Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Personal Accomplishments

As I had mentioned earlier in the week, Thursday is my last day of work outside the home. While I was going through documents on my work computer, I came across this personal profile I had submitted to our Healthy Lifestyles Committee which posts profiles of employees from around the globe. As you will notice, it was written towards the end of 2010. While I seem to have lost my running mojo, my philosophies have remained the same and I have taken on new interests such as Zumba and meditation. I think that I should read my profile weekly, if not daily as a reminder of my spirit and accomplishments. This was really the perfect time to read it and remind myself that stepping outside of your comfort zone is a truly important step in your life as is following your heart. As I move onto the next chapter of my life and begin the homeschooling journey with our girls I look forward to the personal accomplishments that life brings us.

My profile from 2010:

I have never felt like much of an athlete so it seems strange to me, as we near the end of 2010, to have had people refer to me as a runner or an athlete or as their motivation.

Sports have never come easily to me. While I participated in swimming, skating, softball and karate as a child, I was far too self-conscious to participate in athletics during my teenage years. I remember the dread of track and field, gymnastics and field hockey. Even with much encouragement from my parents, I never felt as though I were good enough or improving even though I was trying my hardest.

It took until 2001 when I moved back to Manitoba from B.C. to realize that it is important (and somewhat necessary) to step outside your comfort zone and not let fear stop you from trying new things. I also decided that while I may not set any records in athletics, I can participate in sports and enjoy their rewards - physically, mentally and socially.

I had only stepped onto the curling ice once before the winter of 2001. I was encouraged to join our local ladies’ league with three new friends who were also relatively new to the sport. Although I felt some frustration with my lack of progress over the next four years of curling, I had found a place within the community and developed many wonderful friendships while at the rink.

After moving, I finally had the chance to spend time on the golf course and along with hitting the links with my husband, also joined the ladies’ club for  few years until my youngest daughter was born.

In 2006, while 3 months pregnant with my youngest, I had the misfortune of breaking my ankle. At home with my 2-year-old daughter, pregnant and on crutches I promised myself that I would never take my mobility for granted. With determination, I worked hard to gain strength and flexibility in my ankle.

Less than a year after my youngest daughter’s birth and just over a year after my ankle injury, I decided to try my hand at yoga. I had planned on joining a class while pregnant, but anyone who has done yoga knows that it would be most difficult with the use of only one leg! What I found with yoga was a new sense of myself - confidence in my body, breath and mind. I absolutely love what yoga brings me and look forward to each class. I find the strengthening aspects, meditation and focus on myself and the present to be inspirational and refreshing.

At the opposite end of the yoga spectrum - a girlfriend and myself started talking in the fall of 2007 about starting a ladies hockey team in our town of approximately 400 people. Although I had taken skating lessons as a child, I had only been on the ice a handful of times as an adult. My husband, who has been skating since he was 2 years old, was more than encouraging. The first time we went skating I either held onto him or the boards, but he reminded me that I was just starting and would improve with time and practice. I remember wondering what I had gotten myself into with starting hockey, but listened to his words of advice. The first year we had approximately 20 women come out to play. In the years since we have grown to a team of 30. How wonderful to know that so many other women had the courage to try something new as well. I have taken on the position of goalie and love every minute I am on the ice.

In 2009 while enjoying some post-hockey camaraderie, a few friends suggested that I run in the Manitoba Marathon relay with them. I had never enjoyed running. In fact, it’s safe to say that I had convinced myself that I despised it and told them so. After much thought (and succumbing to peer pressure) I agreed to join. My husband had decided to run his first half-marathon at the Manitoba Marathon and so I found motivation in his determination and also did not want to let down my team mates. I can still recall the first time I ran only 30 seconds during my run/walk training and thinking there was no way I would ever be a runner and would likely have to walk most of my relay leg. I was determined after that moment that I would stick with my training and do my best. The further into my training, the more I came to enjoy running and how I felt afterwards. The Manitoba Marathon was a great experience and opened up what became somewhat of an obsession/addiction to do more running and try longer distances. That September I ran a 10km. I felt such pride in the fact that I ran the entire way without walking. How far I had come in just six short months! My husband and I headed to Phoenix in January 2010 to run in the Rock & Roll Half-Marathon. While I didn’t finish in the time I had hoped, the feeling of elation / accomplishment after crossing the finish line and participating in this event with my best friend was overwhelming.

