Saturday, 31 October 2015

Solidarity Sisters November

I participated in the second round of Solidarity Sisters this month and was paired with the delightful Meagan who blogs at All the Joys. I loved e-mailing back and forth with Meagan this month, we have a lot of similarities with our interests and a lot of common ground when it comes to our blogging philosophies. Unfortunately, a true blog date wasn't in the cards since Meagan calls Texas home and I'm all the way in Canada. We settled for a little Q & A session via e-mail. 

If you could only use one device for a year would you choose a smart phone, tablet or laptop? Why?
I would choose a smart phone, because I could do everything I can do with a tablet or laptop, but also text and call people.  Plus, it's something smaller to keep in my overflowing purse!

What is your go to outfit for a low key day?
It depends on the weather, but if I'm staying home it's yoga pants and a comfy sweatshirt.  If I am running around, I'll throw on skinnies, boots and a flowy top/sweater.

What motivates you to continue blogging?
The people I have met!  I never expected to make friends while blogging, but I definitely have.  I keep blogging to connect with others.

What are your top three travel destinations?
1.  Anywhere with a warm beach, it's my happy place (specifically love St. John, St. Thomas and Michigan Lake, on the Michigan side!)
2.  Nashville.  I love it for a girls weekend - good music, good food, good central location to meet up!
3.  Overseas, I absolutely love London.  It's been a long time since I've been there, but it holds some of my most favorite travel memories.

What is your favourite meal to cook for your family?
I have two girls, 5 and 2, so gourmet meals aren't really my thing right now!  We love tacos, breakfast for dinner and any kind of pasta.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I'm a middle of the day person.  I don't like mornings, but again because of my girls, I have to be up early.  Usually by 10pm I'm ready for bed, but if you catch me around 10am - 3pm, I have all sorts of energy and motivation!

Where do you write your blog posts? (Home Office, bed, in front of the T.V. etc.)
Always in front of the tv.  While watching Ellen!

What is your favourite thing about your city?
I'm new to my city, Dallas, from Chicago.  So far, I like that I feel safe here.  My suburb is full of young families and there are children in almost every house in my neighborhood.  There aren't areas nearby that I need to "stay out of" or be extra careful in.  Of course, I am always diligent but overall I feel much more safe here.

What's your favourite thing about blogging?
Again, the friendships I've made!  I started blogging to have a creative outlet and it's become so much more than that.  It really is a special community of people!

Some of you might already be familiar with Meagan through her weekly link up Blogger Love, and if you're not you should also check that out! You can head over to Meagan's blog to see my answers to Meagan's questions and introduce yourself! 

Sign ups are still opened for the November round of Solidarity Sisters! It's a fun way to meet a new blogger and have someone to talk blogging with, plus you just might make a new friend in the process! Sign ups close this evening so if you're interested don't delay! :)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

October Reading List

I only read three books this month. I blame Americanah.

Many of you may remember when my Call the Midwife obsession began back in the spring. I couldn't get enough of the show and knew I wanted to read the original books. I read the first one over the summer and loved the stories and the way it was written. I didn't love the second book as much as the first, it was less about midwifery and more about general nursing. I still really enjoyed this book, and if you're interested in British history or WWII history I would highly recommend it, you don't necessarily need to read the first book to enjoy the second. I love the characters so much and I'm a little sad there's only one more book, luckily they are filming a fifth season of the show!

I love The Princess Bride. The movie is one of my favourites and the book is one of my favourites I've had Carey Ewels (Westley) book on my list since it came out but only just got a copy from the library to read. I don't necessarily love movies so I didn't really care about all the behind the scenes stuff. My favourite parts were about Andre (Fezzick) I would have loved to read a book written by him because he lived such a fascinating and totally unique life. I think this book is worthy of a read for anyone who loves The Princess Bride, but if you've never seen the movie then I don't think you're like the book. 

If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be 'dense'. I'm a fast reader and typically I can finish a book in 3-4 days. Americanah took me two full weeks. The book was good-ish. I wanted to love it because at first I was really interested in the characters and their narratives. Except as the book went on I found myself liking the main character less and less. There were multiple times when I thought I wouldn't bother to finish and then the next chapter would be really interesting! It has a lot of fabulous reviews on Goodreads but there are also some that are much less enthusiastic. At the end of the day I'm glad I read it but I am jumping for joy that I finished.

Let's move on to what I'm going to read next month....

