House Tour – Exterior

Now I can show you the outside of the house because I actually got my butt in gear and remembered to take a few more photos of outside before it snowed, and then finally got around to editing and uploading them here.  The outside is also pretty unique.  Remember, it used to be part of an indoor riding arena, which has since been removed and a carport added.  The den used to be an office for a local lawyer or real estate person (I forget which) and still has an unusable door to the back deck.

From the street.  We’re at the end of a cul-de-sac.


Still getting moved in.  This one shows the car we borrowed for a month while ours was in the shop.


The front windows.  6×6 feet each.


The stall on the bottom and the deck upstairs.


Darryl washed the timbers in the carport with something that strips the weathered part off, then stained them.  This is the before picture.


This picture is from one of the higher spots in the pasture.


From the end, the house looks a little goofy.


The back deck.


The backside of the barn.  There’s a sheltered corner in the middle and a “bunkhouse” inside the window on the right (and my dad’s black trailer showing on the far right).  The landlady stores a bunch of her stuff in there.


That telephone pole in the middle is where a power line used to go to the neighbour’s house.


The grass in this pasture is literally 7 feet high.  An adult can disappear in it.  There’s a low spot in the pasture behind the barn that stays wet all year long.  At least, we assume it does because it was wet since we got here in the middle of August and the grass was still green until it snowed.

We are hoping, that by managing our grazing well, the grass in the rest of the pasture will improve and stay green longer as well.  It’s been 2 years since these fields were (over)grazed.  We have a few (ok, a lot) patches of burdock and canada thistle to deal with and a healthy population of gophers.  I dealt with most of the burdock in the lower pasture before we moved in (not much to do when you’re camping).  Incidentally, the best way I’ve found of killing those stubborn plants is by pulling the mature burrs off in the fall but leaving the plant (I used to do noxious weed removal for the city and we always had to dig them out…doesn’t work).  Any plant I’ve ever done that to never comes back.  They turn black and  you can pull them out of the ground the next year.  And make sure you bag the burrs and send them to the landfill for a proper burial.  I bagged 2 of the large, heavy duty garbage bags full of burrs so far, and that wasn’t all of them in the lower part.

Anyway, I didn’t mean for a post about the exterior of our house to turn into a handbook for weed removal, but you never know when knowledge like that will come in handy, right?

Just For Fun

I’m always trying to get great pictures of Banner running.  Sometimes I resort to chasing him around the pasture.  But when he starts running for any reason at all and I see him, I grab my camera and quickly switch to the zoom lens.

In this case, Moola had gotten out through the electric fence and Banner thought she was leaving him all alone forever.  So I grabbed my camera.


Her mooing because she couldn’t figure out what happened only made Banner more concerned.


He kept running to the fence and back to the barn again.


Most of the decent shots I got were of him running away from me, so I didn’t include those.  I don’t think he realized (or cared) that he was holding his tail to the side and exposing himself to the world through my camera.

He stopped running so I recruited my kids to pose for me.




The fences were looking particularly lovely that day, so I got pictures of them too.



Even though my horse or children aren’t always very photogenic, at least my fences are!

Living Room Tour

Alrighty, I have pictures of my living room!  It’s MOSTLY done.


I was going to hang the mirror vertically but I’m kinda liking it propped there.  Was also going to hang the gold framed chalkboard but it’s too cluttered that way, so I’ll just leave that propped on the sewing cabinet for now.

There are currently no plug ins for lamps in that entire corner of the house, hence the extension cord going over the door.  I need to get another white cord and some of those little clear stick-on hooks to keep it tucked against the door frame, until such time as Darryl can wire up a plug-in into the box that’s already there with wires inside and a metal plate over it.  Not sure why anyone would take a plug out and cover the hole when it’s the only one in the vicinity.  One of this house’s many idiosyncrasies.


As you can see, it’s a fairly small area.  Looking at the picture above, I think the best option for additional seating would be a pair of tufted ottomans/stools that could be moved around easily.  Something like this.



I’d also rather have a soft carpet instead of this grass mat.


Something like this.



Yes, I have expensive taste.  But it doesn’t have to cost a lot.


You can totally get nice stuff for next to nothing.  Sometimes, just letting people know what you’re looking for works great.  The wooden candlesticks were $1 at a garage sale, with the candles too.  The pottery …thing, on top of the books was free at the share shed.  The books were my grandpa’s.  I can’t remember where I got the antler.  Probably from my brother.  The mirror was at a fun little shop in West Kelowna for $20.  The radio cabinet was a hand-me-down from family.  Flowerpot–free from the share shed and the plant was a couple bucks back in the spring.  The floor lamp was about $6 at a garage sale.


The curtains were from my sister (thanks Hannah!).  I made the curtain rods because buying enough for just the main floor alone would have been insane and they don’t make rods long enough for these 3 windows together anyway.  I’ll tell you about that another time.

