Happy Friday! Chris says we’ve been experiencing “the golden year of ice” and he and Jack have been out skating on the creek every night for weeks now. It’s definitely the best year for creek skating that we’ve ever had. I love this perfectly Canadian winter scene I get to see when I look out my living room window every afternoon after school. 🙂
Here’s how it’s looked here for most of this month until a few days ago when we finally got some of that snow that’s been going around. It was getting a bit dreary, so I’m happy for the snow!
The kids were home doing online school again in Ontario for the first couple of weeks after Christmas break, but they’re back in school now. I know all the parents in my area are also still just kind of standing here going “Huh? What just happened?” like I am. When they announced schools would be closed for the first two weeks after Christmas break, I definitely thought it would last much longer than that, because two weeks doesn’t really seem like it’s long enough to have any effect on anything, but they did indeed go back. I was actually really excited to have our first “normal” January in a couple of years and see what it would be like to start the new year with two businesses in more of a regular schedule, but clearly that didn’t happen. I do feel like we really got the hang of this whole online learning thing this time around and it really wasn’t too hard at all for us to feel somewhat productive even with the kids being in the house and needing help with schoolwork and snacks and all that. All I have to say is that teachers are amazing and it’s pretty incredible how they’ve adapted the systems that they’ve had for years to set kids up to be able to work mostly independently at home while staying occupied and interested for six hours straight. I’m more grateful than ever for teachers these days.
My “big home project” this week has been painting our bedroom ceiling. This is going to sound strange, but I think we just kind of forgot to do it before and I just assumed it was done. Until one day recently when I realized that it was not. It’s possible that it may not have been painted for 20 years or more at this point. So that’s been driving me a little crazy. It was kind of a tedious job without any really exciting results at the end, but definitely worth it. I’m going to reward myself with a new light fixture in that room now that it’s done!
The days are already getting longer and I’m really trying to take advantage of it and get back out for walks more often. It’s not technically that cold here, mostly only just around the freezing mark, but I’m a wimp when it comes to cold so it really takes some real willpower for me to get up and get outside. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s actually pretty nice once I get out there, because it usually isn’t, but I’m always happy when I do it. I definitely feel more energized afterward and I have a little sense of accomplishment. I know from past winters that I tend to go weeks without going outside much and then I start to feel really off by the time March and April roll around. As soon as I realize that I’m just a human and I need vitamin D, I always feel instantly better. I’m making a little game of seeing how well I can bundle up against the cold and I try to figure out new ways to stay even cozier every day. I might look like I’m bundled for -50 degrees, but at least I’m comfortable! There isn’t usually anyone else in the park anyway. 🙂
Little home updates always make me so happy. I bought a pair of lamps for the bedroom a few months ago, and I love the bases with their traditional jar shape, soft cream-colored ceramic, and pale blue-grey pattern, but the plain white drum shades just felt off to me. I thought they should be fine because they were just simple and basic, but they started to bug me more and more. They just looked cheap. I finally found these oatmeal linen-y shades, popped them on, and they instantly looked so much better. You can spend a fortune on nice lamp shades, but just something simple from the Home Depot down the street can make a big difference too if you know what you’re looking for. By the way, the mirror isn’t filthy, this dresser is just 130 years old. Just in case you were wondering!
I’m getting back to my little mission to read more classics. It’s a great winter project. I’ve always been kind of secretly ashamed of the fact that I’ve actually read so few of “the classics”. There are some literary classics that everyone should know about. It’s funny how when we start to become familiar with these works, you realized just how often they’re referenced in everyday life, you just didn’t realize it before. I think it’s true for a lot of us, but I find that if I wasn’t told to read them in school, then I just didn’t end up reading them later in life. I love to read, but there are so many great books coming out all the time and it’s hard to keep and go back and cover all the classics too. When the pandemic first hit, I decided I would tackle a few and I ended up really enjoying them. The classics are classics for a reason! Then I fell out of the habit again, but I thought recently that I would pick the habit back up. I happened to read Dickens and His Carol over Christmas (which I highly recommend you add to your reading list for next Christmas) so I thought maybe that was a sign that I should read some actual Dickens. And then I realized that I missed Emma during my last round of Jane Austen, so I’ve definitely got my reading list full for the next little while.
NEWS AND FINDS
-I’m working on updating my site a little bit! You may have noticed that things look a bit different and a bit simpler. Truthfully, this is something that I’ve been needing to do for about five years, but I kept putting it off because I just felt like I couldn’t find the right person to help me with it, so I just put it out of my mind. I finally got a little annoyed with myself a few weeks ago and decided that since what I really wanted was pretty simple, I could probably figure it out myself. So that’s what I’ve been playing around with. Anyway, pardon the construction debris over the next little while!
-I have a tab open currently with this new Ruggable rug that just came out and I keep looking at it and then looking over at the dining room and thinking it might just be perfect in there. It seems like at any given time, I have at least one spot that I’m eyeing up for a new Ruggable.
–These are the cutest jeans. I ordered them a couple of weeks ago and the size 24 petite is actually true to size, so they’re actually petite-friendly which is getting rare, but also they just have find a fun, classic spring vibe to them and I’m excited to wear them later on once I can finally pull myself away from my fleece-lined leggings. Anyway, thought I’d share if you’re looking for something to help you look forward to spring weather.
-I’m still loving all things marble and I recently ordered this marble tray for my coffee table. It’s such a substantial piece at such a great price and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on a higher-end home decor site for three times the price.
-Did you know that you can just buy sheepskin insoles?? And they’re not at all expensive! both my beloved LL Bean wicked good slippers (kids’ version here, which I have) and my UGG boots that I use as slippers are really getting worn down inside and I assumed I needed to buy new ones, which would have still been a good investment but instead I found these and they’ve completely revived both pairs, which were otherwise in perfect condition even after 5+ years of daily winter wear.
-I’m so excited to be partnering with Thymes over the coming months. If you follow along with me on Instagram, you may have remembered my obsession with their Frasier Fir all-purpose cleaner at Christmas time. Candle version of the scent here, love this reed diffuser version too (That plaid!!). I started exploring their other products to see if everything else they make is that amazing, and I quickly became a huge fan. Love everything about them. The scents, the packaging, the overall feel of the brand, and how they elevate the everyday with their cruelty-free formulations. All of it. Excited to share more soon!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.