Next month I'm going to read my shelves! I have a stack multiple stacks of books sitting on my bookshelf that I've picked up at second hand stores or book stores or have been given to me by friends. I'm working on decluttering and reading some books and then passing them along seems like a good step in that process. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

What's Up Wednesday : October Edition

October has been a blur of to do lists and e-mails and feeling sort of overwhelmed with a multitude of things. I spent the first part of October recovering from Blogtember so I didn't blog all that often, but I managed to keep on top of things! And hopefully anything I missed will be filed in by the monthly What's Up Wednesday questions! 

What I'm Eating...

I've already blogged about my fried chicken meal from this weekend and mentioned my love of homemade pizza. I also made spaghetti and meatballs, a "cookie sheet meal" consisting of chicken burger & waffle fries and breakfast for supper. And of course lots of stir fry and salad. 

What I'm Reminiscing About...

Our official anniversary isn't until the beginning of December, but J. & I went on our first date last November. I know that before the month is over I'll be reminiscing about hot summer days and pretty summer sunsets that happen at 9:00 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m.

What I'm Loving...
Sending and receiving snail mail! It is seriously the only perk of having friends all over the country! I managed to get Halloween notes and

What I've Been Up To...
Guiding is dominating my life right now. Now that the second leader's paperwork has gone through I'm hoping it will get a little easier and be smooth sailing until we break for Christmas. I'm in the process of planning our five meetings in November and mentally preparing to navigate the mountains of paperwork required for a few outings. 

What I'm Dreading...
Winter. I know it's just around the corner and that makes me sad. 

What I'm Working On...
Still working on organizing Sparks stuff...I've never been a Spark leader before so I'm pretty much starting from scratch when it comes to program work and figuring out which challenges and crests are doable. 

What I'm Excited About...
A friend of mine has moved home from out west! We haven't lived in the same city in over five years but now we do and I am so excited! She arrived back in town this past weekend and we've both been busy but this month we'll get to catch up. 

What I'm Watching/Reading...

Hockey Wives season 2 premiers tonight! I have never watched an episode of Real Housewives or the Kardashians and generally despise any sort of over the top "reality" television show. Except that last spring I got hooked on hockey wives (pun not intended...although I realize many of you probably didn't pick up on it in the first place). I'm also excited about a new season of Market Place starting this week.  I've also been catching up with Criminal Minds and The Middle. And watching a ridiculous amount of Project Life Process videos on YouTube. 

You'll have to check back tomorrow to find out what I finished reading this month. Next month I'm buckling down and reading my shelves! 

What I'm Wearing...
Leggings and baseball tees have been my go to lately. It's getting colder out so by next month I will be breaking out the boots and scarves. 

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month...
Feeling more organized! Getting started on a few new projects and maybe re-thinking my five year plan. 

What Else Is New...
I can't think of anything else to add! 

Favourite Thanksgiving Recipe...
Thanksgiving has come and gone here in Canada but I'm a big fan of mashed potatoes and gravy. And my grandmother's pies, which you can read about back here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

October Coffee Chat

The end of October really snuck up on me, and it's been a weird month. Which is what I'll say when you ask why I don't have a photo of coffee for today's post and why I wrote 'coffee date' instead of the usual 'coffee chat' on the photo of leaves. Anyway, let's justify the leaves by assuming we'll drink our coffee outdoors so we can admire the leaves. When it inevitably gets too cold to be outside we can head inside, for more coffee. This has been a month that requires more coffee.

I'd tell you all about the chaos of Sparks and how much I hate paperwork. I'd also tell you that my little sparks are hilarious. Last night we decorated pumpkins and one informed me, "I'm going to decorate my pumpkin with ribbons! Ribbons are youthful!" So in case you're wondering how to make your pumpkin look younger, ribbons are the answer. 

I might ask for your opinion about my latest obsession, which is watching Project Life process videos on YouTube. It occurred to me the other day as I happily watched a nice lady from New Jersey record her grandson's birthday that watching other people scrapbook might be weird. I need some crafty friends. Not artsy friends, those are the hip 20-somethings who eat kale chips and take black and white photos while they listen to records. I want crafty friends, 30-40 year old women who drink tea and scrapbook while they watch the news. 

While we're on the topic I might tell you about how excited I am to venture into Project Life next year. And am being cautiously optimistic that it's a project I'll both start and finish. And then I might try and convince you that should should take up Project Life too! 

I would let you know that I don't care about Adele and am so glad that the country is done being interesting in baseball. Then we could get that out of the way and move on.

I'm hoping that November will be a more organized month. J.'s birthday is next week and next weekend I'm going away with Guiding. Originally J. and I had planned to go on a trip in November but we decided to postpone until January. I'm not the least bit disappointed because after a busy October I can't imagine planning a trip along with everything else, my do to lists were pretty full.

