Why I’m Obsessed with Flea Markets, and Why You Should Be Too! (Check out the newest additions to The Project Pile!)

Have you ever been to a flea market before?! If not, then you totally need to go! Even if you’re not that much into finding pieces of furniture to flip, there’s almost always something for everyone! Car parts, furniture, antiques, collectibles, toys, and usually lots and lots of junk… Sometimes items jump right out at you, and other times you may have to sift through, but if you wonder around enough, you’re sure to find something!

This weekend I was able to spend my whole Saturday at one of my favorite flea markets, back in my hometown, the Annual Stirling Agricultural Society Flea Market, which is always held on the first weekend of May. Continue reading

Spring on the Farm and some Pretty Photos!

Spring has finally sprung on the farm! Although I’m a real snow-lover, as most of you know, I’ve been waiting and waiting for spring on the farm!

The last time we were down, we ended up having a real weird streak of weather and it turned out being negative twenty-four degrees while we were there! Like, what the heck?!!

This last weekend when we were down, however, ended up being just gorgeous! The Easter bunny even came for a visit!

One of my favorite things to do when I’m at the farm is to explore and take photos while I’m doing it! Continue reading

4 Ingredient Play-Dough! (Easy & No-Bake!)

4I always say that it’s completely impossible to have a happy baby and a clean house! Trust me, I’m really trying to work on the balance and all, and I know that some moms really do have “it all together”… just not me, yet! Still working on it!

Sometimes my daughter and I role with the motto “Messy hair, and we don’t care!”, and well, we just decide to have fun all day long! So, last week we decided to start out by making play-dough first thing in the morning. Honestly, the making of this play-dough was actually a necessity! You know how sometimes the play-dough gets left out overnight, and it gets all hard and stuff?! [Psst! Do your kids love play-dough?! Check out some of these great play-doe accessories!]

Here are some of the great reasons why I LOVE this play-dough recipe:

  1. If it accidentally gets left out, this play-dough doesn’t harden for at least 24 hours! (Trust me… we just made it last week… and this has already been tested out about 24 trillion times!!)
  2. This play-dough recipe does not require any cream of tar-tar! (Something I always, always want to buy since it has many cleaning and cooking purposes, but I can never remember to simply put it on my list… SO annoying!!)
  3. A lot of the play-dough recipes that I looked up actually require baking… (Ummm no-thanks!)
  4. This recipe makes a LOT of play-dough!
  5. The best part was that I was able to just throw all of the ingredients into a huge mixing bowl, and let my gorgeous two-year old daughter mix it all up all by herself! (Soooooo easy!!!!!)

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of Water
  • 2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of Table Salt
  • 4 cups of Flour
  • A big Mixing Bowl

All you need to do is throw all of the ingredients into a big mixing bowl, and mix, mix, mix!

I actually got about five “servings” of play-dough out of this recipe, each about the size of my fist! I just put the servings into zip-lock baggies and threw them into the freezer… So next time the play-dough dries up — I’m completely prepared!

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Also, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I pulled an epic mom fail while making this play-dough!!! I completely always, also forget to buy food-coloring!!! Hence, my “white-ish” play-dough… BUT! I figure that maybe we can turn that into another fun activity of color-mixing and adding color into the play-dough the next time we are looking for something to do! I actually ended up throwing a little bit of green glitter into the mixture, just to spice it up a little bit! 😉

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The Ultimate Camping Supplies Checklist & Some of my Favorite Places to Camp!

16I know that camping out in the wilderness is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you do love camping as much as I do — you’ll love, love, love my new handy-dandy, Ultimate Camping Supplies Checklist!

As my dad always told me while growing up, the key to success is to ALWAYS be prepared! This definitely counts when camping! Whether you are camping in one of the many beautifully maintained provincial parks, or whether you are camping out in the middle of no-where in the bush, this checklist will make sure that you have everything that you need!

You can download it here: The Ultimate Camping Supplies Checklist

Ontario luckily offers some of the most amazing campgrounds… Some with fees, and others are free!

Some of my favorite camping places in Ontario include:

The French River Provincial Park is my most favorite place to camp (or be!) — ever! I’ve only been camping there twice… once for 4 days, and another time for ten days. Both trips were equally amazing!

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I love being out in the middle of nowhere, no one else is around and everything is so peaceful and quiet! The scenery is literally breath-taking, and if you are a bit of an adventure-junkie like me, this river boasts many fun rapids to play on! These rapids include the best of both worlds… rapids for the most experienced, to rapids for the least experienced! And don’t worry! Each rapid also includes a portage trail — for the slightly less adventurous!

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Every time that I cast my lure into the water near a set of rapids, it was fish-on! The wild-life sightings were also extraordinary! From bald eagles to moose! (No bear-sightings… yet! Maybe a sad thing, but a good thing??!)

