Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sparks & Recreation: May Long Weekend Edition

For Canadians celebrating Queen Victoria (correct me if I'm wrong?) we have this Monday off which means a long weekend! In the spirit of fun things like long weekends, I thought I'd share some more fun parts of the internet. Here are some of the sites that we go to for a good laugh after a rough week.

Hyperbole & a Half just started back up again, and her posts are hilarious. There are for sure more famous posts than this one, but it makes me laugh a lot. I also like reading about her dumb dog and guide dog

The Oatmeal is hilarious (but not always very G-rated). Definitely not everyone's sense of humor, but we thoroughly enjoy it on occassion, and have 2 of Matthew Inman's books. 

Jake & Amir are hilarious. Their videos can be found on College Humor, or their dedicated site that I linked to. They also recently started an advice podcast (that I'm listening to for the first time right now while writing this). 

What do you read when you want a good laugh?

Friday, 17 May 2013

Philip's Official 2013 Birthday List

What? A Friday Phil post? Yes, it's been a while, and this post is even late in the day.
But there's only one way to get back on a horse, and that's to just go ahead and do it! (Or so I'm told, I've never done it.)
The rest of my sports room post will get published shortly. Suffice it to say, it was a bigger undertaking than I anticipated; each image took me approximately two hours to produce, and that kind of time is hard to set aside. So in the interim, you get the following:

This weekend is not only a long weekend in Canada, it's my birthday weekend. Yes, Queen Victoria and I are sharing a day for our respective festivities. A particular tradition of mine--as it is for many people--is making a birthday list.
Now, people say I go overboard with it. I just think I do a good job of organizing it; true, in the past, I've supplied prices, places to buy the items, even themed title pages. This year, I scaled it back a little, which meant only listing the product and a link to where you can buy it online (more for the benefit of my own family than you readers, but hey, don't let that stop you!). So without further ado...

Philip’s Birthday List


A number of boxed sets top this list, led by the award-winning sports documentary series 30 for 30, which I missed when it aired originally but am really interested in catching up on.
  1. ESPN 30 for 30 Collector's Set (Blu-Ray Boxed Set)
  2. Friday Night Lights - Season 3 (DVD Boxed Set)
  3. The Pacific (Blu-Ray Boxed Set)
  4. Mad Men: Season 3 (Blu-Ray Boxed Set)
  5. Any Pixar Movie (Blu-Ray)
Oh yeah, and Pixar movies. Save for Cars 2, you just can't go wrong.


I'm all over the map here. A list featuring two spy novels, a young adult series' boxed set, and a literary classic is topped by (what Bill Simmons insists is) the greatest sports book of all time. 
  1. David Halberstam: The Breaks of the Game (Hardcover)
  2. John Le Carre: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (Hardcover)
  3. Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series (Hardcover Boxed Set)
  4. Fredrick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal (Hardcover)
  5. Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary (Hardcover)
A young writer I know recommended these to me, because I liked Harry Potter. Sold.


I don't get to play video games nearly as much as I'd like anymore, and I play more board games now than I ever have. It's the price you pay for being married, my single male friends, and believe me, it's quite alright with me. That said, I've played every iteration of the Civilization series since #2, and I don't intend on ending that streak quite yet.
  1. Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gold Edition (PC-DVD)
  2. Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 Expansion (Board Game)
  3. EA Sports 08 Collection (PC-DVD)
  4. Days of Wonder: Mystery Express (Board Game)
  5. The Logo Board Game (Board Game)

Nothing wrong with setting the difficulty to "Settler" and beating up on some Carthaginians.


The way I enjoy music has changed since I discovered Noisetrade. That said, my love affair with the physical CD hasn't quite ended yet, particularly with the variety of new music I discover through RELEVANT Magazine and their fantastic podcast.

  1. Needtobreathe: The Heat (Audio CD)
  2. Broken Bells: self-titled (Audio CD)
  3. The Lumineers: self-titled (Audio CD)
  4. Foster the People: Torches (Audio CD)
  5. The Black Keys: Brothers (Audio CD)
This is an item on my birthday list.


This is the first birthday list to feature a category this practical, after my Christmas list broke the practicality barrier for lists overall. I've been lucky enough to have gotten a lot of the basic tools from my grandpa's old tool kit, as well as some pleasant surprises at Christmas time and throughout the past two years. And now it's time to venture into the world of scary, destructive tools.
  1. Circular Saw
  2. Reciprocating Saw
  3. Random Orbital Sander
  4. Tiling Wet Saw
  5. Tool Chest
It's time, fear of saws, thy reckoning has come.

