December 31, 2013

2013 A Year In Review...

2013 was one clusterfuck of a year. I don't even know where to begin with writing about all the ups and downs of this year. I'm not superstitious about the number 13 - I have it tattooed on my body after all - and yet I just felt like there was something about 2013 that just wasn't right. I honestly thought 2013 would be MY year, but, alas, that was not the case. When I do look back on 2013 it seems as if it were a great year. I spent a lot of time catching up with friends, I switched jobs and stopped commuting 1 1/2 hours to work everyday. I traveled (though not like I'm used to). I just can't put my finger on what it is about 2013 that has left me feeling bereft

I thought I'd be happier living and working back in O-town. I never fooled myself into thinking this is where I want to spend the rest of my life but it seemed like a better option than to keep commuting to work. And yet somehow I've been feeling like my life is stuck in a major rut. I'm hoping that 2014 has some clarity for me, but for now lets just take a walk down memory lane....
 JANUARY

I decided that for once I wasn't going to make any New Years resolutions since I never follow through with them anyway. I started my fitness journey and took steps to create a better ME. I was still commuting to work and spent more time checking weather apps and road conditions than I care to remember

FEBRUARY

With February being a short month I always feel like it just flies by. My brother and SIL both turned 22 and us siblings booked another trip to Vegas to help combat the Winter blues that always set in when Winter is a season for 6 months of the year

MARCH

I vlogged for the first time ever (and went completely outside of my comfort zone!). I enjoyed a weekend in the 'Queen City' for an impromptu stagette for a friend from 'the city'.  My Mama Bear turned 50 and Toni and I gave her 50 Gifts For Her 50th Birthday. I pinned this idea on Pinterest and have gotten more hits on this blog from Pinterest than anywhere else!

APRIL

 My  siblings and I took another siblings trip to Vegas (which apparently, looking back, I never recapped. (#whooops).  I officially hit the 20 lbs lost mark. After over 4 years of work in 'the city' I handed in my resignation to start a new journey in O-town, to run the Centre I'd invested so much time and effort into developing.  I celebrated a friends wedding in Winnipeg, MB and got to experience wedding traditions from a different culture. I also celebrated my Granny's 73rd birthday with a supper at my parents house with over 40 family members. And, sadly, at the end of April my family's hearts were broken when we lost our Tuffer

MAY

I started my new job in my hometown - and was even able to work from home for awhileI spent Mothers Day weekend in Minot with my Mama Bear and 'Auntie' Jen. My Papa Bear turned 50 and, again, Toni and I gifted him 50 Gifts For His 50th Birthday. I attended Rae's dance recital in 'the city' and got my 9th tattoo. I completed 'Operation Red Bikini' and went completely out of my comfort zone (again) by posting a picture of myself in a bathing suit

JUNE

I FINALLY (half-assed) recapped my August 2012 trip to NYC - the trip where I fell in LOVE with the city.  I wrote a letter to myself at 21. I raised funds and rode the Bike Bike for the Heart and Stroke Foundation with Toni and Kels with their place of work. My families hearts were left broken again when, after a short battle with cancer, my Granny was reunited with my Grandpa

JULY

I road tripped to the 'Twin Cities' with my sister and the 'Twin' for the first time and we  also ran our first ever 5K. I turned 25 again 26 and celebrated my birthday by getting a memorial tattoo for my Grandma - which was also my 10th tattoo. I spent  hours in the car with one of my high school bff's road tripping to AB to my College BFF's wedding. I wrote a fun little post which has been one of my favourites to date. I reunited with the Cameron clan at Jeremy and Fun Brittany's wedding and had the hangover from hell to remind me why we only get together every so often! HA

AUGUST

I had surgery to remove my tonsils and adenoids. I then spent the rest of August recovering from this major surgery, missing out on half of Summer :(

SEPTEMBER

Rae and Graycie turned 7 and 3  respectively and we celebrated with a joint birthday party. After having not ran since July I ran my second 5k,  'Run the Ox', a run in my hometown, with my sister and cousin

OCTOBER

I found out that I am allergic to the outdoors. I spent a weekend in the city that rhymes with fun to watch my beloved Riders in action. I posted about my insane love for Halloween and also came up with the best Halloween costumes ever. I wrote another of my favourite posts, linking up with The Daily Tay about my 'somedays'

NOVEMBER

I road tripped back to the 'Twin Cities' this time with two kids in tow, for the girls birthdays.  I tried Chipotle for the first time and finally felt like a real blogger (kidddding). I spent a stress free weekend in Bismarck with a friend from 'the city' and headed home just in time to watch the RIDERS WIN THE GREY CUP!

