Monday, 30 November 2015

A Canadian November Weekend

This weekend I learned that 90% of Americans have no idea Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving over a month ago. So it only seems fair to add another disclaimer to the beginning of this post - I did not celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. Not because I have anything against Thanksgiving but because I am Canadian and in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. If you did come here looking to read about Thanksgiving you can travel back to the archives and check it out here. Spoiler Alert: there was a lot of pie. 

Now that we've gotten Thanksgiving out of the way I can tell you about my weekend, which was full of Christmas parades and date nights and I completely failed to take a single photo. 

Thursday I set off to the mall on a mission to finish my Christmas shopping. I was pretty successful and basically all I have left is to pick up a couple of gift cards. I met up with J. at East Side Mario and we had lunch. I always like when our schedules align and we get to have a mid-week lunch date. It ended up being a really productive day and I feel much more prepared than I did this time last week. 

Friday I ventured out with my aunt and cousin for "Black Friday". I use quotations because like I said it was not Thanksgiving in these parts and everyone had the same deals on all weekend long. The only slight difference is a few stores opened early and some of the big box stores had "door crasher deals" or offered no tax until noon. Nothing worth writing home about and it was the grocery stores that had the best deals. I was home by early afternoon. That evening my mom and I went to a neighbouring town's Christmas parade to see my cousin who was on a float for her work. I didn't take any photos because it was dark and cold. When I came home I happily climbed into bed and binge watched this season of 90 Day Fiance. 

Saturday I was up early again to go shopping with my grandma and cousin. The two of us were along to help pick out some Christmas gifts and then the three of us had Chinese for lunch. It's been ages since I had Chinese and it was so good. I think I could eat beef and broccoli everyday and be completely happy. The big town Christmas parade was Saturday night and both J. and another cousin were participating. Originally I was going to go with J. but then the forecast was rainy and cold so I opted out. The parade was always in the afternoon and last year they decided to change in to the evening. I didn't go last year so I was curious to check it out this year and was pretty disappointed. Everything just kind of looked the the same with lights and more lights, it was hard to see any of the details on the floats that did go the extra mile and decorate with a theme and more than just lights. I didn't take any photos because everything pretty much looked the same from where I was watching. When I got home I Skyped with H. & R. and we tentatively made plans to see each other over Christmas. We have a pretty small window of opportunity and if the weather is bad then the whole thing is off. Fingers crossed for a mild December and a successful reunion!

Sunday my weekend ended with a somewhat lazy day spent with J. we made a trip to the grocery store, cooked supper at his place and watched some T.V.. I intended on going to bed early last night but instead I stayed up until 11 to watch the new episode of The Curse of Oak Island. I don't remember the last time I was awake at midnight watching a T.V. show and I'm not sure it's going to become a frequent habit. I like early bedtimes!

This week I have got to get my winter tires put on and I am optimistic about finishing Christmas shopping. I also need to navigate switching cell phone carriers, which is going to be a pain and will probably take a full day (or two). So look forward to hearing about that production. I know it's sacrilegious not to include a photo in a post but I really didn't take any this weekend and I have too much to do this morning without adding "find photos for post" to my to do list. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What's Up Wednesday: November Edition

It's the last Wednesday of the month which means I'm linking up with Shay for What's Up Wednesday

What I'm Eating...
Pizza & Garlic Fingers, Spicy Chicken Tacos, Lasagna, Chicken Quesadillas. 

What I'm Reminiscing About...Facebook has been showing me photos from formals during university so I've briefly been reminiscing about those days. 

 What I'm loving... This week I've been admiring these Project Life layouts

What I've Been Up To... 

I have learned over the last couple of weeks that people legitimately spend more time planning their vacations to Disney World than they spend planning their weddings. And since I'm a planner by nature and thrive off of a well organized schedule it's hard for all the Disney planning not to consume my life. So I'm limiting myself to how many "insider tips" I read each day and reminding myself that it's all going to be okay. 

What I'm Dreading... Winter. Thumbs down for winter.  

What I'm Working On... Making decisions about what I want to do next year. And Christmas shopping, but that's about half way done. 

What I'm Excited About... My 52 Things in 52 Weeks list! It was a lot harder to come up with 52 things I want to do/accomplish in the 52 weeks on 2016 but I'm almost finished. It'll be up on the blog in December sometime once my header is updated! 

What I'm Watching/Reading...

The Curse of Oak Island, Gail Vaz Oxlade's 'Princesss' and Hockey Wives.

I didn't read a darn thing this month. #oops

What I'm Listening To... I feel like I'm the only person on the planet who isn't constantly listening to music. Usually I'm listening to a tv show in the background if I'm doing something, occasionally I'll listen to a CD in the car but most of the time it's whatever is on the radio. 

