• The Last Night*

    We are finally getting close to the end of our bedroom reno.

    We’ve been cozy downstairs in our spare bedroom for the last two weeks, but it’s still not “our bed” so we haven’t been sleeping as well as we normally do. Instead of just my ninja roll out out of our bed, I now have to creep up the creaking basement stairs every time I have to go in with the kids or use the bathroom, and I think I wake M up a lot. (Sorry, love!) This morning he woke up super early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so when I got up at 6am for work I found him on his hands and knees in our bedroom, caulking the trim he installed last night.

    When we started the reno he made an organized task list with daily items to complete to keep us on schedule. We both stay more focused when we are checking items off a list, and there have been many evenings where we probably would have just collapsed on the couch in exhaustion after work + getting the kids to bed if we didn’t know we had something to complete. Last week our evenings were full of sanding walls and painting, this week it was painting, installing and caulking trim and repairing patches in the carpet. Tonight we rented a carpet cleaner and cleaned the floor–the last step before we’re able to move our bed back in.

    The room isn’t quite finished yet–we need to put the ceiling fan back up, install the new closet, paint + install crown moulding, build our dresser, paint the trim around the doors and paint the door itself, but it’s all things that can be done after the fact. I have every finger and every toe crossed that I will be back sleeping in my own bed again tomorrow night. I worked four days in a row this week, so cleaning the carpet tonight was about the last thing that I wanted to do at 8pm… but that is how motivated I am to get my bed back. I am “clean carpets after working this morning, picking up S from school sick, making dinner, cutting H’s hair while he cried and moaned, bathing all the kids while M went to rent the carpet cleaner” motivated.

    Also, I’m exhausted.

    My back has been tight all day, and as I was using the carpet cleaner I felt my hips start to go. There was no way I was stopping though, so I powered through and finished, and I’m now rocking one hip considerably higher than the other. Oh well. I already have an appointment with my Osteopath booked this week, and he can shake his head at me, scold me for not doing my exercises as often as I should, and make it right again. (Osteopaths are magical.)

    Now I’ve crashed on the couch next to a pile of super hero toys and H’s lunch bag, which I have absolutely no desire to clean up. I think tonight is going to be a “shut the lights off and pretend the mess isn’t there” night… and I’m totally okay with it.

    I need chocolate.

  • The Closet Dilemma*

    I need some help.

    We are still plucking away at our bedroom reno. It’s been a slow process because we’re doing it ourselves, we have children, M wasn’t feeling well all weekend, we have children and.. we have children.

    You know.

    We can only work in bits and spurts when they are happily entertained or sleeping. We’re almost through the “repair” part of the process, and of course when I say “we” I of course mean M. He has been repairing the drywall, patching holes, sanding uneven spots, edging our ceiling, etc, etc. Next up is painting the ceiling, then we get to the fun part: painting the walls and decorating!

    This is where you come in.

    My first task is to figure out our closet. Until now, it’s just been a giant sagging bar and single shelf across the top. I would like to add in some kind of closet organizer, and if you can help me pick one, I’ll love you until I die.

    Our closet is one giant space. And I want to maximize our storage and also make it look appealing. We have the doors off at present, and I’m debating just leaving them off if we find something that looks nice that we can keep clean. Here’s what I’m working with:

    (Looking straight on)

    (Inside of closet)

    So it’s just a big empty space right now. It’s a good size: 10ft & 4in across, 26in deep and 7.5ft tall. The divider in the middle is 6in, and there’s basically 5ft on either side.

    I’ve been looking around at options online, and I think this is essentially the concept that I want.

                                        {Found at RONA}

    I like the idea of having separate sides to hang our things, but a shared shelving unit in the middle. Of course this particular organizer went on clearance at RONA and I can’t find it anywhere. So I’m improvising.

    I’ve looked around online at a few places, but IKEA always calls to me. I’ve been on their website and there are two systems that I think I like.

    I think this one is my favourite: ALGOT (Wall upright / shelves / rod, white)

    I think I could possibly do one on either side of our closet, and then just put a set of shelves in the middle. Maybe. If it would look good.

    I’ve also been looking at this one: ALGOT (Wall upright / shelves / box, white)

    This second one looks wider, so I don’t think I could do the shelves in the middle, but possibly to one side. I don’t know. HELP ME. I get so stressed choosing this kind of thing because decorating is just not my forte. It’s not. And I’m okay with that.

    However, I still want my bedroom to look lovely and organized, and I’ve realized that for me to do that, I need to ask for help. So here I am, asking.

    Help me find a closet organizer? Please?

  • That Time I Carried a Desk Up a Flight of Stairs by Myself*


    I have long been lamenting the fact that I don’t have a proper space to sit down and write. I have a laptop, so technically I can write anywhere, but I have really missed having a desk.

    Three years ago I sold my big desk from my student days to make room for Ruby’s nursery. I didn’t mind as I certainly didn’t need such a big desk anymore, and I downsized to a smaller table-style desk once I started teaching again. It was in my living room, but as we then needed the extra space for Ruby’s play corner and I was trying to do most of my marking at work, my desk was banished to the basement.

    It’s been sitting there, sad and lonely, ever since.

    I’ve never been a big fan of sitting on the couch with my laptop, so lately days will go by before I even turn it on… which does very little to help my desire to write.

