December 31, 2015

Looking Back at 2015

A Year in Review

2015 has been a fabulous year. Of course, it wasn't without it's ups or downs, but whose life isn't? Myself and my family went through a lot of changes this year, and sometimes I forget that these things happened in just this past year alone. The biggest change was our move to Calgary beginning in February. But things didn't go as planned, and after living in two different temporary accommodations, Sully and I went back to Edmonton to live in our house there until it sold. It was the first time Jim and I had ever spent so much time apart, and while it was tough at the time, it was worth it in the end.

Because with that move, I was introduced to the world of Southern Alberta Bloggers, and little did I know at the time, that some of those girls would become really good friends of mine. I'd even go as far as to call them my tribe. They are supportive, insightful, inspiring, and fun! I signed up to run my first race of the year - a 10K! - and I truly feel like that race was the beginning of it all. I continued to meet new people, continued running, and pushed myself physically more than I ever had before. It's weird, and non-blogging people might not get it, but it's hard not to wonder how much lonelier my life would be here if I hadn't met these women.

A Year in Review

2015 also brought some fun travel. In May, I went to New York City with my best friend (kid-free!!), and we spent a week together there, exploring a place I can't wait to return to. My sister visited me for a week in August, and we ran our very first race together (the Spartan Sprint). I travelled to Wateron, Alberta, in September as part of a blogger retreat with some of the most inspiring and amazing women I know, and in November, I spent two weeks in Florida with my family and in-laws.

A Year in Review

We also celebrated Sully's first birthday, watched him learn to walk and talk, experienced the Calgary Stampede for the first time ever and visited Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. We took mini road trips to Edmonton to see my mom, to meet friends at Kraay Family Farm, and went to the zoo several times. We explored our new city, went on hikes, and lots of bike rides.

A Year in Review

2015, you were alright.

I've been reading a bunch of my favourite blogger's 2015 goal recap posts and the whole time I was thinking to myself, I wish I had posted my goals for the year. Well I can wish no more, because it turns out I did in fact publish my goals for this past year. How's that for mommy brain?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again here: I love making goals (I no longer use the word resolution because that sounds too definite and a good chance for failing), but goals I can get behind. To me, it means you are going to make a conscious effort to work on a few, or several aspects and areas of your life. With goals, it's not black or white: no I MUST accomplish this, I MUST get better at that. Instead, I'm saying, this is what I want to work on in order to be a better, happier, healthier version of myself. Less room for failure, more room for growth. All growth is good, and sometimes, certain things take longer to learn or even master…like learning to be kind to oneself. Learning patience. Becoming a faster runner. Becoming a better cook. Etc, etc. We never stop growing, just like we can never stop learning.

A Year in Review

It's far too easy to get caught up in the busyness of day to day life, and I'm finding now, that as I get older, time is passing much too quickly for my liking. Which means not only do days just fly by, but so do weeks and months. This is why I think it's important to not only make new goals, but to reflect on your past goals. Were they good goals in the first place? Were they even achievable? Why did I make 'x, y, z' a goal in the first place? Do I still have some work to do on said goal? Do I want to continue with a particular goal or are there other areas of my life I want to focus on?

I'm very excited and feeling very passionate about my goals for 2016, but first I want to look at the goals I made for myself at the beginning of 2015.

1. Simplify My Belongings

When I made this goal, I had just finished reading Marie Kondo's book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I was inspired. It also worked out well that we were preparing for our next greatest adventure, our big move from Edmonton to Calgary. Jim and I purged our belongings like it was no body's business (it wasn't - that's such a weird analogy, isn't it?). Anyway, contrary to what the book says about how people rarely regret things they get rid of, I would have to say that we may have gone over board on a few things. We got rid of things that we have wished during the year that we had held on to. Like fishing poles, old camping chairs, extra extension cords - things that seemed needless at the time, but have found ourselves wanting throughout the year, but don't necessarily want to spend money on again. But such is life. I did purge about 75% of my closet, and I would honestly get rid or more of it if I didn't actually have to get dressed in the morning. While I'm starting to feel like my home is becoming cluttered again, I think we did a great job at executing this goal this year.

