Health · January 2020 · Recipes

Beet juice

I love juicing.  There is something almost therapeutic about creating and making juices.  I love the idea of detox as well.  Beets help to detox your system.  Just think about drinking something that can “flush out toxins”.  Doesn’t that sound amazing!

To make this juice, I used frozen, (and then thawed), beets.  A couple, depending on how much juice you plan to make.  I just make a cup at a time.  I added some cucumber, celery, lemon, and carrot.

Note: the beets were cooked, but I would rather use fresh, raw beets.  They juice better.  But any kind of beet is a good beet.

Happy juicing!

January 2020 · Health

Losing weight

My goal for so many years has been to lose weight.  I have always been thin, and in my younger years was not doing healthy things to stay thin.  I would binge eat and then starve myself.  When life was feeling out of control I would do what I could to control it: not eat.  There was a sense of pride in denying myself food.  With every rumble of my tummy a feeling of satisfaction.  I was in control.

But, once I stopped this bad habit and found control in other ways, I started to gain weight.  I went from 125 pounds, (I am a curvy 5’2), to 169 pounds.  That is a lot of weight for this little frame of mine.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to really lose this weight.  Obviously, exercise and eating right, but it seemed like it was so out of control that it would be impossible.  Enter the treadmill.

Our house was too small for a treadmill, or any kind of exercise machinery.  The gym was too expensive, and inconvenient to get to.  I would do yoga and pilates videos, but not consistently.  Then, one day I was watching a video for ‘The happiness project experience’, (by Gretchen Rubin), that I was doing and she asked, if there was an extra room in the house what would you do with it?  I thought, for sure I would make it a craft/writing room, and put a treadmill in it.  I realized that maybe this was possible.  Our house was 1100 square feet, with two bedrooms.  The only place that a treadmill could realistically fit would be the living room or the spare bedroom.  If we replaced the double bed with a day bed that pulls out then we could fit a foldable treadmill in the spare bedroom.  We got a bed at Ikea, found a hardly used treadmill for sale online, and I even put up some shelves to store my craft supplies better.  Ta-da!  I had a treadmill!  I always wanted a treadmill in my home.  There is something very bougie about having exercise equipment in your home.

Now, I just have to use the damn treadmill!  I did okay at using it, but not with any consistency.  The hardest part is starting.  And then it happened, we sold our little house and bought a bigger house!  We didn’t really plan on selling our house, and agent literally showed up at our door asking if we wanted to sell.  The new house has three bedrooms, one of which I have made into a home gym.  How bougie is a home gym?  I know, very bougie.

The home gym has changed everything.  That dedicated space is so important.  The only use for that room, in my mind, is for working out, which makes me use it daily.  I don’t want to waste that space.  I have consistently walked on the treadmill for usually at least an hour everyday since August, it is January now.  I have lost 20 pounds, which felt like they were falling off.  I am able to fit into clothing that I had bought as motivation to lose weight.  I am not working on another 20 pounds to lose.

Having that space really changed the way I looked at working out.  I have room for the treadmill and my yoga mat.  We also got some weight.  I have been doing the 30-day yoga challenge with ‘Yoga with Adriene’ on Youtube.  I also do ‘Blogilates’ pilates videos on Youtube.  They are free, easy to find, and fun!

Obviously, losing weight does feel amazing.  I am constantly feeling proud of myself for this accomplishment.  I am not saying that being skinny or thin will make you happy, but being in control of your weight and enjoying the way your body feels will make you happy.  I am so happy that I can pull anything out my closet and it will fit.  Actually, the problem I have now is that clothing is too big.  Not a bad problem to have!

January 2020 · thoughts

Perfection is my curse

She could never go back and make some of the details pretty.  All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.

