Thursday, November 24, 2011

2012 calendar round-up

It's that time of year again! Your December is full of Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, and family dinners and friends are already sending you invitations for January. Time to find somewhere to collect all of these dates. Enter the 2012 calendar.

Last year I featured a calendar a day but I decided to do things a little different this year. I explored pages and pages of results on Etsy and pinned my favourites to my "calendars" board on Pinterest.

Calendars pin board
The focus this year is on poster calendars; that is, the year at a glance all on one page. There are some really great options out there and these are just a few that caught my eye. To see all 39 calendars, click through to Pinterest.

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest
 {Such a unique idea - I love it!}
Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

I hope you find something that you will love for the whole year!

Are there any that I'm missing? Have you found a calendar that knocks your socks off?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Things I Learned in the US

We just got back from a week in Palm Springs opening up my grandparents’ trailer (which came with its own set of issues) and these are some things I learned in the Unites States.
  • Montana doesn’t have sales tax. Woohoo to guilt-free shopping at Target! Check out the Missoni for Target items I picked up on CLEARANCE!! The Target in Great Falls doesn’t carry Dwell Studio though so my mission wasn’t a complete success.
  • The ketchup tastes different. Can’t pinpoint it - more sugar or vinegar? - but it was a definite difference.
  • Traveling with a two-year-old is not my cup of tea. This past week has been an exercise in patience for everyone (and patience is not something toddler’s excel at). It was nice to get away but man, I am exhausted! M. is a generally charming child and I had people tell me she did quite well (travel is hard on adults too!) but that aside she missed naps, was off her schedule, didn’t have her toys and was cranky. I think future trips - until she stops taking afternoon naps and learns better listening skills - will be road trips. There are lots of places within driving distance that we love to visit (Vancouver! Winnipeg!) so we are good with that. Also, we need a vacation sans kid. It would be nice to not have someone demanding my iPod every 5 minutes and wanting to watch Dora the Explorer. It would be nice to be able to go out in the evening to a show or a nice restaurant where we don’t have to worry about our child throwing a temper tantrum. It would be nice to sit peacefully on an airplane without being hit or scratched by a whiny toddler and embarrassed because we have one of *those* kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter to pieces and want to show her the world but I think those explorations can wait until she’s a little older.
  • When you ask an American how far something is you’ll get an answer in miles not minutes.
  • Looking for guaranteed free wifi? Find your nearest Starbucks. The same can be said for Canada but Starbucks was a life-saver this week when I was waiting for an email and the RV park didn’t have internet. One of us would drive in to Desert Hot Springs every morning to pick up coffee (for A. ) and tea (for me) and update our emails.
  • It gets dark in the desert FAST! Daylight savings really messed with us this trip because it was dark (pitch black) by 5pm. The desert is also very quite and peaceful. We took a couple walks outside the gates of the RV park and A. is now convinced that he would like to retire in Palm Springs. He was also fascinated by the wind farms.
  • Date shakes are delicious! We went out to Shields Date Garden and I was able to cross an item off of my life list.
  • Being able to buy wine in a grocery store rocks. I always knew grocery stores sold liquor but when you like some wine with dinner it’s really nice not to have to go to a separate store.
  • I would definitely stay at the Ayres Hotel Manhattan Beach again. It’s right off the freeway but not at all noisy, is in a good location to access the sites, the rooms are big and nicely decorated (traditional European? French?), and the service was impeccable.
  • The Cheesecake Factory is way fancier than The Cheesecake Cafe here in Calgary, had valet parking, and hosted a wedding reception! These things may only apply to the Redondo Beach location but that's the only one I've been to. 
All in all, it was nice to get away but this is definitely a case of needing a vacation from our vacation. :)

Have you had a vacation end up being not quite what you expected?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Pinterest Challenge : Autumn edition

A lot of the projects that I've worked on around the house lately have been inspired by Pinterest, but the things I had planned to do this past weekend coincided perfectly with the second Pinterest Challenge that was hosted by Sherry, Katie, Ana, and Erin. Check out their projects - they are pretty awesome!

Since it was Halloween on Monday it was the perfect chance to try out some of the pumpkin designs I had pinned. My sister and I took M. to the Calgary Corn Maze over Thanksgiving and we picked out four lovely pumpkins. A. was in charge of two of them (M. coloured on one and then we carved a design) and I took the other two. The designs that peaked my interest the most were the pumpkin village {original source: Disney Family Fun} and the drilled holes {original source: Martha Stewart}. A. make a happy face using some cut out parts and we carved a monogram on M's coloured pumpkin.

I think they turned out pretty great although I should have stuck with one chevron row and used a bigger drill bit so more light got through. As it was, I had to leave the lid off on the little one so enough oxygen got in for the candle to burn.

The pumpkins were the main project I had planned for this challenge, but as luck would have it, we completed two others as well.

With winter fast approaching and snow in the forecast, we really needed to get some raised garden beds built so that I could plant my garlic, winter onions, and chives.  I had pinned many different raised bed ideas (like this, this, and this) but the design A. decided he liked the best was this cedar raised bed {original source: Sunset}.

I wanted two beds so we went with 6' x 4' so that it was easy to cut on a 12' board. Now, cedar isn't cheap so we could have done this project for less money if we had gone with pressure treated wood, but cedar is naturally rot resistant and we didn't want to run the risk of any of the chemicals from pressure treated boards leaching into our soil. Plus, cedar is beautiful and smells amazing!

A. built two 6' x 4' boxes in the garage in about an hour. It took another hour to dig trenches in our rock hard ground to settle the beds in to and about another hour to fill them with black garden soil. (I ordered a Big Yellow Bag from Eagle Lake Turf here in Calgary.) We did the digging and filling after M. went to bed. Now we are the weird neighbours who garden in the dark! All told we spent about $300 for the two beds - the cedar and supplies were about $150 and the bag of soil was $150 delivered. Seems expensive but the amount of money we will save on produce during the summer (fingers crossed) will pay off the beds in no time.

Last, but not least, I made these cranberry granola balls {original source: Sweet Potato Chronicles} for a Birth & Babies Halloween gathering we hosted on Sunday.

They were really easy to make and taste delicious! Sunflower seed butter is great if there are any nut allergies in the group and has a nice flavour but you could substitute any nut butter you want.

Did you complete a project recently that was inspired by Pinterest?