Friday, 1 May 2015

Saying Goodbye

This is not the happy Friday post I would love to give you today.  However, I have always tried to talk about whatever is on my heart on this blog - be it happy, sad or in-between - and today I need to share what has been happening in my life the past two weeks.  Today we are saying a final goodbye to someone who was so dear to us.

On Monday of last week I needed to go up to my baba's (what we call my maternal grandma - it is Russian) place.  She was having a health crisis and my mom wasn't able to go up right away.  What followed was a week that felt like the longest nursing shift of my life.  We got her admitted to her small town hospital and unfortunately there were a few major misunderstandings and some poor communication.  Those things did not affect her outcomes, and I don't hold it against the hospital.  These things happen.  

On Thursday we finally confirmed she had had a heart attack and was in heart failure (something that I had suspected for two days) and were able to transfer her to the nearest cardiac care unit.  The nurses and doctors there were truly some of the best I have come into contact with, and the care and kindness they provided to Baba and our family is something that I will never forget.  I can only hope that I can give another family the kind of peace they were able to give us.

On Sunday morning, Baba told us she was tired.  She couldn't keep fighting any more - it was her time to go see her beloved late husband (our Opa) again.  We were so blessed to have her able to communicate with us until about 20 minutes before she passed.  We were blessed that she could tell us what she wanted, that she wasn't afraid, that she was ready, and that she loved us all so very much.

But our hearts ache for our own loss.  As blessed as I know I am, I can't help but think of the gaping hole left in our family.  

I don't know if many other people have the same kind of relationship as I did with Baba.  She really wasn't just a grandparent.  During the many summers and holidays that I spent with her, we developed a friendship - I grew common interests through the things she was teaching me.  I learned to love cooking and baking and crocheting.  I learned the true meaning of undying love when we lost Opa and she kept on loving him just as much as I'm sure she did the day they were married.

I dread the day when I am in the kitchen and have a question, because the first person I would go to is Baba.  I never needed to google these things, because Baba was only a phone call away.  It seems silly, but I think this is where I will feel her absence the most.

But there are things this week that have reminded me of how truly blessed I am, and I would like to give a quick thanks for those now.  I am thankful to have been able to spend Baba's last week with her.  I am thankful for friends who came over the chat and surprised me with flowers.  I am thankful for friends far away who showed me so much support through a very difficult time.  I am thankful for a mother and father in law who invited me and my dad over for a birthday supper while my own mom was away planning Baba's funeral, salvaging what could have been a pretty terrible birthday.  I am so thankful for the never ending support of my husband, who loved Baba and loves my family as much as I do.  I am thankful for my mom and sister who are just as strong as they are tender.  And for the love of my wonderful family.  And I am so thankful for getting to love and know Baba for all these years. 

How lucky I am, to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard (Winnie the Pooh).    

Friday, 17 April 2015

5 Outfits Using Pantone Colors of the Year (Part 1)

Pantone released their colors of 2015 (the colors which are supposed to define what will be in style for the next year) a little while ago.  I am really liking their choices this year, and they are actually colors that I have in my closet for the most part (except for the yellow and orange).  So I put together some outfit inspiration using the new colors.  Nothing makes me excited about new outfits like the start of spring.


You've all heard about my love of tutu skirts, and I particularly love this aquamarine one!

Scuba Blue:

Lucite Green:

Classic Blue:

I love nautical stripes in a classic navy blue.

Toasted Almond:

Have a lovely Friday!  And if you are looking for some fun reading, check out the Oh Hey Friday link-up at September Farm.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A few of my favorite things

Happy Friday!  I hope you have lots of plans for a joyous Easter weekend.  I am looking forward to lots of family time today and tomorrow and I will be spending my Sunday night with some special ladies and gentlemen at the care home where I am currently working.

I thought we could spend this Friday talking about a few of my favorite things (items, things around the web, etc.).  This might become a regular feature post of mine (my favorite blogger over at The Small Things Blog) does something similar called Links and Loves on Fridays, which I always love reading.

On Wednesday I made french bread from this recipe and it is to die for.  As you can probably guess by no picture, it is almost all gone already.  It was super easy and turned out far better than any bread recipe I have ever done.  So you should definitely give it a try.

I am seriously loving this lip treatment (it hangs out somewhere between lipstick and balm).   I like the color rose - which is quite sheer and just gives a little bit of pink - but if you like something a little brighter there are a ton of color options.

Have you ever watched 19 Kids and Counting?  I just started and got super into it before Jessa's wedding.  I am now obsessed.  Brett is pretty sad about this because he is not a fan, but I just think he isn't giving it enough of a try.

Speaking of entertainment, have you seen the commercials for the movie The Longest Ride coming out on April 10th?  Brett is supposed to be taking me on a date to see it.  I think he is hoping seeding will miraculously start before next Saturday so he can have an excuse not to go, but since we just got some snow yesterday (what the heck), I think I will be in luck.  In any case, I just read the book as well and it was wonderful.  I am a huge Nicholas Sparks fan and he did not disappoint with this one.  I would definitely suggest it (and keep a box of tissues handy).

