The big 2-8

Yesterday was my birthday. I still don’t know how I feel inching closer and closer to 30. I guess part of me is ok with it, but there is also a part of me that feels like I haven’t really accomplished a whole lot in the 10 years since I graduated high school.
The last couple weeks, while this feeling loomed over me, I’ve been thinking hard about setting some goals, big and small. I feel like I need something to guide me along the way so that when I do hit 30, I don’t feel regret or remorse for what I could (or should) have done. I’m not going to share all these goals and dreams here, but along the way I might share a few, or share how progress is going towards certain goals.
I am going to try to blog more, as sharing pictures and information about my goals and progress will help me to stay on track better.
One of my goals is better health. Last summer I got back on track with healthy eating and working out and I had really amazing progress for the first 3 weeks, then I slowly started to drift back into my old ways and progress stopped and regression happened. Next week I am starting a new workout program, JNL Fusion. After my third baby, I found Jennifer Nicole Lee on YouTube. She put out these short but deadly workouts and following those I saw fantastic results, even with a crappy diet full of fast food and lacking in fruits and vegetables. So when I saw she had a DVD workout series out, I snapped it up. I’m actually really looking forward to it, because while they were tough, her workouts were still fun and super effective. While I won’t be following any specific eating plan, I am going to cut out as much processed food as I can and just try to eat as clean and healthy as I can. I also have about 4 months worth of Shakeology powder hanging around my house, so I will be starting to incorporate those back into my daily life.
I’m also trying to severely limit the amount of yarn I buy this year. As in, technically, I’ve only ordered two skeins of yarn this whole year (and I ordered them as a birthday present to myself.) That’s not to say I won’t have new yarn coming in, but I really want to shudder thinking about how much yarn I acquired last year. I could probably yarn craft the next two years before I ran out of yarn, maybe even 3. I signed up for a yarn club before the new year started, but I paid for it then too and I’m trying to not feel bad about that. Instead, I’m using that to help calm any other yarn purchases as I WILL receive one skein of yarn each month until the club is over. I also had the good fortune of winning some free yarn on Instagram, which was amazing for someone who is having new yarn withdrawals.

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As far as actual projects go, I’m doing well there. I crocheted up two cute Amigurumi for my niece and nephews second birthdays (with yarn from my stash.)

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I crocheted my fiancé a funny Valentine’s gift on a quick break from reading for my University english class

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I don’t have pictures of everyone, but at the start of the year I forced myself to find every unfinished project I had from 2014 and work diligently to finish them finally. Well when they were all found and counted, I had 38 projects that weren’t done. There’s been some finishing, some frogging and some progress made on larger scale projects and I can say, quite proudly, that I’m now down to 24 unfinished projects from 2014. This week I’ve been working on a knit bath mat I started in the summer, and a crochet butterfly prayer shawl that I sadly started in December.

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I’m moving the stitch markers each week, just so I can actually see the progress made each week. Both are just repeating the same thing over and over, so without that marker of where I started it seems like no progress has been made. Yesterday, being my birthday, I allowed myself to cast on a new project (that isn’t being made as a gift) and I’m extremely in love with it!

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It’s called The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People and its a free download on Ravelry. I didn’t know that was what I was going to cast on until the morning when I was browsing my Ravelry queue and saw it, then I browsed the finished projects and there was one in there that instantly made me think it would be adorable in this yarn. The yarn is Cushy Sock base (75% Superwash merino, 25% nylon) in the colourway Rainbow Acid Rain by iKNITiatives on Etsy. I remember her posting two skeins of neon looking yarn on Instagram one day and I told her I would buy them both as soon as they were listed. I love the, both, but I had no clue what I was going to use this particular skein on. It’s working up so pretty though, and I think I will really love this shawl.
As for school, I hadn’t informed the blog world, but I am in full time university getting my Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Accounting. It’s going, there has been a lot of illness in the house this winter with flu, fever and even pneumonia, so I’ve definitely fallen behind in that. I am determined to get back on track though and that is my priority in any time of the day that I am being allowed to pay attention to my computer and not my not-so-independent toddler. I have 6 classes right now, 2 of which I will be done by the end of March for sure, 2 that I’m having to take extensions out on because the weeks of sickness and lack of sleep kept me from getting enough done, and 2 that I just started in February.
That’s really it for now, just a kind of all over update since its been forever since I blogged last. I hope to share some more progress and a bit about my goals as we go on.