2. Buy Only Things That Spark Joy in Me

This goes hand in hand with the book mentioned above. No sense in purging if you are only going to continue bringing useless crap into your home. I don't feel as good about this one. I definitely made impulse purchases and have purchased clothing that I don't love, but needed to dress a body shape that I'm hoping I don't have forever.

3. Make a Smoothie Everyday

I definitely didn't make a smoothie every single day, but our vitamix is without a doubt, the number one used appliance in our kitchen next to my coffee machine. The beginning of the year started out on a stronger note with smoothie making, and I definitely notice a difference in my energy levels and digestion when I go long periods without having a smoothie. This is something I will for sure want to keep going into the next year.

4. Take 5-10 Minutes to Clean Up the Kitchen Every Night

A clean kitchen in the morning makes me SO happy, yet I wasn't able to execute this goal every night. Sometimes I was too tired, or I told myself I just didn't care, or I knew that the mess would take much longer than 5-10 minutes to clean up. In order to keep my sanity, I will definitely continue to work on this one.

5. Get Outside More

My goal was to get outside for a walk 3 x a week (I become a bit of a house hermit when the cold weather permits). There were definitely months (like in the summer and fall), where I got outside, either with Sully during the day, or by myself in the evenings, but I know there were weeks where it didn't happen as often. I feel like a goal like this needs to be more specific in order for me to be more successful. Or I need to find a way to make regular walks outside a part of my daily life. And no, I'm not getting a dog.

6. Read 20 Books

Done and done! I think I'm at 37 books read this year. If I can power through my current read in the next 24 hours, I'll hit 38. This was a huge improvement from the year before, so I'm happy with this one.

7. Run One 5K and One 10K

At the beginning of the year, when I made this goal, I really had no idea that I would find a love with running again and that because of it, I would meet and make some really awesome friends. I didn't just run one 5K and one 10K. I ran three 5K races, two 10K races, and two obstacle course races (a 5K and a 13+K). I don't like to register for races too far in advance, but I'm looking forward to racing again in 2016!

And that was it. Some of these, or versions of these may end up on my 2016 goals. I also think I will start breaking down my yearly goals into smaller, monthly goals. For one thing, that way I won't completely forget about my goals. And sometimes breaking things down makes it easier to accomplish in the long run. Baby steps. Or maybe it will just make me more aware and more accountable and there is nothing wrong with that!

Do you make goals for yourself? At the beginning of the year, throughout the year, or both?

Do you like specific goals or more broad ones?

December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

Hello friends! A very belated Merry Christmas to you! I ended up taking a bit of an  unplanned break from the internet these past two weeks, and I have to say, it was nice to be a bit disconnected over the holidays. I did actually have plans to post some Christmas related things the week leading up to Christmas day, but obviously that never happened! This year was the most prepared I have ever felt for Christmas, despite having spent the first week of December in Florida, but my days were still full and there always seemed like there was just one more errand to be run.

Holiday Decor
Christmas Mantel Decor

Of course, as it often is when I disconnect from the internet, a lack of photos also occurs. But sometimes I'm ok with that, because it just tells me that I was too busy enjoying the moments than to be behind the lens of my camera all the time. I regret not getting a family photo of the three of us, but I'm trying not to dwell on that too much since there's nothing I can do about it now.

And perhaps my lack of photos is due to the almost impossible task of getting your toddler to sit still for one! I know this one above is totally out of focus, but it was literally the best photo I got after 400 tries. Also, I'd like to point out that my tree is looking a tad bare because somehow, in our move from Edmonton to Calgary earlier in the year, my box of ornaments got mixed up with my mom's (which was being stored in our basement) and she took mine and I took hers. Which meant the box I ended up with was full of falling apart, homemade Christmas ornaments from mine and my siblings grade-school days, haha! And no, I wasn't about to put those up on my tree!

For the first time ever, I even baked cookies this year! I promised Jim I would, and I'm proud of myself for carrying through. I baked some gingerbread men and trees, some sour cream cookies that my mom always made when we were growing up, pretzel hugs, and a hot cocoa chex mix. And then since I was feeling exceptionally crafty, I even whipped up some homemade sugar scrubs and modpodged some initial ornaments for my nephews. I'm usually just crafty in my head, lacking the time and motivation to execute said ideas, so I'm pretty pleased with myself this year!

