Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Farewell Coffee Date

Today, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief as I wave goodbye to Blogtember 2015. My goal was to participate in 20 of the 30 prompts and I surpassed my goal, once I hit publish on this post I will have participated in 23 of the Blogtember prompts and blogged 26 out of 30 days in September.

I met a lot of talented, creative and lovely bloggers through Blogtember and found some blogs that I'll continue to follow. I'm also suffering from serious blogger burnout. I think what contributed to blogger burn out the most was that about once a week I found myself writing a post for a prompt that I didn't feel overly passionate about writing. I was able to skip some of the prompts because I had only committed to 20 in the first place but I think a smarter choice would have been to really think about the prompts farther in advance and figure out which ones I really wanted to write. And then if that wasn't enough I can create some of my own prompts to get to the number of posts I want to publish. 

September was a bit of a roller coaster. I felt like I took on a lot and had a lot on my mind. I still have a lot on my mind and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. I feel like I'm about to enter a season of change and I have a lot of beginnings and endings happening all at once. September was a month were I felt a lot of anxiety about a lot of of different things, which was exhausting. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with that better in October but I know that I definitely need to make some adjustments. October is going to be a big month for goals, but I'm saving that for tomorrow. Today I'm giving myself a high five for Blogtember and then I'm going to take a break! 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: October Inspiration

Blogtember is drawing to a close and today's prompt is refreshingly simple! Come up with 10 blog posts/ideas for next month. October is shaping up to be a busy month so it's going to be helpful to have some posts in mind before the month even begins! I'm spending one weekend camping with a group of Girl Guides, one weekend is Thanksgiving and I've made some potential plans to spend a weekend in the city and another weekend going for a fall drive and trip to the pumpkin patch with J.. All things that I'm looking forward to, but things that are filling up my time none the less. 

What I liked about this prompt was is forced me to look at a calendar and brainstorm about what things I can blog about this month and when I'll have make time to blog. 
  1. October Goals. - I like goal setting and I really want to get better at setting goals & achieving them.
  2. Books. - I really liked writing the Blogtember post about my September Reads and I want to make it a monthly thing. 
  3. Thankful. - October is Thanksgiving here in Canada! 
  4. Ode to Organization. - October will be a good month to write about my planner.
  5. Fall Photos. - The leaves around here are world famous. Time to put the camera to good use!
  6. Coffee Date. - I've been writing one of these for the last few months and I like having a 'catch all' type posts and a monthly overview.
  7. Nature Lovers. - I love being outdoors and I think kids/youth need to be outdoors too. Plus, just because it's getting cold outside doesn't mean you have to stay inside. 
  8. Food Stuff. - This is vague, but that's the point. I'd like to blog about a recipe or just my meal plan. 
  9. Fall Date Day. - J. and I made plans to visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze and go for many evening strolls to admire the leaves. 
  10. Fall Care Packages. - J.'s sister is studying abroad and three of my close friends are living away from home too so I'm going to put together some fall themed care packages. Maybe it'll give someone some inspiration!
What blog posts do you have in mind this month? I'm also linking up my fall themed post ideas with the Blogging Elite!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: A Day In The Life

Yesterday I remembered to take pictures for most of the day and document my Sunday! So grab your favourite beverage and welcome to my day!

I woke up on my own just before 8:30 a.m. I took a few minutes to read through Twitter and Instagram before getting up for the day. The first thing I do every morning is make my bed. I didn't always used to be that way but over the past couple of years it's become a necessity. I think it makes my room look so much tidier and it's nice to pull back the blankets and get into bed at the end of the day opposed to untangling covers and throwing them over myself. Once that's done I quickly brush my teeth, while I do that Peyton likes to get a drink out of the sink. Then I come downstairs and make coffee. I usually check blogs, watch the morning news and text J. or the girls while I drink my coffee. 

Yesterday I had a district meeting for Girl Guides so after I leisurely sipped my coffee and felt up to date with what was going on in the world I went upstairs to get ready for my meeting. While I was there Peyton was being kind of adorable so I snapped a couple of photos of her before I realized I needed to eat lunch before I left. 

I made a quick lunch with rice, veggies and chicken and ate that while I watched a cooking show. Then I headed to my car and drove to the meeting. When I got to the meeting we realized the hall had been double booked so while we waited for a group to finish we spent time outside and then headed in for our meeting. After the meeting I had to go pick up Girl Guide cookies for my unit and by that time it was 5:00. Since I was in town anyway I decided to pick up a pizza for supper. Once that was ready I headed home and enjoyed every bite of my spicy chicken pizza!

After supper I had dessert with my mom. I had an instant cappuccino I had leftover from camp and a brownie with carmel sauce & sea salt. Needless to say I was very satisfied and very full after last night's supper and dessert! I watched some HGTV and occasionally peeked out the window to look at the super moon. Around 10:00 p.m. I determined I was ready for bed so I headed upstairs to brush my teeth (Peyton helped herself to a drink out of the tap) and then climbed into bed. I wrote in my journal, read a chapter in my book and then turned on an episode of Good Eats to listen to while I fell asleep. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Recent Reads

First off I am supper excited that I met my goal of reading four books this month! I think the biggest difference is that I've really started cracking down on my bedtime routine this month and I've been reading for close to half an hour each night before bed. Plus, I squeezed in some extra reading time on some of the last sunny summer days.