What I'm Wearing... It's officially Ugg season. My go to outfit for running errands is leggings, boots and a flannel shirt or fitted hoodie. My go to going out outfit is jeans and a cozy sweater. 

What I'm Doing This Weekend... Possibly two Christmas parades (one Friday night and one Saturday night) but if it's cold I'm probably going to opt out. 

What I'm Looking forward to next month... Last year I didn't have a lot of time off work over Christmas so it will be nice to enjoy more of the Christmas season opposed to just Christmas Day & Boxing Day. 

What Else is New... I can't think of anything! 

Favourite Christmas Tradition... I like Christmas Eve. We go to church and then to my aunt and uncles for a late supper afterwards. It's also a fun day when the Christmas tree goes up! 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Project Project Life 2016

I jumped on the scrapbooking bandwagon pretty early in life, I don't remember exactly how I got started but I know that there is a stack of Scrapbooks documenting my junior high self. And yes, there are just as cringe worthy as you imagine. In high school Facebook made it's debut and I was a little more focused on making sure my Facebook albums were up to date than I was about creating scrapbooks. My high school years are documented through boxes of photos and 'stuff', maybe someday I'll feel inspired to put it all into albums but that day is not today (or tomorrow...and probably not anytime soon). In university I didn't take a whole lot of photos. I do have a Smashbook from my fourth year and I've got some traditional photo albums filled with camp photos. Post university life I pretty much stopped taking photos because I didn't feel like I had anything to take photos of, except for camp. Camp is the exception, my camp life/career is fully documented each summer has it's own album and/or box of memorabilia. A year and a half ago I got my DSLR and (re)discovered a love of photography. And now I find myself identifying as one of those people with thousands of photos on their hard drive without a purpose in life other than to pop up when my screen saver comes on.

I know I need to get a handle on the situation before it gets even more out of control but I don't necessarily want to spend hours meticulously cropping/cutting/pasting/embellishing two photos at a time. And so I've decided to hop on the Project Life bandwagon. I've happily waved as the PL Bandwagon passed by the past few years but I never felt like joining. I've even invested in some PL supplies when I've seen them discounted at Michael's. The journalling cards made a great addition to my Smashbooks, I used the bright patterns for card making and they are the perfect size to write a quote on and include in a package. They were also perfect for writing warm fuzzy notes to counsellors this past summer. I guess you can say that I had the Project Life Bandwagon on speed dial but hadn't bothered to call and make a reservation.

Until now. After a lot of in-depth research courtesy of Pinterest I've decided to jump on the Project Life wagon. At first I really liked the idea of following the Project 52 formula, a two page spread every week of the year. Then I did some more reading and realized that's not really what I'm interested in doing at this point. I'm not going to invest in a fancy printer to print my photos at home and I'm not going to order prints every week so the Project 52 formula isn't really going to work. I still want to keep life in chronological order and "document the everyday" but I know that some weeks won't really be all that action packed. So I've decided that my formula will keep Project 52 in mind, but focus more on the month than the week. I'm confident I can commit to printing photos once a month and carving out a Sunday afternoon (or two) to document them in an album. In fact, I prefer to scrapbook in large chunks, I don't think I would enjoy just doing a page at a time. And enjoying what I'm doing is very high on the priority list.

Like all scrapbookers I have a sizeable stash. I wasn't about to purchase a whole lot of new supplies but I did let myself buy a few new things in preparation. First up I wanted a Project Life Album, I ended up with two because they were Buy 1, Get 1 Free. I will use one for 2016 Project Life and the other I will either save for later or I'll use it as a traditional photo album for photos that I don't want to include in the Project Life album. I know it won't go to waste. I used a 50% off coupon to buy a core kit. I decided to invest in the Seasons kit because the cards are made to go through the entire year. There's a few for each holiday and I know that they all coordinate. I know I'll supplement with the cards from other kits I own and make my own cards but I like having a core kit to set the theme. And of course I needed pocket pages so I used another 50% off coupon to buy the variety pack. Which gives me everything I need to dive into Project Life in 2016. I also ended up buying the Kraft Edition Core Kit because I happened to find it at Winners for $20 and I just couldn't pass up that kind of deal. When I got it home and went through the cards I realized it would make a perfect camp album. So we'll see what happens.

I am eagerly awaiting January 1st when I can convert all my enthusiasm into creativity. Until then I'm going to stalk the Project Life blog and admire Kelly Purkey's amazing memory keeping skills. Is anyone else a Project Life convert for 2016 or a long time fan of the memory keeping system?