DECEMBER

I set some goals for myself for December and then didn't make any of them.   I opened up about my weight loss 'struggles'. I attended the Beaver Cove's 2nd annual Cookie Swap. My friend Scooby visited and we decided to take a trip during February break - possibly to New Orleans!  And I celebrated Christmas with the ones I love most

Erin posted about her theme for 2014 and as one of her sponsors I gave my two cents.So here's to turning our can'ts into cants and dreams into plans! Cheers to 2014!

 photo signature-21.png

December 30, 2013

Tis the Season (A Christmas Recap)...

While at work on Friday a child asked me ' Is Christmas over?' and when I answered 'Yes' she immediately burst into tears, threw herself on the ground, and promptly fell asleep. And I was super jealous that I can't get away with that behaviour anymore

Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year and every Boxing Day I get  mega depressed that I have to wait a WHOLE YEAR for Christmas. I get super stabby when people start posting on FB, Twitter, IG, etc. how they are taking down their Christmas trees and decorations on Boxing Day. Ummm, HELLO the Christmas SEASON is still upon us. Leave the trees up until at least January 1st please. Otherwise, you're a grinch. And I don't actually mean grinch. (HIMYM fans will get that one!) 

Anywho, I may be feeling depressed and needing even more wine than usual lately but I still had a great Christmas with my family and am glad that I got to make those memories with them. Lets recap my Christmas, shall we?

Christmas Eve was busy to say the least. I had to work from 7:00 - 4:00 (whomp whomp) and even on my lunch break I was go, go, go - finishing up my gifts for my employees, getting the children's 'snowman soup' gifts ready, and throwing fajitas in the crockpot for supper.  As soon as I got home after work I was in full on get-shit-done mode. I wrapped presents for an hour before I needed to start preparations for our Christmas Eve Mexican and Margaritas feast. (As I mentioned in my Merry Christmas Eve Eve... post I am stealing this tradition from Holly). On the menu for the night was:

Emily's Crockpot Fajitas
Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Cilantro Lime Rice (to make Burrito Bowls, duh)
Aaaaand tacos (for my boring  non-Mexican food loving family)

I should've paid more attention to the recipes beforehand because I realized while trying to do five things at once that almost all of the work could have been done the night before. I'll try and remember that for next year since knowing myself I will be doing last minute stuff again


My brother and SIL have already determined that that isn't just a Christmas Eve tradition and that we need to have a Mexican and Margarita night at least once a month. Obviously I didn't need any convincing. My Margaritaville blender is the BEST.THING.EVER. The only problem? It makes margaritas that are so delicious and taste just like the ones you get at Margaritaville that it made my heart miss Vegas even more than it usually does :(

After gaining 10 lbs our feast it was back to get shit done mode. I retreated to the basement for an hour where I proceeded to wrap every present my Mama Bear bought for the girls. No easy feat when you realize how spoiled those two children are. Lets just say Martha Stewart would not have been impressed with my less than stellar wrapping skills this year

The girls made the gingerbread house that 'Candy Cane' (aka Auntie Kayla...) brought for them. I was busy wrapping the rest of her presents so Mama Bear was the lucky one that got to build it with them. If I bought the gingerbread house and had full intentions of building the gingerbread house with them does it count as accomplishing one of my December goals? (Please say yes...)

Then Candy Cane made her final visit to the girls, riding in on the back of Santa's motorcycle. The girls read the letter she brought and then Santa lifted Candy Cane's magic so the girls could hug and kiss her goodbye. She even eft some cookies in the fridge for the girls to make for Santa

Pepper Dennis kept trying to attack Candy Cane. The look on his face is priceless!


Mama Bear reading Christmas stories to the girls before they headed home for the night

I ended up falling asleep upstairs on the couch - I was utterly exhausted - and woke up around 2:00 am to stumble down to my room. I knew that I would have to be up early-ish to finish up some last minute things (coughwrappingallmypresentscough) but what I didn't plan on was being woken up at 5:00 am. This girl forgot to shut her weekday alarms off :(



I went upstairs to get coffee and found this in the porch - it had been dropped off in the middle of the night (my Mama Bear found it when she let the dogs out). Inside were chocolates and a cute poem about the gift from my 'Secret Santa'

I wrapped all my presents in record time, hopped in the shower, and then waited anxiously for the rest of the family to show up so we could get Christmas started. When we were little my siblings and I would wake up at 3 am ready for Christmas. We would check every hour with our parents to see if it was time to open presents until finally our parents would relent and we would start opening presents. This usually occurred around 5 or 6 am. So now when I have to wait until 9:00, sometimes even 10:00, for Toni and the girls to arrive I am completely wound up

Finally my brother and SIL showed and not long afterwards Toni and the girls finally arrived. The girls got absolutely spoiled, as per usual. We decided not to go crazy with presents for the adults again this year but everyone still went above and beyond the limits we set

 (L) Mama Bears beautiful tree with all the pictures (R) The aftermath. It looks like a tornado went through the house. If you look closely you will see Graycie putting on every single pair of underwear and socks that were in her stocking. She ended up wearing 6 pairs of undies and 10 pairs of socks. She couldn't even walk across the hardwood floors without slipping and sliding everywhere. She cracks me up!