The couch was from Darryl’s Aunt.  I think I wrote about that a couple years ago, but we had purchased a couch and loveseat off craigslist for $50.  They were comfortable and worked in our old living room, but when she offered us this couch (and a chair), we liked these better and sold the other set for $180, then used $100 of that to buy my dining room table and chairs.

So technically, I don’t think I’ve spent more than $100 furnishing and decorating the living room AND dining room, including the curtain rods.

So there you have it.  Not much to see cause it’s a small space, but it’s working for us for now.

And just so you don’t think my entire house looks this tidy, here’s a picture of the den, taken the same day.


I think this room might be done last because it takes a little more of an investment to buy a sectional with a hide-a-bed.  That’s also comfortable.  Unless I find a killer deal on one, of course.  I want an ivory shag rug for this room too.  Our TVs keep getting upgraded because people give us their old ones.  Maybe the next one will be a flat screen we can mount to the wall so we can lose the stand altogether.




Artisan Bread In One Shower A Week

I used to make bread back when I had one angel child and ate a lot more carbs.

Now I have three angels, one of whom is itchy a lot and wakes up at night for no apparent reason.  I spring out of bed and flit over to hers in the dark with one blurry eye propped open, always avoiding tripping over the bear head on the floor in front of the playpen, cause sometimes looks trump practicality and it LOOKS cool to have a bear rug under the baby’s bed.

I have to get there before she actually makes a noise, cause I need the extra time to grope around for one of the 3 soothers hiding all around her and poke it into her mouth before she knows she woke up.  Otherwise I’ll have to feed her again.  Which isn’t so bad cause I just take her back to bed with me and drift in and out of consciousness until she starts snoring, at which time I pop the soother into her mouth that I remembered to bring with me from her bed, if I was able to find it at all, and carry her back to bed.  She goes back to sleep, and I tiptoe back to bed, always avoiding tripping over the bear head, and fall back asleep whilst retrieving my half of the blankets from the other side of the bed.

Repeat 3 more times.

Now thanks to daylight savings time, I can see the bear head for the last two treks across the floor.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, BREAD.

I love bread.  I used to make 4 loaves a week of lovely whole wheat bread with my very own recipe that I made up (it’s on this blog somewhere) and my Kitchen Aid.  Then my Aid up and quit and I was pregnant and didn’t want to couldn’t knead the dough.  That was two summers ago.

I found other things to eat for breakfast and let the kids eat store-bought bread once in a while, while I recovered from being pregnant and prepared to move a full day’s drive away.  I took last summer off making bread too.

Then I ran out of alternative breakfast ideas because I stopped eating dairy and eggs for baby’s sake (and mine).  Totally awesome to stop eating those when you own a cow and chickens.

So Darryl has been buying the kids the store bakery’s whole wheat bread and buying me the nice artisan sourdough, which isn’t REAL sourdough and MAY contain milk.  Ugh.  So because I’m just feeling lazy even though I get all the sleep I want, I’m trying the Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day recipe, cause I can carve out that much time every day if I skip one shower a week.  I figured it all out.

Basically, you stir some salt and yeast into warm water in a big bowl, then dump in some flour, give it a stir, and let it sit, covered, for a couple hours before storing it in the fridge.  Then whenever you want bread, you pull off a chunk and let it sit on the counter while the oven warms up, then you dust it with flour and slice perfect patterns in the top with a knife and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Cute.  I did it the way they suggested the first time cause that’s how I roll.  I pulled off the recommended grapefruit sized chunk, and I totally remember how big a grapefruit is cause I’ve totally bought one since I got married.  I guess I underestimated how much flour to put on my hands before handling the wet dough and fumbled with the sticky glob for a while, trying to pry it off my fingers in one piece.  That was amusing.  I should have let one of my angel kids do that and taken a picture to prove they do school sometimes.  But, like I said, I’m feeling lazy this year.

The recipe says the lump may not rise much depending on the age of the dough or something, and they were right.  It stayed grapefruit sized, more or less, until I slashed the top in a perfect pattern and slid smushed it off the cutting board and onto the baking stone in the  450 degree oven.

It came out perfect!


The only downside was…it was only slightly larger than a grapefruit.  But it tasted AMAZING.

It didn’t make it through the day.  And I didn’t want to do that EVERY day either cause I like showers, so the next day, I doubled it.  I pulled off a lump the size of TWO grapefruit and baked that, after remembering to use WAY more cornmeal on the cutting board (it actually slid nicely onto the baking stone!), only I didn’t leave it in the oven long enough and the middle was raw.   I tried again, cooking it until it sounded hollow when thumped on the bottom, but by then, the entire crust was so chewy that everyone else in my family complained.  No one appreciates crusty bread in this house.

Soooo back to the drawing board Pinterest I went and found instructions for cooking this exact bread recipe in the crock pot.  That sounded more like it.  I used the double-grapefruit batch and the parchment paper and it cooked for about 3 hours before I risked taking it out.  The bottom was crusted, but not too bad, and the top was a light dough colour, so I browned it under the broiler.  Not quite long enough, but at least the top was soft.  Yum!  It lasted 2 days.  Perfect.  I can do that every 2 days.  Especially with NO cleanup!