Now, I need to go finish reading the longest book ever written so I have something to blog about on Thursday. And you should go check out some of the other ladies linking up their October Shenanigans with the Blogging Elite

Monday, 26 October 2015

Corn Maze, Chicken & Cleaning

I spent Friday evening snacking on pretzels and watching Chopped. I have zero regrets about that decision.

Saturday I woke up at my usual time but lingered in bed while I read for awhile. I feel like I've been reading the same book (Americanah) for decades now but I'm trying to finish it before I post about the books I've read this month. I'm over halfway through but it's really dragging. There are chapters that are really interesting but they always seemed to be followed by chapters that are decisively not interesting. More on that later in the week (hopefully). What I really did on Saturday was shiver my way through a corn maze, pick out mini pumpkins for my Sparks to decorate tonight, admire some fish and eat fried chicken. Also, zero regrets about my Saturday.

J. and I went to a corn maze/family farm about an hour away. My main motivation was to get little pumpkins for Sparks. The weather was so weird. You can see from the photo below that the sky was full of grey clouds but the sky behind it was clear blue it almost felt like rain but it was also very cold, we didn't waste any time in the corn maze (except of course pausing for the obligatory corn maze selfie). 

The farm has a bunch of playscapes for little kids and we planned our visit during lunch time assuming we'd beat the crowds. It worked out perfectly, we got the pumpkins and did the corn maze before it got busy. And we got a chance to check out the fish without feeling bad/awkward for being the only adults who weren't accompanied by toddlers. I've always had a thing for goldfish and when I think about my dream home/yard it always involves a little koi/goldfish pond in the backyard. With lilypads and frogs. Because if you're going to dream big you may as well go all out. 

The real highlight of the day was our stop for fried chicken. It just so happens that in order to get to the farm we had to drive by my favourite (and the best) fried chicken place in all the land. We got chicken to go and I should probably be sad that my car now smells like chicken, but I'm really not. Some day I'm going to go on a ridiculous road trip in the southern U.S. that is planned around eating fried chicken. #goals

Post chicken we caught up with Jon Oliver's Last Week Tonight. J. really only watches sports on T.V. and I stick to cooking shows and the occasional reality show depending on the season. Last Week Tonight is the one show we watch together on a regular basis. I left around supper time and headed to the mall in hopes of finding a birthday present for J.. His birthday isn't until the first week in November but he's hard to shop for, luckily I found a couple of things that I'm pretty confident he'll love. I'd like to find one more thing but if not Christmas is just around the corner!

Sunday I dedicated my day to cleaning up my scrapbooking area. I'm 99% finished my camp scrapbooking so it was time to regain some order with my supplies. My newest scrapbook love is stamps, but I refuse to spend $20 on a single stamp so my collection is pretty small and mostly made up of alphabet sets. Peyton was of course eager to assist  get her paws on various ribbons and papers and not nearly as helpful as she would like you to believe. 

This week I have my usual Sparks meeting, a weekday lunch date with J. and an old friend has moved back to town so hopefully we'll be able to coordinate our schedules to catch up. I've also got a full list of blog posts planned with Shay's What's Up Wednesday, The Blogging Elite's monthly link up, an update about about what I read this month and another round of monthly goals! 

linking up here & here

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Voting, Cooking & Crafting

Monday I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was election day here in Canada so my first stop of the day was to vote. I have never been so happy to see commercials on T.V. that aren't political! I also ended up staying up way past my bedtime (I still ended up falling asleep before midnight) to watch the results. 

After I voted I ran to the post office to pick up a package that N. had sent me. She sent me the cutest panda puzzle and a happy little notecard. I should have taken a photo of her squirrel drawing because it was truly a work of art. In every other aspect of life N. is a total perfectionist, when it comes to drawing animals though her perfection stops. I've got a whole collection of animals she's attempted to draw including a cat and multiple dolphins. Once the voting and post office-ing was taken care of I headed into to town. I started at the Bulk Barn where I got the supplies to make the cutest little pumpkin treat bags for Sparks. I haven't assembled yet though, so if everyone could keep their fingers crossed that this is a Pinterest project that goes as planned that would be great.

I had to meet someone at a different polling station so I could get them to sign a cheque for Sparks. I enjoy Sparks but I'm really hoping another leader shows up soon because it's a little too much for one person and it's kind of controlling my life right now. Once my Spark errand was done I continued on to the gas station and then the grocery store. I got everything I needed there, including ingredients to make pizza for supper and headed home. While the pizzas were cooking I experimented with taking photos of things inside the oven. I don't think the Pioneer Woman will be calling on my food photography services anytime soon. I would have taken the top rack out of the way, but it was hot and I didn't really feel the need to risk burning myself or any of my surroundings. 