– Terri St. Cloud

I read this quote while aimlessly scrolling Instagram just now.  A habit that I desperately want to break, but find it so hard to resist the mindless scroll.  A larger problem that feeds into my scrolling addiction is that I am constantly in search of perfect moments.  I am constantly worried that I am wasting time, that I don’t realize it is a waste of time to do so.  Trying to be efficient, use my time wisely, and the such.  I forget to stop and just live.  I have been saying to myself: what do you want to do in this moment.  Similar to Marie Kondo’s phrase, “does this spark joy”; does what I am doing spark joy?  I understand that doing dishes may not spark joy, but having a clean kitchen does.  What can I do in the moment to make future me happy?  Also, what can I do in the moment that will make me happy right now?  But, remembering to find joy in these moments.  It isn’t about not getting things done, but rather slowing down and enjoying my time more.  Not feeling like a disappointment because I am not completely efficient or doing everything perfectly.

I get so caught up in the details, and making everything perfect.  I feel like a lot of people can understand this feeling.  Especially around holidays.  I was trying really hard last Christmas to be easy on myself.  I had to remind myself that no one else is going to be disappointed that the garland on the stairs wasn’t perfect.  That I didn’t make cookies out of the blue to bring.  Or that I never made Christmas punch to drink while opening the presents.  Those are nice ideas, and maybe next year I will do them.  This year was perfect just the way it was.  Family, friends, good food, and joy.  All of the things that make for a perfect Christmas.

Perfection is my curse.  It isn’t that I am perfect, far from it just like everyone else, but rather that trying to create perfect moments, meals, home decor, is my curse.  I am always feeling disappointed that things aren’t perfect, when really they are!  I need to trust myself, and that everything I am doing is fine.  Even with writing this blog post I didn’t feel like the moment I got the idea, which was during journalling, was the best time to write it.  I was going to add it to my “to-do” list, and then write it later with tea.  Right now is the perfect time to do anything.  In the immortal words of ‘Nike’: Just Do It.

January 2020

Happy New Year!

2020!  Sounds crazy, but it is true.  There is something very inspiring about this year.  Maybe it is all the round numbers.

I am feeling ready to tackle items that have been on my resolution list for years.  They are big things that have made me nervous in the past, but this is the year I will accomplish them.

I wanna start with finishing my book.  I started writing it last year, and love the idea of it, but am finding the actual writing part hard.  A writer who does not like writing is apparently does not only afflict myself.  I need to institute a routine.  With structure, I think I will be able to actually get down to business.  I need to remember one of Gretchen Rubin’s sayings, “anything that can be done at anytime, will be done at no time”.  If I schedule writing time, then I have no reason not to do it.

Next on my list is starting a craft business.  I really wanna amp up my online presence to go along with my business: i.e. instagram, youtube, and this very blog!  There are so many free, or almost free (like this blog!), resources out there which would be great for promoting a business.  I think that I do have good business sense, and want to really try hard to start something.  I am constantly thinking that the women around me have marketable skills, but waste them by not trying to sell their goods.  For some reason I never think that people would pay for what I have to offer, but they would.  Start selling babe!

The biggest resolution, that has been on my list for the longest, is getting my license.  Unfortunately, I have new shame to go along with waiting for so long to get.  I started Young Drivers (a driving instruction school), but did not finish it.  My husband was not happy about this because of the waste of money.  I didn’t finish because making lesson appointments was really hard.  They only had one guy doing the lessons, and he really was not a good teacher.  But, excuses aside, this is something that I really want to get done this year.  I will do it!

I have a lot of work ahead of me, and am excited about all of it.

I hope you are able to keep your resolutions this year!

November 2019 · thoughts

First snow fall feels…

I love the first snow fall.  Of course, it is a little hard to love when it’s November 7th, and you have to go find the shovel.  But, there is no denying that the world is transformed when it is blanketed in snow.  Everything seems so still, except for the snow flakes falling gently from the sky.  The indoors feel cozy, the outdoors are fresh.  There is nothing like coming in from shovelling with rosy cheeks, and a feeling of a job well done.  Snow has been removed, only to fill that space again.  It is a relentless, never-ending job, but one that every Canadian understands.

This is the time of year that giving thanks is important.  Canada has already had its Thanksgiving, but Remembrance Day is November 11th.  A day that is truly about giving thanks, and remembering the sacrifices that were made for us and our freedom.  The people that were lost, harmed, or forever changed.