Since January 2010, I have completed another half-marathon, a try-a-tri (condensed triathlon) and cycled 80 kms in the Rona MS Bikathon - Ride to the Viking. All of these athletic triumphs in my life have occurred because I was brave enough to step out of my comfort zone. I am also extremely fortunate to have great support from my family and friends.

Most importantly, even more so to me than the health benefits, is the fact that I want to be a good role model to my two daughters. I want them to lead and enjoy healthy and active lifestyles throughout their entire lives. I also want them to remember that you are never too old to try something new, that sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and that while you may not be the best at something, as long as you are trying your hardest and enjoying yourself that is all that matters.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

                    - John “The Penguin” Bingham

Monday, 23 July 2012

Ruler Name Plate

042 I have 3 days of work left (with the possibility of some training over the next few weeks) and then after a couple of weeks of holidays I am officially done working out of the home. I have been at my current workplace for 4 1/2 years, but we have decided to homeschool our girls this fall. I thought I would like to have all of August off to get our space ready for schooling and also gather our curriculum. It will also be nice to be off during harvest to help out where needed and to provide some good meals in the field.

My youngest brother made me a customized routered wooden name plate in high school. It has followed me through my working days and has always received high praise. When my co-worker started working with me (we job share) she decided it would be nice to have a name plate for herself to place on the desk on the days when she works and I’m not there. She quickly printed something off of Word, laminated it and stuck it in a metal name plate holder. Nothing fancy. Fast forward to my departure…I thought it would be a nice parting gift to leave her with her own customized name plate.

I took a look on Pinterest to see what type of name plates would fit the bill for a DIY project. I really liked this Scrabble inspired name plate and loved how the ruler was incorporated.

The girls and I were off to do our grocery shopping on Friday so we stopped at two thrift stores to see if we could find an old Scrabble game. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any success, but we did leave with three old wooden rulers for the whopping price of $0.30 (yep, a dime each). I let my imagination take me away and came up with a plan to fashion a name plate with the rulers.

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That evening I asked DP if he could cut the flat ruler in half and one of the others to approximately 8 inches. He placed them in a vice and used a hacksaw to cut them to the desired lengths. The edges were a little rough so he used the grinding wheel to sand them down.

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I brought them into the house and glued the two flat ruler pieces together so that the numbers would be on the outer edges and the blank areas together. This would be ideal for the name plate piece. The 4 inch piece of ruler that was left from the other cut was glued to the back of the name plate to act as additional reinforcement.

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Once the glue had dried, I took some adhesive letters that I had on hand, cut the required letters out and stuck them to the name plate. I painted each letter with DecoArt black paint. I removed the stickers once the paint was dry. I wanted to rough the name up a bit so grabbed my sand block and took a bit of the paint off.

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The groove (or pencil holder) in the 8 inch piece of ruler worked to provide a great base or stand for the name plate. I glued both pieces together and have a cool looking name plate that was easy and cost almost nothing. I will be giving it to Rae on Tuesday and I hope she likes it!

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My girls would now like to have one each for our homeschool area with their names! Back to the thrift store to find more wooden rulers!

Total cost of this project: $0.20!!

2 Rulers - $0.20 at a local thrift store

Adhesive letters, paint, paint brush, sanding block, glue – Free as I had them all on hand!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Fresh Garden Veggies

060  I’m not sure about any of you, but I just cannot believe how quickly this summer is flying by! How is it possible that we are already at July 21st?!

I love this time of the year. Everything is so full of life – the crops are filling and starting to ripen and harvest is just around the corner for us, the garden is bountiful, flowers are in full bloom. It’s really just wonderful to be alive and spend time with my family in these amazing surroundings.

I know that I just posted yesterday and will be sharing a project with you tomorrow, but I wanted to share some photos of my garden.

We have two raspberries bushes, one has these beautiful and sweet golden berries, while the other has red berries. The wonderful thing about the red berry bush is that there are no thorns so it is terrific to pick from. You can get right into the thick of it and not worry about getting scratched up. These photos were taken on Wednesday so we will have to get out and pick more this evening.

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While we were picking the berries we noticed all of these spider webs covered in dew. Absolutely stunning to see the spider’s artwork displayed this way!