  1. Anaheim Mighty Ducks 1997 Alternate Away Jersey
  2. Winnipeg Jets “Hawerchuk #10” 1979 Vintage Away Jersey
  3. Dress Shoes
  4. Golf Shirts
  5. Dress Shirts
There are a lot of unique jerseys in NHL history.
There are a lot of nice jerseys in NHL history.
This is one of the few that fits in both.

Household Gadgets

This is perhaps the most fun category for readers of this blog. There's a few electronics-related products, plus a couple kitchen gadgets. If you read our Would You Tues? post from this week, #3 should come as no surprise.
  1. Laptop Chill Mat (for up to 17” laptops)
  2. iPhone 4 Car Mount
  3. Fred & Friends Gin & Titonic Ice Cube Tray
  4. Breadmaker
  5. iPad
"I'm cooling, Jack, I'm cooling!"


In case our parents are reading this, this is the category where we watch while you work! (Just kidding. We'll be busy documenting your work for this here blog.)
  1. New Garage Doors/Openers
  2. Beam for our Living Room/Kitchen Wall
  3. Bathroom Flooring
  4. Paint
  5. New Interior Doors

As awesome as it would be to have a can of paint in all these colours, where would I store it all? A gift card would have to do.
That's all for this year's list.
Are you a May birthday? If so, what are you hoping shows up under the Birthday Tree? If not, what are you getting me? ;)

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Aw Crap

This past weekend was a saga that can only be described as crappy. It ended with us spending 2 nights at my parents, because of a literally crappy situation (disclaimer: the word crap is sure to be used a lot in this post) in our basement. To start at the beginning...

It was exactly like this...except not at all.

Saturday Morning/Afternoon

Saturday morning was a great day, we had eggs for breakfast and relaxed, and then headed out to go shopping (Target & Home Depot, it was a dream come true) and then out for dinner. Wonderful Saturday. Until...

Saturday Evening around 8 pm

We came home. I went downstairs and noticed our laundry didn't finish completely, so I restarted it (sometimes it unbalances and you have to rearrange things). Then I went to go to the bathroom. It wasn't a good situation in there. The toilet had overflowed while we were out. It had been having issues for a while, so we just assumed it ran and ran while we were out and then overflowed. The cleaning process began...

Saturday Evening around 8:10 pm

Gloves. Check. Bucket. Check. Cleaning Product. Check. Mop. Check. Rags. Chyup. I dove in. A little while in, while mopping, the water works began - this time from my face. I bawled. It was so gross, Philip was trying to be encouraging, but nothing was helping me to face the situation of mopping up crap and hating it. I began to feel so discouraged, our house has had a lot of surprises and our renovations keep having setbacks, and I just started to cry while mopping up grossness. Bless Philip's heart for sticking with me even when I'm crazy...

Saturday Evening around 9 pm

We had it almost clean as the washing machine began to drain. The toilet bubbled. We started panicking. Bailing out water and throwing it outside. The washing machine couldn't be stopped. That's when we realized this was more than an issue with the toilet, a piece of cucumber even surfaced...

While fresh and delicious...this is not what one expects to find in the bathroom.

Saturday Evening around 9:45 pm

After cleaning up a second time, we called my parents and asked if we could have a slumber party with them as we didn't have a working toilet anymore. On Sunday the plumber made time out of his Mother's Day to come take a look. On Monday Rocket Rooter came to clear our pipes of a shopping bag full of roots (We'd highly recommend them, a lot cheaper than other companies in the city and provided great service). 

Not a fun day, but we got through it. It's likely we'll be on a schedule of having a root removal company come out every couple of years, so we'll have to add that to the budget, but it's good to have it dealt with. Very thankful for our parents who helped us out this weekend! My parents for hosting us, and Philip's parents who opened up for the technician while we were both at work. 

& They All Lived Happily Ever After, The End

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Window Shopping Wednesday: The New Target!

Canada recently got on the Target bandwagon, and Winnipeg was no exception. Philip and I scheduled in a visit on Saturday so that we could feature it in today's Window Shop. However, it was so busy and crazy there that I felt like a hooligan taking pictures, so it just didn't happen. 

We can tell you a bit about our experience though! Here are four things we noted:

1. While I love Target and make a mandatory stop-in with every United States adventure, our visit was pretty anticlimactic. I think it's similar to what Ikea was like when it first opened, there were too many people, things were picked over, staff is brand new and have a bit of a learning curve, and it's just not looking its best. In a month or two, I think it'll be a great place to shop. 

2. Love the house stuff. Nate Berkus and Threshold are both great lines and have a lot of items that I'll be drooling over. There are lots of reasonably priced baskets, pillows, and other decor items that will probably find their way into our home at some point. 