Last, but not least, this was a great post from The Small Things Blog yesterday about getting three days out of your hair.  Her tips were super helpful.  Because I have extremely dry hair, I try to make three days between washes - but it isn't always easy.  If you have a similar issue, or if you just don't have time for hairstyling every day, you should definitely check that post out.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and get to spend it surrounded by the things and people you love!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Currently - April 2015 Update

Easter pictures with my mother in law and grandma in law.
Baking: This pecan pie for Easter suppers last week.  Yum!

Drinking: Lots of ice cold sweet tea.  I am officially obsessed, especially with all of the night shifts I've been doing.  There is just enough caffeine to get me over that 3AM slump.

Reading: I've read a few really good books lately.  I finished the first Outlander book by Diana Gabaldon and it was wonderful.  I am now half way through the second, it started a little slower but is really picking up now.  I also just finished The Longest Ride by Nicolas Sparks and cannot say enough good things about it (I'm pretty sure I finished it in about two days).

Wanting: Warm weather!  We had a little shot of warmth last week and just yesterday got snow.  I am ready for sun and warmth and skirts and no more winter jackets! 

Looking: For a dress to wear to our upcoming weddings this summer.

Sewing: Something special for a new addition to the family (more on this in a few weeks).

Enjoying: Being done classes and not having any papers to write.  It has been such a relief to not have any due dates hanging over my head the past couple of weeks.

Wearing: Nothing but scrubs lately.  I've been filling my time with care aid shifts now that clinical is over and I can't work as a nurse yet.  Grey's Anatomy brand scrubs are a particular favorite of mine.  I've even been wearing clean ones to sleep in occasionally.  I think Brett is starting to worry about my ability to dress myself in regular human clothes.

Waiting: To get my marks back so I can work as a grad nurse.  I am so excited to start my career after five long years of school.

Loving: My time at home.  This is my first spring that I haven't been in the city in school and this time spent at home with Brett has been wonderful.  Life finally is feeling like it has a semi-normal (as normal as things get with shift work) rhythm.

Anticipating: Summer weddings!  Only 2.5 months until the first.

Smelling: Fresh air.  Despite the latest cool weather, I have had the windows open at every opportunity to get some of that lovely spring air in the house.

Praying: For a prompt start to seeding and a brief reprieve from precipitation so we can get the seed in the ground in a timely manner.

Feeling: Blessed to have had such lovely time with our families this past weekend for Easter suppers.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Pecan Pie Recipe

Are you still looking for a dessert recipe for this weekend?  If so, stop what you are doing and get ready to make this super easy and delicious pecan pie recipe.

In terms of effort, this is by far the most simple and quick pie I have in my repertoire.  Including making the pie crust, this pie took me only 30 minutes to prepare (from start to in the oven).

The recipe card:

Helpful Tips:

1.  If you want this to really be easy, you could just buy a pre-made pie shell (just make sure it is unbaked).  If you want to use my recipe, you can see a recipe and tutorial here.

Yum!  Essentially a big bowl of liquid sugar.
2.  When whisking everything together, I suggest melting the butter in a glass measuring cup, then using that same cup to measure out the corn syrup - it makes the corn syrup much easier to pour out.

 3.  After arranging my pecans on the bottom and pouring in the egg mixture, I gently folded my pie crust so that it was straight up and not folded flush with the curved edge of my pie plate.  You can only do this if you make your own pie crust, but it allows it to shrink down a little nicer when you bake it (this is really for looks only - it will taste the same no matter what).

Edge of the crust is folded from where I trimmed it after putting it in the plate.

Here the edge is unfolded and sticking straight up past the edge of the pie plate.

You are done!  I love that this pie seems fancy (I always get comments on how "fancy" it seems) but it is actually so easy to make.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wedding season is upon us!

If you are anything like Brett and I, you will be looking forward to a number of weddings this spring/summer.  Weddings are by far my favorite part of the summer season - I love getting dressed up, doing my hair and makeup, dancing, and of course bawling my eyes out at the ceremony.

In anticipation of the coming wedding season, I put together a few outfits for inspiration (I can see a new dress in my near future).

Of course you should be sure to accessorize your outfit with waterproof makeup!

Monday, 30 March 2015

It's been a while...

Wow, long time no see.  The past weeks/months have been spent in a blur of bathroom renovation, night shifts, paper writing, not really seeing my husband, and essentially barely keeping my head above water.

BUT!  A week ago I finished my last night shift of my final practicum.  So essentially I am finished my nursing degree, I have no finals this term, all I am waiting on are the official marks saying I passed.  That definitely has not sunk in yet - and I honestly don't think it will until September rolls around and I'm not heading back to the city for school.  I am so thankful for the amazing final preceptorship that I had.  Let me tell you, rural nursing is not for the faint of heart.  I had some crazy experiences (some of which I hope will remain once-in-a-lifetime) and met some awesome people who I hope to be able to work with again soon.