Gingerbread Men
Pretzel Hugs
Modpodged Ornaments

Our Christmas celebrations started on Christmas Eve this year, and we had a lovely evening spent with my Aunt, her husband, and my niece at their place. Sully opened his first present that evening and was over the moon when he discovered it was a train.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day, after a leisurely morning spent lounging in bed (my toddler is the best!), we slowly opened our gifts, stopping to eat breakfast and Skype with Jim's parents, before getting ready for the first set of out of town guests to arrive. My dad, brother and my uncle drove down from Edmonton to spend the afternoon and night with us. My friend Ange also joined us and my heart was so full that day with my house full of people.

Christmas Morning Opening Presents

On Boxing Day, my family and Ange left just after lunch, and shortly after, my sister-in-law and three nephews arrived! The best thing about having family visit you during the holidays is it extends Christmas. Patty and the boys stayed for two nights and we had so much fun just hanging out, playing games, eating and drinking, watching Paddington Bear, and getting in a little family skate at the rink in our neighbourhood. Sully was in heaven having his cousins here to chase after and play with, and it's so nice that he's at an age where he can really interact with them now.

Unfortunately, everything fun must come to an end, and our house was empty and quiet again come yesterday evening. It was hard to accept that Christmas was truly over, I wish it could go on for over a week, but I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas! Of course, I missed my mom, my sister, and Jim's parents dearly, that goes without saying, and is the biggest downfall of not living in the same city (or province) as your family.

We didn't get to too many holiday events in the city before Christmas, but thankfully Jim has the rest of the week off so maybe we can sneak in a few things (like the Spruce Meadows Lights!) before he has to head back to work on Monday. I also completely failed at taking Sully to see Santa this year - I left it until Christmas Eve day, thinking it wouldn't be that busy - but when we got to the mall, the wait was 2.5 hours and Santa wasn't even taking reservations anymore! Total mom fail. Next year I will do better!

As sad as I was for Christmas being over, I'm actually really excited for 2016 and what's to come! I'll be reflecting back on the past year here right away and talking about my goals and dreams for next year, so stay tuned!

I hope you all had an equally wonderful Christmas, surrounded by the ones you love, and filled with yummy food and drink! For my blogging friends, I've been keeping up with reading your holiday celebration posts, even if I haven't been commenting - I love hearing how everyone celebrated Christmas!

Merry Christmas! xoxo

December 16, 2015

WIAW: American Edition

I've never done a WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) post before, and I can't say I'll be doing them too often, because let's be honest here - most of my food consumed during the day consists of last minute handfuls grabbed from the fridge and the leftover food that my toddler deemed too gross to continue eating mid chew, so I'll spare you those posts. It's true, my life is so glamorous (in case there was every any doubt!).

Anyway, if you've learned anything about me while I was in Florida for two weeks, it's that I love, love, love American grocery stores, especially Trader Joe's, and there are some really neat and tasty foods and flavours that we just aren't lucky enough to get up here in Canada. Life is so unfair.

So in efforts to torture myself with some of the amazingly delicious food I ate while in the States, and to make my Canadian friends jealous, I thought I'd share a typical day of eats while I was in Florida, despite my mother-in-law thinking I was absolutely insane for taking photos of all my food during the day. Sometimes the life of a blogger can't be explained.


Mashed avocado on toast with lemon juice and black pepper, four slices of turkey bacon, some Gouda cheese, and a big mug of coffee!

avocado toast and turkey bacon for breakfast


Half a Honeycrisp apple (my number one favourite variety of apple, but so expensive in Canada, so I only justified splurging on them when I was pregnant) and more Gouda cheese (so inexpensive in America, why???).

Honeycrisp apple and gouda cheese for snack

More Snacking

Handful (or two or three) of these mini Kit Kat bites. Kept in the freezer for extra crunchiness!

Kit Kat Bites


Only the best salad ever from Trader Joe's. I get one every time I make it to their store. I should probably try to recreate it at home one of these days.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad from Trader Joe's
Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad from Trader Joe's

Mid-Afternoon Snack

I first tried these crackers when I was in New York with my best friend back in May and knew they'd be a hit with everyone in Florida. Even my blue cheese hating husband ate them without a word! Dipped in this tangy hummus, this box didn't last long.

