm but because of such an exceptional man he has grown up to be.

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Congrats to all the grads of 2013! 

xo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Garden 2013–Part 2

 

Happy Wednesday everyone! Summer has arrived and slapped us in the face with temperatures that feel like 40+, humidity hair issues and thunderstorms almost every day…nice!

But, JILL PAY ATTENTION HERE, I’m not wishing it away. I’m loving all the memories this summer has and I am fully enjoyed every moment, even the crazy work days!

If you have read here before, you know that I have a wee bit of a green thumb. I love to get my hands dirty and grow some fresh food! The only issue with this is that I have limited vegetable garden space. Yes, I have a lot more then most, but I also love having flower garden’s and I love having grass yard!

When we first re-did the gardens around the house, I had plans in mind for a bunch of new plants. The only issue with order so many new plants is that it can be expensive! Sure, the flowers are beautiful and they would bloom year-after-year but it was a lot to spend all at once.

So at first, the gardens were sparse. One year I had bought/grown too many vegetable plants to fit my tiny patch and I didn’t want them to go to waste. Without any hesitation I knew what I wanted to do…plant them in my flower garden!

My flower gardens have some of the best soil and light. So that first year I took note at how good things grew in the flower beds. The next year, instead of ordering a certain amount of flowers, I filled that extra space with even more vegetables. Again, they flourished.

So began my obsession with having an edible garden. Even though I have a beautiful spot to grow vegetables, there are traces of edible fruits and vegetables all over the property.

12 tomato plants in the flower beds

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Apple tree orchard (5 trees) behind the pool

Chives in the flower beds

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Strawberry plants in the flower beds

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Plum tree’s, crab apple, other herbs and raspberry bushes along the bush line!

Lavender in the flower garden bed. Which I bring into the house as a natural “febreze”.

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I love to use every space available to grow and plant things that not only look beautiful but that can also be a benefit to us!

What do you grow in your gardens?

xo

Monday, June 24, 2013

Amanda’s Bridal Shower and Sunday School Picnic

 

Wow! Now that was a busy weekend but one that I was so looking forward to. The only problem with super busy weekends is that they go by way too fast!

The weekend started out by going to a liberal fundraiser supper! Not ideally everyone’s idea of a good Friday but I love politics and I didn’t have to cook supper! Bonus! And I ended up being at a table with family and friends so it was super fun!

Saturday morning started out super early as I had prep to do for a very important day! The fellow bridesmaids and I were hosting a Bridal shower for Amanda! We were so looking forward to the time together to celebrate this special girl in our lives! It was a friends shower so we knew it would be fun!

The food spread! So many yummy treats! 

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We were going with a mason jar theme! Mason jars were used in every possible spot including as drinking cups and flower vases! We also made cute cookie mix favors in mason jars for the guests!

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The plan was to have the party outside but mother nature had other plans! Instead we all sat in the sun porch to eat and open gifts!

The beautiful bride-to-be!

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I really enjoyed this shower because I got to visit with some new and old friends! We all stood around the kitchen island for a couple hours just chatting away! Great girl time! I have also really enjoyed getting to know the girls in Amanda’s wedding party! Some of them I knew and some I was only acquaintances with. But now I can call them all friends!

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Ryan came by later and visited with the girls and helped clean up and load up gifts into Amanda’s car! And how adorable is little Paisley in this picture?

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Sunday morning after sleeping in a bit, we headed off to church. Expect it wasn’t the typical church service as it was held outside at a neighbour's home! It was time for the annual Sunday School picnic! 

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This service was extra special because we got to present Nancy, our newly ordained minister with some special tokens of congratulations.

Nancy with her thumb print plate from the Sunday school kids!

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Nancy with her new quilt!

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It was also a special Sunday for the kids as they were celebrating a year of Sunday school completed! They all received new books and enjoyed looking at them for the rest of the service.

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A pot luck lunch and hot dogs were served after the service and then it was time for some old fashioned games!

First, the potato sack race! The big kids even got to participate and I was pretty excited as it was my very first potato sack race ever!

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We then picked partners and played a egg/spoon relay race! We got up close and personal in a suck the card and pass it along game! Boys against girls!