So that is how I make bread now.  Except next time I’m going to put the parchment on one of those expanding steamer thingies so it’s not touching the pot, and maybe it won’t get so crusty on the bottom.  And I’ll remember to slash the top when I first put it in so it looks like artisan bread instead of a mound of pale dough.

Now watch, I’ll have to quit eating wheat for Pete’s baby’s sake and I’ll have to eat hash browns for breakfast every morning.

Can I make those in the crock pot?

Fall Fun

This is a couple weeks late, but I wanted to show you the cute pumpkins we carved with the kids.


We were invited to a neighbour’s house to carve them.  Very nice people.  I went riding with one of them a few weeks ago.  She showed me the trails to the end of the lake.  Her horse had a really fast trot and I almost died the next day.  But it was fun.


We got a late start homeschooling Sadie, but I had a good excuse.  We were still painting and moving into our house.  We started on September 17.  I got our curriculum in the mail the week before.


We went with Sonlight because I wanted a literature-based curriculum and this one comes with instructor’s guides that tell you what to do (if you want to follow it) and it integrates bible verses and stories but still introduces world views.  It’s one of the most comprehensive curriculums too.  I lean more toward a hands-off approach to school where you teach them how to read and some basic math, and let them go at it.  This one is more hands-on but it’s mostly reading stories, and I’ve found them to be enjoyable too.

Their favourite books are Uncle Wiggly’s Story Book, The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature, Eric Carle’s Animals Animals, and the Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book.  These are the ones I find in their beds most often (plenty of others make it in there too), and the ones they get extra excited about hearing.

This Core is the pre-kindergarten one (as opposed to the preschool core), but I ordered the kindergarten level Math and Handwriting to go with it.  I didn’t get the readers that come with this core because we’re working through the book Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.  We’re on lesson 83 I think.  She can read a full page story and write all her letters thanks to that book.  I’ll evaluate her reading level next year and see what reader level we’ll be ordering then.

I chose the pre-kindergarten core because I want to teach Sadie and Chad with the same core starting next year.  That gives Chad a chance to mature enough that he can handle the kindergarten level at age 4.5, theoretically.  I’ll probably start the 100 reading lessons book with him at that time too.



All the books take up half of a shelf.   They came with a sheet of flourescent orange stickers to put on the spines of the books.  Every core program has its own colour to make it easy to keep track of which books belong in which core, something I could see being an issue with multiple cores in the house.  I thought that was a nice touch.


The kindergarten math (Singapore) also came with these fun shapes, and cards showing different patterns or animals they can copy.  These were played with daily until we got the trains unpacked.  They’re still played with a lot.  It keeps them busy for hours.  Sadie, of course, makes people, and Chad very carefully fills in shapes on the cards.  It takes him a long time and he gets frustrated whenever he bumps them, but he sticks with it until it’s done.  Amazing for building attention span and patience!



We’re done Term 1 now.  We’ve been doing school for about 5 weeks.  We started mid-september and took a couple of weeks off when Darryl had time off work.  In the first 2 weeks, we were up to week 5 or 6 of the schedule, so we slowed down a bit.  Now we do school about 3 days a week and in week 7, we’re working on week 13 and 14.  The instructor’s Guide is great.  It gives you a schedule of what to read and when, but we like reading stories so we usually read more than the guide says to do.  We’ll read all the science for that week at once, or all the read-clouds for that week (or two) at once.  Then we do Math and Handwriting once a week for as long as she wants to keep going.

At this rate, we could be done the core by early spring.  Math and Handwriting might take a bit longer.

I have ordered the next Math and Handwriting books for Sadie, so she can keep going into grade 1 level stuff.  We don’t see the value in taking 2 months off in summer, so we’ll probably keep going to some degree through the summer.  Gives us something to do and she won’t forget everything she just learned (just some of it).  We will probably take a week off every 4-5 weeks all year round.

We haven’t been at this homeschooling thing very long, but so far it’s going well and it’s fun!

Do you homeschool?  Have you used Sonlight?  What do you like about your curriculum?


One Photo

We lived in the mobile home on 10 acres of forest for nearly 6 years.

All 3 of my kids were born in that house!

I was very happy to move.

I was aware that many people get sentimental about a house when they leave it.

I didn’t want to be sentimental about that particular house.

But all 3 of my kids were born in that house! (literally)

So I made a single momento so I wouldn’t get all teary-eyed about leaving.

One photo.  Me and each child, in the spot in that living room where they were each born.



3kids compressed

Now I’m not sad at all about leaving those memories (or that house) behind!

(Yeah, I took 3 photos and edited them into one in photoshop.  It’s one of my favourite photos, even though the lighting is terrible and I look like I spent the last 2 days packing and cleaning)


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