The Book of Negroes. This was by far the best book I read this month. I gave it a full five stars on Goodreads, I've recommended it to a handful of people and I honestly think it's a book everyone should read. It's a pretty thick book and I didn't think I would finish this month but I couldn't get enough. The only time I put it down was when I felt so overwhelmed by the story that I needed to take a break and absorb what I was reading. I watched the CBC mini-series based on the book when it aired last fall so I had a basic understanding of the plot. The mini-series was phenomenal and I was a little worried the book wouldn't live up to my expectations. I was dead wrong though. I would love to discuss this book with a group!

Primates of Park Avenue. A few years back I watched Nursery University and was fascinated that this is the way some people live their lives and this is the way children are being raised. This book was an unofficial prequel to the movie in a lot of ways. It gave me insight on just how that kind of culture is formed and the pros and cons of the whole thing. It was an interesting read, although it did read more like a research paper at times, but considering the authors background and premise of the book that's to be expected. I think this book is worth a read if you're interested in learning about different parenting styles or books about culture/society. 

Yes Please. I really hate to admit this, but I was disappointed. I couldn't relate to any of Amy's tales of partying and drug use and I'm really not interested in who she has/hasn't slept with. That being said there were some spectacular chapters, especially when she wrote about being a mom to her two boys. I'm glad I read it because Parks & Rec. is a wonderful show and I do like Amy Poehler, she does some cool things. I couldn't help but compare it to Tina Fey's Bossypants. And I loved Bossypants. I've read it a couple times and will probably read it again in the future. It's probably unfair of me to compare the two books but it happened and Yes Please felt short for me in a lot of ways. Not a terrible book but I'm glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't spend my own money to buy a copy.

Rescuing Julia Twice. I'm not a parent, and even when I am a parent I will do my best not to judge other people's parenting choices. Now that I've said that disclaimer...this book made me feel awkward. I would love to find someone else who has read this book and who has watched the documentary The Dark Matter of Love because some serious good discussion would ensue. I don't really know what else to say about this book that's constructive. It was a unique perspective. Again, another library read and not a book I would ever buy. 

The Giver. I had never read this book. In elementary school we read a lot of local books, in junior high it was never a book my class read and in high school I was in a totally different stream of English and really didn't read any of the classic high school books. This was definitely a lower reading level, I got through the whole book in a day, but it did keep my interest. I don't want to give anything away but I did think the colour thing was fascinating. As far as dystopian society books go this was a good read. I can see why it's taught in classrooms and I'm glad that I can now say I've read The Giver.

I'm setting my goal to read 5 books in October! Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the first book on my to read list for the month. And I've already begun Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse. I'm not sure what else I'll read, I'd love to hear some suggestions! 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Tunes & Tales

It's been a hectic week and my to do list keeps growing instead of shrinking! So before I tackle a few more things on my list I'm going to take a minute to share some meaningful music and a few other favourites. 


Bailey Jean is asking us to share three songs that we're connecting with right now. This was a pretty easy question for me to answer. All summer long I have been loving John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 by Keith Urban. I love High Valley and lately their song Country Line has been one of my favourites. Lastly a song I've been listening to for well over a year but has remained one of my go tos when I need some upbeat inspiration My Lighthouse by Rend Collective.


I've been eating some great food this week, both in taste and nutrition value. Earlier this week I had farfalle pasta and broccoli with meatballs and marinara sauce. Making leftovers tasty is a bit of a challenge for me so I was super pleased that I used leftover meatballs and sauce from the night before to make this lunch. On the middle you'll see a happy kitchen disaster. I set out to make a smoothie but  I ended up making sorbet of sorts...I added some chocolate chips and it was delicious. Kitchen experiments are always fun, but sometimes you just need a big plate of broccoli & carrots. Because broccoli never disappoints. 


I almost didn't invest in this planner. The one I used last year was good until 2016 but it really wasn't working for me so I was pretty much just writing notes on post-its and calling it a day. When I found this one the end of July I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money, but I did and I'm so happy with it. Best $20 I've spent in a long time. It's become a complete necessity to keep track of Guiding stuff and blogging things and family commitments. I'll probably do a full post dedicated to how much I love this planner, but this week it is one of my favourite things and deserves a shout out. 

It's not often I include links to articles in my favourites but this article published in The Guardian "Why The Queen of Mommy Bloggers Had To Quit" is worth a read for anyone who blogs regardless of your niche. I think it's a reality many bloggers don't consider when they are driven to create a blogging empire. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a business blogger and finding ways to make your blog profitable. I just liked that this article showed a different perspective of the phenomenon that blogging has become. 


Our first Spark meeting is Monday and I'm excited and anxious to start the year. I'm eager to get organizing and come up with some fun activities to do this year. I haven't been in Sparks since I was a Spark, all of my leader experience has been with the older girls. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole process, but I'm sure once things start I'll be more at ease.

On that note, I am off to send some more emails. Turns out tracking down the key for our meeting place is more of a challenge than it should be and seeing as how it's almost noon I should really get dressed and out of my pyjamas!

Linking up here & here.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Favourite Bloggers

Today's Blogtember prompt is to share our favourite blogs/bloggers. When I saw this prompt I kind of groaned because I know I've written about this before, but I'm determined to complete 20 of the 30 days.  I've already skipped some prompts earlier in the month so I knew I had to participate in this one. Which isn't the end of the world. I have been making some cuts on daily must read blogs over the past few months. Mostly, I've stopped reading blogs that only post giveaways and blogging advice. I'm all for the occasional giveaway or advertisement and once and a while I do enjoying reading posts about blogging but that's not what I want to read on a daily basis. 