My grandfather was one of those people.  He stole his older brothers identity, which was a lot easier back then, and was shipped off to war.  I am not sure what he did in the actual war, trying to find any records of him has proved impossible, but the rumour is that he was a paratrooper.  Regardless of what he did, he came back a different man.  A haunted man, who turned to drinking.  Later in life, after grandkids were born, he gave up drinking.  I come from a long line of people who can just give up what does not serve them anymore.  Maybe the example for me came from him.  His ability to stop self-harming so that he could be there with the people he loved the most: his grandchildren.

My grandfather was very important to me.  He was my dad’s father, and unfortunately my dad’s mom died two years before I was born.  My mothers parents were not loving people, to her growing up or to us grandkids.  My dad’s dad was the quintessential grandpa.  He fed us cookies, would always have some change in his pocket for whatever little thing we wanted.  I never felt like he didn’t love me.  I always felt like he was so proud of me, even though I was just being myself.

I remember being so jealous when my little sister was born and I had to share my grandpa.  He was so special, so important.  I was devastated when he passed away in 2005.  I felt like we lost a tie to the past.  There was so much I didn’t ask him.  If I could go back in time, I would ask him about the war.  I always felt like that was something he didn’t want to talk about, but my dad was convinced that he would have talked to me about it.  Now I just have what little I can remember about him, and my imagination.

Now there are more stories coming out from family members about who he really was as a man.  It is always hard to hear these things and try to understand that the perfect grandpa was human.  He made mistakes.  He was as lost as anyone else.  I think this makes me love him even more.  He was tarnished, like us all, and was still able to really show me what unconditional love was.  I am thankful for whatever he did in the war, his resilience is what we Skene’s are made of, and he was the perfect example of this trait.  We keep shovelling that snow, even though it will keep falling.

Around the house

2019: The year of change

It has been a hot minute since I posted to this blog!  We have been very busy.  We sold our house!  We have been in our new home now for two and a half months.  Surprisingly, real estate agent showed up on our front stoop claiming he could sell our house, and sell it, he did!  We found that selling the house was actually the easy part, it was still crazy stressful, but finding a new house was a lot harder.  Eventually, after a couple offers falling through on other houses, we found our dream house.  At first it didn’t seem like it was our dream house: too small, but it has ended up being the perfect size for our little family.  It has three bedrooms, one that is set up as a gym, two bathrooms, and a finished basement.

One of the best parts of our new house is that it is on twenty acres!  There is plenty of grass around the house, which takes about 3 hours to cut.  There are many overgrown gardens, and wild flowers around the yard.  Big trees offering shade aplenty.  Blackberry bushes are starting to bear fruit, and many birds call our property home, (especially because I feed them constantly).


The view from our covered back deck is breathtakingly beautiful.  We live on a hill, and are surrounded in rolling hills and valleys.  The sky seems so much bigger at this house!  There are lots of stars at night, and the sunsets are beautiful.  Most of the acreage is unspoiled forest.  We have taken some walks through it, Coraline, (our dog), absolutely loves running around and sniffing everything.  Even a daily run around the backyard keeps her happy as a clam!  Our cat, Geoff, even loves the new house.  He is not an outdoor cat, and needs to be on a harness, but in this new house he can go out on the deck without the harness.  There are no stairs off the deck.  He loves to lay out on the deck watching all of the birds, rabbits, and chipmunks.  Always something going on!  I have even seen deer in our backyard!


Another excellent part of our new house is the kitchen.  It is white with black hardware, and a fake white marble counter top.  Tons of storage, and very pretty.  Exactly what I wanted!  I have done a ton of baking and cooking, which seems easier in this kitchen due to the set of the cupboards.  A tour of the kitchen is coming.  Stay tuned…

All in all, the move was stressful, and I can’t imagine selling and buying a house without a real estate agent.  He certainly worked hard for his commission!  The new house brings us joy every day.  We are always saying that it feels like we are on vacation, or live at a cottage.  I can’t believe we actually live here!

One down side to the move is that driving has been put on pause, but I plan to get back into it.  Only now do I feel like I am getting back to my old habits.  I have been feeling overwhelmed lately.  Too many things I want to do, so I do nothing.  Trying hard to get back on track!



Welcome to 2019!!