    So, today I did something about it. As I stood in my kitchen pondering where on earth I could find space for my desk, a light turned on: my kitchen! Why had I never thought of this before?! I use my computer to find and make recipes ALL THE TIME, and I am constantly shuffling it between the living room, my counters, or the kitchen table. I have always been jealous of people who have a little computer nook in the kitchen, so I decided to make my own. I spent about an hour rearranging my pantry, microwave stand, table and high chair to try and find a combination that would create enough space for my desk… and after a few tries I was pretty sure I had it.

    I spent about a minute reflecting on the fact that I should probably wait for the Hubster to help me haul the desk up a flight of stairs, but that idea quickly flew out the window.

    Note to future self: it is almost always easier to move furniture up stairs where there are two people involved.

    I began to inch the desk up the basement stairs one step at a time. I was several steps up when I definitely decided that it was probably a terrible idea for me to be moving this desk up a flight of stairs alone.

    Then I realized that I was stuck behind the desk. As I precariously balanced the desk on a step, I contemplated how bad it might be if I missed my footing and the desk (and I) fell back down the stairs. So, seeing that my options were rather limited, I decided there was only one choice. Press on!

    (My choice may also have been affected by the fact that Hank was sitting in the living room and was starting to fuss for me. Oops.)

    I inched the desk up the stairs and around the corner through the door (that part was fun) and lived to tell the tale! And now here I am at my little kitchen nook. I’m still playing around with things a little so it’s not “picture ready” yet, but I am SO happy. I made a new recipe for dinner and I didn’t have to share counter space with my laptop, and here I am, writing at a desk again! Huzzah!

    My heart is so happy. It’s the little things, lovelies.

    Life is good.

    Shop Girl Signature

  • Cleaning House: The Chore Chart*

    You guys, I have a confession to make… my house is a disaster. Pretty much all the time.

    Since Hank’s arrival, I’ve found it challenging to try and find a delicate balance of meeting the needs of a newborn and toddler as well as attempting to keep my house in order. There are days when remembering to shower and brush my teeth feels like a major accomplishment, never mind vacuuming or cleaning my windows.

    Thinking about all the cleaning I have to do to keep up my house is sometimes really overwhelming… so I started thinking about ways I could break things up to make it seem more manageable. I’m a very visual person, so I thought that some kind of organized chart could help.

    So, I did what any desperate housewife would do: I searched Pinterest.

    I actually haven’t been a huge Pinterest fan until quite recently. Seeing all the beautifully decorated houses and perfect mothers doing cute crafts with their seven children was a little depressing, and really, who needs that.

    However, I recently discovered their recipe section and I am hooked. So, I thought I would give it a whirl and see if anything came up. As the page loaded, I scrolled through so many neat ideas others were using to manage their daily tasks. After seeing a few that I liked, I spent a precious nap-time hour organizing my daily tasks and playing around with a document until I had it just the way I wanted it.

    It ended up looking like this:

    My Chore Chart*
    My Chore Chart*

    I tried to divvy up my big chores and spread them out across the week. You’ll notice that there is only one big chore for each day, as well as small tasks that I try to keep up with every day. I didn’t include basic things like doing the dishes as those things get done anyway.

    Rather than print a new chart each week, I found an idea to make one sheet reusable… and I could have it in a location I’d see all the time. I went to Dollarama and picked up a cheap 8×10 picture frame and some dry erase markers. I inserted the chart, and… voila!

    My Chore Chart*
    My Chore Chart*

    I hung my chart in my kitchen, above the counter where I spend the most time preparing food or putting away dishes. The frame + dry erase markers allow me to adjust the dates each week, and check off my tasks as I complete them. It’s just a simple, silly idea, but being able to check something off and actually seeing that I’ve accomplished something each day feels really good.

    That being said, I also don’t beat myself up if I’m not able to finish a task. I’m getting better at cutting myself some slack, and if I don’t get my kitchen floor swept at the end of the day, I know I can always try in the morning. It just makes cleaning feel so much more manageable. Instead of staring at an endless mountain of jobs, I like knowing that I have one or two “big” jobs to try and get done each day.

    The best part? This project cost me a whopping $2. Win.

    If anyone is interested, I would be happy to email the chart… it’s easy to move tasks around, or delete them all and insert your own! Just shoot me a message on Facebook or leave me a note here and I’ll send it your way.

    How do you stay on top of your cleaning? Any tips for me?


  • On the Mend*


    After a long, long week I can finally put a name to the illness that has been ravaging my poor Wee-bean for the last seven days. Her fever persisted until late Friday night before it finally broke… only to make way for a rash that covered her entire torso. It wasn’t itchy, but she was SO uncomfortable and she she continued to want to be held by me all the time. I hate seeing her feeling so small.

    She has not been herself for days… but this morning she finally woke up with a smile. No fever, her rash is fading and she finally had a decent breakfast. She has been happily playing and colouring since breakfast and I feel like I can finally take a breath.

    Let’s just hope that Hank doesn’t catch it.

    Anyway. That was my week! Today I have plans to clean / disinfect my entire house and actually go out somewhere. Aside from our visit to the doctor, we haven’t left the house since last Sunday as I wasn’t sure if she was contagious. I am dying to go check out the new summer dresses at Target– they looked so cute in the flyer! And I think I’ve earned a new dress (or two) after the week we’ve had.

    I’m also testing out a new way to blog… from my phone! I find it so hard to get onto my computer for any length of time these days, so when I found a WordPress app for my phone, I thought I would give it a whirl. I generally hate typing long messages on my phone, but this actually isn’t too bad! And if it will give me a way to write more often, I’m going to run with it. :)

    Well, there is a bottle of Lysol calling my name… let the Monday cleaning begin!


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