gender reveal

I am happy to announce that our fourth baby is a GIRL!!!!

This is our first time finding out the gender. We did so mostly for our children. Remy was asking if it was a girl or boy everyday, and Wilder was saying that he wanted a brother. We didn’t want to make them wait any longer, and wanted to be able to provide an answer. Hence this reveal!

We are over the moon. This is what Geoffrey and I have hoped and prayed for- not just the gender but more importantly that our little sweetie would appear healthy and active. To us, that outweighs the sex of the baby every time.

I am feeling beyond blessed these days. Have a wonderful week!

Emory

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5 tips for a successful collision repair

Nobody wants car accidents and car dents, but unfortunate events happen from time to time. The best thing to do is to be mentally prepared for any situation. As the premium auto body shop in Toronto, Modern Automotive is happy to share helpful tips for people to understand the basic process of collision repair.   

Don’t hesitate to ask questions 

Car owners are not mechanical professionals, so they will not know every detail about collision repair. Just like you will call appliance repair technicians when you have a problematic fridge. When there is a need to repair a car dent, he needs to know the costs, time frames, and warranties. It is true that people tend to trust in a local service provider, but it is always recommended to have a clear picture of the services from the auto body shop. Nobody wants to find hidden costs after the repairs.

Use certified technicians 

When a car owner plans to work with an auto repair shop, he needs to figure out if the technician is certified by the auto manufacturer or others. A proper certification means that the technician receives professional training to perform quality repairs. People are more likely to receive great services from certified technicians.   

Check the source of replacement parts 

It is important to understand where the replacement parts come from. Are those parts qualified? How about the costs? It is always worth being well informed of the prices.  

Get a complete quote 

A car accident might affect many parts of the vehicle. Before the repair, the car owner should have a clear understanding of which parts need repairs. Common repairs include bumpers, dents, paints, filters, cracked glasses and doors. Try to go over each item carefully and ask questions when necessary.  

Don’t have to use the recommended auto body shop 

While it is easier to go with the auto body shop recommended by the insurance company, a car owner still has the right to choose the right service provider after a thorough research. After all, reliable and effective repair is the priority.  

It might be stressful when faced with collision repairs. That’s why Modern Automotive wants to shed light on the process to help car owners to get prepared for any unexpected accidents. If you live in a remote area, you can simply search on Google to check your nearby service providers with good SEO ranking and reviews.

** This was a contributed post.

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recipe: raised doughnuts

I am personally not a huge fan of doughnuts, but my husband and children are. It’s usually their treat whenever we make the odd trip into town and need some sort of snack in order to make it to the next meal! I’ve always wanted to try baking them myself, but never seemed overly motivated. That is, until now.

These were actually fairly easy to make! The only issue was that every website that I came across would not say how long to cook the doughnuts in the oil. I thought that turning raw dough into cooked dough would take 5-10 minutes at least. In fact, it only tastes about 2 minutes! Hence they are a little darker than they should be. However, I adjusted the recipe accordingly. My next batch (and yours) should turn out perfectly!

Raised Doughnuts

Makes 1 dozen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp butter, plus more to grease
3/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk, hot
1/4 cup water, hot
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
4 cups oil
Icing
Sprinkles

Steps:

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, milk, water, and yeast. Stir. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.

2. Next beat in the egg. Add the flour, nutmeg, and salt and mix until well combined. Knead in bowl until consistency is firm yet not too sticky. Grease a medium-sized bowl and place dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let stand for 1 hour.

3. Punch down dough. Move to a floured surface and roll out into one long strip. Divide into 12 balls. Poke a hole in the centre of each ball using your finger. Work into a nice, even, smooth shape of a doughnut. Repeat. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

4. Drop each doughnut into a deep fryer or lightly boiling pot of oil. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, then remove and place onto tea towel over a cutting board or cookie sheet. Let cool. 

5. Finally, decorate as desired! I glazed with icing and then topped with sprinkles. Have fun with it! They’re yours to enjoy.

Emory

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a few of the benefits of living somewhere a bit wilder

Pixabay CC0 License

Approximately hundred years ago, the vast majority of human beings – including those living in Europe and the United States – lived in rural settings, with only a minority of the population living in highly urbanised environments.