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After church Ryan and I headed to the city to get some pool supplies and groceries! The rest of the afternoon was spent puttering away and enjoyed the rest of our weekend!

As you can see the weekend was JAM PACKED with so many fun things! I had an absolute blast this weekend during all the events, even though it passed by in a blink!

How was your weekend?

xo

Friday, June 21, 2013

Joint Banking Account and Budgeting

 

Happy Friday everyone! Do you ever have those weeks where you feel energized and enthusiastic? No? Is that just me? Some weeks, I feel like crud and all I do is just go through the motions of day-to-day to get through the week. Then other weeks, I am full of pep and feel as though I can accomplish anything. This is one of those weeks. I wish Ryan felt the same. Someone is tired and needing a weekend break! I’m so use to this crazy time of year. It’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to. But, I’ve had 25 years of practice.

As you are aware, Ryan and I have now been married for 1 year! A lot has happened in the last year and we have really grown as a couple. One of the things that we discussed before getting married was money. Never an easy topic to talk about. We decided before we got married that at least for the first year we would keep our separate bank accounts.

For the last year, it has worked out. We kind of threw caution to the wind and for the most part (on everything except groceries) we didn’t really budget our money. With the big pool renovation happening and a future wedding down South, we sat down and started figuring out our budget as a married couple.

This spread sheet really helped!

Sitting down and figuring out expenses and savings as married couple was different but not overly difficult. What was difficult came later when we started enforcing the budget.

The issue with being married and having a budget is that it is very difficult to figure out your spending when the other person has a separate account! I would have to constantly go back and forth between both of our accounts to figure out where our money was going.

Not to mention it was very difficult to make things fair. Because I looked after most of the financials (aka paying bills, balancing cheque boots, etc.), most of the costs would come out of my account leaving me with little spending money and Ryan thinking he had lots! The balance just wasn’t there.

Finally, shortly after we celebrated 1 year of marriage we were also at the bank signing up for a joint account.

There was always something very “unromantic” to me about a joint account. The thought of seeing ALL of the spending between one another would make holiday time not as much fun. That is why we opted to keep our separate savings account and have a joint chequings account.

Now that is has been over a month with our new system and things couldn’t be better for me as “the family banker”. Keeping track of spending is so much easier! Not to mention we both seem much more cautious with our spending because now it is “our money.”

I feel kind of more “grown up” now that we have a joint banking account. It seems silly to say but it feels far more responsible then what we were doing before. I wasn’t sure if we would ever have a joint banking account. Like I said before, something about it seemed so unromantic. However, we bit the bullet and now we can officially say that things are “ours".

Have a great weekend!

xo

Monday, June 17, 2013

Stag for Amanda and Josh

 

Welcome to another work week! It was such a crazy yet fun weekend!

Friday night, after a long week of work, Ryan and I hit the road to go get a few things in the city and go out for supper to Boston Pizza. It was Fish Bowl Friday so Ryan got an extra large Caesar!

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After work on Saturday, it was up to Shawville to decorate the R.A hall in preparation for a the stag of friends Amanda and Josh! Now, I should pause here and explain what we call a “stag”. I realize that everyone’s definition is different. Here  a stag is a party that is held for the bride and groom to raise money for them and wedding expenses.

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Ryan and I rushed home for a quick nap and bite to eat. After getting ready for the night ahead we headed back up to Shawville to get the evening started!

Things kicked off at 9 PM and a steady stream of people came right away! I started out that night at the door with friend and fellow bridesmaid, Crystal!

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Around 10 PM the bride and groom made their grand entrance to kick of the party!

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The night was an absolute blast! There were some games played, lots of food ate and money raised for the happy husband and wife to be!

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It was such a fun night celebrating such a great couple and great friends! Ryan and I were home the next morning and asleep by about 4 AM. So on Sunday, we were pretty useless! We laid around, napped and recovered from such a fun party!

How was your weekend?

xo

Friday, June 14, 2013

Garden 2013–Part 1

 

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your weekend is about to start and that your Friday passes by quickly!