I was saving this post for later on in December but Becky announced this morning that on Thursday Creative Live will be broadcasting 18 hours worth of Project Life 'how to' for free! I know Thursday is Thanksgiving for those of you in the US but you might want to check it out post turkey dinner and for those of us not in the states know you have your Thursday plans!

**It's worth noting that Becky Higgins has no idea who I am and what my opinions are on her products. I bought all this stuff entirely by choice with my own money. I'm just spreading the love because I believe in documenting life. 

Monday, 23 November 2015

OLW, Treats and Disney

 Usually my weekends consist of one main event, a low key night at home and some odds and ends. This weekend it's all about the odds and ends. 

Friday night I went to Winner's with mom and even though I didn't buy it I fell in love with this wall hanging. I've unofficially participated in Ali Edward's One Little Word for a few years in 2014 I made  "Show Love" a phrase of the year and partnered it with "Brave". Last year, although I didn't blog about it, I dabbled in 'Peace'. This year I've decided to go all in with my word and following along with the months prompts. I'm not 100% of my word yet but the wall hanging holds a clue to what word I'm thinking about! 

Saturday afternoon I went to a Christmas craft show and invested in some amazing Reese's fudge. It was a layer of chocolate fudge on top of a layer of peanut butter fudge and it was every bit as delicious as it sounds. For my evening entertainment I headed to Chase the Ace, which is a fundraising phenomenon card game of sorts that has taken my corner of the world by storm over the last few months. I didn't win any prizes but I was fully entertaining for an hour and a half. I was home by 9:30 and in bed by 10.   

Sunday afternoon was Disney dedicated to Disney planning. After doing a lot of math and reading too many "Disney World Insider Advice" blog posts we decided that our best course of action is to visit two parks and forgo staying at any of the Disney resorts and make use of the condo we already have. The deals just weren't good enough to justify spending more money on a hotel room when we're already staying at a perfectly good condo. We're going to visit EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, I know there's a lot of people who claim that you can't do Disney without doing Magic Kingdom...but neither of us like rides, we have no small children who need to meet the princesses and there's no huge attractions that we are dying to visit. We know that we can easily and happily spend two days exploring EPCOT and Animal Kingdom and I don't think we'll have any regrets about not having the quintessential photo in front of Cinderella's castle. It's also worth noting that Pocahontas is my favourite princess and the internet tells me she hangs out in Animal Kingdom (although I'm not sure I'm willing to stand in line for 45 minutes to "meet" her). Chip & Dale also hang out in Animal Kingdom and if you've been around these parts for any length of time you know how much I love chipmunks/squirrels. We ordered pizza and garlic fingers to make the whole process a little less overwhelming. There's just SO much to consider and it feels like everyone has very strong opinions about everything Disney related. 

This week I need to get my snow tires put on and buckle down and get Christmas shopping out of the way. Apparently the mall is doing a fake Black Friday which sounds like torture so I'll be avoiding that...although I might be tempted to make a trip to Michael's. I'm anticipating blogland being pretty quiet this week since most people seem to be on a weeklong Thanksgiving break. Here in Canada Thanksgiving is a weekend thing and most people have the Monday off but based on blogland most American's have the whole week off? Enlighten me blog friends!

Linking up with B Loved Boston.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Warm and Fuzzy Friday Favourites


I got this e-mail from a parent on Monday evening and it made my day/week. Parents are often the hardest/worst part of working with kids. To a certain extent, I get it, you want your kids to be happy. Sometimes the 'helicopter' parent thing takes over and it's just not good. So getting this e-mail was the greatest. I like when parents are happy, when parents are happy their kids stay involved and that makes me happy. You know that saying "happy wife, happy life"? Well I'm a believer in "happy parents, happy program". You might not be able to please them all but life sure is easier when you can. 


Someone posted this verse on Instagram this week and it stuck with me. 


I had a bunch of photos of flowers and bees from this summer and I wasn't sure how to incorporate them into my album. They were too pretty not to use...but they also stuck out like a sore thumb next to action shots of soccer baseball and chaotic cabin photos. And then I happened to be searching my blog archives for something and came across a post from earlier in the summer when I shared the quote about the bees. And realized it worked perfectly because on the next page is a bunch of photos of people doing chores, moving furniture and working around camp. Memory keeping makes me happy. 

This article. I don't know either of these people but it's the cutest thing I've read all week. I'm rarely interested in elaborate wedding details and the process of how people begin their relationships is often kind of murky. Engagement stories are usually very clear cut, it's a moment in time when something very specific happens and is usually very unique. So this story gave me all the warm fuzzies this week. I hope they serve french fries at their wedding.  

I only have four favourites this week, I'm sure if I tried really hard I could come up with a fifth, but I don't want to and I'd rather choose four really awesome favourites opposed to four really awesome favourites and one thing that I kind of liked about this week. 