I started blogging because I was far away from friends and beginning the dreaded twenty-something transition years. Blogging was a way for me to connect with other people in similar life stages or that were a few years ahead of me in life. A community to engage with and learn from, grow with and a place for me to be creative. All that being said, the blogs I've chosen as my favourite are bloggers that I admire in one way or another. They are all hardworking and motivated. Most are Moms, all are Christians. They blog about their lives in the now and I never come to the end of a post they publish feeling disappointed, most times I feel inspired and uplifted. Never pressured to post more often or judgement because my photos aren't 'Pinterest' worthy. And when these women do share blogging advice, I read and learn and feel inspired and encouraged. And when they post giveaways, I casually skim the post and move on with my life, because I live in Canada and people never ship to Canada. (It's fine though, nobody ships to Canada without payment in Golden Eggs and first born children. I don't hold it against anyone.)

Without further ado these are the six bloggers I would consider favourites. 

I'm looking forward to reading today's posts in the link ups and not just reading the links to favourite blogs but also reading the reasons why!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Blogging Around The Campfire Guest Post

I am super excited that today for Blogtember's Guest Post prompt my Solidarity Sister, Ashley, is sharing a few of her thoughts about summer camp! The first guest post for 'Blogging Around the Campfire', which some of you might remember me writing about earlier in the spring. If you have your own camp thoughts and experiences and would like to share let me know!

I’m Ashley and I blog over at Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody. I’m so excited to be here on Donna’s space sharing my opinion. I know Donna spent the summer at a camp with a whole bunch of kiddos. Well I did too!

I enjoy running our local youth club’s summer program. I spent endless hours for three months planning and replanning the activities and crafts. I worked hard to get special guests and did tons of shopping sprees. Preparing and running a club is exhausting, but worth every minute. The kids are the focus and priority everyday at the youth club because a summer camp offers many experiences kids don’t get.

Summer camps open up a whole new look on community and friendships. Our camp is a day to day camp meaning that we run 11 hours and then all the kids go home. The plus side of this is that they don’t all get bored and exhausted on each other. We do run into the sibling bickering, even though most of the kids are not siblings. When you are together for 11 hours a day, 5 days a week, and for three months the buttons get pushed. However, this teaches the kids the reality of community and friendships. They learn how to express their opinion nicely, how to remove themselves from conflict, and socialization skills. Our kids also learn how to work as a team, because we strive on community and being one whole body.

Summer camps allow kids to explore arts and crafts. Most of our children either come from parents who work hard but don’t have funds, or just work countless hours. Both of these situations doesn’t always allow the kids to go explore different arts and crafts like pottery and painting. Our camp allows them try different activities because of the guest teachers and our planned activities.

Summer camps provides the kids with structure and a safe place. We run on routines and a planned our calendar. Some kids don’t get the joy of having an organized life or a sense of feeling safe. Our camp provides the kids with teachers and staff members that bring in a welcoming atmosphere. We want the the kids to feel loved and important. We set expectations high, but reachable for each child to grow and prosper into a wonderful adult.

Summer camps are full of fun activities, community, and provide structure. Did you attend a summer camp with your kids this summer? If you have been to a camp, why did you enjoy it so much?

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Creative Memory Keeping

Blogtember is asking us to share our creativity. Lately I've been channelling all my creativity into memory keeping. I've been organizing my camp photos from this summer using a hodge lodge of Smash Book-ing, traditional scrapbooking and Project Life journalling. Sharing this creativity is a little challenging since I adhere to pretty strict confidentiality guidelines when it comes to camp. I tried to choose pages that didn't have a whole lot of people photos, but the ones that need I had to use my superb (haha) editing skills to make the faces go away. 

Part of my job involves doing Cabin Inspection each morning at camp. A few mornings each week the cabins do the usual tidying routine (making beds, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping floor) and create a theme. This year the theme for the themes seemed to be 'in space'. It was weird and wonderful so I devoted a page to some of the cabin inspection photos. The pocket on the next page is full of cards and pictures that campers (and counsellors) had drawn and given to me during cabin inspection. 

When I went through my photos I realized I had quite a few photos of campers doing crafts so I put them all together and added a few little drawings that had been given to me. 

These pages are a work in progress and still need journalling added. One page documents a typical break spent at N.'s cottage. A candle lit supper, an evening stroll, (not pictured a Friends episode or three). The next morning breakfast was a priority and then usually a trip to town to window shop and a coffee and donut stop before heading back to the cottage. The next page is photos from the night R. & I picked H. up at the airport and the three of us were reunited for the first time in almost a year!

There are a couple of blue chairs at camp that in past years have always managed to creep their way into photos that would otherwise be great for promotional use. So this summer I made a game out of photographing the blue chairs in all the crazy spots I saw them around camp. Overall I have over 100 photos, these 8 are just some of my favourites. This page needs some more journalling as well.

Everything is still a work in progress. I've blogged about my style of memory keeping more back here

Monday, 21 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Wise Words


The first time I heard this quote I was in a church basement. I was a youth group leader and our group was participating in a two week mission project in our community. I learned a lot and experienced a lot during that time but the thing that stuck with me the most is this quote. "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Let that sink in for just a minute. It seems to me that a lot of people think that in order to do answer God's call they have to struggle and sacrifice and be unhappy. The reality is that is not the case. Yes, sometimes we struggle and make sacrifices, but God wants us to be happy! He has given each of us unique talents, passions and goals because each of us has a unique plan for each of us that requires the perfect combination of a whole lot of things. When we're following a call it's easy to focus on the struggles and completely lose sight of the big picture. The realized dream and accomplished goal mean more than what we've "missed". 