Okay, I will say it, 2018 flew by!  But, for real, it really feels like it was just January 2018!  2018 was a good year, if not a little frustrating, okay a lot frustrating!  We tried selling our house, which was really hard mentally for me.  It was hard to stay in the moment and not living for the future.  I was saving ideas for the new house, which never came.  Eventually, we took the house off the market and decided to enjoy our little house in a very convenient location.  It is a cute and cozy little home.  I was able to change up some areas in the house and fit in items that I have always wanted, for example a day bed and treadmill in the spare room.  I think 2018 was a good year for blasting stale ideas and thoughts out of my brain.  I really started looking at space differently.  I find that we get used to a space and the way it is being used, and then can’t see how it could used differently.  I definitely started looking at our space in the house and on our property differently.

2018 was a good year for formulating plans.  I have a lot of ideas of what I want to do in 2019.  I am sick of writing the same things on my resolution lists every year.  2019 is a year of action!  Actually, Action is the word I chose for my mantra of this new year.  I keep reminding myself of my mantra when I don’t want to do something, i.e. when thinking about exercising.  It has helped a lot.  When I just want to lay on the couch I think about being active.  I came up with this word because of a quote that I heard on the ‘Happier in Hollywood’ podcast.  This quote has changed my life, literally.

Action is the antidote to anxiety.

I deal with anxiety everyday.  Some days it is worse than others, but I find that I am hiding in my house instead of engaging in life.  I am a homebody, and would rather be working from home than outside of my home, but I feel like in 2018 I was hiding a lot more.  School finished in 2017, and then I just stayed home and never left.  But I have found that just doing the things that need to be done, regardless of how I am feeling inside has really helped me mentally.  A great example of this is driving.  I have been super anxious about driving, and avoided it like crazy.  I always had excuses as to why I could not drive, (not a good time, no money, etc..), but I forced myself to just start.  I signed up for driving lessons in August.  They didn’t start until November, but there was an online portion to do in the mean time.  It was great that there was a lot of time between everything.  Now I have my beginners license, and onto lesson #4 tomorrow!  I am over the moon proud of myself!!  I have given myself lots of time, and space mentally.  I am doing it!  I am driving!  But I still find that I need to just focus on driving right now.  I am going to get back into making youtube videos and posting to this blog, but driving comes first!

Other than driving, youtube, and blogging, I have a lot of other plans for 2019.  I am going to post my 19 for 2019 list soon.  I am feeling really good about this year!!  I am super excited to have my full license by summer time and be able to throw the dog in the backseat and just go!!!!   I think the way that I have gotten over my mental hurdles with driving is worth a whole post.  Coming soon!

Happy new year!!

*featured image


Reading 101: 5 tips to read more

I have always really enjoyed reading.  I remember as a kid always having a book on the go, and would spend many nights staying up late to finish a good book.  That habit has not died.  But, I understand that a lot of people out there do not read a lot, and are always looking for ways to read more.  I also made a youtube video on this topic, check it out at The Country Mouse Youtube channel.

Here are 5 tried and tested ways to up your book count:

Tip #1: Create reading time.                                                                                                                  Personally, I always make sure to find time to read, but two times that are non-negotiable as reading moments are in the bath tub and before bed.  I have always needed to read in order to go to sleep at night.  I also love to read a good book while relaxing in the bathtub.  A goal of mine in 2019 is to start replacing watching tv with reading in the evening.

Tip #2: Always have options.                                                                                                                I think it is important to always have reading material handy, and that maybe means having different ways to read.  You could simply have more than one book on the go, but it could also mean having a digital book, an analog book (paper), and an audio version of a book.  Personally, I always have a paper book to read in the bathtub, no digital devices near water, and a borrowed digital book from the library on my iPad.  I also really enjoy listening to audiobooks while doing chores around the house or commuting.  You can also switch up the kind of books you read, and have different kinds.  For example, listen to a biography while doing the dishes and folding laundry, and read a self-help book in the morning while drinking coffee.  Different books for different times.  