Somehow I've managed to find myself without any plans this weekend. I'm sure I'll figure out something but it's also nice to enter the weekend without any commitments! 

Linking up here & here with all of the other ladies in blogland celebrating Friday!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

November Currently

Reading... Not a darn thing...I really need to do something about that, it's been a weird month. 
Playing... J. and I have been playing Trivial Pursuit Steal. I've kind of been itching to re-kindle my love of playing The Sims, but I haven't actually played. 
Watching... On TV it's Leave it to Bryan, Hockey Wives and The Curse of Oak Island. On YouTube I'm all about the "Project Life Process Videos".
Trying... To get all of my Christmas shopping done before the stores get busy. 
Cooking... A lot of chicken! In the form of chicken parm, tacos, chicken and rice and standard roasted chicken breast. 
Eating... Nothing really sticks out this month (other than all the chicken). I have been making more of an effort to eat breakfast which usually consists of an english muffin with sausage and cheddar cheese. 
Drinking...  Coffee, water, pop, chocolate milk, chai and peppermint tea. Apparently I've been drinking a lot of different beverages this month! 
Calling... Nobody! Which is great, I hate calling people. 
Texting... My phone is nearing the end of it's life so I haven't been using it as much lately. When I do it's to communicate with the usual suspects - H. & R., J. and N. 
Pinning... Inspiration for Project Life and ideas for Sparks. 
Tweeting... I'm going to get better at this, perhaps in 2016 because I don't see it happening in the next few weeks. 
Going... Florida in January! Tickets are officially booked. 
Loving... Exchanging e-mails with Alex, her & I have been paired together for the Blogging Elite Christmas swap! 
Hating... The weather. The leaves are all off the trees and the pretty part of fall has come to an end. Now it's just grey, cold, damp and dreary outside. And also I didn't read any books this month. 
Discovering... Everyone and their grandmother has an opinion about Disney World!
Thinking... I am pretty excited that the only thing on my to do list today is catching up on TV shows!
Feeling... Things are starting to level out but I still need to get better at balancing things. 
Hoping (for)... Success. And that Anna Duggar recovers from the whole mess and goes on to lead a happy life with all the freedom she's entitled to as a human being. 
Listening (to)... Vinyl Cafe Podcasts. Someday I will see Stuart MacLean live and it will be fantastic. 
Celebrating... J.'s birthday was earlier this month 
Smelling... Bath & Body Works 'flannel' candle. 
Ordering... Nothing, because shipping to Canada is ridiculous. In the past few weeks I've tried to order $4 planner stickers only to discover shipping to Canada was going to cost me $12. And I found the cutest Christmas ornament for J. that was on clearance for $10 but shipping was $25. 
Thankful for... I have some awesome little Sparks and those Sparks are being raised by some awesome parents. I am so thankful that (so far) I've been dealing with awesome parents who are really appreciative and genuinely nice people. 
Considering... My options. Evaluating the big picture and figuring out how I can do the things I want to do and live where I want to live. 
Starting... Planning for a Spark/Brownie camp in the new year and to think about what my game plan is going to be in terms of camp life. 
Finishing... I'm almost done my list of 52 things I want to do in 2016. I still need about ten more things but I'm hoping to be finished by the end of this month. 

Linking up with Stuff & Things.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Confession Session

Monday I planned our Sparks meeting around the 'Being Healthy' badge. We talked about the food groups and cut out pictures of healthy food from the grocery flyers and glued it to paper plates. Then we did a "Healthy Snack Taste Test" and rated our favourite healthy snacks (tomatoes, cucumber, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins). In a classic moment of "do as I say not as I do" I ended up eating McDonalds's for supper because I forgot the bank closed at 5 and had to rush out of the house at 4:15 in order to put the cookie money into our account.

I don't understand the re-branding phenomenon. Or why everyone is blogging full time. My bloglovin' feed used to be full of travel tales, work mishaps, kid stories and glimpses into everyday life. Now it's overflowing with lessons on when to post on Instagram, where to find stock photos and how to edit photos so they get added to Pinterest. On the bright side there should be an abundance of job postings out in the world because from what I can tell everyone has abandoned their full time jobs in order to spend their days attracting followers and woo-ing brands. 

I have a lot of hippies vegans vegetarians  people with strong opinions about food in my life  on my social media. And that's fine, because I too have some strong opinions about food. The problem is that my strong opinions on food are pretty much the opposite of whats on trend in the food world right now. Earlier this week when I saw one too many photos of a gluten/carb/dairy/meat/sugar free meal captioned with "listen to your body". I confess it took a lot of willpower not to participate in the reply/comment section with a snarky "my body enjoys a balanced diet that includes cheese".