With all the hecticness and excitement of Monday I had planned on spending yesterday catching up on laundry and putting away my camping gear and checking a few more projects off my list. I did successfully make some Halloween inspired to send to the girls and got packages all put together and addressed. Next up, going back to the post office to get them in the mail. 

I had planned on spending the night in my pyjamas putting together the pumpkin treat bags and watching This Hour Has 22 Minutes' Election Special. I was mid day dream about my early bedtime when J. called to ask if I wanted to go to the hockey game. His parents decided at the last minute they weren't using their tickets so I made myself as presentable as possible and off we went. I got home around 10:30 and went immediately to bed. I was feeling sort of sluggish all day and must have sneezed a dozen times while I was out, I was optimistic that a good nights sleep would put a stop to whatever cold germs were taking over my body. The optimism was wasted though since I woke up this morning completely stuffed up.

So today I am for reals spending the day in my comfy pants, drinking lots of hot beverages and checking things off my to do list from the comfort of my living room.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Fall Camp Weekend

Friday afternoon I packed my bags and set off to Girl Guide camp for the weekend. First I stopped to appreciate the hilarious contrast of my camp gear and my Michael Kors purse. I am nothing if not a well rounded individual. 

There was a little hiccup  major problem Friday when we got to camp only to discover that the fly wasn't with our tent. Normally I would never go camping (especially with girls) without checking and double checking all the gear before hand. This weekend though I was just filling in with a group whose leaders couldn't go to camp. Luckily another group had an extra tent and saved us. Shortly after getting our site all set up it started to rain. And then it poured. And then there was some thunder and lightning. It was good times but the tents didn't leak and the girls did awesome. None of them were the least bit bothered by the who ordeal and continued on giggling in their tent, I'm not sure at which age girls realize that tents aren't soundproof but I do know it doesn't happen between the ages of nine and twelve. As a result of this I am now well versed in all the latest teeny bopper news. I also found myself saying, "Girls, please stop doing gymnastics in the tent. You're going to knock it down."

Thankfully the weather cleared and Saturday was a nearly perfect fall day. Sunny, bright and as long as you dressed properly being outdoors was wonderful. This camp was a little bit of learn to camp type camp. The girls learned how to choose gear,  properly pack a backpack, practiced putting up and taking down tents and a bunch of other useful and essential stuff. Added bonus, I picked up a new Ice Breaker game (that's basically equivalent to gold in my life) and not one but two super, duper awesome packing tips. 

I haven't done a whole lot of fall camping but I've determined it might just be my favourite tenting weather. The days are nice enough that you can be outside and sleeping in a tent is perfectly comfortable as long as you dress appropriately and have a sturdy enough sleeping bag. Plus, the scenery is pretty awesome. The leaves were pretty spectacular and the rainbow of dish bags also made me smile on a regular basis. 

Sunday morning we packed up and headed home. I went to J.'s and made myself presentable before we went out to eat. I should note that I showed up at J.'s in my finest camp attire sporting long johns, camp pants, tank top, long sleeved t-shirt, my high school grad hoodie and my bright red rubber boots. Accessorized with my camp toque and hair that hadn't truly been brushed since Friday afternoon. Once I looked more presentable for the world we went and ate. I happily ate a bacon cheeseburger and french fries that had some kind of magic delicious spice on them. And then drank some coffee because it was only 4 o'clock and I was ready for bed. I rallied and kept my eyes open until 9:30 but then I was more than ready to climb into bed.

Today I'm off to vote, pick up a package at the post office, get some groceries, drop off a cheque for Sparks and cross everything off of my to do list! 

Linking up with B Loved Boston

Friday, 16 October 2015

Planning & Preparedness

I'm going camping this weekend, so you can imagine my delight when I checked the weather this morning and saw this:

At least it's not snow? 

I'm not sure why this week felt so chaotic and disorganized. My Type A personality loves the process of packing, making a list (okay, multiple lists) checking each item off the list, it's a good process. Except that last night when the district finance meeting was over at 9:00 I found myself in the little boys' section of Wal-Mart searching for splash pants. And at 9:15 I found myself in the frozen pizza aisle because I didn't have time to eat supper before I left for the meeting in the first place. When I got home I realized I had forgotten to pick up hair elastics, luckily I found a package hidden in the back of a drawer so the crisis was adverted. I still have to track dig my winter jacket out of the closet (and probably shed some tears in the process) but other than that I have managed to check everything off my packing list. My master to-do list still needs some work, but I'll deal with that after coffee.