It's tradition in our family to have a big breakfast right after we open presents. My dad is always in charge of the breakfast and it is always delish. I fell in LOVE with mimosas after having one for breakfast at Margaritaville so I made sure we kicked off our Christmas festivities right. Mama Bear even liked them so that's a win in my books!


The rest of the day before supper was spent lazing around. I went down to my room for awhile and watched The Santa Clause. Graycie joined me for a bit in the super cute TMNT footie pajamas I bought her. I finally got a nap in while I watched Home Alone 2 upstairs and it was just what I needed to perk me back up

We ate a delicious turkey supper (thanks Mama Bear!) and then my brother hooked our old camcorder up to the tv and we watched old home movies and laughed our asses off at how ridiculous we looked and acted

My favourite present this Christmas? Getting to see my Mister, my families dog of 15 years that passed away at the end of my freshman year of College. I clapped when she arrived on the screen and then cried a little, tears of happiness, to get to see her again

After a few hours spent making fun of ourselves watching the old home movies it was finally time to play the Home Alone drinking again. Let me tell you, that game is no joke! I couldn't refill my drinks fast enough to keep up with the drinking. It only ended up being me and the brother playing. Toni, the girls, and Kels all fell asleep on us. Mama Bear watched but didn't play along. Next year we'll convince her...
Bottom right is how I was feeling after the Home Alone drinking game


It was a great Christmas, though it was weird not being with out extended family on Christmas. Growing up is hard sometimes!

I spent boxing day miserable in bed, completely depressed that Christmas was over. I watched Christmas movies all day long and felt like smothering myself with a pillow everytime someone posted on social media about taking down their decorations so soon


Oh, and my 2nd favourite gift from Christmas? My sweet little brother bought my blog a domain! www. keepingupk.com is officially MINE. Such a thoughtful gift!

Aaaaand if you made it through this long winded and picture heavy post I applaud you!

 photo signature-21.png

December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve Eve...

Merry Christmas Eve Eve (It's totally a thing. Just go with it...)

I, of course, have left everything until the last minute and will be scrambling  (like usual) to make sure everything is done in time for Christmas
  • I still have to wrap all of the presents I've bought and all of my Mama Bears presents for my nieces. I volunteered myself for that one since I love wrapping presents. In other news, I'm an idiot
  • I also have to finish up my Christmas baking. So far I have made over 16 dozen cookies and at least 12 dozen other goodies. And I don't even like sweets!
  • I still haven't finished decorating. I know it seems completely ridiculous to still be decorating when Christmas is only two days away but I keep coming up with new things that MUST be done this year
Tomorrow we are shutting down work at 4:00 (normally close at 6:00). I'll admit that work isn't exactly where I want to be on Christmas Eve but I've never worked at a Centre that was closed on Christmas Eve. I just have to remind myself that this time last year I was still driving an hour and a half every day there and back to work so at least as soon as work shuts down I will be able to be home within a few minutes

We're watching 'Elf' in the afternoon (side note: we do NOT normally watch movies - we don't even own a tv. But I relented on my rules just for Christmas) so the afternoon should pass by fairly quick. After that it's time to head home and let the festivities begin (my heart bursts with joy just writing that!)

I'm stealing Holly's Mexican and Margaritas Christmas Eve tradition and starting it as my own tradition. I bought myself a Margaritaville blender with birthday money this summer and it needs a good excuse to be broken out in the winter months! I LOVE Mexican food (Helllloo Chipotle) but the extent of my family's Mexican food experience is tacos from an Old El Paso kit.  But I am going to remedy that. I have some recipes for corn salsa, black bean salsa, and fajitas that I am going to whip up for them to try. (Speaking of Mexican food: Kym had mentioned that she preferred Qdoba over Chipotle. I had seen a Qdoba in the two closest cities to me but never even knew what it was. As you may recall, I FINALLY tried Chipotle in November at the MOA and fell in LOVE. My sister and I were crazy enough to brave the crowds yesterday to finish some last minute Christmas shopping in Brandon, MB, so we decided to give Qdoba a try. It was AMAZING and I am so glad that I have a substitute for Chipotle considering the closest one is 9 hours away!)

