Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Goals: Progress Report #3

Another three months have gone by since my last goal check in so I am back to share the progress I have made. And it's pretty decent progress if I dare say so myself.

1. Learn to parallel park My sister Jackie taught me while in Seattle, although I need to keep practicing!
2. Get a will made up In progress. We have met with the lawyer and started the ball rolling.
3. Make a roman shade for the laundry room In progress. The supplies are bought.
4. Have a successful herb garden Done! To see how I finally completed this one, click here.
5. Visit Seattle We went the end of April and it was awesome! To read more about it, click here.
6. Gain 5 pounds While my weight has fluctuated a little over the past few months, I am still keeping that extra 5lbs on and hoping to continue to gain.
7. Volunteer with a local charity/group I have been volunteering with the local Alzheimer Society since March.
8. Learn to knit socks I finished my very first pair the beginning of March! To see pictures, click here.
9. Plant a new shade tree
10. Run another 5k Finished! I'm really proud of myself for doing another 5k run, especially with my late start. To read more about it, click here.
11. Read 20 books I've already reached this goal! It could have something to do with me starting the Harry Potter books and not being able to stop...
12. Put an extra $5,000 on the mortgage
13. Join a local knitting group I'll probably take a break during the summer but will join back up come colder weather.
14. Take a Zumba class I participated in a Zumba class with my friend Vicky on March 6th and didn't die! 

I only have three more months to cross off the remaining items. But let's be realistic, I won't complete all 14 goals this year. We haven't put any money on the mortgage yet and it's a little late to be planting any new trees. But I am optimistic that the rest of the items will get crossed off!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dreams of Lullabies

Last year, when we had just about reached a year of trying to get pregnant (for the third time), I started looking for some support. I really wanted to have someone in real life who I could talk to about the trials and stresses of infertility. So I did what I always do when looking for something, I turned to Google.

It brought up an infertility support group which I joined in June 2013 and attended one of the meetings. There was only three of us, a leader and two women currently struggling with infertility. The second meeting got cancelled due to personal reasons for all of us and a third meeting never happened. Mostly because I got pregnant. Well we all know how that pregnancy ended.

The leader didn't actually live in town so she asked one of us if we could continue to head it up. I volunteered and for the last year, have been meeting with the one other member. It's been good and we have developed a nice friendship. We try and meet every few months for coffee and each time we get together, I really enjoy it.

But I feel like there must be other women in this area who are struggling with infertility and might like to be part of a support group. The problem is, getting the word out. So I came up with a brilliant plan. Create an official group and start advertising!

That's just what I did. I came up with a name (with the help of many friends) and my sister-in-law Trish helped me make up flyers and business cards. I LOVE how they turned out. What do you think? As you can tell from the above business card, I smudged out my last name and phone number, so the actual card looks a little nicer.

The current plan is to post flyers for the group in different doctors offices and around town on public bulletin boards. I'm also pretty verbal about it on my personal Facebook page and amongst my small circle of friends/acquaintances. Hopefully, it will spread via word of mouth as well as people seeing the flyers.

So far I haven't heard anything from anyone but I've only really been promoting it for a few days now. I'm really hoping that if there is anyone out there who is needing this support, that they will come across one of my flyers.

This is one of my newest projects I have undertaken and I'm really excited to finally have it up and going. There is also a website (www.dreamsoflullabies.ca) that you can check out that has more information, if you care to know more.

If any of you are in the Peterborough, Ontario area, please feel free to pass this information along. You never know who you may be helping!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Simple Pleasures - September 2014

I'm cutting it close once again, which I'm pretty sure is a new habit of mine. Oh well. It doesn't really matter what time of the month I post my simple pleasures, as long as I take time to find them each month.

Peppers from the garden ready to pop in the freezer

My new orchid from a friend

I found the chocolate ones!!!

My newest find of Berenstain Bears books

The trees are starting to turn and the weather is beautiful
What are some things that have brought you joy this past week? I love hearing from you guys on what makes you smile.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Screen Free Update

Remember back in August when I told you all about my screen addiction and how I was going to avoid screens on Tuesdays? Remember how I said I would try it out and see how it goes? Well I tried it and this is how it went.

Week 1: Very good. I felt motivated and avoided my phone, computer and tv throughout the day.

Week 2: Still pretty good. I texted a few people because I was so excited about my new backpack. But overall, not too bad at avoiding screens.

Week 3: Had to go into work so stared at a screen for a good chunk of the day but it wasn't for personal or fun reasons. Let it slide.

Week 4: Started to get annoyed with the no screen thing, especially in the evening when Dan was home and we wanted to watch a movie. Rainy days make it hard to think of non-screen related activities.