I learned this week that my love of Girl Guides might come from an unexpected place...

I spent a lot of time this week working on Sparks meeting plans and came to the realization that my Type A personality really influences my love of Guiding, especially when it comes to badges. If I got a badge or a crest every time I followed a set of rules/instructions I would be a happy camper all the time. My little Sparkies are working on their "Being A Spark" badge but we're almost ready to move on to some more advanced program work. And by advanced I mean I've been fielding a lot of requests to "make a volcano", so stay tuned for that disaster adventure.

I've finished my coffee so that means it's time to tackle the to do list. And then reward myself with more coffee because that's just the kind of week it's been. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

October Currently

Playing... Can't say I'm playing much of anything!
Watching... Mostly documentaries, I've also been watching YouTube videos about Project Life organizing systems.  
Trying... To get organized and research some possibilities. 
Cooking... I've been doing a lot of experimenting with waffles.
Eating... Thanksgiving. Mostly stuffing and gravy with mashed potatoes because that's the best part. 
Drinking... Perrier! And Pepsi Next. 
Calling... Fellow Guiders trying to coordinate camp for this weekend and organize drives/supplies. 
Texting... The usual suspects. H. & R. and J. and N. 
Pinning... Lots of Spark meeting plans.
Tweeting... Is a very rare occurrence. 
Going... Camping this weekend! And I am super excited about it, it'll be cold but also a lot of fun. 
Loving... That I'm going camping this week. The only thing I love more than being outdoors is being outdoors with a bunch of girls who are essentially learning how to camp and enjoy the outdoors.
Hating... That winter is fast approaching. 
Discovering... I'm accustom to planning camp days and camp weeks and while sometimes it can feel like a lot of time to fill with fun. Sparks is only an hour each week and it goes by so fast! I'm discovering time management in shorter length of time is a challenge. 
Thinking...  Life isn't perfect...but I am pretty content with this season of life.
Feeling... A tiny bit overwhelmed but also thankful that I have so many things in my life that make life full.
Hoping (for)... A successful weekend camping trip. 
Listening (to)... The country radio station when I'm driving. Otherwise, not much of anything. 
Celebrating... I spent this weekend celebrating Thanksgiving and after this weekend I'll be planning some little Halloween festivities. 
Smelling... Fall is in the air! This past week the air has really turned crisp and has a chill to it along with leaves and a hint of fog.  
Ordering... I haven't ordered anything lately. Although I would like to enjoy one last iced coffee before it gets real cold.
Thanking... I love October Thanksgiving so I'm thankful I live in Canada. I'm also very thankful to the more senior Guiders who have been there to answer all my questions as I get my little group of Sparks up and running.
Considering... So many things! 
Starting... A lot of different projects! Some are pretty lofty goals, others are a little more short term and just about everything in between. 
Finishing... I've been starting a lot of project lately but I haven't finished many. I am close to finishing my scrapbook for this past summer. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The One With Thanksgiving Weekend

For those of you who may have been confused about the title of this post, no I have not time travelled! Here in Canada-land Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. If you're the history buff type you can read up on Canadian Thanksgiving here

On Thursday J.'s Mom had a knee replacement so Friday afternoon I met up with J. to visit her at the hospital. We had a little visit and then J. & I went and had lunch at Boston Pizza afterwards. When we arrived I realized that a contributing factor to choosing Boston Pizza was the Blue Jays game. I'm pretty sure I am the only person in Canada who is not at all interested/entertained by the Blue Jay's winning streak. Regardless of what was happening on the TVs we had a pretty good meal. And by meal I mean we shared the appetizer platter which is really the best. When we finished eating mass quantities of finger foods J. had to head back to work and I headed to Michael's. I was planning on using my 50% off coupon to purchase a Project Life core kit to use in 2016, but when I got there the albums were buy one get one free so I ended up getting those and using my coupon on a stamp. Next week I'll use the coupon for the core kit! I'm not sure what my plan for the two albums will be, I'm thinking that the black one with the cameras all over it will be used as a traditional photo album, a place to store all of the "extra" photos that I take/print but don't fit into Project Life albums or scrapbooks. That leaves the striped one to use as a Project 52 type album. 

Albums via Becky Higgins
Saturday I spent the day at home. I did some research on extra Crests & Challenges for Sparks and ordered activity books and post cards from Veterans' Affairs for Remembrance Day. I decided to go with a "Pumpkin Party" theme instead of a "Halloween Party" so I've been brainstorming and Pinterest-ing some fun pumpkin ideas. 