And one of my most memorable moments was laying on the rocks by the rapids gazing up at the stars! You’ll never get a clearer view then out there, in the middle of nowhere! We were even lucky enough to see a meteor shower!

Although the French River Provincial Park is obviously my favorite, I definitely recommend camping at any of the great spots that I mentioned above! And I definitely plan to be adding a few more to my list! 😉

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Toilet Paper Snowman!

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OK… Today I decided to become a super-creative-genius! My husband doesn’t necessarily agree, ha — but come on…. this little guy is pretty-darn cute! Even better, he took like 5 seconds to make! (Ok, maybe like 5 minutes, but you get the point!)

All you need:

3 Toilet Paper Rolls

Black & Orange Markers

Mr. Potato’s Hat (Yes, that’s right… I stole my kids Mr. Potato hat — Genius!)

All I did was color on my snowman’s eyes, mouth, nose, buttons, arms and shoes… stuck a hat on top, and Viola! I hope that you enjoyed this super-simple, super-cute, super-fast, way to “Christmas-Up” the guest bathroom!

Autumn Harvest Barn Wedding!

Having grown up on a farm, when the opportunity to have an Autumn Harvest Barn Wedding came my way — I couldn’t have been more ecstatic! Yes, I had an October wedding…. and yes it ended up being freezing cold! But that aside, it was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change it for the world!Barn2My husband and I were also lucky enough to have very gracious family friends who not only lent us decorations, but helped decorate the barn for us…. The results were not only breath-taking, they were more than we could have dreamed of!
barn5Cream roses and beautiful golden sunflowers were used for our bouquets and table settings, and I couldn’t be more happy with how everything turned out!dWe chose gold and a mossy green for our wedding colours, with cream as our base. My super-talented momma hand-painted sunflowers on 186 wine glasses as special gifts for our wonderful guests!bWe used straw bales to decorate the loft as a photo booth for our guests, and the pictures turned out fabulous! cIf you are considering tying the knot and love the fall as much as I do, I highly recommend going for the Autumn Harvest Barn Wedding!

Poison Ivy — Is There Any Relief??!! [10 Tried Methods Put to the Test]

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Oh Poison Ivy… the shear thought of it just makes my skin itch! If you have ever had Poison Ivy, than you know what I am talking about… but if you haven’t, it is almost impossible to imagine — So please, consider yourself lucky! 🙂

Unfortunately, Poison Ivy grows just about anywhere, and can actually come in many different shapes, sizes, and forms… sometimes making it easily mistaken as something else. It also looks different throughout each of the 4 seasons, whether it be a 3-leafed plant, a leafy vine, an empty vine, a plant or vine with or without berries, or colored red, brown, green, shiny, not shiny, jagged leaves, or smooth leaves…. (I know — SO confusing!!)…

The best way to deal with Poison Ivy is to be aware of what it is and where it grows — and STAY AWAY! This year I thought that I would be super awesome and outsmart the Poison Ivy over in the fence line while digging for antique bottles… And yes, I was warned by both of my parents in which I totally responded with “I know, I know!”… But as with most lessons in life, I always have to learn the hard way! 😉

So here I am covered in Poison Ivy…. Itchy, scratchy, and over one week into it, still spreading with no sign of the end in site 🙁 — Lesson to the wise: Listen to your parents!!! LOL

What I didn’t realize is that poison ivy is so EVIL! and so potent, that not only can you catch it from touching the plant itself, it can also be caught from the root system, or even in the air if it is a specially hot and muggy day! This also means that burning poison ivy is a huge No-No! The fumes can actually cause an allergic reaction within the lungs and throat, causing dire respiratory emergency!

The actual organic substance that causes the allergic reaction among more than half of the human population is known as Urushiol, (pronounced Yoo-roo-she-all). Urushiol is such an extremely determined and evil substance, it can remain on an object once it has been touched, for years later! This makes it important to wash any tools, clothes and body parts vigorously with an oil-deterring detergent (like dish-soap or shampoo), that have come into contact with the substance. And washing only once may not cut it… studies have shown that Urushiol is such a strong oil, that it may take up to 10 washes or more to fully remove it from your body! Another thing to keep in mind is that Urushiol can be contracted through your pets! Eeek!

Throughout my research to find that instant Poison Ivy relief, it has become quite apparent that Poison Ivy is still to this day a controversial topic…. Is it contagious to others? Can it still spread among your own body? Unfortunately I cannot answer these questions 100% accurately, but can give a detailed account of my own personal experience…

Studies say that once the Urushiol has been properly removed from your body that the Poison Ivy is no longer contagious to yourself or others…. However, while I find the first to be false, I find the later to be true. The poison ivy has not spread to any others that I have been among (thank goodness!!!), but it continues to spread all over my body… Some medical professionals will argue that I am still somehow in contact with the Urushiol (although I am confident that this is NOT the case!), while others will argue that if poison ivy has previously been in your system, it will reoccur in these areas whether or not they have been in direct contact with the Urushiol once again.