I was super proud of myself for delegating a big part of Spark stuff this week...and then I found out that it wasn't done so I had to do it this morning. I'm trying really hard not to be angry about it, but I am because other people not doing their work and leaving me no other choice than to do it is not okay. Let's hope this was a one time incident and next month goes smoother.

I put my Project Life album together yesterday afternoon even though there's still a whole month and a half left before 2016 starts but I couldn't ignore the siren's call of the Michael's bag in my room any longer. And one of the nice stay at home mom's/professional scrapbooker suggest it on YouTube so I listened to her advice.

Can I quit my job to scrapbook? Will someone pay me to do that? 

I'll leave with my last confession that is I'm not feeling motivated enough to find a photo to include in this post, which according to at least four posts I see on my blog feed today makes me a bad blogger. But I think I'll live so I'm not too worried about it. 

Linking up with Kathy & Nadine

Monday, 16 November 2015

It's All Food & Games

Friday I headed to our community market (think farmer's market, but much smaller) and luckily the samosa people were there so I got to have a delicious supper. I live in a really small town so our market only happens once a month and the vendors aren't always the same. Much to my happiness the people with the samoas were there on Friday and it kind of made my weekend. I also bought some soft pretzels that escaped being photographed because I was too busy eating them. 

I spent the rest of Friday night watching Friends and reading up on Florida. Our November road trip didn't work out but we have plane tickets all booked to go in January. We haven't made any firm plans yet but I spent about an hour reading about Disney World before I felt completely overwhelmed and needed to step far away from Pinterest and helpful bloggers with a million different tips & tricks. If you have any input on the whole Disney thing that doesn't start with "plan your trip five years in advance" I would love to hear it. It's by no means a mandatory part of our trip and realistically we would only want to spend one day (maybe two days) there. There's also the fact that neither J. or I like rides so I'm a little unconvinced that we need to spend that kind of money to walk around a park all day. 

Saturday morning I had an appointment at the bank to finally switch names around on the Sparks account. I will be sooo happy to hand all the financial stuff over the the other leader tonight trying to do that and plan meetings was way too much. I love Guiding, but it can not be my full time job.

Saturday evening J. and I made chicken parmesan for supper and got sucked into a marathon of The Curse of Oak Island on History Channel. We tore ourselves away long enough to make a trip to the mall so I could use another Bath & Body Works coupon and a 50% off coupon I had for Michael's. I'm happy to report my candle stash is full and I have all the necessary pieces to document life using Project Life next year!

We got home and watched more Oak Island because it's just so darn cool. I'm fascinated by the whole thing and can't wait to watch the new season. It premiered last night but I wasn't staying up until 11 o'clock to watch it so it's on my list for this afternoon. Since we had seen most of the episodes before we played Trivial Pursuit Steal while we watched with proved to teach us that neither of us know anything about Broadway plays. 

Sunday I spent far too long trying to choose twelve photos to make a calendar for my grandparent's Christmas present. I thought I had plenty but really I didn't take a whole lot of photos last year and even though I had a lot there wasn't a lot of variety, almost all of them were taken on the same three days so they all kind of looked the same once I put them side by side. At one point my mother, brother and I were crowded around my laptop arguing over which photos to use and which to omit. After two hours of the same debate I saved it as was and walked away. I'll take another look this evening with fresh eyes and I'm positive I can have it finished, ordered and crossed off my to do list by tomorrow. 

For the first time since September a full list of things to blog about this week! I also have two nights of the week committed to Guiding and what feels like an exorbitant amount of things on my to do list. 

Linking up here

Friday, 13 November 2015

Basic Friday Faves


Flannel Candle, first of all it's fun to say, I'm confident it's not supposed to rhyme but it does whenever I think about it or say it out loud. I almost didn't buy this one because I don't like the colour blue and everything else in my room is shades of grey, pink, green and orange. After spending far too long perusing Bath & Bodyworks I decided that the smell outweighed the colour. I only buy B&W when I have a really good coupon this week candles were on sale 2 for $26 and I had a coupon for a free $15 gift so when all was said and done I got three candles for $30. I kept the Flannel for me and the other two will be Christmas gifts.


Last winter I discovered Chicago Mix popcorn and fell in love. Then Target closed and it was impossible to find around here. This week I was picking up a few groceries and noticed a store brand bag of Chicago Mix! I'll be honest it's not as good as the stuff from Target but it made for a super satisfying snack.


I watched a lot of Friends over the summer with N. and occasionally H. & R. so I took a break for a few months. Then this week I was working on some things and needed some background noise. After spending wasting fifteen minutes searching for something to watch I decided it was time to return to Friends so I started at the beginning and it's just the best. 