I often relate this to camp. If given the choice between relaxing on a beach or spending the day at camp, I'd chose camp every time. I don't think I'm missing out on summer. It's okay that camp isn't going to make me a millionaire, the "sacrifice" of living on a budget isn't really a sacrifice when it means I'm working at camp. Doing what makes me happy, what brings me deep gladness is exactly what God has called me to do.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Guilty Pleasures

My guilty pleasures can be separated into two categories: Food and TLC.

I have a deep love for Fried Chicken. And none of that chain restaurant stuff. There's a local-ish place here that makes the absolute best fried chicken, it's 45 minutes away and there's always a wait but it's worth every second. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Obviously not a guilty pleasure I indulge in frequently but a couple times a year we make the pilgrimage for fried chicken and all is right in the world. I'd love to go on an epic southern road trip and try all the fried chicken...this road trip couldn't end at the beach because I'd weigh two tonnes by the end of it, but the process would be delicious. 

Nacho Cheese Doritos are the tastiest of Doritos, this are a more common guilty pleasure along side the dark pop guilty pleasure, which is probably way too common of an indulgence. The last one in the food category is plain, rippled chips paired with onion dip. Chips & Dip is a special snack I save for when I really need a treat but it really is the most delicious. 

And what better to pair junk food with than junk TV!? I know full well that TLC is full of ridiculous, but man...I love me some TLC. And to their credit, typically shows start off strong. The first season (or at least the first few episodes) are fascinating, just people living their lives and doing their thing. Inviting the world to see that differences are good. Things go down hill when in some way or another the people stop being sensible human beings. Which is upsetting because then they're just reaffirming stereotypes instead of helping to break them down, which 9 times out of 10 is the main reason they cite for filming a show in the first place. It's a vicious cycle. And one that I guiltily support by getting sucked in to various marathons and occasionally Googling the latest gossip related to the shows.

Now that I've confessed my guilty pleasure you should all head over to Blogtember and share yours as well. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Friday Celebrations

I'm going to pass on the Blogtember prompt for today because I'm not a vlogger and I have no interest in becoming a vlogger. #keepingitreal

It's been a weirdly depressing week around these parts, not necessarily in my personal life, but every evening when I turned on the news I was met with stories of a missing toddler, missing woman and a handful of heart wrenching court cases. And that was just the local news. It puts things into perspective though and serves as a gentle reminder to take time to enjoy the present, be thankful for the now and celebrate the ordinary. Plus, although I'm excited about my participation in Blogtember it is more tiring than I thought it would be to follow the prompts each day. I have discovered some fantastic new blogs to follow so that's a welcome bonus!

I ended up having a unexpectedly busy week. Monday I had a few errands to run and then Tuesday I had a quick breakfast date with J. before he left (he'll be away until the first of October). Wednesday I spent the day catching up with e-mails and blogging and Thursday I had an info night for Girl Guides. In between all that I've been making carving out the fringe hours and getting some post-camp scrapbooking done. Scrapbooking the photos and mementos from the summer is incredibly therapeutic. It helps me to reflect and grown and really put an end to the summer. Tonight I'm headed to a family birthday party but right now I am sipping my coffee, eating a chocolate chip muffin and blogging while I listen to Canada AM.

I've been having a really difficult time uploading photos to my blog lately and it's driving me crazy!!!

Moving on to happier things, which is supposedly the whole point of this post...

After a tortuously long winter it seems like Mother Nature is trying to make up for things by making sure summer doesn't leave us too soon. We've had a couple fall-ish days but for the most part the temperature has remained in the mid-twenties, the sun is shining and I'm still spending time near the water and on the beach.

It's almost the season for new shows! I've fallen behind in a lot of the shows I used to watch but I'm planning to watch the new seasons of Survivor and Amazing Race that start this week. The Middle also starts up again this week. I'm not as obsessed with Grey's Anatomy as I used to be but I probably will watch the premier just to see how Meredith is doing.

I've been reading! So far this month I've finished two books and I'm half way through my third. My goal was to read four, which I think is attainable. Right now I'm reading Rescuing Julia Twice. It has some pretty negative reviews on Goodreads, and I don't foresee it becoming my favourite book, but it is interesting. And having time to read is always worth celebrating!

I'm forbidding myself to buy anymore scrapbooking supplies until Christmas when I can invest in a Project Life album, inserts and maybe a core kit. I'm using all of my currently existing supplies for my camp album and it's actually been fun to challenging my creativity by eliminating the option to run off to Michael's and buy perfect matching paper and stickers.

If you haven't seen this commercial yet (and it's possible it's only being aired in Canada) you need to watch. Every time it airs I stop what I'm doing and my heart melts just a little bit.

On that note of adorable-ness I'm off to get my bathing suit on and head to the river for the afternoon!

Linking up with Karli and Andrea.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Obsessions

It's an open invitation to talk about our most recent obsessions today for Blogtember, this was one prompt I didn't have to give much thought about. I knew immediately that right now I have two major obsessions: Becky Higgins  and jigsaw puzzles!

