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A Window of Happiness

By 07/11/2012August 4th, 201936 Comments

Maria’s Kitchen Refresh (update)

If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would eventually move back to the valley where I grew up I would have said ‘No way, never going to happen‘. We moved to Abbotsford from Victoria when I was 12 years old and I was very upset about it at the time. As soon as I moved out at 19 I moved into the city (Vancouver).

Anytime I drove through Chilliwack (we are in Yarrow but it’s officially considered Chilliwack) on my way back from a trip to the interior I used to think “I’m glad I’ll never live in this one horse town!”.

So how is it going you ask?

Photos by Maria Killam

Since I now live a paltry 2 minute drive from my sister and my Mom, the first week we moved in my Mom texted me at 4:20 am.

Are you up? I’ve got the coffee on.

I’m often awake at 4:00 am and sometimes I’ll just get up anyway because usually I should have posted the night before so I can’t sleep until I get up and write a blog post.

I was awake. So I got dressed and jumped in the car. I was there exactly 5 minutes later and my mom said “I was just about to text you again to see where you were?”



Most mornings you’ll find me at my mom’s now for coffee at 5:30 – 6:00 am. Mornings are my favourite time of the day.

When my Mom came for dinner the first week she said “It’s like another window of happiness has just opened up for me now that you’ve moved here“.

Here’s the dike that goes all along the river almost right behind our house, it’s where I go for my morning run.

One day I ran to my sisters house and headed straight to the trampoline in the back yard. Within minutes my two nephews ran outside to join me. My sister Elizabeth came out 10 minutes later and gave me a green smoothie.

Do I miss the city at all?

No, I don’t. I’m there once or twice a week for appointments with my clients but if you don’t have a life designed around driving, you can live wherever you want!

I feel truly blessed.

A lettuce plant losing the battle.

It was early evening two weeks ago and my Mom came over and she was angry! My Mom is rarely in a bad mood. She has worked so hard in her huge garden and greenhouse (below) and when she got to a row of new cabbage plants they had been entirely eaten by slugs.

It’s rained so much here this Spring and June was the worst for rain on record. I think we had 4 partly sunny days in the month of June. While the rest of you are baking in the record heat, we keep the pools filled in California and fight with slugs.

My Mom said the only thing growing well in her garden are the potatoes!

We did enjoy some herb tea from her garden at her dining table this past weekend.

One of my readers wanted to know where this console table was placed in my new house. So here it is, in the family room right beside the kitchen. Here is some Alfalfa (from my running path) to dress up the place.

That’s my kitchen in the background, our countertops will finally be here next Thursday and then all the appliances can be installed! Can’t wait!

Related posts:

Cloverdale Paint Party on Elizabeth Avenue

Stuff Happens During Renovations

Maria’s New White Kitchen

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones, to get colour to do what you want.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.


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  • What a beautiful setting for your new home! We so enjoy all your posts, Maria. You will be missed Friday evening at Huff Harrington Home but we hope to meet you whenever you’re in Atlanta! Ann & Meg

  • Bruce Barone says:

    So happy for you!!!

  • I am almost as excited as you are to see those countertops!!! You are so blessed to live near family in such a lovely place!

  • Victoria says:

    it amazes me when the I realize the things that
    really truly make me happy so glad you are
    feeling it Maria and I love what you are
    doing with the house.

  • Bette says:


    I have been following your blog for three years now and I am so excited about the ebb and flow of your self, your business, and your blog.

    You are so generous with advice, teaching others about what you explore, experience, and want to know more about. It is really fun to see you grow into what makes you “Happy” and sharing with us.


  • Lovely post – a great way to catch up on what is going on with you after taking a bit of a break from blogging (me, that is – not you). Sounds like you are happy and doing very well! I look forward to reading more to see what else you have been up to – sounds like lots of big things have gone on in your life over the past year.

    – Holly

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for the shout out! A co-worker asked me, “Were you just talking to someone famous?” Of course I said “Yes!” I truly love what you do, and never miss a day reading your blog!

  • Karen says:

    Maria – I think you are blessed to live in such a peaceful rural setting – it makes me calm just to look at your pictures. Small towns are the heart of Canada and to be with your family is the perfect circle of life.

  • Cherie says:

    Your photographs and thoughts today have given me a little morning lift. I have taken your joy into my own heart. Thank you, Maria.

  • Jaclyn O'Hara says:

    Maria, how lucky you are to be living in such a beautiful place. I can’t wait to see how your new home comes together. Hope that lovely yellow sofa brightens the rainy days and adds a bit more light to the sunny ones. You are surrounded by family and a gorgeous countryside. What more could you ask for. All the best.

  • Sometimes it’s those little things – coffee in the morning, a run in the country and the opportunity to pick wildfowers that make these types of life changes so worthwhile. As a transplanted city girl, I’m also in awe of how easily I’ve left the hustle and bustle behind. Glad you are settling in so well, Maria.

  • Mia Staysko says:

    My mom has just moved closer to me and it has been such a blessing to be able to connect more easily. It is always the little things that count.

  • Victoria says:

    Maria, you will never forget these precious times together with your Mom. It’s been a long time since I was able to share those life stories with my Mom who has passed after a courageous fight with cancer. She passed in 2003 and not a day goes by when I think about how fortunate we were to live so close together and share tea time or talks over dessert together. I would move any day to be able to have the chance to spend the time with my Mum and Dad again. This is one of your most touching posts yet! Left me feeling what a wonderful world we have to share. I love your new place wishing you lots more love and memories to share together. Enjoy!