Week 5: Expecting an email and finally caved to check. Decided that screen free Tuesdays wasn't working.

So there you have it, I gave up. But here is my thought process. Going a whole day without screens is hard and overall it was making me grumpy. I agree that it's good to cut back on how much computer/phone time I have but going a whole day may not be the answer for me.

Which leads me to my next plan! For the last month and a half, I've been getting up with Dan in the morning. This is a pretty big deal for me since I got used to sleeping in after quitting my job last summer. But even though we get up together, we then usually eat breakfast while staring at our separate screens. So we are going to try a new routine, which involves doing a small devotional while eating breakfast together.

We've only done it for one morning so far (today) and it went well. The devotional is short and sweet but involves a challenge and looking up some Bible verses. It's not a huge commitment but will give us time together and will develop a good habit over time. I'm hoping this one sticks.

We also will continue with our rule of no screens during meals, unless we're watching a movie together over supper. But if we're sitting at the table, computers and phones are put away.

So there's my honest update on how screen free Tuesdays went. I'll keep you posted on how screen-free breakfasts go.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's Growing Wednesday

Today is the day, the last post in this years What's Growing Wednesday series! I hope you guys have enjoyed my weekly garden updates as much as I have. I find it fun to look back once the snow comes and remember how nice it was to have fresh veggies.

This week I'm showing off my freezers and cold room, which is where I store all my bounty for the winter. We have two freezers, one upright and one chest, and they are currently both full.

The upright freezer is where most of our fruits and veggies are, along with some chicken and beef broth. I keep trying to squeeze more into it but I'm pretty sure it has reached its max capacity.

The chest freezer is mostly meat, considering we do have a 1/4 cow, a 1/2 pig and 8 chickens or so in there. But I've managed to get some tomatoes and peppers in on top, since the upright freezer was a little overloaded.

We also have the freezer that is attached to our fridge but that one has mostly breads, muffins, popsicles, etc. You know, the stuff we use more regularly.

This is my favourite time of year for the cold room, since it's full of the newly harvested foods and looks the most impressive. The shelves that were in the cold room when we moved in have never looked overly sturdy and I was always concerned that they would fall and all my hard work would crash to the floor. So this year we purchased a new shelf and Dan set it up against the opposite wall.

He even secured it to the wall to make sure it wouldn't tip over on us.

All of the jars in the above photo are from this year and there is an assortment of pickled beets, bread & butter pickles, relish, stewed tomatoes, strawberry jam, raspberry jam and dill pickles. Pretty good for one summer if you ask me! I think this is the most I've ever canned in one year, so I'm feeling mighty proud.

The old shelves are still there for now and are housing the small quantity of jars that we have left from previous years.

We keep more than just canned goods in the cold room, storing our potatoes and onions in there too. This years onion crop was kind of sad compared to last year and we doubt it will last us until Christmas. We were eating our onions until May this past year, which we were hoping to do again this year. Alas, the onions didn't know of our plan.

We hung them in panty hose because I found this trick on Pinterest last year and it seemed to work well. Like I said, our onions stayed nice and fresh until May so it must have done something. Plus, it keeps them off the ground and makes them easy to access, since all you have to do is rip a hole and grab your onion.

Our potato crop didn't do as well as last year either, but we're hoping it will last us until Christmas. Last year we ate our potatoes until January, which I guess could happen again, depending on how fast we go through them.

The big crate contains the nice undamaged ones and the little basket has the ones that need to be eaten first. This picture makes it look like we have barely any, but I swear it looks more impressive in real life.

So that's the sum up of our garden bounty this year. I'm looking forward to eating it all winter long. Anyone else finished up with their gardens and now excitedly staring at their cold rooms or freezers?

And for those of you who are wondering what my next series will be on, you should be very excited! I am bringing Foodie Friday back for a couple months! I know that many of you loved that series and was sad when I finished it off, so I figured it would be nice to bring it back for a bit. Plus, I need some motivation to get my butt back into the kitchen and whip up some yummy recipes. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Emotional Roller Coaster

This week is a hard one for me. I feel like my mood changes every few minutes (it really does, just ask Dan) and I am an emotional basket case.

I am finding this crazy shift in mood difficult to wrap my head around because I've been doing so well this summer. I've been in such a good place for a few months now and have been totally cool with where we are at in life. I've hardly cried at all and have been taking pregnancy and birth announcements without barely flinching.

I should have known it wouldn't last. I should have been prepared for the inevitable crash at the end of the high. We can't stay up forever, can we?