First off, let's talk Becky Higgins. For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, Becky Higgins is the master mind behind Project Life. Beyond that she is passionate about preserving memories, especially the everyday moments. She often uses the phrase "cultivate a good life" and her Pinterest page is full of inspirational quotes related to that idea. Outside of all that creativity and inspiration based on her blog and videos and social media she just seems like a genuinely awesome individual. I just want to spend the day at the Project Life headquarters and help to design PL products and meet the team. And then I want her to take me home with her so I can snoop she can show me all of her personal Project Life folders. We can have coffee and talk about memory keeping and how to document the every day. Since she lives in Arizona (which is a place I've always wanted to visit) I'd have to spend the night. We'd take a break to change into pyjamas and then dig deeper into what it means to cultivate a good life. Moral of the story is, I love this lady and I just really want to be like her.

Moving on to less crazy stalker obsessions...

I've developed a love for jigsaw puzzles. The one pictured above is the one I'm currently working on and let me tell you, it's a challenge. And it's giant, 2000 pieces is a lot of pieces. I also love it. I love that it challenges my brain, forces me to go slow and take my time. Pay close attention to details and know my limits. I'm Type A. I like to have everything organized and finished. You don't put together a 2000 piece puzzle in one sitting. I'm learning to identify when it's time to step away and take a break and I'm always surprised that when I go back to my puzzle hours later I do see pieces that fit together that I didn't notice before. I love that it forces me to celebrate the small victories, finally filling in the missing piece or figuring out a particularly challenging section. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Real Life vs Online

Blogtember is digging a little deeper today. Asking us to write about the differences between our "real life" and our "online life". In all honesty there's not a huge difference I love coffee and cola (separately, not together). I love Jesus and summer camp (ideally, together). I have two best friends and one boyfriend. I'm not interested in fad diets or workouts but I love cooking for loved ones and going hiking. I like watching the evening news, reading books about other people's lives and listening to country music. 

I love blogging because it allows me to connect with people and it gives me an outlet for my writing. I will fully admit to maybe being a little more reserved here in Blogland, although I'm a pretty quiet person in real life too. I am very cautious about what information I share on my blog and I never share photos of people without their permission. And since I'm still firmly planting in the blogging closet, I don't have people's permission. In real life I love sharing camp stories and while I do that on the blog I am a little more restricted by confidentially agreements. I save all my specific photos and stories for my scrapbooks and journals. 

Maybe this revelation isn't as thrilling as if I were to write about some kind of double life. A blogger who loves Jesus and celebrates the simple things versus a rebel without a cause who hates everyone and everything. In the words of Kenny Chesney, "I'm what I am and I'm what I'm not, I'm sure happy with what I've got. I live to love and laugh a lot And that's all I need."

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: What's In My Bag

This Blogtember prompt came at the perfect time because it was just the motivation I needed to finally get my purse cleaned out after the summer. I picked up my photos yesterday, which means that I can start Smash Booking/Scrapbooking/Project Life-ing this summer. In addition to photos I love including other little souvenirs in my memory books, many of those little souvenirs get stuck in my purse and forgotten about until September when I finally get around to cleaning out my purse. So this purse clean was productivity all post, scrapbooking supplies, clean, win, win!

I kind of hate that the photo turned out blurry, but I snapped it on my phone mid-clean and I didn't realize how bad it was until I uploaded it and I'm not willing to empty everything out again, so this will just have to do, I promise you're not missing out on anything super exciting!

I think the official name for my purse is something along the lines of the "Bedford Medium Satchel" I'm a big fan of it because I can use it the way it's pictured in the photo or I can pop the buttons on the side to extend it and attached the longer strap and use it as a larger cross body bag. I have the matching wallet which is also great because of all it's pockets and slots. I really like that it has a full zipper around it so everything stays put and if I'm running somewhere quick I can just grab my wallet and go! Enough about the vessels, let's move on to what I always keep on hand and what surprised I found during my cleaning spree.

My essentials are hand cream, lip balm, tylenol, bandaids, gum, a wet wipe and my spare keys. I always have a notebook in my bag. The green one was my failed attempted at using the Bullet Journal System and the gold glittery one was were I kept all my town lists for camp. Along with sticky notes, two pens, a mini sharpie, a binder clip and a couple of paper clips. Heaven forbid I find myself without a stash of office supplies. 

I discovered a baggie full of change and a nearly empty change purse, which was a little bit of a confusing moment. I had a pile of receipts that I tossed once I took a photo and a pile of mementos from the summer. That pile got moved to the box of things to scrapbooking and consisted of a few recipes that I wanted to save, a napkin for our favourite frozen yogurt place, a movie ticket stub, a parking pass from a day at the beach and a few little notes. I also found some coupons that I had forgotten about, which is always a win.

I thought about unpacking my wallet but there isn't much of interest in there the usual cards, cash, change and loyalty stamp cards. All in all I try to 'travel light' this is my running errands and out and about bag. When I'm going shopping or doing anything active I switch out this purse for a smaller cross body bag that keeps my hands free. I also want to be prepared though, so I never leave home without the basics, I'll never be one of those ladies that exits the house with just my keys, debit card and phone. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Five Books

I love reading and I've shared my love of reading quite a few times here on the blog. Today's Blogtember prompt is to write about the five books that have impacted your life the most. It's a question that I needed to think long and hard about before coming up with an answer. I consider myself to be a rule follower, so after narrowing it down to seven I really tried to eliminate two and chose just five...but I couldn't make it happen. So I'm choosing seven books that have impacted my life the most.

Campingly Yours - Thomas C. Alder this was the first book I read that made me realize there were people out there like me who loved summer camp with every fibre of their being. It validated my passion in a way nobody/nothing else had before. It gave me a sense of belonging and a feeling of happiness. In many ways it solidified a life long passion for camp. I read it while I was still a counsellor, which for most people is the end of the line in terms of their love of camp, and this book motivated me to keep dreaming and stay determined that camp would be my career.