Roasted Gorgonzola crackers with hummus from Trader Joe's


We picked up a few frozen pizzas to have on hand for quick suppers when no one felt like cooking after a day at the pool, or an early evening on the beach. This one from Trader Joe's was particularly delicious.

Trader Joe's BBQ Chicken Pizza
Trader Joe's BBQ Chicken Pizza


Oh Chobani. Why do you have to be so darn delicious but only available in America? Do you know how hard it is to go back to eating regular old yogurt after feasting on Chobani's millions of amazing flavours?! So hard. This trip, I noticed new (to me?) flavours of Chobani, and I actually had to ration myself to one a day. These little flip containers (of which I think I tried every available flavour) were not only fun, but each one was delicious! On this day I ate the Salted Caramel Crunch, but Key Lime Pie was a close second in favourites.

Chobani Salted Caramel Crunch Flip Yogurt
Chobani Salted Caramel Crunch Flip Yogurt

Dessert #2

A handful, (a large handful), of these wonderful things.

Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints

Not pictured - the usual glass or two of sparkling wine or beer I had in the evenings. For some reason, I didn't take pictures of any of the cool beers or wine we drank, but for fun, check out this photo I took at the grocery store one day. Mini four-packs of wine! So cute! And a brilliant idea as I often hate opening a bottle of wine if I know I'm not going to get through it before it starts to go bad. I know there's an easy to solution to this problem, but sometimes one glass is all this momma needs. Let's not even talk about the prices.

Four packs of wine

Favourite flavour of yogurt? 

Favourite apple variety? 

Tell me the best thing you ate lately!

December 14, 2015

Weekending: 'Tis the Season!

I just love this time of year, where get-togethers and parties are aplenty, where there are endless things to do with your family, where the food is delicious and oh so decadent, and where the spirit of Christmas feels alive. Home feels extra cozy and seeing the delight in your toddlers eyes every time he sees a Christmas tree never gets old. It's a wonderful time of the year and I honestly wish we had a few more weekends left to celebrate and be festive. Doesn't it always feel like Christmas is weeks and weeks away, and you have nothing but time to buy and wrap presents, bake cookies, watch holiday movies, drink rum and eggnog, yet, it's always over in the blink of an eye!

Before I get to this weekends festivities, I want to share my my gift from the Canadian Blogger Christmas Swap. This is my second year participating in this gift exchange (Lindsey and Leigh host and organize it), and this year I was lucky enough to be paired up with Becky! Cupcake ornaments, chocolates, and a 6-pack of beer - seriously, this girl knows me too well! I haven't tried the beer yet - I feel like it deserves a special occasion since the packaging is so pretty, but it's chilling in the fridge as I write this, so it's only a matter of time before I crack one open.

Gift Exchange
Gift Exchange

On Friday, we kicked off the weekend by having dinner with our good friends Kate and Dan - nothing beats a home cooked meal cooked by someone else just days after you get home from vacation and are recovering from jet lag (yes, two hour jet lag is a real thing - it's like the end of daylight saving, only not as bad for some reason). Sully ended up falling asleep on Jim's lap while the men watched the hockey game, so instead of the original plan of me taking him home to bed, we stayed for the game, while us girls drank wine and pinned crafts on pinterest. Now I just need eight more hours in the day to do said crafts.

On Saturday, we decided to drive out to Blackie, Alberta to watch the Canadian Holiday Train arrive. I don't know where I thought I was living that day, as I did not dress appropriately for the weather and was freezing within seconds of being outside. Luckily, I had grabbed Sully's parka, toque and gloves, so at least my child was warm. Sully is obsessed with trains, "train" and "choo-choo" are frequent words out of his mouth on the daily, so he was pretty excited to watch the train arrive, especially since we were so close to it. Totally worth the drive and ten minutes we were there, ha!

CPR Holiday Train 2015
CPR Holiday Train 2015
CPR Holiday Train 2015
Canadian Holiday Train

That evening, I headed out to my blogger Christmas party, hosted by the lovely Jen of Pretty Little Grub. I have to say, I had been looking forward to this night for weeks and it did not disappoint. It was a small group of us, and while we sure missed some of the other awesome bloggers who couldn't make it, we had a great time eating, drinking wine, laughing and playing our Chinese gift exchange (I went home with caramels and cookies from Trader Joe's!!). I'm so grateful to have this group of girls for friends and confidants, especially living in a city where I don't know a lot of people. It's just too bad that we are all spread out all over the city!