So now that you have a brief summary on the very evil and relentless Poison Ivy substance, Urushiol, I will now try to answer the original question posed: Poison Ivy — Is There Any Relief??!! To answer in short, I am going to say NO – NOT REALLY!! :s …

That being said, I will now list the # different methods that I have tried, and their results… It is important to remember that everybody is different, and what didn’t work for me, may just work for you! And before I list them, I would just like to point out that some of these methods are definitely NOT recommended!!! But, I did try every single one listed, and I will let you know my honest thoughts 🙂

1. Get to the Dr.’s IMMEDIATELY and get your hands on either some prednisone pills or cortisone cream! DO NOT WAIT! GO! GO! GO! These two things have been known to stop Poison Ivy in it’s tracks… (however I waited too long, and neither are working for me! Of course! — LOL)… – Recommended – Unrated.

2. Take an Antihistamine (such as Benadryl). Recommended – Unrated.

3. Take a Histamine Blocker (such as Zantac). Recommended – Unrated.

4. Calamine Lotion – Recommended – When it comes to Poison Ivy, Calamine Lotion is the automatic go-to… but does it actually work? Not really… I give it a relief rating of about 3.5 when you are applying the lotion, and as soon as it dries, you are left with dry, scaling, just as itchy skin. However, it does help dry the rash out.

5. Vinegar – Recommended – Try pouring vinegar (regular or apple) onto the affected area and let it air-dry… This method scores about a 4 on the relief scale…. being that it will take the itch out and replace it with a temporary sting for about 5 minutes. This method kind of works, but who has time to stand there and pour vinegar on their self all day??!

6. Baking Soda – Recommended – Mix baking soda with water to create a paste and apply to the affected area. With a relief rating of 6, this can be considered one of the better methods, however it is extremely messy! And as soon as the paste dries, it starts crumbling off, and the temporary relief ceases.

7. Bleach, Javax or Rubbing Alcohol – NOT Recommended! – The theory behind this method is that it will get rid of any Urushiol left on your skin and stop the spread. However, not only does it NOT WORK, it is also EXTREMELY BAD FOR YOUR SKIN! And yes, as desperate as I am, I did try it – several times :s and it did not work… the Poison Ivy still continues to spread.

8. Oatmeal or Milk Bath – Recommended – Soaking in either an oatmeal or milk bath can definitely bring temporary relief to the terrible suffering of one covered in Poison Ivy. I give either of these two methods a relief rating of 6, due to the fact that they are soothing and calming to your skin, but once again, only temporary. :s (If you are thinking of trying this method, try my DIY Cinnamon-Vanilla Milk Bath!)

9. The Volcano Method – Recommended – Remember when you were in grade-school, and you did the ultimate mother of all science projects — the Erupting Volcano! Well, I decided to mix methods 2 & 3 together, with a little water… and this is what I came up with: In a big tub, sink, or bowl, fill with cold water, add 1/6 proportion of vinegar, and sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. While soaking the affected area, the fizzing bubbles feel SO good! And even after patting dry, I experienced Poison Ivy Relief anywhere from 1/2 and hour to two full hours! This method gets a two-thumbs-up 8! (Yah, I know — it isn’t no 10, but not a bad contender for the Poison Ivy Relief Scale…)

10. A535 Ice Gel – Recommended – A thought that came to mind was: Is it possible to numb this unbelievable, indescribable itch?! And the answer is YES! — A535 Ice Gel will give you temporary relief, for almost 20 minutes, to half an hour! Small peas, right? — Well not really… when you are suffering from Poison Ivy, just 5 minutes of temporary relief can be HUGE! So for this reason, A535 Ice Gel also gets a rating of 8.

I hope that at least one of these methods brings some kind of relief to you! And if you have any suggestions or methods yourself, let us know!

Cinnamon Vanilla Milk Bath


4Did you know that milk baths have been used throughout history by women all over the world? Strong powerful women, such as Cleopatra, Elizabeth the First and Elisabeth of Bavaria. Back then milk baths were only for the rich and powerful, but guess what, times have changed, and I’m pretty sure that if you were to go look in your fridge, right now — you would find milk!

This luxurious, sweet smelling, three-ingredient milk bath will leave your mind & body feeling calm and soothed, and leave your skin feeling fresh and silky-smooth! It also works great for providing relief to skin pain or itch caused by sunburn, bug bites, and even poison ivy.

The best part about it, is that you can easily whip up this cinnamon vanilla milk bath in less than 5 minutes, using ingredients that almost any family household is guaranteed to have in stock!

All you need is:

  • 2 cups of Milk
  • 1 tbsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp of Cinnamon

Step One: Add all ingredients into your mason jar.

Step Two: Fasten lid tightly, and shake, shake, shake!

Step Three: Add to your bath water.

Step Four: Enjoy!

Tip: Try substituting the milk for 10% or 18% cream for an extra creamy and luxurious bath!