The Bible  This one is sort of self-explanatory, but only sort of. This particular Bible is the one I received as a 16 year old when I was an LIT. It was my first grown up Bible and it has guided me through a multitude of situations. I'm sure I could do an entire post (including photos) about the scribbles and doodles in the margins and the bookmarks and highlighted verses. I've used this Bible for a full 10 years and I love it dearly although I am ready to 'start a new Bible' so to speak and fill that one with prayer and praise. 

Seven - Jen Hatmaker  My first real foray into living with minimal 'stuff', it's somewhat ironic that I narrowed this question down to seven books. And if hard pressed these probably would be the seven books I'd choose to keep if I could only have seven! This book really stuck with me, I often think about choosing seven foods to eat or seven articles of clothing. It's a book I will re-read in multiple seasons of life and each time learn something new. 

The Fringe Hours - Jessica Turner Game changer. I'm an introvert who is notoriously bad at self care and making time for myself. How's that for a recipe for disaster? This is the most recent read to make the list but I still think it's deserving of a spot. I finished this just as I headed to camp for the summer and made several attempts to incorporate the fringe hours philosophy in my life. With varied levels of success I did find those fifteen minute windows during the day. I snapped sunset photos before counsellor meeting and shut my bedroom door for five minutes while I fixed my hair and applied sunscreen. This is another book I'll be re-reading and learning from again and again. 

Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli The first time I read this book I was in elementary school. It was a book and i enjoyed it but it wasn't until the beginning of high school when this book make it's impact. In high school I was very actively involved in drama and along with all of my best drama friends I acted in a stage adaptation of the book. It took on a whole new meaning as we spent a large portion of that year studying the book and learning our lines. It was some of the most fun I've ever had and I always think back fondly on the experience. Plus, it really is a great book. Stargirl and Leo are two of my favourite characters ever and there are so many life lessons hidden within the pages. 

These Happy Golden Years (Little House on The Prairie Series) - Laura Ingalls Wilder. This book belonged to my mom when she was a little girl. She found it one day when I was in grade three or four and gave it to me to read. Even though it's one of the last books in the Little House on the Prairie series it's the first one I read and the one that made me fall in love with Laura Ingalls. I was immediately consumed with interest for her and her life. I spent hours researching her and learning everything I could about her and the time period. It inspired me to write my own stories and when I wasn't researching Laura and her family I was creating my own pioneer families. I hope that someday I'll be able to pass along my Little House book collection to my daughter, as well as her grandmother's copy of These Happy Golden Years. 

The Princess Bride - William Goldman this book makes me happy, in some ways it probably could have gotten the cut in regards to how influential it's been in my life. I discovered it many years after I'd developed a strong love of reading and writing. I don't have many strong connections to reading this book, other than the fact I've re-read it countless times. It's another book I will pass along to any future children. It's a great movie, but the book is full of so many more details and added happiness. It's sort of my comfort book. I've read it times of crisis and times of peace, it's always there for me when I need a familiar read. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Life Snaps

Today's post, much like today's prompt, is going to be short and sweet. 

This season is full of reflection, change, choice and discernment. Figuring out how to make camp a career. Knowing that my hometown is where I want to live. Living away from my closest friends is challenging in so many ways but also an incredible experience. To know that distance is a number and  regardless of physical presence I have amazing friends who are there for me no matter what happens. This season has been spent on high alert for 'God Moments' and writing non-stop about what I'm seeing and feeling. This season is full. And most of the time I feel content and at peace with this moment in time. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: September Currently

Reading... I started Yes Please by Amy Poehler last night!

Playing... I've rediscovered my love of Sporcle. Name all the states and all the countries are my favourite. 
Watching... I've been watching a hodge podge of shows lately. I haven't found anything new that I'm in love with so I'm sticking to re-runs of Friends and a smattering of cooking shows that never disappoint. 
Trying... Not to rush myself and just let life unfold. 
Cooking... This week I made pasta, tacos, breakfast for supper and steak with a whole lot of veggies.
Eating... Exactly what I've been cooking! Along with popcorn as an evening snack.
Drinking... Starbucks Lime Refreshers. Seriously delicious. 
Calling... Nobody on a regular basis.
Texting... H. and R. and J. Sometimes N. 
Pinning... Project Life inspiration and Sparks meeting plans. 
Tweeting... Not a thing. 
Going... Florida in the fall has been postponed so I don't have any immediate travel plans.
Loving... I just found out a friend of mine is moving back home. I'm so excited to have someone close to home to go hiking with and have coffee dates with!
Hating... the end of summer. 
Discovering... I can't think of any major discoveries! 
Thinking... I don't think I've stopped thinking this month! I've also been doing a lot of writing/doodling so thankfully all this thinking (so far) isn't leading to a whole lot of anxiety. 
Feeling... Many things...excitement over how many possibilities there are, scared/worried about choosing from the possibilities, a little overwhelmed...I definitely feel like I'm in a season of change.
Hoping (for)... Good things!
Listening (to)... Only the country radio station when I'm driving. 
Celebrating... The little things. 
Smelling... I'm enjoying the last of my watermelon lemonade candle. I think it's just about time to retire the summer scents in favour of something a little more fall friendly. 
Ordering... Chicken Tacos! I don't eat out all that often but when I do I choose chicken tacos.
Thanking... God! 
Considering... So many things! It feels like I've spent a lot of time brainstorming and make pro/con lists and generally just putting pen to paper and emptying my brain!
Starting... I'm hoping to start Smash/Scrapbooking this summer once I get my photos. 
Finishing... Yesterday I finished the puzzle I was working on! 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Friday Night In

To be honest, the vast majority of my Friday night's are spent "in". J. works on Saturday mornings so we typically have Saturday night dates or Sunday day dates. Leaving my Friday nights all my own, and my introverted heart is very happy that I have a night all to myself. 

