Sunday, August 18, 2013

Side Table Side Project

Earlier this summer when we were in the midst of still creating Gage's new space in the basement we stumbled across this find at a garage sale for $2.  For reals, I kid you not.  I know it doesn't look overly pretty but the lines were clean and simple (perfect for a 16 year old boy) and the drawer pull reminded us a little of the Star Trek emblem (Gage wouldn't care about that but Eric did).  I snatched it up because it was in overall decent shape and I set out to grab some glossy paint to re-finish it for the boy.

Upon sanding it we discovered this piece of furniture was made in Quebec, here in, our lovely country, Canada.  And well, furniture made in Quebec is known to be of a higher quality.  So an even better score than we had imagined.

So Eric took on the role of the sandman and sanded it down to perfection so I could paint all that pretty wood a deep grey to match the new decor.  He also polished the "brass" drawer pull and turned it silver!  I probably should have taken a nicer photo of the table in its actual final resting place (beside Gage's bed) but now it's all cluttered with teen aged boy stuff.  I stumbled across this perfectly, complimentary lamp for $25.00 while out shopping one day that fit the space nicely.

Before finishing it all up nice nice, Eric decided to make a false bottom for the drawer.  You know so Gage has a spot to hide his unmentionables (like I'd conveniently forget we put that in there for him).   I will admit the 16 year old thought that was pretty damn neat.  Now he keeps his money in there.  Don't worry, I check the contents from time to time.  He's not that big of an idiot I would tend to believe.  He does have some of my genetics after all.

So there you have it, a quick, easy and cheap re-furbished end table.  All for less than 10 bucks!  Not a bad score at all.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oooh, What Is This?

I read a post recently (I don't remember who by or I'd link it) that outlined 100 of the bloggers favourite things.  I had originally thought I would post 100 of my favourite things too, but it's actually really, really hard to come up with 100 favourite things in the spur of the moment.  So with that lesson quickly learned, I started making notes and in that process my train of thought shifted (not uncommon, especially in the case of shiny things) and I thought maybe I'd post here and there about my favourite things!  You know, kind of like Oprah but on a WAY, way more economic scale.  You know, like affordable and attainable.  

So I figured I'd maybe do a couple per post (or not) and maybe write about my favourite things every few months and see where it goes (but like shiny objects, I may lose interest quickly).  I thought I'd include things I like to eat, places I like to go, restaurants I like to frequent, websites I can't stay away from, causes I want to support, apparel that makes me feel pretty, you know stuff I stumble across in this road called life.  My life anyway.

So here we go!  And if you are so inclined I would welcome you to check out the links I post or maybe test the product yourself and give your own feedback and of course if I talk about something you are familiar with or have experienced yourself, please add your two cents into the comment section.  It's always best to get another opinion even if I do think what I'm talking about is Amazing with a capital A!

 Chocolate FX White Chocolate Strawberry Beads.  What?  Doesn't it just sound amazing?  There really should have been a taste button invented for computers by now, am I right?  So to be fair here, I was only introduced to this company today and out of the three products we bought, the WC Strawberry ones were by far my favourite, though Eric is smitten with the other two.  I've driven by this place numerous times in the past, but only did Eric and I decide to stop and check out their stuff, today.  We walked away with the above mentioned as well as some Triple Mint Beads and some Red Raspberry infused Beads.

Most definitely not in the same price range as a trip to your local corner store for a Mars bar, but several unique and delicious alternatives.  They have a wide variety of sugar free chocolates as well and there is a factory on site that you can tour if you wish.  Included in the tour price is a credit towards a chocolate purchase in the store.  Win-win, if you have the time and curiosity.   The down side?  They seem to be like potato chips for me, I can't eat just one.  Anywho's, check 'em out (especially if you live in the same area as me) sometime! You can shop in person or on line.  Though in person, they have an entire taste testing station. I think the concept of the FX part is that flavours are infused into the chocolate for a unique experience.  Not too sure though.  Regardless, they were pretty damn delicious and definitely a place I'll hit up again from time to time.