Starbucks is coming back to my little corner of the world!! We had one inside Target and then when Target closed Starbucks went away too. They announced this morning that they're opening a stand alone store this spring and I am so excited! I wouldn't consider myself a frequent Starbucks customer, because I'm cheap   I am good at budgeting my money and thing it's ridiculous to pay that much money for something I can make for five cents at home. I do enjoy the occasional treat though and knowing that this time next year I'll be able to get my hands on a salted caramel mocha fills me with joy! 

This is a not-so favourite thing but I think my beloved iPhone 4S was forced into retirement yesterday. It was all very flukey and I'm still not sure how it happened but it landed in the cat's water dish. It was in there for less than 10 seconds and was working...but is also sizzling. It's hanging out in some rice right now so we'll see what happens. It's not the end of the world because I'm due for an upgrade anyway, I was just putting it off because I don't need a new least I didn't. On the bright side rumour has it there's a squirrel emoji in the newest version of iOS. 

It has come to my attention that all of my favourite things make me sound extraordinarily stereotypical and I promise it was not on purpose. It is rather hilarious though. I have a low key weekend planned and am hoping to get more Christmas shopping done. I also have a super exciting date night involving homemade chicken parm and boardgames. 

Linking up with these lovely ladies here and here

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thursday Stuff

I don't know how my to do list got so long this week but it is out of control. Monday I had my usual Spark meeting which was more chaotic than usual because when I got there I found another group using the hall. They were equally as surprised to see me as I was to see them, luckily I arrived a few minutes early and determined I would have to use an adjacent room for the night. Luckily our "craft" for the night was play-doh sculptures so I didn't have to start dragging our supplies from one place to another.  Next week is our district meeting so I had to complete the unit report and financial report and send those off to the secretary and the treasurer. I made a trip to town for very specific groceries needed for the church tea & sale this weekend and in the process learned that there are many different kinds of canned pineapple. Yesterday I was in town again for the Remembrance Day ceremony and then spent the afternoon working on decluttering more stuff.

The thought of acquiring anymore stuff during Christmas is so unappealing. I think I've got J. on board with doing something extra when we go on vacation in January. I am tempted to add a FitBit to my Christmas list but I'm not convinced all the way. So if you have a FitBit feel free to offer me your advice/suggestions. I know I don't want the super fancy one, but I would kind of like to have the time on my wrist? 

I've eaten garlic bread for three meals over the course of the past two days and I'm not even sad because it's delicious and if toast can be a meal then so can garlic bread. This item probably should have been saved for next weeks Confessions but it's a thing that's happening now and come next week it's entirely possible I'll have forgotten about my current garlic bread obsession.  

I'm feeling oddly excited about 2016, I assume its partly because I like the number 16, but that really shouldn't be enough to make me excited. By rights I shouldn't be excited and the thought of another year full of short term contract/seasonal jobs makes me want to pack it up and join the circus. Or become a farmer, I'm flexible. 

I was going to ramble on for a bit longer but there are concert tickets going on sale in five minutes and as long as I can secure two of them I will be able to cross my mother's Christmas present off of my to do list (so wish me luck)! 

Linking up with Stuff & Things.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and in this corner of the world Remembrance Day is a big deal. In a lot of ways it is the only 'holiday' that has remained true to it's roots. People wear poppies, attend Remembrance Day services and observe a moment of silence in honour of all of those who have fought for our freedom. There's no 'Poppy Presents' or major sales the day is truly a day full of appreciation and thankfulness. 

Monday night at our meeting my little group of Sparks learned about some of the animals that have helped along side humans in the armed forces. The info packets are put out by Veterans Affairs  and they were perfect for my girls. They learned about a part of Remembrance Day in a way that was completely age appropriate, educational and fun. This morning we attended a service at the local legion and I was so proud of how respectful they were as they sat in their seats and watched the veterans and community groups lay wreaths. I love getting my Sparks involved in things like this because odds are if they grow up being involved, they will stay involved. 

On that note I am going to light my flannel scented candle and cross some things off my to do list. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Conference, Cooking & Charlie Brown

I spent all weekend at a conference for Girl Guide leaders where I did all my favourite things. I carried my camera in my bag all weekend and didn't take it out once. The only photos I have are from my Saturday morning on outdoor cooking that I took with my iPhone. At least I took my camera? I always feel so awkward whipping out my DSLR in these kind of situations because people tend to ask questions and then I feel self-conscious anyway that's a whole different post for another day. 