I wish I could blame these hormonal shifts on the progesterone I'm on. And I very well could attribute some of my pity parties and need to cry at random times to the stupid progesterone, but I know deep down that there is more to it than that.

The month of September is associated with each of our three losses.

With Casey and Jaimie, we were going to announce our pregnancy on Labour Day weekend. But instead, I was in the process of losing them during that holiday. And then ended up with a D&C on September 27th, 2010.

With Dustin, our estimated due date was September 25th, 2011. We were supposed to be having a baby just as the weather was changing to fall. But we all know that didn't happen.

With Daylin, we found out on September 25th, 2013 that there was no more heartbeat. And we had a D&C the next day.

So you see, while the progesterone is partly to blame, I'm pretty sure my downfall into emotional chaos has a lot to do with this upcoming week. It's a hard week of anniversaries.

That's basically where I'm at this week. Struggling with constant mood swings and trying to distract myself with work, volunteering and small projects around the house. I figured it had been a while since I shared on a more personal note and thought it was about time. I hope you don't mind.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bon Echo

Two weekends ago now, we went on our second camping trip of the year. Well, my second, Dan's third.

We chose a walk-in campsite at Bon Echo Provincial Park and planned to meet our friends Kendall and Steph there. It wasn't very far of a walk from the parking lot to our site but we still tried to do it in the least amount of trips possible. Which means we got to put my new backpack to the test!

It held up perfectly and I didn't even tip over. Which is more impressive than you might think.

Since we arrived a couple hours before Kendall and Steph, we set up our tent and then sat by the water to fish/read for a bit.

Except for it was too dang cold by the water. In fact, it was cold no matter where you went. I had four layers on and was still a little chilled. So after fishing/reading for probably only half an hour, we headed back up to our site to make a fire.

Kendall and Steph arrived just in time for supper so we really didn't do much that first night. By the time eating and dishes were done, it was dark and time to head to bed. Ya, we're that exciting when camping.

The next day started out cold again but we all huddled by the fire while making breakfast and tried not to worry about the forecasted rain for the day. Except for that didn't help the rain situation. Around 10:30am, it started coming down. Fortunately for us, we had a bunch of tarps and made a nice little kitchen tent with walls so that we could hide from the wind and the rain.

So we stayed under there for a few hours, having a picnic lunch and shivering. The rain never got ridiculously hard but it was enough to put a damper on any other plans. Shortly after lunch though, when the rain turned to a lighter drizzle, we opted on going for a drive and doing some geocaching.

It was nice to get out and see some more of the countryside while sitting in a nice heated car. By the time we had completed a couple geocaches, the rain had stopped and we felt ready to return to our cold camping weekend.

It was at this point that we decided to go for a canoe ride. Which may have been a bad idea. You see, it started out nice and the water was relatively calm.

But pretty soon the wind picked up and the nice lake turned into an ocean! Seriously, there were like 2 foot swells. And one of those swells tipped over Kendall and Steph. Fortunately, they were okay and we didn't lose much, only an old extra fishing rod. A nice pontoon boat and a smaller aluminum boat were nearby and came and helped us get them out of the water and our canoe flipped back over. It was a really good thing the other boats were around because the closest shore was a huge rock cliff and Dan and I were trying hard not to tip either.

Oh, here's a picture of the rock cliff to give you an idea of where we were.

Anyways, back to the tipping. I have no pictures from this adventure because we were pretty busy rescuing and then making it back to shore in one piece. And since it was freezing cold that weekend, they wanted to get out of their wet clothes as quickly as possible. So just imagine Kendall and Steph super wet.

They both went and took hot showers at the nearby comfort station while Dan and I got the canoes packed away and a nice fire started back at our site.

The other good thing was that Steph came super prepared and had extra shoes and sweaters to wear in case her other ones got wet. Smart girl. I was not that prepared at all. So I had to take off my shoes and dry my feet by the fire instead. Then again, I didn't get fully drenched in the lake, just a little damp from the rain.

That last night we spent a big portion of it by the fire. We even stayed up past dark (until 10pm I think!) and chatted while staying toasty warm close to the flames.

The next day turned out to be the nicest day of the weekend but we had to pack up and head out. At least our tent and gear had time to dry out a bit before heading home.

Overall it was a really fun weekend and we hope to all get together and do it again next year. Although the plan is to choose a warmer weekend and hopefully not tip any canoes.

Oh and while we enjoyed our campsite, we scouted out the other walk in sites and chose which one we thought would be better for next year. So we're totally ready.