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This photo is our strawberry popcorn plant. We’ve never grown it before so I can’t wait to see how it turns out. It is supposed to have husks that are shaped similar to a strawberry and have reddish kernels. Apparently you put a cob in the microwave and it will produce popcorn. I’m excited to try it out! I forgot to mark where I planted these seeds and DP didn’t know I had put them in and tilled them up. So we have three plants growing.

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 In addition to the popcorn, we have peaches & cream corn, sunflowers (my favourite flower), edible pod peas, yellow beans, lettuce (which is past its prime and we are now giving to the cows as a treat), zucchini, birdhouse gourds (not sure the actual name), watermelon, tomatoes, a variety of peppers, pumpkins and dill. I love the smell of dill so often when we’re in the garden I’ll just rub some between my fingers and take a deep breath to inhale the aroma. LOVE IT!

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 Pumpkins

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Sunflowers

Thursday evening we had a storm come through with a little bit of rain and lots of lightning and wind. Luckily no crops were damaged, but oddly enough the corn in our garden looked like dominos and was lying down.

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Some of the corn has started to stand up again so hopefully it will be ok and the cobs will be able to fill properly. We love corn and always enjoy feasting on it.

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I’m not sure if you ever heard the saying about sitting and watching the corn grow well on a good year (like this year) you could almost literally watch the corn grow.  I heard a story at work about a farmer who had corn waist high in the morning and almost to his armpits by afternoon. Another one had marked his corn to watch the progress and it grew about 11 inches in one day (trust me these are not like the “I caught a fish this big” stories!) I am also believing that this is true for zucchini because I’m certain that we had one almost double in size in 26 hours (ok, I have to admit that after looking at the pictures, it maybe wasn’t quite double! This almost was a fishing story!). This is my first experience growing zucchini so its fun to watch it grow.

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Friday morning

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Saturday morning

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I hope that you are enjoying fresh veggies and fruit from your garden or if you don’t have one yourself are picking up some wonderful produce from your local farmer’s market!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Family Tree

051I have to apologize as I had great intentions of having this post completed Friday, but I was missing some information so I needed another day!

My mom’s family reunion is coming up in August and I had mentioned to her that I had seen some great family tree ideas on Pinterest. I explained a few of them to her and she asked if I would be interested in making one for the upcoming reunion. I thought it would be fun to try out and jumped at the chance.

The initial tree that I was interested in was this one from Gardners 2 Bergers.

After I searched for it again on Pinterest I discovered this one and just loved it.

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I decided that this was the one I was going to make.

I stopped in to Love is in the Details and Lori helped me pick out some great paper to use for the trunk and leaves. I started working on this project on Wednesday and have to admit everything else got put on the backburner as this took quite awhile to get the majority completed. I kind of forgot how large our extended family was until I started drawing the trunk and cutting out leaves!

I took two pieces of ledger paper and taped them together on the backside to use for my trunk template. I had a 9 x 16 canvas on hand so made sure the template was the same width size. I would have liked to use a frame such as the one shown above, but the one I had here was too small and I wanted to get to work so the canvas won out.

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I drew the trunk out showing the roots as my grandparents and each of the main branches as my mom and her siblings. Then off of each of the siblings were smaller branches to show their children and further yet for grandchildren and even some great grandchildren (which would be great-great grandchildren to my grandparents who, unfortunately, passed away many years ago.).

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After the template was complete I cut it out and traced it onto the brown paper. I cut that out and had the trunk which I then glued to the canvas.

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I got working on the leaves which there were 60+. I made my original design on a scrap piece of paper and cut it out for a template. I proceeded to trace the leaves and cut them using the cutting mat and knife. This took quite a bit of time and my finger was very sore from pressing so hard. I would cut some out and take a break and then get back to it. I arranged the leaves on the trunk and began writing each individual’s first name and birth year. Once the names were on the leaves I glued them on their appropriate location of the tree. 080

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Did you notice that I had to extend one of the tree branches from original template? I thought I would have enough space, but once I added the leaves I realized that it wasn’t quite long enough. It actually filled out the canvas better with the branch extension!

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I had to wait for a few more details so decided that the canvas needed to look slightly aged. I got out the Tim Holtz ink pad and went around the perimeter of the canvas with it. After all the leaves and names were adhered I brushed on a coat of Mod Podge.

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I am bringing this over to my mom today and I hope she likes it! I think it’s a fun way to show off all of the branches of your family. It was quite a bit of work, but well worth it!

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