3. We've noticed that Superstore and Walmart draw drastically different crowds. They're both great places to shop for bargains, they're right next to each other on Regent, but somehow less people in pajamas visit Superstore. I'll have to do more studies on this, but it's definitely something that we've observed. Target was attracting both crowds since it's brand new, so it was interesting to mingle with the pajama people.

4. From looking online, I think that there are going to be more of the US's coupon policies in place at Target which might bring an influx of extreme couponers to our midst. This is kind of interesting to me, if I take some time I'll have to find out how great the coupon options are there. I don't think I'll ever be much of a couponer because when I get fliers and such on Thursday's in great abundance in our mailbox I always insta-recycle them, because I just don't feel like sitting on the couch flipping through fliers. Target's website has a coupon page that provides all the coupons for your province, and you can select which ones you'd like to print. Might be worth checking out. I skimmed their coupon policy and they'll accept both a Target coupon, and a manufacturer's coupon, where as a lot of our grocery stores won't accept manufactorer's coupons (talking to you Costco!). 

So that was the Target experience. Who's been? What did you think?!?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Would You Tues: Head to Head

We're going to be switching up the Would You Tues series a bit this month. Philip and I have come up with a few random questions which we'll answer each week, and we'd love if you'd share your own insights in the comments or on Facebook (also as a note to this, we've been working on some behind the scenes blog work for a few months, and soon we'll hopefully have some new features that will make it easier for people on different devices to comment). 

Q1: If you found yourself in a back-lane, looking at an old bathtub, what would be your motivation for thievery?

Cass: We heard that some friends from our church used their old bath tub as a fire pit by burying it and having an inset place for bonfires. We couldn't do that in the city, but I love the idea!

Philip: I would be trying to recreate that Cialis ad picture of the two bathtubs overlooking the cliff. Of course, in that case it's acquiring the bathtubs that's the easy part; getting the plumbing to the edge of the cliff is the tougher piece of the puzzle. That, or having a few servants carting hot water over to the cliff; they'd have to be blind, of course--no peeking!--and that would further complicate matters...

Q2: What's the weirdest item on your birthday list?

Cass: It's a tie between Sim City 6 and a body pillow. Sim City 6 looks incredible, but I'm a grown woman who should probably embrace adulthood at some point. Still want it though peeps. Secondly, I sleep on my side with a pillow between my knees. Philip used to hate it and think it was weird, but now almost every night he curls up behind me and says, "Can I have some knee pillow?" I want a new body pillow so we can share easier! 

Philip: It's a weird fact about me that I'm a fan of novelty ice-cube trays. It's not that I'm such a big fan of having ice in my drink--as a kid growing up, we never seemed to have fresh ice cubes on hand--but I just think they're cool. They're one of the few kitchen implements that exhibits real creativity. To that end, I've put a Fred and Friends "Gin and Titonic" ice cube tray on my birthday list, so I can memorialize the loss of Jack Dawson and his 2,223 shipmates every time I want to cool a beverage. (Note: Philip's birthday is this upcoming Monday the 20th!)

Q3: What color do you want to paint the bathroom and why?

Cass: We already purchased glossy grey vanity, and white accessories galore, so we have a pretty neutral palette so far. Of the two rooms we've painted in this house, both have been hues of blue. Our bedroom is light blue-grey paired with a darker grey and dark accents along with our green and cream duvet. Our office is light blue and a darker blue. However, there's a reason - blue is really calming, it goes with most colors, and we both like it. I'm tempted to go with a blue/grey tone again in the bathroom. It would be really soothing and monochromatic in some ways with the grey and white. I've also debated black. That's me being a rebel. I think we could pull it off because there isn't a lot of paintable wall space when you take into account that one wall is almost all bath/shower, we have a window on another wall, a door on another, and the last wall has vanity, mirror, medicine cabinet, storage tower, etc. Almost all of those things are white. A dark color like black, charcoal, or even a really dark green or navy might just work. I think before I'm ready to decide I kind of want to draw it out from the looking at the vanity view and plan out our tile work and play with some colors once we've chosen floor and tile. 

Philip: You ready for a big surprise? I want to paint the bathroom....

Banana Yellow. It's bright! It's fun! It looks great with gloss gray (our vanity) and white (our cabinets, tub and shower)! I'd be willing to even fake-board and batten the walls (like John & Sherry over at YoungHouseLove did) to get a two-tone look with a little more white into the room! But how can you not go bananas for yellow? Here's another sentence with an exclamation mark!

Who did you agree/disagree with? Have any thoughts on our questions this week? I knew Philip wanted yellow, I could potentially be talked into something mustardier (add that word to the dictionary). Last week we sat down and planned a month of blog posts, so while we haven't been as consistent lately, there are some home events that you have to thank for that so we have lots to share!