I like to start off the night with something tasty for supper. Usually this is homemade pizza or chicken  with veggies and rice. Tonight I'm making tacos because I've developed a light obsession with them and I just want to eat tacos all day everyday. After supper I like to watch the evening news (possibly with a cup of tea and a sweet) and catch up with my parents. 

I've also developed a new found love for jigsaw puzzles. I've discovered that I get frustrated if I work on it for too long so I turn on a documentary and give myself the length of the movie to work on the puzzle. After that I put it away and move on to something else. At this point during my Friday night I like to take a hot shower and get into my pyjamas, even if it's still early. 

If I have a scrapbooking project in the works I'll probably work on that for another hour or so and if not then I might read for a little bit. My favourite Friday night treat is chips & dip with an ice cold glass of pop. If H. & R. are also enjoying a Friday night in then the three of us will Skype! 

Three different time zones makes Skyping a little challenging, by the time we've gotten caught up and factored in some general girl talk it's close to midnight in my part of the world. Once we say our goodnights and hang up I take a minute to jot down a few sentences in my journal before calling it a night!

You can share your favourite "Friday Night In" plans over at Brave Love!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Bucket List

It's been a long time since I've evaluated my bucket list and today seems to be the perfect day to come up with the 10 things I want to accomplish in life.

{one} Have a full time/year round position at a Christian camp and retreat centre.
This is pretty self explanatory, this is my absolute dream job and one that I will hopefully have in the next five years. 

{two} Become a wife and mother.
To be a wife and mother has always been a top priority in my life. 

{three} Publish a book.
Children's book, YA novel, memoir of my time at camp...I don't know what it will look like when all is said and done but I will cross it off my buckler list someday. 

{four} Create a small side business involving photography/scrapbooking/crafting.
I'm not talking multi-billion dollar arts & crafts empire. I would like to make some extra income by selling greeting cards or something along those lines. 

{five} Visit every province/territory in Canada.
So far I've lived in three of the four Atlantic Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland) and I've visited PEI and Quebec. I have some potential plans for trips to Alberta and Ontario sometime in the next year to visit friends, so we'll see if I can cross two more provinces off my list before 2016 is over! 

{six} Complete a full year of Project Life
I've dabbled in this method of scrapbooking before but it's always been a mash of PL and Smash Booking and traditional scrapbooking. I'd like to start in January and carry through until December doing a full page spread each week for 52 weeks. 

{seven} Complete one-three months of The 100-Mile Diet.
I've been fascinated with this concept since I first watch the Food Network mini-series where they challenged a group of people to follow the diet for 100 days. The biggest challenge is that I would want to do it in the summer/fall but I've always been at camp during that period and I simply don't have the time to devote to making that happen during the camp season. 

{eight} Grow a vegetable garden.
Summers at camp can also be blamed for not accomplishing this one. Someday it will happen though!

{nine} Complete NaNoWriMo.
Maybe 2015 will be the year!? 

{ten} Read the Bible cover to cover in chronological order. 
I've been thinking about this one a lot lately! I think that my plan to tackle this will be to invest in a new Bible (ideally a journalling Bible, suggestions welcome!!) and start from the beginning. I have attempted this before with no success. I think journalling my way through the Bible is a much better plan of action than simply reading.

Linking up for Blogtember!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Letter to Me


You should know that sixteen is just as sour as it is sweet. Soak up those moments with  the 'parallelogram'. I know it's hard for you to believe but those girls won't always be your best friends.  (Don't worry, in your 20s you'll find yourself surrounded and supported by some incredible girls. You will do life with these girls and love every moment.) Try not to take yourself too seriously, it's important to work hard but that doesn't mean you need to stress about perfection. Be diligent when it comes to taking photos and scrapbooking, guard those memories and preserve them as best you can. This will be last summer you spend as a camper and the last you ever spend at MP. You will be devastated and heartbroken beyond anything you could ever imagine. Let yourself be sad.  Let the experience inspire you and motivate you. The truth is, it gets worse. It will lead you places that you never would have went had everything gone according to plan. Trust God's plan and know that He knows exactly what your purpose is here on earth. (Those girls you'll do life with, you meet them because you lost MP.) Do your best to stay connected to the communities that you value, even if you can't always be involved, stay connected.

Life has a way of working itself out. It takes awhile and sometimes it feels like you'll feel like a hot mess forever but it will work out. Give it time. When you turn 25 you still won't have it all figured out (and have come to realize that nobody has it all figured out) but you will be happy with where God has lead you. You're not at the finish line yet and your head and heart will be full of ideas and big dreams. Keep going. Stay motivated and inspired and surround yourself with the people that you love. Remember to relax and rejoice when necessary.

Keep moving forward. Everything happens for a reason and God will bless you in ways beyond what you can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

2015 Donna

Linking up with Blogtember.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Blogtember 2015: Ode to Summer

It seems fitting (and a little bittersweet)  to write about how much I love summer after the last unofficial weekend summer. Today, Bailey Jean asks us to talk about our favourite season and for me, my favourite season has always been summer. 