Tip #3: Have an ongoing reading list and reading goal.                                                                I love Goodreads, an app that catalogues the book you have read and want to read.  They also have a yearly reading challenge, I am currently at 54 books read of 60.  Even if you only read 80% of the books you challenge yourself to read, then you are ahead of the game.  A great way to make reading feel fun and productive, is to make lists of the books you want to read.  I love checking things off a list.  Making a reading list can be a creative endeavour.  You can make a list of course on paper, or make one in excel on your computer.  You can draw out the books you read on a little bookshelf, or mark the finished books on a calendar.  You can also keep your pile of paper books somewhere in your house as a home decor piece.

Tip #4: Create a tradition or book club                                                                                              A bookclub can be any number of people, or really just you!  After reading a book you could write a mini book report about it, journal it or post it to social media with your thoughts.  Basically, it is good to create a tradition when finishing a book.  You could recommend the book and give it to a friend to read, or donate the book.  You could also make a tradition out of getting new books, like only read library books, buy new ones from your local bookstore, or borrow them from friends.  Make it a fun way to engage with books and reading!

Tip #5:  Enjoy reading!                                                                                                                          Sound easy and simplistic, but it is important to enjoy what you are reading.  You shouldn’t be looking at reading as a chore or task like going to the gym.  It is good for you and your brain!  That means you should definitely read things that you like, so if you love romance, then read it!

I hope these tips help you read more.  Be sure to check out goodreads , and create a reading challenge for 2019!  Happy reading!



Salt and Pepper Wings

My husband’s favourite food is chicken wings.  He loves all kinds of them, and could probably eat them everyday.  Unfortunately, like most delicious foods, they are not the healthiest option.  

Enter, the Actifryer.  Made by T-Fal, this contraption cooks using hot air and little oil.  We make a lot of food in the Actifryer, like french fries and frozen foods.  But, our all time favourite food to cook is chicken wings.  

Usually, we just drop defrosted, cut chicken wings into the Actifryer and let them cook for about 30 minutes, but we decided to get creative.  Boy, am I ever happy we did!  

I really love salt and pepper wings.  I am not a fan of breaded wings.  The wings we made were simple.  We tossed the wings with peanut oil, garlic salt, and pepper.  I would say that it is to your taste, but really, about a teaspoon or two of each spice.  Now, if you don’t have an Actifryer, you are cook the wings on a baking sheet, at 400 degrees in the oven.

I hope you enjoy these wings.  I served them with some veggies on the side, and some ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Also, make sure you have some water handy, because they are salty.  



I am a total homebody.  I love being at home, working in my home, and doing all things home related.  Home is very important to me.  I have always thought so because I am a Cancer, we are crabs who find their homes to be very important to their well-being.  But, I have realized that it has more to do with being an introvert.  My home restores me.  I find solace within its walls, and do my best work and thinking in it.  The name Country Mouse is simple, I love living in the country and I am short.  Simple, short, and sweet.  I love all things about the rural life, and we have many plans to enhance our country life.

Therefore, I decided to stop faffing about, and get down to business.  I want this blog, (and youtube channel to follow), to be a homage to my home.  It is about my life in my home, and all of the things that I do to make  and my home cozy and comfortable.  I plan on posting about the food I cook, the crafts I make, the books I read, and the things I do to fulfill my goals, be them personal or professional.  Above all, this blog is a space to create.  

Along with creation, I am hoping that this blog helps to keep me motivated and grounded.  I needed a project.  I finished an honours degree in Psychology last year.  It was five years of hard work, and by the end I was sick of writing for someone else, so I took a leave of absence from any kind of writing.  I have tried to get back on the horse, so to speak, but have had a hard time.  I am looking at this blog as a fresh start!  That said, since I do have an education in Psychology, expect some of it.  I am now coming back to it.  I really loved figuring out people and their behaviour, and then I went to school for it, which crushed a lot of my curiosity.  Learning about psychology is a lot different than reading psychology today and learning buzzwords.  It can be depressing, and full of pessimism.  But, I digress, I will discuss it, and with time may start to incorporate it a lot more.  Let’s wait and see what happens, shall we?

All in all, I am looking forward to sharing my life on this blog.  It is a fun hobby, and a great way to document life.  Cheers to sharing, teaching, and creativity!

-The Country Mouse