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First Lush Haul

So I’ve known about Lush for a long time, but as a younger person I decided their items were too expensive and that I wasn’t into that “hippie bs” of worrying about animal testing or chemicals or any of that stuff.

27 year old me is different. 27 year old me is very aware of how chemicals affect products and us as humans and everything around us. I’m way more into trying to use things that aren’t possibly detrimental to our health. I think these realizations have come not just as part of growing up, but as part of having children. You don’t want them to be exposed to things that can be avoided so easily.

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For my first order, I kept things simple. I have friends who use Lush, and everyone was recommending things to me. What I really needed at the time I placed my order was shampoo and conditioner. I have really fine, thin hair. Drugstore shampoos weight it down, even the ones that claim to be weightless. My hair has been void of body for as long as I can remember. Even with the help of “volumizing” products I got very little in the way of results.
After reading reviews and ingredients and comparing shampoos, I decided to give BIG shampoo and bar conditioner a try. My order got here quickly, and I didn’t wait more than an hour to hop in the shower and give it a try. I will say that it’s strange to use a shampoo that has coarse chunks of salt in it, but it worked into my hair well. When I rinsed the shampoo out of my hair it felt squeaky clean. The conditioner bar was a bit strange to use too, but once I figured it out and was able to run the conditioner through my hair I was quite happy with it. I have to say that this is one of the best smelling shampoo/conditioner combos that I have ever used. The scent isn’t overpowering, it just smells light and clean and it lasts on my hair much longer. When my air hair dried, it was much lighter and bouncier. It had about as much body as it normally gets when I add products and blow dry it all out. I still have yet to blow dry my hair after using this combo to see what happens, but I expect great results when I do. My fiancé noticed a difference in my hair that night when he got home. It was shinier and looked healthier and it was extremely soft, not crunchy.
Its been like that, every time I’ve used it. I don’t know if it is cleaning the crud and whatever that was left behind by the drug store shampoos or what, but my hair looks and feels much better, for much longer. I will be using BIG for a long time to come.
I also ordered a shampoo bar, called New. It’s supposed to help promote hair growth for those with fine hair and breakage. I put it in a bar tin, but I really wanted to try big first, so I will give an update on New once I’ve given it a real try. It smells spicy and awesome though, so I can’t wait to give it a good try.

As for future orders, I have a list. I have a friend who has recently used the Henna for her hair and raves about it, so I might be giving that a try in the near future before she abandons me to travel to Australia with her boyfriend!! This same friend also swears by Dark Angels so I will be trying that out at some time too.

One of my goals this year was to start trying to take better care of myself. We might be halfway through the year, but I am finally starting. I feel that self care is important for everyone, but especially for moms. I know that for the last almost 8 years there haven’t been many times where I’ve put self care on a high priority. It seemed silly to worry about what my hair looked like or skin care or even just taking a few minutes every day to relax and let go. Now, I’ve realized that it’s not. Self care is a very important part of who you are. It’s helped me to keep my identity as my own person and not just a mom. Even a 15 minute shower with yummy smelling gel and a good moisturizer after, a half hour soak with bubble bath after the kids go to bed. Sometimes that is all it takes to help unwind from the stresses of every day life, and isn’t that something we all need?

Happy Canada Day & Christmas in July Starts!

HAPPY CANADA DAY fellow Canadians! I hope you all enjoy your day with family and friends, some great food and fun activities and of course, fireworks. I personally will be eating with my fiancés family and then coming home to hang out in the hot tub with a beverage or two, and watch fireworks from my backyard.