This is still our campsite

*Thank you to Kendall for sharing some of your pictures for this blog post.*

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Growing Wednesday

This will be the last post of my actual garden for another season, since next week I plan on sharing what my cold room and freezers look like now. So soak up the nice end of season feel of my dying garden and appreciate with me how well it did over the past few months.

It's not completely dead yet but I'm getting less and less from it as the days go by. I still need to pick my last few beets and cook them up for a meal in the coming week. I had a sad crop of them this year, considering what you see here is half my crop.

My pepper plants are still loaded down with peppers but I have a bad feeling that they won't all ripen. This cold snap isn't doing them any favours and they need heat in order to change colours. These ones are supposed to be orange, but I think we'll just have to eat them green.

My one and only zucchini from this years crop is just about ready to pick. I have to think of some fabulous way to eat it, since it's my only one. Any suggestions?

Out of our six tomato plants, only two are left. They still have a few tomatoes on them but I'm not sure if they will actually ripen before they rot. I figured I'd give them a chance though, so I'm leaving the plants in for now.

So there you have it, another year of gardening just about done with. Thanks for joining me along the way and I will see you next week for one last post in this year's series.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog Slump

I'm sure some of you have noticed that my blog has been a little less exciting lately and I've been missing a lot of days of posting. It's been a busy summer (in a good way) and I've had a hard time keeping up with my 5/6 posts a week schedule that I made for myself back in 2012. I've been busy so I haven't been working on many projects to blog about and most of my recent posts are more life related and less crafty/DIY related. While some of you (mostly family) don't mind that, I'm sure others are missing the recipes, crafts, home improvement projects, etc. Or even the more heart felt posts that I used to do more regularly.

I just feel like there is something missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. Most of the time writing a blog post has become a chore for me and it's just one more thing on my to do list that needs to be done. I'm not necessarily writing because I want to right now.

I'm not quite sure what the point of this post is. Maybe just to let you know that I have realized I need to refocus and regroup when it comes to my blog. Maybe I need a break. Maybe I need to push through it. Maybe I need to post less.

I'm not saying I want to give up blogging all together, I like it too much to do that. It still does give me joy and I do still love communicating with my readers. I'm just finding it hard to keep up.

So I guess this post is to apologize and to ask you to bear with me, as I find my groove again. I may continue to miss days but I'm hoping come colder weather and a less busy time, I will be able to get back into the swing of things. I hope you guys can understand.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Things Friday

It's been a busy week and I didn't finish photographing the new shelves in the cold room, so I can't share those with you this morning. Which means it's time for...


#1 - I made dill pickles for the first time ever this week and while they aren't ready to taste yet, they look like they worked. So I'm hoping that's a good sign.

#2 - I'm using my hippy purse again, since I'm getting sick of lugging around a giant 7lb purse. It's kind of a nice change.

#3 - Last week I discovered that I could eat Laura Secord dark chocolate. Really good discovery.

#4 - My medal from my 5k run is hanging on the closet door in our bedroom. That way it's super obvious and easy for me to stare at.

#5 - I got a new hiking backpack and it's purple and I'm excited to get to use it for an upcoming camping weekend.

So there you have it, my five random things from today. I hope you all have a great weekend and I shall see you all next week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Let The Light Shine In

The other day, while Dan and I were out in the backyard watching our new hens, we had an epiphany. Although if I'm being completely honest, it was all Dan. We were looking into our hen house and Dan thought aloud, "we should put a window in here". I immediately agreed and we decided we would look for a cheap second hand one as soon as we could.

I stole this picture from my hen house tour post back in June so that you could remember what the front of the old coop looked like.

On Monday we went window shopping and found the perfect one for only $8 at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Score.

Dan started the measuring and cutting into the wall, while I ran around wearing my pink tool belt and taking pictures. I was super helpful, obviously.

It was around this point that I stopped helping altogether, but I had a good excuse and found a suitable replacement before leaving. You see, my brother, sister-in-law and adorable niece showed up for a visit and I had to be a good hostess. So I let Mike (my brother) take over helping Dan while Tara, Alma and I picked veggies and chatted by the garden.

They made great progress and were completely done by the time supper was ready. I kind of sucked at taking pictures of everything though since I was visiting the whole time. I did manage to take one picture of Alma and Mike though, which I thought I would share since it's pretty darn cute.

We are SO happy that we decided to put a window in since it makes such a huge difference. The hens love the natural light and it's fun for us to spy on them without having to open the door.

We still need to re-caulk the window and then paint the new trim, but it's finished enough to keep them protected and give them their much needed light.

What do you think of our quick new addition? Doesn't it look fabulous? Anyone else doing any small projects lately, before winter comes upon us?