Today, the situation is the exact reverse, with urban areas being highly crowded population centres, and the wilder parts of the world being increasingly sparsely populated.

Throughout almost the entire span of human existence up until this point, we have lived in natural settings that bear virtually no resemblance to modern cities and large towns, and there’s a lot of evidence that living somewhere a bit wilder and a bit closer to the heart of nature can convey all sorts of different potential upsides.

Civilisation provides many amazing benefits, ranging from modern healthcare, to the ability to purchase the best quality eyeglasses for your needs, within moments, via the Internet.

Fortunately, living in a wilder or more rural area doesn’t mean that you have to become a hermit and totally turn your back on technology and modern innovations.

Here are a few of the benefits of living somewhere a bit wilder.

A much closer connection to nature and a sense of being part of a greater whole

For a long time now, a wide variety of people have reported feeling alienated, atomised, and disconnected as a result of city living.

Sociologists dating back at least to the 1800s have made the point that living in dense urban centres naturally creates a sense of distance and disconnection from other people, even when you are completely surrounded by them, and fosters sensations of anxiety and rootlessness.

As human beings, we all need to have a sense of connection to a greater whole in order to really thrive – and that sense of connection to a greater whole frequently comes in the form of a connection to nature, and the more natural and organic kinds of communities that tend to develop in wilder and more rural settings.

Increasingly, psychologists are finding that people who regularly spend time in nature enjoy an enhanced sense of well-being, feel more balanced and whole, and suffer less from many of the issues that afflict people in urban environments.

The psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist, for example, makes a compelling case that urban environments keep us completely submerged in a landscape of human artifice, which makes it very difficult for us to feel the sense of organic wholeness that we associate with things like the natural world, and nourishing interpersonal relationships.

Regular opportunities for “silence” and getting in touch with what really matters

One of the most common issues that afflicts virtually everyone today, is the sheer, ever-present, overpowering nature of the various distractions that we are surrounded by day and night.

Whether it’s advertising, worrying stories in the news, the latest celebrity gossip or cultural event, notifications in your social media feeds, or any number of other things, it can often be overwhelming just going through day-to-day life while trying to maintain a bit of balance and poise.

On the one hand, having your attention under constant attack is certainly annoying, but the issue might be significantly more serious than that.

The highly accomplished Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge, who – among other things – was the first man to walk solo to the South Pole, believes that we all need moments of “silence” and freedom from distraction on a regular basis, in order to help us get in touch with our authentic selves, and truly thrive.

For Kagge, many of his best moments of what he calls “silence” came about when he was doing feats of endurance in extreme natural environments.

In recent years, however, he has written a book entitled “Silence in the Age of Noise,” and he argues that it’s possible for us all to find moments for this kind of silence in our own daily lives.

Living in a wilder and more natural area naturally makes it easier to escape the countless distractions that so often bombard us. Simply stepping outside into your garden, going for a stroll, or even just turning off your TV, opening the window, and listening to the sounds of nature, can help you to take a breather.

Importantly, it’s in these kinds of moments of calm and quiet that we often realise what it is that we actually find most significant and meaningful in life.

A higher baseline level of physical activity

As you hear from a huge number of different sources, one of the most pressing public health issues across the developed world today is sedentary living, and lower and lower baseline levels of physical activity for the average person.

Maintaining a high level of low-to-moderate intensity physical activity on a regular basis is associated with all sorts of fantastic health benefits, ranging from improving cardiovascular function, to maintaining a healthy body weight, enjoying an enhanced sense of well-being, experiencing improved immune function, and more.

Living in a wilder locale almost automatically means a higher baseline level of physical activity, as you walk more around your neighbourhood, go strolling through the landscape, potentially work in your garden or on your smallholding, and so on.

At the very least, you’ll almost certainly find it easier to motivate yourself to go out for a stroll if you have some beautiful natural scenery to appreciate just beyond your front door.

Daily opportunities for fascination and insight

It’s probably fair to say that everyone wants their life to be full of moments of fascination, novelty, and insight – and living in a wilder and more natural setting can provide a virtually endless number of opportunities in this regard, if you approach things in the right way.