If you are new around here, I live in a small town. I am a 5th generation on my family farm. It’s in my blood to grow things and produce food for my family. Every spring my green thumb begins twitching to get out and start my planting. This year is no different. This year in fact, now that I have been at this whole gardening this for a few years, I have decided to expand the garden.

There is nothing that I enjoy more throughout the winter then eating food that we have grown and preserved to last us through the winter. In fact, if you remember by tomato canning post, we JUST ran out of our last jar of diced tomatoes. Besides tomatoes, we were able to have homemade jam, peppers, carrots, pickles, and frozen strawberries all from preserving them ourselves. Sounds silly, but if for ever any reason things in the world went whacky, Ryan and I would know how to survive without any stores.

With that being said, I was feeling ambitious this year and I want to have even more in my little pantry by the time the snow starts flying! That’s why we now have two gardens!

The pumpkin patch:

My home garden was always over taken by giant pumpkin plants! It would take up half of the home garden! This year, we have decided to built a pumpkin patch! We have our giant pumpkins there, regular pumpkins, baby pumpkins, onions, guards, onions and spaghetti squash.

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Home Garden:

The home garden is a modest garden. But it grows what we need. In this garden I grow dill weed, pickling cucumbers, carrots, peppers, spinach, leeks, romaine lettuce, beans, peas, parsley, onions, savoury, cherry tomatoes and peppers! Then, within the flower gardens that are around the house I have 12 tomato plants, strawberry plants and chives. 

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I have lots of plans now that I have double the garden space! First, we will continue to have pickles. Hoping to get at least 12 jars.

My 20 quarts and 5 pints of diced tomatoes will hopefully get bigger! This year I planted 12 tomato plants versus 8 from last year.

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Storing peppers in the freezer is so simple and one of our favourite things. To throw in sauces and have with fajitas, they are so useful! We will have another 8 plants again!

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The dry summer was hard on my carrots but it is one of out most favourite side for supper. This year I have doubled my carrot plants.

This year I will attempt growing and preserving peas for the first time.

I never have luck with beans. I think it is the one thing that I had a hard time growing! Regardless, I am going to still attempt to grow them yet again!*sigh*

For the first time, I planted onions. We calculated how many onions we go through in a 6 month period (its not alot) and we planted that amount in our home garden and the pumpkin patch garden!

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I will also grow and preserve baby pumpkins for yummy muffins and bread.

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Spaghetti squash for a healthy noodle alternative for me!

I am also for the first time growing fresh lettuce, spinach and cherry tomatoes to have on hand for fresh salads! If I have any extra spinach I will chop and freeze my own fresh spinach for future lasagnes and spinach dips.

There is nothing more that I love then getting out and getting my hands dirty. Growing fresh vegetables and fruit to eat all season long is very satisfying. It makes me feel resourceful and nothing tastes better then fresh food!

Do you have a garden? What are you growing?

xo

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What I’m Loving Wednesday!

 

Happy Wednesday everyone! For some reason, this week is feeling extra long! I think It’s because I am just starting to catch up from lack of sleep from the weekend. Days are dragging on a little bit.

Today, I’m linking up with Jamie for What I’m Loving Wednesday! It feels like things are going a 100 miles an hour around here and I want to remember and jot down the good around me!

I’m Loving….that this has been the most perfect summer for a farmer, so far. I know alot of people have been complaining about the weather but our crop has never been better! Not to mention my own little veggie garden (which is double in size this year! Update to come!) is growing like mad! The sunny days with the deep and infrequent waterings are exactly the perfect combination for good growth! My green thumb is happy!

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I’m loving….that for the most part, the pool renovation has gone very smoothly. Renovations this crazy time of year could be a bit of a disaster but I can’t say enough good things about the landscaper/contractor. He is literally looking after every little detail and keeps telling me “he’ll look after it”. Such a relief. Not to mention they are almost done and it is looking amazing!

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I’m loving…my husband. I know, corny. But it’s true! He has been working his little butt off like crazy. Working 6 days a week. Some days till 8-9 PM and starting at 6:00 AM. I am so proud of how hard he works to get ahead in life. All those extra hours are to provide for us and I am so grateful for such an amazing man.