Shmexiest, Funniest Camper

There are so many things I want to do with my children and so many experiences I want to be able to provide for my kids.  We all wish we had more expendable cash on our hands but the reality of the situation is that most of us live relatively pay check to pay check (if not literally, then pretty damn close) and have to save up for the extras that we want in life, or venture into debt.  I remember one of the biggest things I worried about and actually cried over when my marriage broke down was that my children were becoming 'statistics' and I feared they'd never be privy to what the other kids were privy to or that I'd have to constantly apply for aid to assist in allowing them to experience life like the kids whose parents were still together and who had two incomes.  I was so fearful of them missing out that I busted my ass to ensure that hasn't happened, and now I've probably swung too far to the other side.  I feel like they get almost too much handed to them now.  A happy medium would have been nice, but I digress.  Although that being said I did have to postpone our Mexico trip this year because I refuse to go into debt in order to travel.  Whoa, first world problems, I know.  But they'll still luck out because now I'm on a mission to make sure that trip still pans out eventually.

However, despite those fears, over the years I've learned quite the lesson.  Maybe being a product of divorce isn't a terrible thing after all!  I genuinely think my boys have it made in the shade.  Between me, their dad, my family, their father's family, their step mother's family, Eric's family...well you get the point right?  So all this guilt I tried to avoid was for naught.

Back when Gage was about 8 we thought it would be good to send him to camp for a few days.  He was a very social boy and the experiences at camp would hopefully stay with him.  At the time my divorce wasn't final, and we were still swimming in debt.  My parents were living with me while I struggled to get my head above the water it was currently sitting under with this new lifestyle I was living.  So being awesome parents that they are, they paid for Gage to go to camp.  I think they did this two years in a row or at least helped out the second year, but I could be wrong.

So fast forward to this year.  I was reminded of the existence of Cave Springs Camp while I was sitting in a United church during a funeral.  I immediately thought it would be something that Roan would LOVE to partake in and, frankly, it would be good for him.  He's been keeping relatively busy with friends this summer, but something more structured with lots of activities would be perfect for him.  The catch?  I have just finished some renovations at home and couldn't really spare the $400 it would cost to send him for 5 days.  Thankfully his father agreed to cover half of the expenses and off he went.

I'll be honest, I had an unsettling feeling in my stomach all week and I couldn't understand why.  I was worried he wasn't having fun, that he wouldn't make friends (I have ZERO idea why I would think this as he makes friends with everyone), that maybe he'd get hurt, you know typical parental worries.  Unrealistic and uncalled for to say the very least.  Upon our arrival to pick him up, following his stay, he immediately asked if he could attend another week this summer and babbled on and on for hours about how much fun he had, how many friends he made, etc., etc.   So turns out things had gone well despite my fears.  Seems, according to Roan, that all the girls just loved his abs and would look for any excuse they could come up with to hug him.  He even walked away at the end of the week with the Award for the "Most Shirtless Camper".

Upon his arrival at home he was relentless in his mission to secure another week at camp so I did my best to muster up half of the fees telling Roan he was on the hook to secure the other half.  He immediately called my mother and coerced her into covering the balance.  I think she said yes because she was trying to be fair. Regardless, he was happy to learn he'd be able to head back a couple weeks later.  And again, he seemed to have a great time because he wasn't too happy to see us when we got there to pick him up and asked if he could return for another week before school lets back in (Don't push it kid!).  This time around he had a few girls fawning over him again and received the Award for the "Funniest Camper".  No wonder this kid loves Cave Springs, it's a complete ego booster.

He's decided, at this point, that he would like to get a job there when he's older, as a counselor, which I think would be great for his personality.  So we're thinking this year he should take the Babysitting Course offered through the YMCA and possibly a First Aid Course over the next couple of years.  I'm just hoping he doesn't lose interest in this idea throughout the year because I really do think he'd be an ideal counselor.

I really am quite blessed to have a good job, and a wonderful family to help ensure that my kids haven't been affected too drastically by a marriage break down.  I'm grateful my children have had several opportunities in life to experience some wonderful and different things...things an awful lot of children in the world today just don't get to do.