  • Wonderful story of gratitude!

  • Angela Taylor says:

    Love that your Mum is growing all those vegetables.
    Tell her to try srips of copper sheeting to keep the slugs away…expensive but it works.
    Felt the peacefulness, wonderful!

  • Sounds like a fantastic routine you’ve established in just a short time, Maria! Must go to J & M and check out Traci Zeller’s sale. xoxo

  • Mary Jane Magoon says:

    I love your post today. It made me happy for you and sad that my mother lives so far away. You are so blessed to be near your family and do what you love to do.

  • Roberta says:

    Bittersweet post Maria since my grown kids are all over the USA. I love what your Mom said about another window of happiness opening. So happy for you ALL in that one horse town haha! xo

  • SandyCGC says:

    Thanks you, Maria, for two wonderful things. You’ve reminded me, now that I’m much older, of the real happiness I experienced growing up when two weeks out of every summer we went to the country and stayed with my mother’s parents and then later with her aunt and uncle on their respective farms. In addition to the serene setting combined with endless opportunities for young ones to explore, we came home to the city loaded with fresh eggs, fresh fish, homemade suasage and kolaches and other goodies right from their farms. What wonderful memories.

    The other thing is that with all the changes in my life, I’ve really missed the opportunity to have morning coffee with someone regularly, but I just realized I do get to do that first thing in the morning every day you post because (after kitty breakfast) I pour my cup of coffee and sit down at the computer to check my e-mail. Even though I haven’t actually met you yet or any of your commenters, it’s a very special time in the morning and I’m loving getting to know you through your blogs and your regular posters through their responses. Thanks Maria and all for helping make my day.

  • karen says:

    Good Morning Maria, Loved your post this morning, as I always do. Your surroundings now are very serene and calming, and as we get older we realize how precious our family is. I would love nothing more than to have tea with my mom everyday, I miss her so much. At 19, the big city is wonderous and exciting and I think it takes being there to appreciate country life and the calm it has to offer. Timing is everything. Can’t wait to see your countertops. I also loved your mom’s phrase, window of happiness opening! Very happy for you all. Keep enjoying!

  • Jennifer says:

    Such a sweet post Maria….thanks for sharing!

  • Fran Worrall says:

    How wonderful to live so close to your mom. My mother is only two-and-a-half hours away, but that’s too far for me to just ‘pop in’ for a visit. I always enjoy reading about your posts about your mom, sisters and nephews. Looking forward to seeing your kitchen countertops!


  • Kristin says:

    Gorgeous photos. Hoping you can tell me the white paint color used in the first photo.
    Also, what are some of your favorite calm and soothing bn neutrals?

  • Joy says:

    A great post!! Dittos to all the prior comments. It is interesting how- what used to be important- changes over the years and how just simple things can bring happiness. Thank you for sharing.

  • My Mom swears by a low saucer of beer to drown the slugs in . She drinks most of a bottle of beer at dinner and then saves the rest to add to her beer saucers.

    I loved reading your description of moving from the city. We are planning on doing the same thing next year, but I have pangs of nervousness that I won’t like it.

  • Sharon says:

    Very heartwarming post ;~), very happy for you and your family!

  • Alison says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It made me all teary. What a beautiful place. I am so happy for you and your family.

    All the best,


  • Cynthia says:

    This is reminiscent of when my mother was still alive and my sister and I would be over at her house with my sister’s two children. Now my sister’s kids are all grown as well as my two and mother passed away four years ago. It’s a very special time of your life and you will always treasure the time spent together. I really really miss those times. You are so lucky!

  • Diane says:

    What a wonderful story — love it! Looks like you are settled in and meant to be there.

    I used to have a large vegetable garden at our NJ home, and I was constantly fighting with one critter or another over what I had planted. You learn a lot by experimenting, and although I did not have slugs, I had cutworms, and maybe they are similar? Anyway, what worked best for them was bathroom cups. After you put your plant in the ground, take a bathroom cup, cut it down the side, put it around the base of your plant, and push it into the ground around your plant — not all the way down but maybe an inch or two. It works so that when something comes up out of the ground and crawls along, it does not meet your plant — it meets a cup! The other thing I did was put black plastic mulch down first BEFORE planting and cut an X in it where the plant goes. That keeps the dirt from coming in contact with the plant, and also lessens anything in the dirt from having contact with your plants.

    Good luck with all and enjoy your new window of happiness!

  • “Home is where the heart is”. It looks like you have found yours. -Brenda-

  • Kelly says:

    This is how I feel in my New Hampshire home. Home. So happy for you!! xo

  • It sounds like you have such a lovely life! You’re truly blessed.

  • Everytime I visit my parents in Chilliwack I think, could I live here too? We lived in Abbotsford for a few years and I loved it out there. After living in the city, in Washington DC and Alberta and back here in the Lower Mainland, I think it is somewhat refreshing and invigorating to live somewhere that moves at it’s own pace and to have space too!

    Glad you are happy with your decision!

  • Ellie Cassio says:

    Tell your Mother to look for diatomatious earth. It is a white powder that you sprinkle around plants that slugs like. They don’t like the feeling to their bodies when they slither over it, so they stay away. I saw one slug trail the day before I put it out….none thereafter. But, if you dig around the plant, sprinkle a bit more. They just don’t like the feeling.

  • Christina H. says:

    What a beautiful post. Reading it made my life better. Thank you!

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