Friday, 19 January 2018

Home Inspector Yeah or Nah?!?!

Do you think it is beneficial to hire a home inspector?

When we purchased our first home in Canada we had a list as long as our arm in terms of questions beyond the information provided already.  My husband and I both have a background in design/construction but were conditioned to details of homes in the UK.

It was up to our Realtor to answer our questions in any way possible, but there are even questions that we were worried that we didn’t ask for not knowing.  Our Realtor highly recommended hiring a home inspector of whom could see things that we all would have no idea about or couldn’t see with our eyes.

It doesn’t cost a huge amount of money to get an inspector.  I know it seems just like another expense and believe me I know it all adds up.  This expense can avoid future problems that could eventually cost you more money and a possibly huge inconvenience.  Be sure to account for this in your total spend as I believe that it is beneficial.

From our inspection, fortunately there wasn’t a massive list but they all contributed to negotiations before we sealed the deal on our purchase.  These are a few things our inspector picked up on:

1       Jacuzzi bath not working & leaking.
2      Damaged eaves (we did not notice!)
3      Leaking laundry sink.
4      Questioned the lack of support beams in our basement but as it turns out we have a custom steel beam that was installed when the house was built so that the space could be larger.  

The outcome was good for our inspection though some are not.  The big things that an inspector looks for is anything that could potentially threaten the safety for living in a particular house.  Things like mould, dampness, leaks, exposed wires, asbestos and much more.  They have the tools to find things the naked eye cannot see.   I HIGHLY recommend this even if you are tearing a place back to the studs for renovations or tearing down a property to build new.

Would you or have you hired a home inspector for when you purchase a home?  Or have you refused in the past and lived to regret?  We’d love to hear your story!


Monday, 8 January 2018

Simcoe County Shop Local

What does Simcoe County Shop Local Mean to you?

Shopping locally from independent business owners is how I can directly answer the question that titles this blog.  This isn’t a new thing but it means so much more to me now than it even did a few years ago.  Before social media we relied on word of mouth or the newspaper even.  Not exactly key to making a business thrive.  Personally I never paid much attention.

The convenience of shopping at chain retailers is often an easy way out and often times a more economic option.  This all depends on what you are looking for.  The big box stores have always had an advantage on marketing and we just know where to buy stuff not only from their flyers, emails and radio ads but also from frequenting them.  

I truly did not know much about SO many small independent businesses until I started paying attention to Simcoe County Shop Local.  AND they aren’t necessarily any more expensive than what we are already used to paying.  You just have to be in the know.  Getting connected on social media with various companies advertising their businesses is a massive step in the right direction.  You start to form a culture of your own interests by ‘liking’ or ‘following’ various businesses.  Simcoe County Shop Local is a fantastic resource to get you started.

What I love about Simcoe County Shop Local is that it is also about getting connected to other people.  Whether it is yourself as a customer or another business owner.  Simcoe County’s size has grown exponentially and we just don’t know all our neighbours anymore.  Getting connected to local businesses is a great way to form a sense of community.

There are just so many businesses out there waiting to be discovered by you!  Let us know if you are one of them and/or we’d like to hear what Simcoe County Shop Local means to you!


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Your Childs ARTWORK?!?!?!

What do you do with all the artwork that your child brings home?
Two parents versions, one topic.

There’s nothing sweeter than the first scribblings and barely recognizable stick figures children draw! Their artwork is so raw and beautiful, and something to be cherished forever.  I have stashed away in memory boxes for each of my children, their first “drawing”.  I plan to keep it forever, along with the first few attempts they made at writing their names, and writing “I love you Mommy”.  I think as Moms, we often struggle with the guilt of throwing out their artwork, but it can become very overwhelming to collect all of these papers and creations.  I like to put a few pieces on the fridge and then change them up monthly.  I take photos of the cute or impressive pieces and upload them to a wonderful app called Artkive.  To be honest, when I stumbled upon the app I immediately downloaded their photos, and now since I have a lot of photos needing to be added to their files.  The beauty of Artkive is that it stores all these photos of your children’s work, and then you can choose to print memory books, wall art, or even phone cases and blankets- of your children’s art! Pretty genius! 

My children LOVE to draw.  As soon as they’re dressed in the morning, they’re drawing, and its pretty much what they’d choose to do at any point in the day.  I love that they are so passionate about art, but I struggle with the mountains of paper.  I am searching for an environmentally friendly solution to their obsession, but other than a whiteboard and individual handheld boogie boards, I haven’t found anything that has really cut down on the paper waste.  Do you know of something that allows children to draw and be creative, but doesn’t require a ton of paper?

I’ve gotten a lot better at pitching certain pieces of paper as soon as they come home from school, because there is just too much! For the other creations, I let them sit on our kitchen desk for a week, and if no-one has looked at them in that time (and it doesn’t qualify as fridge material), I recycle them.
I also like the idea of framing and displaying my kids’ art.  I’ve purchased plain white frames from IKEA and plan to hang them together in our basement (eventually) and rotate the art every once in a while.

I still keep the odd piece of art or handwritten note for their memory boxes, as a special memento to look back on in the future.  I know I will cherish those memories, and as an older child and then adult, they’ll surely appreciate seeing the development over the years.



Parents anticipate our babies/toddlers picking up their first crayon to put something on paper and when it happens for the first time it is so amazing that we put that scribble up on the fridge with their name and age up high for all to see!  Then we realize that you don’t really have any visitors because you have diapers coming up to your eyeballs and most human contact is the checkout girl at a grocery store or the courier making a delivery.  SO!  You take a picture and Instagram it with the best possible filter (hashtag sigh) and BAM, people start to ‘love’ it and you are just so proud of your little ankle biter.

Time passes and that easel that you bought when they just started to crawl (because you thought they were ready) is suddenly being put to good use as they are standing now!  The baby is now around 2 years old and is starting to draw REAL shapes and stick PEOPLE!  Ok, they now draw people that are circles with arms and legs, but you are so fascinated with their progress.  2nd phase…FRAME IT and share it ALL over social media!! 

You blink and your baby has just started Junior Kindergarten.  They have free time in class and your child LOVES crafting.  Wow!  They are bringing real work home now but wait – it is A LOT of paper and not always a specific design…sometimes 10 pages of the letter ‘S’…hmmm.  You are running out of room on your fridge and quite frankly it is getting excessive.

The luster has worn off.  This has happened to me and I KNOW that I am not the first parent to go through this.  You don’t WANT to throw out or recycle your child’s artwork BUT something’s got to give.  I usually pick my favourites and discreetly dispose of the rest.  Before I do that, I sit down and ask my children what it is that they have brought home and if it means something to them as well that is a good contender for being put on display.  I also try to encourage that we don’t have to use loads of paper…instead of a bunch of pictures we could try and take time to work on one picture so that we are saving our trees…it hasn’t sunk in totally yet…but I try.

Do I feel guilty for disposing of my children’s artwork?  HECK NO!  I did at first but now it is part of my daily routine!  I just had to let that go or we just may have been a contender for hoarders in a short period of time.

What do YOU do with all your child’ artwork?  Do you throw it away and do you have any guilt?  We’d love to hear!