In other life news, I’ve decided to get myself back into shape. I’ve got myself eating better and consciously drinking more water. Yesterday I got back on the treadmill for the first time since I was about 4 months pregnant with my now 1 year old son. I’m using an app called 10K Free to help me with my running. Yesterday I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes, only 8 of those minutes were spent jogging or running. I couldn’t believe how out of shape I was, I did the run exactly as the app specified (it talks to you) and I was sweating buckets. I can’t remember a time I’ve sweat that much doing any sort of workout! I’m hoping to add in some non running workouts too, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself right off the start. I also hope to add in at least one yoga session a week to try and help with my flexibility.

Christmas in July
So it’s July 1st and I will just briefly touch on this currently, but I will make it a regular weekly update this month. I have made a list of personal gifts I want to make AND items I want to make for my shop. I will share these lists next week, as I’m making this just a quick post. Every week I will share what I’ve made and keep a progress list. I have made some very lofty goals, ones I don’t expect to achieve fully in July alone, but ones that will push me to get a good head start and to get the ball rolling into August and September as well so that I am better prepared for the holiday season.

And with that, I will say farewell for now. I have finished my breakfast oats and need to get my day going, but I will talk to you all soon.

Crafting for Kids

This year I decided to vow that I would make more of the gifts for Christmas. I also vowed to do this last year but just never got around to until it was too late to even bother!
I’m happy to say that I have started work on one of the gifts I hope to give to my daughters. They share a very cute pink, white and blue striped room. I even made faux wainscotting and put that on the bottom of their walls. However they have no cute, girly decor or accents in their room.
Enter:

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This photo shows some of my current progress on the Once Upon a Time Sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.
I haven’t ever successfully completed a cross stitch, though I have attempted and failed more times than I’d like to admit. I just didn’t “get” it, much like crochet actually. After trying and quitting many times over, something finally just clicked!
So far I am very happy with how it’s turning out and I look forward to the first of each month when the new patterns come out. I am currently behind, but I didn’t decide I wanted to actually try this until mid February. By the time I had my supplies hunted down it was only a couple days before March. I’m hoping to complete the patterns for both February (partially done above) and January this month. And then March and April next month. Any spare time in either month I will devote to trying to finish the framing and squares so that I can just worry about the monthly pattern.
When it’s all done I will be framing it to hang on their bedroom wall, since it won’t be done until December it will be a perfect Christmas gift for them. I may have to come up with my own custom frame too since I doubt any of the stores here will have one that fits it properly.

Meal Plan Monday

I honestly suck at figuring out what to make for supper. Breakfast is fine and lunch is easy, but supper always seems to elude me. I want suppers to be somewhat healthy but still tasty and things that I know my kids will actually eat. I found a website called Dashing Dish. It has free recipes, but also lots of delicious recipes in the members area, so I joined and have access to all those great new meal ideas.
This week I figured that I would plan out what we will eat for supper so I could do proper grocery shopping. It will cut down on the trips my fiancé needs to make to the store after work, will cut down on the amount of quick, crappy food we eat. And hopefully as I get better at meal planning, it will save us some extra cash.
I tried to meal plan once before, using Pinterest. But I have come to find that Pinterest is really like a black hole for me. I get started pinning recipes for supper and end up on a board full of pretty shoes or knitting patterns. Hours later, I still have no clue what we are having for supper but I have months worth of crafting queued up and a wishlist of shoes, clothes and books a mile long.
I’m planing from Monday to Sunday, and including a meal for Sunday. Most Sundays we have a family supper with my fiancé’s family though, so if that’s the case the Sunday meal will just get bumped to Monday. If a meal happens to be one of the free ones I will hyperlink the recipe to it for you!

Monday
Slow Cooked Peach Chicken with rice
Tuesday
Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pie with assorted veggies
Wednesday
Three Cheese Slow Cooked Macaroni and Cheese
Thursday
Three Bean Chili
Friday
Chicken Pot Pie Muffins with mashed potatoes
Saturday
Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili
Sunday
Pizza Burger with salad

On the chili nights I may make homemade buns or biscuits because chili and a bread product go together like peanut butter and jelly. But aside from that I’ve added a side dish of veggies or rice or whatever I felt might match with the main dish each night. We’ve not yet tried any of these recipes so I will be sure to report back on how they went over next Monday when I lay out our next meal plan!

March Goals!