The natural world is an extremely intricate and fascinating web of different interdependent organisms, forces, and dynamics.

In her book, “Finding the Mother Tree,” plant scientist and former forester Suzanne Simard describes some of the profound ways in which trees and other plants communicate, engage in deeply intricate symbiotic relationships, and shape forests as essentially interconnected, living and breathing mega-organisms.

Whether you are interested in hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, or other high-octane sporting activities, or whether you want to take up birdwatching, explore the forests, try your hand at beekeeping, plant a vegetable garden, or a variety of other things, there are opportunities – on a daily basis – to explore new avenues, delve into new interests, and keep a childlike sense of wonder alive.

While there are certainly all kinds of different things to do in urban environments, the very nature of those environments tends to give us less room to explore and experience those sorts of primal pastimes. Instead, urban environments typically present a preset number of different recreational activities.

Less pollution

Pollution is one of the most pressing issues in the world today, and a lot has been said – and continues to be said – about the ways in which air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and more are not only undermining the stability of the planet’s various ecosystems, but also directly harming human health.

Many common pollutants, for example, have been associated with hormonal changes and an increased risk of serious disease.

While many modern cities are far cleaner than they used to be, and while there are pollution concerns in certain rural areas, related largely to pesticides, living in a relatively wild area is likely to mean you will be exposed to significantly less pollution, and can literally “breathe easier” as a result.

Particularly if you have a young family to raise, things like the relative pollution levels in your environment might be major factors to consider, when planning for the future.

More space

It almost goes without saying that living in a wilder and more rural environment automatically tends to mean that you have more space available – both in terms of a larger home and plot of land at a more affordable price, and also in terms of more space between you and your neighbours.

There are many potential benefits to simply having more space at your disposal – ranging from the fact that it might allow for a more comfortable style of living, the fact that it might allow you to work on various projects and interests of yours that would be difficult to work in a more urban environment.

For example, you might be able to create a small barn or workshop, grow a well-sized garden, keep a certain number of livestock, or a variety of other things.

A bit more space between you and your neighbours also means a bit more privacy, and less of the sense of claustrophobia that people sometimes experience when living in crowded cities.

Ultimately, living somewhere wilder can really allow you to tailor your living situation to your particular preferences, in a variety of different ways that will often be at least quite difficult, if not impossible, elsewhere.

** This was a contributed post.

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renovating our bonair pop-up camper

Last month we bought a vintage pop-up camper off of Kijiji. The ad seemed like we wouldn’t need to put a lot of work into it, and the pictures were few and shot from afar. After speaking with the owner, she made it seem like we would be able to pick it up and go camping right away! How misleading that all was.

My husband went and bought it on a day off and I stayed home in order to take Remy to a birthday party. It was listed for $2000. He told me not to negotiate a price until he arrived, so I didn’t. When he got there, he said that it needed work. He offered her $1000 and they settled on $1500. When I heard how much he paid for it I thought that she was getting the short end of the stick and I felt a little guilty. Then Geoff came home with the camper, set it up, and I realized that $1500 was a more than generous offer. 

The owner was not truthful about a lot of things. She said there were no leaks when there were leaks, that the fabric was all in good condition when really every cushion was ripped and had holes, that the canvas was in great shape when it wasn’t, and so on. On top of it all, it was missing the sink and faucets, the propane stove was in hideous condition, the furnace didn’t work, and there was no water tank, among other issues.

Above is a “during renovation” photo. In one month, this is what we ended up accomplishing:

– installed new screens

– curtains + hooks

– bedding

– wall plates

– furnace

– fridge

– cabinet knobs

– hinges

– lighting

– plumbing

– propane tanks

– water tank

– door handle

– stove

– sink + faucets

– countertop 

– table

– dinnerware

– rug

– peg shelf

– scraped the ceiling 

– mended the canvas

– ccclllleeeaaaannnneeeeddddd

I’m tired from just recounting and writing all of that! But in all seriousness, it was a lot of work. We certainly could never have just picked it up and gone camping with it. However, it was worth it. We were able to keep her vintage qualities and yet make her new again.

Emory

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