Sunday is when the real feasting started! My grandmother went all out this year and made five different kids of pies. Which is crazy, but also awesome. Lemon pie is my absolute favourite but I also like a piece of pumpkin since it's Thanksgiving and all. Prior to all the pie eating I ate my fill of stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy and homemade rolls. 

After we ate J. and I went for a walk and I snapped a few photos. Only a few though because it was starting to get chilly outside. We drove the long way home because fall leaves are pretty but the leaves are only just starting to turn. By next weekend they will be full out red, yellow and orange but this weekend there is still a lot of green. J. continued on to his parents to visit with his Mom who, thankfully, was discharged from the hospital and is continuing to recover at home. 

Monday I ventured up to our attic and got my camping gear out in preparation for this weekend. I still need to find a few more things that I am confident I own, just very unsure about where they are in my house. We had a low key turkey dinner with J.'s parents and I was home in plenty of time to crawl into bed by 10:00. 

This week I have a financial training meeting for Girl Guides on Thursday and on Friday I'm going camping for the weekend with a group of Girl Guides and Pathfinders. I'm also way behind on my October Goals so I should probably do something about that too!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Apples to Apples

I am  kind of in love with the apples growing on one of the trees in our yard. The branches seem to catch the afternoon sunlight just so and from a distance they look like the most delicious apples in the world. Of course once you get closer they don't look quite so charming but still pretty enough for a picture (or seventeen). 

Thinking back to summer, I came across this post earlier in the week. A mother's letter to her child's camp counsellor.  It's been awhile since I read something that so purely and genuinely expresses camp from a parent and camper's perspective. And I love coming across these types of things. It's hard for first year counsellors to really wrap their heads around the idea that despite their feelings of self-consciousness and self-doubt in their peer group the campers that they interact with don't see them as anything but amazing. It reminds me that it's the little things in life that our worth our admiration. 

All of this apple tree admiration and new beginnings had me thinking a lot about John 15:5 - "I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can't produce anything without me." That's been my food for thought (no pun intended) for this week. And it's been a good reminder to stay connected to God and everyone else in my life. And that connected involves a lot of different things - writing, texting, listening, speaking, sharing, forgiving, trusting, hoping. If we're going to make an effort to stay connected to our world and ourselves we need to be willing to put in some serious effort.

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. As usual I'm thankful for all the everyday blessings - food, healthcare, family, shelter, bed, heat, electricity, wifi and a closet full of clothes for all seasons. Sunday we're having Thanksgiving with my family and Monday with J.'s so I've got a full weekend ahead. And I'm pretty thankful for all that fullness. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Thursday Thoughts

This week has felt eternally overwhelming. I've been plugging away at my to do list all week and now I've reached a stand still, there are still things to do, but before I do anything I need people to reply to e-mails and return phone calls. Which is pretty much my least favourite thing. In 9 out of 10 situations I'm a patient person, except when it comes to other people inhibiting my productivity. Then I just feel annoyed. I'm trying not to feel that way though. So I'm taking a deep breath, putting down my planner and taking a break from hitting the refresh button on my e-mail. 

I have been having the worst nightmares for almost two weeks now. I've been so focused on getting into a really good bedtime routine and the fact it's not working is the worst. I know I need to keep plugging away with it because eventually it will make a difference. 

The fall weather around here has been beautiful, highs are still in the high teens and nights are averaging a low of five. That is pure magic, I'm not even close to ready for below freezing temperatures. Or winter driving or mountains of snow or anything else that typically happens around here from November - April.

I take a little bit of pride in being a really good gift giver. I enjoy the process of shopping for others and finding things that I know the gift receiver will love. That was before J. came along. His birthday is the beginning of November and I have no idea what to get him. He definitely doesn't need any clothes and although he loves sports he also has a lot of memorabilia. For Christmas I did the whole 12 months of dates thing, so that's out. 

Blue skies and white fluffy clouds are kind of amazing. We all know I love a good sunset but I've been missing out on blue skies and cotton candy clouds. 

I've been thinking lately about how I need to do something with my 25x25 list. I'm not sure I want to go with the obvious 30x30 and 101 in 1001 seem like too much of a challenge. I know I want to do the Project Life Project 52 next year (basically just committing to doing a spread each week for the entire year) so I'm thinking maybe coming up with a 52 in 52 list. My SMART Goal loving self loves the idea of knowing that in order to complete the challenge I need to do one thing a week. And doing one thing a week seems totally attainable. 

This week is Thanksgiving here in Canada and I'm mostly excited for stuffing. I don't really like turkey all that much but I am all about the stuffing. And mashed potatoes with gravy. And probably dessert. 

I'm linking up with Stuff & Things  today!

