remy is five

Our smart, strong, spirited, one-dimpled girl is turning 5 years old this week.

She is our lover of life. She greets every morning by exclaiming “what a beautiful day” and calls everybody, young and old, her best friend.

She already fights for what is good and just. If you are sick, sad, or hurt she will race to your side and not leave you until you are well again.

She wants to be both a veterinarian and a superhero when she grows up.

A lover of all people and animals, you will always have a friend in Remy.

Happy birthday my beautiful, pure-hearted soul. Never, ever change who you are.

<3<3 Mama

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3 relaxation techniques for a stressed person

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Many people are experiencing higher levels of stress than usual right now. The coronavirus pandemic, confinement indoors and separation from family and friends are all contributing factors to excessive amounts of stress and anxiety; it’s a totally understandable, natural reaction to the world right now. 

If you are struggling with stress or anxiety at the moment, it could be affecting your ability to go about your daily life and complete all your tasks. It could even be affecting your sleeping, eating, exercising or working habits. 

Nobody should have to live with excessive stress – even if they are going through something difficult. Here are 3 relaxation techniques for a stressed person!

1. Do your regular routine, but make it mindful.

If you are a busy person, you could put yourself into robot mode when it comes to doing your regular routine, such as chores, work or childcare. You might be in the habit of doing things mindlessly, just trying to do everything as quickly as possible without putting any heart into it. This is a normal stress response, but one that only extrapolates your feelings.

As a stress-relief technique, try doing your regular tasks in a more mindful way. ‘Mindfulness’ is a buzzword that is thrown around a lot, but what it truly means is that you should pay attention to the actions you are taking. If you are cleaning your kitchen, pay attention to the way the sponge moves across the countertop. Breathe in the clean smells. Take your time; this menial task will come to mean something more, and bring calm feelings with it.

2. Figure out your triggers and let them go.

Everyone has triggers that increase their stress or make them particularly anxious. Examples of these triggers are messy work spaces, put-downs from your partner or spouse, calls from the boss, your kids making too much noise or family worries.

Whatever those triggers are for you, your job is to try to find a way to either let them go or become okay with them. If these triggers can’t be eliminated from your life, the task is then to re-learn your association with that thing. Seeing a therapist can help massively with unlearning negative associations and reestablishing your relationship to your triggers.

Image credit.

3. Use self massage techniques.

Self massage is a fantastic way to calm down after a difficult day. You can find techniques online that help you work your tense muscles and find stillness in the evening. It helps if you are comfortable, so ensure you have bathrobes and dressing gowns ready to wear for this exercise. In addition, having a bath beforehand can help soothe any muscular tension you have. Massage is the perfect way to release your stress and sleep better through the night.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling with stress during the pandemic, you can use these techniques to alleviate your worry and become more relaxed. While there’s no quick fix for stress, these three tips can help reduce these feelings.

** This was a contributed post.

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let’s talk doors

Before.

The biggest question that I am aiming to answer here is whether or not you can install a 2”x4″ exterior door in a 2”x6″ wall? Also, what is the price difference?

When we purchased our acreage it was bank-owned. As far as we knew, it had sat vacant for many months before we ended up moving into it. To deter people from entering, the property manager had duct taped signs to both exterior doors. Have you ever tried removing duct tape from painted doors? It can’t be nicely done. Either the paint chips away, or the duct tape stays.

Fast-forward nearly two years, and we finally hired a contractor to replace our doors. What a process it was. Because I had never done this before, I thought that I would explain our process, and how we ended up saving a lot of money. If you are interested in replacing your doors but are worried about the price of doing so, it can be done for cheaper than you think (with a bit of research and determination)!

Originally, I had really wanted wood doors. My mother and step-father installed one at their acreage and it was just gorgeous. So about a year ago, I called around to many manufactures in Saskatoon and asked for quotes. What I was getting back was around $10,000 for two exterior wood doors plus install. These were their cheapest prices.

Because we renovating our entire home on essentially one income, I set a budget for $3000. This would have to include the price of doors and installation. So I scoured online for wood doors. After weeks, I came to the conclusion that if we wanted a wood look we were going to have to settle for woodgrain fibreglass doors.

Next, I went to Home Hardware and Home Depot and obtained quotes in person. Home Depot has a beautiful line by Masonite. I ended up with a quote of $2,219 for Craftsmen-style doors that were on sale. That seemed reasonable to me! I went to Home Hardware just to compare. Two of their doors was going to cost just over $3000. So at the time, I settled on Home Depot.