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I’m loving…getting back into the swing of things. I am seeing the end in sight as far as surgery recovery goes. Last night, I had my first yoga class back. I had forgotten how much I have missed exercise until I wasn’t allowed to do any.

I’m loving…this coming weekend! Bestie Amanda and her fianc├ęs stag is this weekend! It’s going to be a fun time!

I’m loving…my new travel coffee mug! Yes, I walk to work but I still need a travel mug! I don’t like the coffee at the office so I bring my own every morning from home. I would just use one of my coffee mugs from the house. But with carrying papers back and forth my arms would be full every morning and coffee would end up being spilt everywhere. I found this little beauty on sale for $3 at Home Sense last week and have been loving it since! This porcelain mug keeps the coffee hot and my pants clean from lack of spillage.

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I’m loving…some fun crafting projects that I have underway! I can’t wait to share with you all soon!

I’m loving…shopping for new pool accessories! I REALLY want these whale fins and anchor towel hooks! I love the look and I think they would be so handy to have in the pool area!

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What are you loving this week?

xo 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Relay For Life 2013

 

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I am one tired and sore girl today! All day yesterday I was walking around with a hobble and was so tired. Hardly even able to form a thought! But, it was for good reason!

The weekend started out on Friday with a wonderful bridal shower but Amanda, who’s wedding is fast approaching!

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Her aunt’s planned and hosted a wonderful Tubberware party shower for her!

I had a great time visiting with all the guests especially this little guy (and Crystal).

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It was a late night and I crashed as soon as I got home! Thankfully, I knew I didn’t have to wake up early the next day for work!

After sleeping in a little on Saturday morning I was up and started the day with Ryan making breakfast! The rest of the day I puttered around the house, made some snack foods and rested. It was  great spending the day relaxing. Something I am certainly not used to. But I wanted to keep it quiet as possible because I knew I had a big afternoon and evening ahead of me. It was Relay for Life!

The rural community of Shawville has been hosting the Relay for Life for many years and I was excited to be participating for the first time on Saturday. The team that I joined was the Slipper Sisters which consisted of friends and neighbours.

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The late afternoon looked cloudy and dark. It was threatening rain all week for Saturday but the chances of rain had greatly decreased! I packed extra clothes just in case though! I picked up some fellow teammates and friends along the way to Shawville and once there we set up camp and got comfortable.

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After a quick bite to eat it was time to begin the opening ceremonies. The participants wear a white shirt, orange shirts for caregivers and yellow for survivors. The walking began with the survivor walk. It took everything I had to hold back the tears as the survivors  made their way around the track.

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Finally, it was time to get started and my team lined up behind our designated sign to get the walking underway.

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The first few laps around were packed and you had to go at the pace of the people in front of you. After the first couple of hours the crowds started to disburse and the ease of walking got better.

At 10 PM, 3 hours after the beginning, luminaries that people buy in memory of loved ones who have lost the battle to cancer were lit. Another very emotional moment. As you walked around the track in the dark with just the light of hundreds of candles that represent those who aren’t here anymore, your heart hurts. It hurts for those who lost their battle and for the friends and family who were their by their side.

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For the rest of the evening (and early morning) we walked and walked and walked. With short breaks for water and food in between. I actually thought that the staying up all night part would be the worse but walking with friends made the night fly by. What was a challenge was the impact hours of walking had on my body. With each passing hour a new part of my body began to ache. It started in my feet and by 7 am the next morning I was hobbling around. I kept telling myself to push through the pain because it wasn’t even close to the pain that those suffering with cancer have to endure.

Some of my favourite memories of the evening was laughing till my stomach hurt! I couldn’t have asked for a better team! I think we were by far having the most fun of the all the teams! I’m sure our laughs could be heard all night and morning long! Our spirits were so high the whole way through. It made the night fly by and before I knew it, the event was done.

My team (minus Kerry!)

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To say that I was useless on Sunday would be an understatement. I was exhausted but it was so worth it! I was very proud to hear how well our little team did overall in the fundraising portion! Overall it was a great weekend spent walking for a cause! 

“Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, hororing the taken and never, ever giving up hope!”

xo