Monday, 5 October 2015

October Weekending

Friday night I laid  low. I watched the first part of Human. The cinematography/photography and music is out of this world. It's stunningly beautiful. The movie itself though is a little disappointing (I watched Part 2 Sunday afternoon. I'll watch Part 3 eventually.) I was expecting it to be similar to BBC's Human Planet doc-series that aired a few years back but it wasn't like that at all. I was left wanting more information about what exactly was going on during all those amazing shots.

Saturday morning I drank my coffee and replied to e-mails. I met J. at three and we went to the afternoon showing of The Intern. I'm not a huge movie go-er but this movie was worth seeing! I thought it was wonderful and J. liked it just as much as I did. It was funny and sweet and I would highly recommend it for a date night! After the movie we went out to supper at a local restaurant and had a delicious meal. J. had ribs and I had an amazing Cajun chicken sandwich with avocado, chipotle mayo, hot peppers on a homemade bun. It was so good. I can't wait to go back and have it again. After we ate we went on a quick trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a cord for my printer and then headed back to J.'s, he watched the Blue Jays game while I read because baseball is boring. #realtalk

Sunday I got sucked into a 90 Day Finance marathon on TLC which took up most of my morning. When I finally pulled myself away from that train wreck I got to work on prepping some things for Sparks tonight. We're making rainbows with cotton ball clouds and playing a rainbow toss game. I do as much prep as I can before hand and I make sure that I can do the craft in about 5 minutes. If I can do it in five they will be able to complete it in 10-15 minutes. When I had that straightened away I spend some time scrapbooking. I'm really making more of an effort to include journalling and better explanations about what's going on in all the pictures. Yesterday I got out my favourite black pen and wrote on some of the journalling cards I've been sticking in along side the pictures. It's also motivated me to learn to love my handwriting and get better at calligraphy.

I spent some of the afternoon updated my MacBook to El Captain, which seemed like a good choice but this morning I'm having an awful time getting edited photos to save to my computer.

While my computer was updating I made Sunday supper. Steak, roasted potatoes & carrots (fresh from the farmers market) and broccoli. There are photos but every time I try to join them together and save them Safari freezes. My frustrations are mounting and I really hope I can get it figured out, otherwise I'm going to really regret updating. Has anyone else updated and experiencing similar?

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Solidarity Sister Saturday

Hi, I'm Ashley. I blog over at Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody. I'm super excited to be sharing my life with you today! Leave a comment and I'm sure to say hi! 

1. What made you decide to start blogging?
In 2013 my hubby proposed to me. I was so excited that I wanted to share with my family and friends. All in all i started blogging to do just that. Since then though my blog has expanded to more than I could have ever imagined. Now you will find life happenings, reviews, tutorials, and advice. I strive on community so you will meet a lot of awesome bloggers and get to enter in giveaways monthly.

2. Where do you find encouragement and inspiration?
Very tough question. My encouragement comes from those who read my blog, my lovely sponsors who support my blog, and the blogging community. Yes my hubby supports me, too! My inspiration is fueled by those around me including blogs I love to read and Pinterest finds. My family, friends, and church also give me inspiration in topics and ideas. 

3. What is your favourite thing to snack on while you blog?
When getting ready to write a whole bunch of drafts I like to grab a granola bar or cliff bar along with water or tea! You cannot write on an empty tummy! 

4. What blogging accomplishments make you proud?
Most probably would say followers, however I get all excited when I see active comments. I think it is a great example of community and why it is so important to be a blogger and befriend others.

5. What do you have coming up on the blog in October?
I'm really excited for mid-October when I will be launching some Christmas card templates that will be up for sale! I'm super excited to start planning Christmas cards. This is a ritual for me and my hubby going back to our first year dating! You'll want follow my Etsy shop

6. What is your favorite season? Why?
My favorite season has to be fall. I love the crisp morning weather and fall rain that Oregon gets. This fall hasn't really rained yet, but the leaves are changing colors and the geese are flying south. The holidays and family time are a must for me and Fall provides just that. The happiness and giggles of Halloween and thanksgiving help bring joy to my life. The coming of winter and Christmsd cards feel my house with love and memories from family members. 

7. What is your favorite drink, alcoholic or non?
I'm a novice wine drinker and am loving the white sweet wines, especially Reisling! 

8. If you could be anything, what career would you choose?
I would continue my path of being a teacher. I happiness I feel when I am teaching or helping children is wonderful. I feel I was put on this world to teach. I'm shaping the future and helping bring hope to the children who seem to be left out or pushed away.  