I’ve decided that in order to have any semblance of a plan of attack, I should have a list of goals each month. Then at the end of each month, I can go back and look and see how much of what I wanted to do actually got accomplished and where I didn’t necessarily flourish.
My first goal of the month is to sit down tonight and get my last couple listings wrote up so that I can say I officially opened my Etsy shop on March 1st!
I have a list of UFO’s that I need to complete, all in various stages of “doneness.” 1. Horse hat 2. Gumball Hat 3. Herringbone Neck Warmer 4. Scarf for homeless.
I have a list of new items I need to make for my Etsy store, I went through this morning to see what items I needed to order yarn for and I have placed that order so I can get those items dealt with. This includes some Amigurumi work, baby booties, leg warmers and some fun neck accessories.
I have 4 items that I would like to cast/hook on this month that are personal projects. Knitabulls is hosting a stitch surfer sock KAL in March. Technically I haven’t finished my first pair of socks, but I think with all the help and her tutorials that I may just be able to do it. I love the way they look and have been dying to own a pair. This is my lofty goal…so I’m hoping to get them cast on and off, but we will see once I browse the tutorial videos. I also would like to hook up another couple dishcloths to add to my gifting dishcloth stash. The last thing I’d like to cast on this month for myself is the Hanois Cowl on Ravelry. I ordered a very pretty skein of hand dyed yarn from my friends shop on Etsy, ChaoticYarns. I think it will look great in this cowl and there should be enough yardage left to also make myself a pair of fingerless gloves or wristers to match.
I would like to actually get some sewing in this month! I need some project bags and have had the fabric to make them for months now, so it’s time to buckle down and get at them. I also need a new hook and needle roll, so it would be wonderful to be able to stitch those up too.
I got the linen and embroidery threads to do my Once Upon a Time Sampler last week. This morning I woke up to have the March square in my inbox, so my plan for March is to finish both the March and February squares so in April I can work on January and Aprils. I have some of the “framework” stitches in, but I think I will try to work on the frame section that goes with whatever square I’m currently working on. I will be framing this and gifting it to my daughters for Christmas as their combined Christmas gift, so very excited to see how it turns out and to make progress on it!
I am going to try to exercise 3 days a week this month, plus start a morning “get energized and stretched out for the day” routine. I need to clear the treadmill off before the end of the weekend because my first run will be Monday.
Along with exercising my body, I have a goal to read 2 books this month. One a self help style book, called “The Success Principals” by Jack Canfield. I have it on Kobo so I can read from my phone or iPad. I also want to read “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey. I bought it in paperback well over a year ago and haven’t stopped to make the time to read it yet.
So, those are my main goals this month. Being able to accomplish them will require me to be more vigilant in other areas of my life, like house keeping and meal planning. But I think it will all work out, and I am going to work hard to make it all work out. Stick with me, and watch my journey through March unfold!

A Productive Week

I feel like I’m on the ball, not so much with blogging, but with a lot of other aspects of my life. I did a whole lot of “making all the things” this week, so let’s do a recap.

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When ruffle yarn first came out, like many people I jumped on the ruffle scarf bandwagon. I bought a ball in every colour there was. Then, I made my first ruffle scarf. I had just learned to crochet so I was ecstatic to have something that actually looked like something. I then immediately made another ruffle scarf. I decided that I would move on and try something else but keep making ruffle scarves in between projects. After crocheting my first cloth and my first hat, I decided I really disliked crocheting with the ruffle yarn. I hid it all in my giant stash pile for over a year. This year I pulled it all out and made another ruffle scarf, the feelings of hatred for the yarn immediately rose in me. I put the yarn away again. Until now. Bound and determined to find a use for it I decided to finger crochet some cute chained infinity scarves out of the ruffle yarn. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and while they aren’t warm cowls by any means, I now have a colourful stack of fashion infinity scarves ready, and have gotten rid of all the ruffle yarn I owned. And it feels great!

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I finished most of this owl hat. It still needs it’s owl beak but I didn’t have my orange yarn out at the time that I was finishing it up. This hat is part of a custom order for a baby girl.