We spent the entire morning cooking potatoes, apple dessert, egg in a hole, breakfast sandwiches,  and sandwiches with a box oven and buddy burners and finished off by making ice cream. In-between we made "Giggle Juice" which was basically extreme Kool-Aid and "Russian Tea" which involved mixed iced tea and apple juice and making a sort of hot cider. It was weird, but I'm pretty confident kids would be all over it.

I also did sessions about incorporating the Promise & Law (that one was kind of disappointing) and another great session about our twinning country. Where I drank more sugary punch, this time using a recipe from the Caribbean, and was given all kinds of great resources to use with my group. The next couple of meetings are busy with Remembrance Day, an active living challenge from The Heart & Stroke Foundation and our usual program work. Apparently I'm a lot more on top of the planning than I thought. 

Sunday everything was over by 11 so I was home by early afternoon. J. and I have started a bit of a tradition that when I've been away for the weekend we plan Sunday dates. Usually this also involves me showering and looking presentable for the outside world but the conference was at a hotel so I skipped this step. We had lunch/supper (what do call a meal you eat at 3:00 p.m.?) at one of our favourite restaurants followed by a Sunday drive and The Peanuts Movie. 

Now, I am a huge Peanuts fan. I love Snoopy & Woodstock (especially when they go camping) and Charlie Brown is my spirit animal. The movie was good, I loved some of the ways they incorporated the classic Peanuts drawings along the way but I'm on the fence about whether Charles Schulz would have approved of the whole thing. We didn't see it in 3D mostly because the 2D start time worked better for us. And also because I stand by my statement that the only movie I've watched in 3D that was worth the extra money was Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. 

I then picked up my car and happily discovered that J. had cleaned it while it sat in his driveway all weekend. Which is super sweet and very much appreciated. My personal favourite was that cleaning my car involved gathering all the rogue crayons and putting them into the box in the backseat where they live. And also that he didn't question why I have a shoebox full of crayons in my car, which is good because to be honest I don't have an answer. They just sort of arrived there and I decided it's not a bad idea to have a box of emergency crayons. 

Now that the weekend is over I have a pile of laundry that needs washing and I need to put the final touches on plans for tonight's Spark meeting (i.e. I need to make some play dough). 

Sharing my weekend here.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Goal Time

I wanted to read five books but I only read three books this month. One of them took me two weeks to read which obviously impacted my ability to read more books.

I planned to send snail mail packages and that was a success. I sent little Halloween themed packages to N. & R. and a combination birthday/Halloween package to H.

I thought I would be ambitious and plan every Spark meeting until December. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and making notes and calendars but didn't write out any actual meeting plans. I'm not super worried about it though, even if I didn't write out every meeting plan I do have a bunch of ideas and themes for meetings it's just a matter of putting things together. 

I wanted to go on two actual dates (not sitting in front of the TV watching home reno shows and hockey games). I'm pretty sure J. and I went on two actual dates this month...I'm calling it a win.

I aimed to publish 15 blog posts in October. Honestly, I forgot that was even a goal this month. I did it though, although it was entirely unintentional.

I thought it would be a good idea to write using pen & paper everyday in October. I did a quick count and wrote in my designated journal notebook 17 times in October. Not bad, but could be better. 

Let's move on to November...

It is November 5th, I have decided I will not be NaNoWriMo-ing so that means I need to come up with some things I'd actually like to accomplish this  month. 

I'm still on the library's waiting list for the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up but I'm going to go ahead and make a decluttering goal anyway. Since there are 31 days in November my goal is going to be to donate/repurpose/trash 31 things this month. 

I am not ready to blast Christmas carols or deck the halls anytime soon but any Christmas gifts that I'm planning on ordering online need to be ordered this month. I know for sure I have to put together a calendar for my grandparents and probably order a couple of things for J..

Even though I'm not doing NaNoWriMo I'm going to revisit the pen & paper writing goal everyday this month is a little lofty but I can write 20 times this month

It's been awhile since I've made a conscious effort to try any of my pins. This month I'll try three pins, ideally a recipe, a craft and a DIY/Organization/Life Hack thing. 

Read 3 books. I haven't read a single word that wasn't written on a blog or BuzzFeed post yet this month so I'm being realistic. 

I'm not feeling particularly motivated this month so I'm stopping at five. There's a few other things I'd like to accomplish this month but I don't necessarily classify them as goals. 

Linking up with My So-Called Chaos  for the monthly goal link up! 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Midweek Menagerie

I've had an unexpectedly long to do list this week but most of the things on my list have been fun things or at least things I want to remember so today's post is going to contain a whole lot of seemingly unrelated things, a "menagerie" if you will. Fun fact: menagerie is my third favourite word.