9. If you had to get a pet, would it be a dog or cat?
I have two kitties and I just love them. They snuggle and enjoy attention, but I'm not worried about leaving over night, because they are litter boxed trained and have food. My hubby wants an English Bulldog but the $$$ is like WOW! One day we will own one, but not while I am in school. :)

10. Why did you enjoy the Solidarity Sisters Program?
I joined the program to meet new bloggers and friends. As I am focused on community I find joining swaps and programs like this help connect me with bloggers around the world and in different niches! 

Blog // Facebook // twitter // instagram // pinterest  // Shop

Friday, 2 October 2015

Hello, Friday Favourites!

I was going to take the day off today but then yesterday I saw that Oh, Hey Friday had a new button that I am totally in love with and really wanted to use and so a post was born. 

So that brings me to my first favourite of the week:

The paisley and the colours...the best. Tied into this favourite is the fact that I'm writing this blog post because I genuinely want to and not because I am consumed with guilt and determination to blog a bunch of times in one month. 

My second favourite this week...

J. came home from Florida and brought me my beloved Vanilla Coke (some of which he put in his fridge for me so it would be cold when I went over last night) and a super cute bag. I told him numerous times I would have been perfectly happy with just the coke but his extra thoughtfulness is also appreciated. Last night we had pizza and garlic fingers then went for ice cream and watched some Jon Oliver. Definitely a low key night but a great way to spend a Thursday evening.

My third favourite this week...

Wednesday I went to a local farmer's market and I bought this amazing cupcake. It was a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting. My mouth is watering just thinking about the icing. Seriously, it was the most delicious dessert I've ever tasted. I would eat it by the spoonful if possible. I need to stop thinking about it now because I'm just making myself sad that I don't have another one to eat right now.

My fourth favourite this week....

Tuesday I spent the day at my grandparent's house and took a bunch of photos. There's something magical and therapeutic about adventuring with my camera. I looked into taking a photography class this fall but it's on Saturdays and I've already committed myself to some Guiding events so I know I'd have to miss classes and it just doesn't seem logical to sign up when I know I'll miss classes. I'm hoping that they'll offer it again in the winter because I'd love to learn more about my camera in a more interactive way. Pinterest and photography blogs are great, they're just not the same as an actual class.

My fifth favourite thing this week...

I love summer. September is stressful and a huge transition month, but October...October I can get on board with. The leaves are pretty and I do enjoy sweaters and boots. And hot drinks and loads of fresh vegetables. I like Octobers. This year I'm hoping to make a trip to the pumpkin patch with J. and do lots of hiking and camera adventures in the midst of all the fall leaves. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

October Goals & September Successes

I accomplished 4/5 of my September Goals! 

When all was said and done I participated in 23/30 Blogtember prompts and I blogged a couple more times during the month that weren't related to Blogtember. I published 26 posts in September meaning I only took 4 days off, October will be a little lighter on the blogging. 

I read five books in September. One was pretty short (The Giver) but I would still consider it a novel of enough substance to make my reading total five.

I printed photos and got to work scrapboking my summer!

I didn't mail any packages. Or even purchase anything to put into packages...this is going to be an October goal. 

I got all my paperwork sorted out and this year I'll be Girl Guide leader for a Sparks group! I've also volunteered to help out at a Girl Guide camp in October and possibly at a couple of other events. 

With September gone it's time to focus on October Goals!

I got through four books last month so I'd like to challenge myself to read 5 this month. Reading for 15-20 minutes before bed instead of scrolling through Buzzfeed and social media is a habit I want to maintain. And knowing that I want to read five books will help keep me motivated to read instead of scroll!

This will be the month I'll get those packages in the mail and en route to their destinations! Or at the very least some 'just because' cards.

This is the loftiest goal on my list but I would love to have Spark meetings planned and prepped up until Christmas. We only meet for an hour each week so planning that many meetings isn't all that over whelming. Especially once I factor in a Thanksgiving Day theme,  Halloween Party, Remembrance Day, regular badge work and some fun activities it should be pretty easy to figure out the rest!

Two dates doesn't sound like a whole lot, but there's going to be a lot going on in October. Including a couple of weekends when I'll be away so two dates seems reasonable. And to clarify by dates I don't mean watching whatever happens to be on TV and eating ice cream on the couch. I'm confident we will see each other more than twice this month, I just want (at least) 2 of those times to be planned dates!

After Blogtember I'm experiencing a little bit of blogger burnout. I don't want to lose momentum though so I think 15 is a good number.

I was feeling pretty anxious in September and I found myself journalling more regularly again. I'd like to make this a daily habit because it really does help me to process things and move things out of my head.