Bright summer mornings, leisurely summer afternoons and nights spent with friends gathered around a crackling fire. Walking barefoot in the sand and grass. Listening to crickets and birds. 

I spend as much of my summer as I can near water. I love going for evening strolls on trails that meander around the shore line and no afternoon at the beach is complete without a walk in the sand. I love being able to be outside and snapping pictures without worrying my fingers will freeze as I snap away! The perfect summer afternoons are spent near the water with a novel or a notebook, letting myself escape the world or focus on reflecting. 

Summer sunsets deserve an entire post of their own. Most of my summer days are spent at camp, helping to facilitate amazing summer memories (and creating some of my own in the process). While I love my job, sometimes I really need a moment to myself away from all the chaos and noise. Sneaking away for 5-15 minutes to watch the sunset is where I find time in the day to breathe and take a moment to reflect and recharge. 

There's something magical about summer and it will always and forever be my favourite.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Blogtember 2015 : Grace & Galoshes

This has been my view for the majority of the last couple of days. I'm spending Labour Day Weekend fully appreciating summer and absorbing some Vitamin D. I'll be back Tuesday with a full weekend recap complete with the many reasons why summer is my very favourite season. 

If you're visiting from Blogtember and are wondering why I call my little corner of the internet "Grace & Galoshes" the answer is rather simple! When I decided I wanted to make blogging a serious hobby I sat down with a pen and paper and wrote down dozens of words. Some adjectives that I thought described me, some that I felt a connection to and some that I just thought sounded pretty. I focused on 'rainy days' because I love rain and rainy days are some of the best days for writing. Those seemed too wordy and after a lot of thought the word 'Galoshes' came to me which is a common name for rain boots around here. I knew I needed another word to go with it and I anticipated blogging about my faith, I also like alliteration and so "Grace & Galoshes" was born. I love that the name of my blog incorporates or hints at things I love; rain, outdoors, faith...and that it doesn't limit me to one specific genre. I've never once regretted my choice or considered re-branding and becoming something different. 

I hope everyone is enjoying their extra weekend day!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Blogtember Day 4: Passion

What are you passionate about?  It's a question some people struggle with for the entire life. I on the other hand sometimes struggle to choose just one (although if I had to pick #1 would be camp). All of my passions are intertwined though, together they build to guide and direct me through life. 

Camp is my ultimate passion in life. I love the atmosphere, the community, the tradition. I truly believe that there are two kinds of people in the world: Camp People and Non-Camp People. It shaped me in unfathomable ways into the person I am today and the person I will be 10 years from now. 

Disability Awareness/Inclusion. I have had the privilege of meeting and befriending so many smart, funny, happy and kind people who identify as having a disability. And it frustrates me that so many people in this world are overlooked because others don't take the time to communicate with them. There's a perception that people with disabilities need a lot of help. The reality is we all need a lot of help and just because someone uses a wheelchair or needs extra time to complete a task doesn't mean they need your sympathy. People are people and the world would be a much better place if everyone would treat each other with more kindness, respect and understanding. 
3E Love
Food. It breaks my heart that there are so many people have no idea where there next meal is coming from. And that the options they have are pre-packaged and almost void of nutritional value. Food education should be more of a focus in school and people shouldn't have to choose between buying 10 bags of chips or 1 bunch of carrots. On a more personal level I love cooking and baking and being able to provide healthy and tasty foods for the people around me. 

Children/Youth. It sounds lame but in all seriousness children/youth are the future. If they grow up surrounded by loving and supportive people and have their basic needs met (nutritious food, safe home etc.) then the world will become a better place. If children/youth don't have access to those things then bad things happen. I love camp and other extra-curriculour activities because it provides children/youth with so many opportunities to explore and grow in a safe, supportive environment.

Faith. I'm not sure how to expand on this or put it into words. My faith and trust in Good is crucial to my life and impacts my choices and interests.

Honourable mentions go to photography, writing, memory keeping, family and friends.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Return to Stuff & Things

* I have become completely obsessed with puzzles. R. and N. introduced me to them this summer. N. always has one on the go at her cottage that everyone works on over the course of the summer. R. typically has one in her classroom that she gets students to work on when they finish their work early and one at home that she works on herself. I don't have great spatial reasoning so I always assumed that puzzles would be super frustrating for me and not at all enjoyable. Turns out I love the organization part of it all, sorting the pieces into colours and edges and finding pieces that fit together and solving the whole thing gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. Plus, turns out puzzles are great brain exercise! 

* Lately I've been watching more movies than usual. Mostly documentaries about K2 and food but I also watched Wild (not as good as the book), What to Expect When You're Expecting (Alright, but kind of dumb, Shopoholic (started strong but never did finish watching). I've also been catching up with the wider world outside of camp, which leads me to the question, am I supposed to find Amy Schumer funny?? 

* One of my unwritten goals for September is to establish a really good bedtime routine. I'm working on decreasing screen time right before sleep and replacing it with journalling and reading. 

* I ordered 160 photo prints from this summer. Last summer I was scrambling to collect photos from other people to supplement my own. This summer I grabbed a few from H. & R. but for the most part I have more than enough to create a Smash/Scrapbook documenting this summer. It seems like a weird thing to be happy about but it thrills me that I've documented the everyday and made steps towards preserving memories. 

* I don't have much else to write about today. I'm passing on today's Blogtember prompt because I don't want to make a mood board from my blog. I love my current layout, I enjoy writing posts and I'm not looking to attract the masses and gain a billion followers. 

I am linking up here & here for Stuff & Things, I've missed this link up over the summer and am excited to be back at it!