I'm a bit of a Halloween grinch. I hate anything gruesome or violent and as a general rule I don't like being scared. I do like pumpkins and candy though so I tolerate the "holiday". I planned to spend Halloween helping J. pass out treats at his house. Now, before I tell you my tales of Halloween it's important to note that J. and I are complete opposites in a lot of ways and the story of our first Halloween together really demonstrates that fact. I had made treat bags for my parents' house Monday and they were all organized and ready to go in our spare bedroom. Saturday afternoon at 3:30 as I was leaving my house J. messaged me to say he was busy at work and asked if I could stop and pick up Halloween treats for the trick or treaters on my way to his house. I was not impressed. And so I found myself at the grocery store in search for Halloween treats at 4:00 p.m., exactly an hour before trick-or-treating started. This is not the way I live my life. I managed to find some candy and hurriedly put it into treat bags just as the first tiny jedis came to the door. 

And then I experienced my first city Halloween! It was weird. I'm from the country and around here the houses are far apart and there's no sidewalks so parents drive kids from house to house and since there aren't all that many kids you pretty much get a treat bag at every house containing a can of pop, a bag of chips and a handful of candy. I looked out J.'s front window at 5:15 and there were just kids everywhere walking up and down the street. When all was said and done there were 60 trick or treaters (which apparently is pretty low)...J.'s parents live in a newer subdivision and they had close to 100. It's a big year when we hit 25 trick or treaters and my parents'....and 75% of those kids are cousins. We spent the rest of the evening eating wings and watching hockey while I recovered from the Halloween hoopla. 

Yesterday was J.'s birthday so we had dinner at Swiss Chalet with his parents and then we had cupcakes back at his house. The cupcakes were a bit of an afterthought but he assures me it was a good birthday regardless. I've been working on finishing my summer smashbook and realized I am pretty satisfied with the way it's turned out. I made more of an effort to add journalling beside all those photos and it was the perfect way to incorporate Project Life cards and since I used cards from one kit it helped make the whole thing flow together. 

Today everything on my to do list can be done wearing yoga pants which is really the best kind of to do list. Going out into the world basically means being bombarded with Christmas and I think one of my biggest pet peeves in life is Christmas decorations in November. Christmas belongs in a box until December 1st, unless you're doing some advanced Christmas shopping and even then I'd argue shopping for a gift does not have to involve Christmas carols blaring form store speakers. I'll stop myself now because I know I'm in the Christmas minority on the subject.

So with that I'm off to make a cup of tea and settle in for a productive afternoon of Spark planning and catching up on shows. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

To NaNoWriMo or Not to NaNoWriMo

Every year around the end of October the Blogworld and my Facebook fills up with posts about people getting themselves motived and excited to tackle National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept you can visit the official website here. Basically it's an online community of people around the world who set out to write a novel (50,000 words) during the month of November.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo way back in high school when my life revolved around theatre, I took acting classes for a couple years but what I really loved was playwriting class and poetry club. I know what you're thinking... And yes, I was indeed kind of geeky and lame in high school and I remain kind of geeky and lame in my young adult life. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Anyway we talked about the challenge every year and I remember some of the older (aka young adults/university aged folks) people participating. I never attempted it back then because of course I was busy writing papers about dystopian societies, child labour and trying to memorize French verbs. I figured it was something I'd have time for in university. HA.

During university I was busy writing papers about deviant leisure, risk management strategies and memorizing a plethora of anatomy and physiology terms. I assumed I'd have time for NaNoWriMo when I was "grown up". Hahaha.

Since I finished university I've worked at wide variety of contract/seasonal/term jobs and can probably count on one hand the number of times I've picked up a pen to do any creative writing. High school me would be so sad/shocked to hear this tidbit of information but it's the truth. I've just been busy with other things and haven't made time. That brings me to present day, I've found myself in another "in between contracts" season of life which seems to have lined up perfectly with NaNoWriMo 2015. Which leads me to the question at hand; to NaNoWriMo or Not to NaNoWriMo?

On the one hand I've had NaNoWriMo on my bucket list since before I really knew what a bucket list was. I do love writing and in theory I do have time to commit to it and I really do love writing! Between the ages of 9-17 I told people I was going to be a writer when I grew up, I was going to study journalism in university and spend my days writing. Then I found out I could (in theory) work at camp for the rest of my life and I determined that would be a more stable job (I'm legitimately laughing out loud right now) and moved on from my author aspirations. So winning NaNoWriMo would feel like a big accomplishment and I could check something off a list.

On the other hand...words, writing, imagination, AH! Where do I start? Whats the main character's name? And their favourite colour? And where do I start!?

Clearly, both solid arguments.

Today is November 2nd, which means I'm already behind a day (or two?) but I still haven't made a decision. Are you setting out to write a novel this November?