It was a late night, so Jim let me sleep in on Sunday morning (10am!), and even brought me breakfast in bed! Can every day be Sunday? We spent the afternoon putting up our tree (no decorations yet) and running a few errands. Jim headed out to the Motley Crue concert around five, which means I got the whole house to myself for the evening. I have to say, it's amazing what I can accomplish once Sully's in bed and I'm home alone!

Tell me something fun you did this weekend!

Best Chinese gift exchange gift you've won?

December 10, 2015

Thinking Out Loud {#6}: Post-Vacation Musings

Well, just like that, our fabulous Florida vacation is over and we are back home. We arrived back in Calgary late Tuesday night, and by the time we got our luggage, went through customs, took the shuttle to the truck, stopped for some quick Tim Horton's drive-thru, ate said food and got ready for bed, it was almost one in the morning (which was technically three a.m. Florida time)!

While our two weeks in Florida seemed to be over in the blink of an eye, and as much as I didn't want to come home to the colder weather, I was ready to come home. Which is always the sign of a good vacation to me! Not too short, not too long, just enough time away to feel like you got in a good, solid break from the hustle and bustle of regular life.

My presence on this space was sparse, as is usually the case when I'm on holidays, but I'm back today with another Thinking Out Loud post before I dive into a vacation recap, and other posts I have in the works. As always, Thinking Out Loud is a fun feature and link-up hosted by Amanda from Running With Spoons.

1.  Post Vacation Blues: I dread the first few days home following a trip as I'm often a victim of post-vacation blues.  Jim actually took today (Wednesday) off, so that really helped to avoid the usual funk I fall into my first day home. I'm hoping that since I felt ready to come home, I won't be hit as hard this time. It also helps that I have a fun weekend to look forward to, including a blogger Christmas party!

Post-Vacation Blues gif

2. Eye Exams: Since I knew Jim was going to be off today, I booked us in for our annual eye exams. I've always had perfect vision and have never needed glasses, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't noticed my vision changing a bit in the past year, especially with night vision. While I still have 20/20 vision, the eye doctor felt I was hiding prescription and over compensating my focus on things in the distance. (Apparently, you aren't supposed to work at focusing on things in the distance - you're just supposed to "see" them, but I lack the headaches that usually accompany someone over focusing). I agreed to let him dilate my pupils to confirm his diagnosis which meant I spent the rest of the day with very blurry vision and I was unable to read anything up close. Long story short, I could benefit from a very small prescription or I could wait until my near-sightedness gets worse over the years (which he says is inevitable as people approach their 40s).

3. Picking Out Eye-Glasses: To be honest, I've always secretly wanted glasses (ok, not so secretly anymore), but my real hesitation in getting glasses is that I don't think I look good in ANY pair I ever try on. And I'm not being ridiculous, I just have such a round face that I can't figure out what style would actually work on me. I'm also not sure I can stomach the hefty price tag of prescription glasses for such a minuscule prescription.

who likes my glasses gif

4. I Hate Unpacking: As I write this, Jim is upstairs unpacking his suitcase, but I refused to do so! Haha, I'm known to leave my suitcase unpacked for up to a month, it's true, although I've gotten much better about it over the years. For me, there is nothing worse than unpacking from a trip. Putting things away, doing laundry - ugh - I hate it.

5. Christmas is Only Two Weeks Away!: Even though I'm feeling relaxed and refreshed from our vacation, I can't help but think about how Christmas is only two weeks away! I haven't decorated, we haven't put our tree up, I've bought zero gifts, we still have to visit Santa, and I've done no holiday baking. I really don't want to be overwhelmed with to-do lists this holiday season as I want to make memories, not chaos, but it's hard not to want to do it all. (One thing I definitely want want to make this year is this felt Christmas tree for Sully!) I did put my foot down, so to speak, this year though, and we won't be traveling for Christmas (like we've always done), instead encouraging and opening up our home to family to visit us. It's our first Christmas in our new home, and I'm excited to start making our own family traditions!

Buddy the Elf gif

Do you get post vacation blues? 

Do you unpack after a vacation right away, or do you procrastinate like I do? 

What's your favourite Christmas movie? (Mine is Elf!)