Then we had a small black window installed next to our side door. At the time, we now had mostly white windows, one white door, one red door, and one black window. All of those colours and different styles were putting my OCD into overdrive. I told Geoff that we had to choose one colour and stick with it. 

Because our style is more Scandinavian-farmhouse-modern, I knew that I wanted to keep with a black and white theme. So totally scrapping the wood door idea, we were now aiming for really modern black doors. Ones that would let in light, but also offer privacy. 

To make a long story short, we found exactly what we had in mind at Lowe’s. Made by JELD-WEN, each door was just over $400, totalling about $850. The only problem was they were 2”x4″ jambs rather than the 2”x6″ jambs that we needed. What’s the difference? Thousands of dollars. Because the 2”x4″ black doors were so common and in stock, they were such a good deal. To order the same or a similar door in a 2”x6″ construction, it would have been considered special order. Hence, the price went up to over $1000 per door. Inevitably, 2”x4″ doors are generally much cheaper than 2”x6″ doors.

Having our hearts set on the 2”x4″ doors by JELD-WEN, I sent our contractor a text and asked him if there was any way that we could purchase those doors. To my surprise, he said that we could! We just needed a door extension kit, which ran for about $75 each. Um, SOLD!! 

We ended up buying the doors, brick mould, and extension kits for less than $1000. So far, so good.

It took our contractor a few months to finally have a few days off in his schedule. Then, it took him a day and a half to install them. His final price for install was $1300. 

After.

I ended up selling our old doors for $300. In total, we spent around $2000 on our front and side door renovation. After all of the unknowing and change of minds, it ended up being way under budget. I am so happy about that, and so happy with the results! If you are wanting to save money, I highly suggest exploring all options, such as a smaller framed door. Also, don’t quit until you are happy with the price. It may take forever and a day, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money on exterior doors if you don’t want to.

We still need a new exterior light, doorbell, to paint the white brick mould black, and are planning a wraparound deck this summer. But for now, our acreage is slowly but surely coming together.

Emory

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recipe: lovely marble cupcakes

This Valentine’s Day, I have prepared three separate recipes that can be combined into one delicious meal for you and your loved one(s)! They are the deeply red and delicious Borscht Soup, healthy Soda Heart Bread, and these lovely and sweet Marble Cupcakes.

You can choose to make all three, or only two, or just one. Or none. ;-)))

Regardless, each recipe is packed full of flavour, warmth, and of course, love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lovely Marble Cupcakes

Makes 12

Ingredients:

(For the cupcakes)

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk

(For the frosting)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
6 tbsp milk (more or less, depending on desired consistency)
Sprinkles, optional

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 12 muffin cups with liners. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg whites until they are smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Sift in the flour, then add the baking powder, stirring until completely combined. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder and milk together. Then fold in half of the cupcake batter, stirring until it becomes a smooth chocolatey mixture. 

3. Using a teaspoon, add a heaping spoonful of vanilla batter to each muffin cup. Use another spoon for the chocolate, and repeat until all of the batter is gone and all of the cups are even. (They should be nearly half full.) Take a toothpick and swirl each cup around a couple of times. Then place in oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Once the muffins have cooled, spread icing over each one. Using a cake decorating kit will yield the prettiest results. Top with sprinkles, if so desired! Finish off your Valentine’s Day- or any- meal with these beautiful, lovely cupcakes!

<3<3

Emory

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winter children

Even though the weather is cold, we still make a point of spending either the morning or afternoon outdoors. Because Remy and Wilder are not yet in school, staying indoors all day long is enough to make us all go crazy. We all feel better (and much more tired) after getting some Vitamin D!

The other day when we were at the park, I was trying to convince them to go back home so that I could start lunch. Remy turned to me and said, “but we are winter kids, mum. We don’t need to go inside. We are warm enough out here.” It was so sweet and innocent and I was really proud of her for saying that. I think that it was about -20C that morning and we had already been out for over an hour, but the cold wasn’t phasing her. If only I had the same ability to always look at life through rose coloured glasses.

This morning we decided to stay home and go sledding on our little hill. We worked on our snow fort and played pirates on the jungle gym. It was just below zero that morning (which is incredibly warm for the end of December), so the cats were sunning themselves on the deck. That is, when they weren’t eating compost with our dogs.

This is just a regular thing that we do everyday and I probably take for granted at times. I wanted to document it at least once, because they won’t be this young forever. I feel lucky to live where we do and with our winter children.

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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