Last day of school selfie!  Taken before the night shift (no one needs to see what I would look like after).
In celebration of finishing my degree, I got my grad present!  A Canon Rebel T5-i.  I am so excited.  I haven't done much with manual mode yet, as I am just getting used to navigating the different auto modes.  I have, however, done some really amazing work with the high speed sports setting.  Exhibit A:

Also, we finished (and by we finished, I mean our contractor finished) our bathroom reno!  Start to finish it took about three weeks (which could have been two if our tile hadn't taken a millennium to arrive).  We are so happy with the outcome.  There are a few finishing touches left, such as framing the mirror and a few paint touch-ups, but here are some reveal pics!

That is about all that is new around these parts.  You can expect me back to my regular posting schedule from here on out (baring any major bouts of writer's block or night-shift brain of course).  Have an excellent week!!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The heat is on... On the bathroom

There comes a time in every home owner's life, that a leaky tap inevitably becomes a full out gut-the-bathroom reno.  Wait, that doesn't happen in your life?  I guess we are just the lucky ones.

This post about the installation of our front doorknob pretty much sums up how home reno projects have gone for Brett and I so far.  Even painting has not come without its casualties (such as my mother falling head first down our stairs because we laid down painting plastic down the stairs in about the dumbest way humanly possible).  So you can see why I am filled with extreme trepidation and dread when I think of this bathroom reno.

I do, however, love the design ideas part of a reno.  So I whipped up an inspiration board for what I/we hope to achieve in the new space.

1.  We want to do a glass half-door rather than a shower curtain.

2.  I am so excited to have a nice soaker tub, I haven't had a bath in ages.

3.  Two words, Rain. Showerhead.

4.  I love these old-school faucets.

5.  We want to do subway tiles for the tub/shower surround.

6.  And I am in love with these hexagon floor tiles.

7.  I find this lamp to be really pretty and different.

8.  The wall color we like is called Adirondack Blue from Behr.

9.  This mirror from Pottery Barn is something I think we are going to try construct a dupe for (that should be interesting).

10.  We want to do something similar to this vanity with the white on white look.

11.  I absolutely love this oxford strip rug from Pottery Barn.

Have you recently done a bathroom/other reno?  Any tips on staying sane?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Why my marriage isn't 50/50 - and why I don't want it to be.

There has been a shift in the past few decades or so that has changed marriages (in many ways for the better).  No longer are we in the time where husbands work away from the home bringing in the money and wives stay at home with the children, cooking and cleaning.  There was a lot about that set up that didn't really work very well, and for the most part I am glad things have changed.  But with these changes there inevitably comes those who take it a bit too far.

So many people now, seem to think that marriage needs to be a 50/50 equal split of duties at all times.  Like if one person does something, the other owes them.  But last time I checked, it never said "I promise to sweep the floor exactly half the time" or "I promise to cook on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but we have to split the Sundays" in our wedding vows.

I can honestly say there are few times that I have done something nice for Brett because I felt I owed him something.  He and I are partners in our marriage, yes; but not in a business sense where the things we do are transactions that should be equal.  I can also honestly say that I don't think our marriage has been totally equal yet, and I am very happy with that.

When I got sick before Christmas, I would say we were sitting at about 90/10 (at the very best).  The 10% of the time when I was doing anything was only the most basic of my own personal care (like brushing my own teeth and blowing my own nose).  I think Brett even helped me put on my socks a few times.  Was that fair?  Technically no.  But I was horribly ill and Brett picked up the slack without so much as a complaint.

When I make Brett his favorite pie, I don't do it expecting him to then go cut the grass or do some other chore.  I do it because I love seeing him happy (and let's be serious ladies, few things make a man happy like his favorite food).

It seems to me that assuming your relationship (with anyone really) will always be 50/50 is setting both your significant other and yourself up for failure.  No one can be on top of their game 100% of the time - we all need a little help now and then.  If you can find it in yourself to let your spouse be your strength when you are lacking and to be their strength when they need it (whether that strength means cooking all the meals one week or putting their socks on for them), your relationship will inevitably grow stronger.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

We did actually make it back from Cuba...

Not that you would know it from my activity around these parts.  We got back from Cuba and I hit the ground running with final practicum.  To say things have been busy would be an understatement.

Our trip was amazing.  This was my first tropical vacation ever, and Brett's first time in Cuba as well.  We had so much fun, and Cuba is such a cool country.  We stayed at Iberostar Playa Alameda in Varadero.  The resort was great and we found the food to be really good (especially the croissants and breakfast... I ate them every single day).  We really don't have any complaints.  But a picture does say a thousand words, so here are some pics!

We left on a frigid morning with temps below 30 degrees Celsius... But you still can't beat a Saskatchewan sunrise.

Some serious humidity hit us when we landed at Varadero airport!

Thank goodness for air conditioned buses!

The central check in area.

Main courtyard - also, this was where you can find the best sangria I have ever tasted.

The pool water was unbelievably clean.

My first ever real swim in the ocean.  It was amazing!

On our way to tour the city of Matanzas.



Matanzas town square


Brett and I on our tour of Varadero, which included visiting some seaside mansions that are now restaurants.  The most beautiful water I have ever seen.

Have you gone on any winter holidays this year?  Or are you planning any?  I would love to hear about where you are going!