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I took a little break in my regular custom order schedule to create these 2 cute hats. I do have my Etsy store basically set up, I’m just lacking the product to photograph for it because I’ve been so busy working on custom orders. I’m very happy with how these hats turned out and I really love the colour combinations.

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One of my favourite projects of the week. This was a custom order for a newborn baby girl. I tried out a different style for this owl and really love how it turned out. My kids have all asked for one already. The booties have a special place in my heart because I really wish I could make a pair for myself, hahaha. I hate sewing on buttons because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and they have to be in the exact right spot and the holes on the buttons need to be lined up. The finished product is definitely worth the button hassle.
I’m still working on my scarf for the less fortunate, it’s at least doubled in size from the picture last week. I’m quite happy with the progress.

As for the rest of life this week, it’s been pretty good. No one was sick, the kids helped clean, everyone got along. Well, as much as you can expect them too. I found a cleaning schedule poster on the internet that I’m going to employ this week I believe, to see if it is enough for our family.

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I have meal planned my suppers for the week so tomorrow at some point in time I will be going grocery shopping. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. The gold medal Olympic hockey game starts at 6am. And we’re making breakfast for it. Right now we are watching UFC so it’s going to be a late night as well. I expect afternoon naps for everyone tomorrow!

Try It Tuesday!

This week I’m debuting new features for the blog as I’m getting organized in life and also more busy. Each Tuesday I’m going to try something that I’ve been wanting to try, but not “had the time” for. It could be anything. A new experience. A new craft. A new recipe. A new technique. Whatever it is, it will be something from my “want to do” list.

This weeks “try it” is daily journal type books for my kids. The intention is that every day they will write or draw something. It may be free choice or I may ask them to go along with a topic. I didn’t want these journals to be huge because sometimes they may be doing this between supper and bedtime. I didn’t want to give them too much free space or they would be there forever!
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I had a pad of photo mats for scrapbooking and I decided when folded in half it was the perfect size for their little journals.
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Then I folded some blank paper and cut it along the centre score lines so that there were 4 pieces and each piece folded in half lengthwise. Doing this to 2 regular pieces of printer paper yielded 32 blank surfaces for drawing. Perfect since there are 31 days in the month.
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After I had them cut I stacked them inside the folded cover. Then I stapled through to hold the papers in and numbered them from 1 to 31! Easy peasy! And the kids love them. They are drawing today’s picture right now. It’s kind of like art journaling for kids. As the month progresses I may do an update and show some of their artwork off. We will have to wait and see.

Don’t Have Sex Because You Will Get Pregnant and Die

I never thought I’d wish I had taken that quote from Mean Girls more seriously! No, I’m not dying, that would be evil for Camille. Can’t stick him with 4 kids and move on to the pearly gates alone! I just, like most people I would imagine, get anxious towards the end. Anxious that I will go into labour somewhere public or sometime when I can’t reach Camille right away. Or over the weekend the UFC is in Winnipeg. That would be the real kick in the box. I already can’t go see them live, would be a shame to not be able to order them as well.
Aside from feeling worse pregnancy wise, I do feel like I actually accomplished more with my day than I have in quite some time. I made homemade buns for lunch:

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And they turned out fabulous as usual and made my house smell delicious.
I also forced myself to sit down and finish all the rest of the square joining on the baby blanket, so now all it needs is the 2 rows of border and it is complete!

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The kids were bathed, Morgan showered, I even unloaded the dishwasher of clean dishes and loaded it back up with dirty ones! Shocking considering I’m fairly certain I haven’t emptied the dishwasher, before most of the clean dishes have been used again that is, in at least a month. Hell, I even used the crockpot and started supper this afternoon which was a huge stress reliever for me. I got to catch up on some of the crafty podcasts that I subscribe too and even managed to download and read the first few pages of the new issue of The Simple Things, which hit my phones newsstand today.

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And now the kids are in bed/jammies and watching a movie. The men folk are attempting to put the bay window back in the living room. And I am going to relax and work on the blanket border and bake THESE banana cinnamon cupcakes, I believe. She posted them on Instagram earlier today, then blogged the recipe and they look delicious and I have bananas perfect for them. Destiny!