After our Mexican feast we are going to watch Home Alone (and probably Home Alone 2...) and play the drinking game that goes along with it. I'm sure my new Cards Against Humanity game will also make an appearance... The girls elf, Candy Cane, will also be making her final appearance of this Christmas season

I'm so excited for tomorrow (and of course Christmas Day!) that I probably won't be able to sleep much tonight. The 'novelty' of Christmas just has never worn off for this girl!

 photo signature-21.png

December 19, 2013

Goals Schmoals...

As much as I love Christmas I am always so unprepared for when it finally comes around. I seriously told someone yesterday that  wish I could rewind to two weeks ago so I would have more time to get stuff done. Normally I am so anxious for Christmas to just get here already but this year I am majorly stressing that it is less than a week away. Not to mention that it is almost 2014. Where did this year go?!

Anyways, I just looked backed at my December Goals and one of my goals was to have all of my presents bought AND wrapped by December 20th.  Ummm... that goal is absolutely not going to happen. Unless all my family wants groceries for Christmas because that's about the only place to buy anything in this one horse town...  Lets also just ignore the fact that I missed blogging for 5 days...Gahhh, I really suck at achieving goals!

Here are a few life lately updates (since, again, I have sucked at blogging the last few days)

// My laptop finally arrived! I know I said I would be a better blogger when it arrived but I have been working over 10 hour days at work AND had 4 meetings in the last two weeks so it really messed with my plans. But that changes today! She's sleek, pretty, fast, and the best part? She is mobile! My old laptop was stuck in a corner of my bedroom and could not be moved or else it wouldn't turn on unless you happened to position the cord just the right way. Which always took FOREVER. The new laptop can go anywhere her little heart desires. And that makes me so happy!

/// Graycie had her Pre-K Christmas concert last week. She is the youngest in the class and she was so cute on stage with how shy she was being 

Right is last year on Christmas Day. Left is her hanging out in my office at work before she headed to her concert. My baby is growing up so fast!

Graycie is on the far left in the red dress. Hanging on to Mrs R's hand for dear life

// I headed down to Minot, ND with Scooby, a friend since Grade 2, last Friday night. We power shopped all day before heading back to O-town. When we got back to O-town I finally got to use my new Cards Against Humanity game

// Tonight is Rae's Christmas concert BUT she is sick and won't be going :( Thus, I won't be going. The only positive to this is that I will get more accomplished tonight than I thought!

Coming up on the blog in December:

1//Christmas baking recipes
2//My (fantasy) Christmas wish list
3// Elf on the Shelf Shenanigans 2013
4// Christmas wreath tutorial
5// 2013 Year in Review Recap

& much more! Check back!

 photo signature-21.png

Secret Santa Reveal...

When Kym announced that she would be doing a Secret Santa Gift Exchange I was all over that like white on rice. I had wanted to sign up for another Christmas-y swap that a few bloggers were putting on but they didn't open it to Canadians (whomp whomp). Thankfully Kym let folks from the GWN participate and all was good!

Unfortunately, I got burnt a couple of months ago doing a fall swap. I sent out a gift to my swap partner but never received one in return. However, I didn't want that to stop me from ever participating in another swap again. I participated in my first ever swap last year at Christmas and was paired up with a blogger I hadn't yet discovered. I am SO thankful that I was paired up with Kate and got to 'know her' through blogging because I ended up getting to meet her in real life this Summer and have my first ever blate while I was in the Twin Cities! So there was no hesitation when it came time to sign up for another swap. Sure, I could've gotten burnt again but instead I was introduced to two new bloggers that I otherwise may not have discovered

My Secret Santa was Natalie from Paperback and Pastries. And the coolest thing about it?! Last year we both participated in another swap and I was HER Secret Santa! How does that even happen?!

Natalie sent me a recipe book FULL of recipes for cookies. This will definitely come in handy next year when its Cookie Swap time! Now I won't  have to bug all of you for help. Thank you Natalie!


Last year I had gifted Natalie with a cookbook made by a non profit organization that I volunteered on the board of directors for. It really is such a small world we live in!

I was excited to be introduced to Renee at So Fill Your Heart as her Secret Santa -  but I do have an apology for Renee. You see, I couldn't find the email that outlined all the 'rules' of the swap. (No surprise there considering my inbox is filled with a million unopened emails. Most of them blog comments that I have yet to reply to. I suck, I know). 'Luckily' my sister, Toni (aka Kirstin if you look at the link up) participated in the swap as well. Unluckily, she couldn't exactly remember the rules of the swap either. We both thought that we would send a gift to one person and a different person would then send us a gift. (which is actually how it worked. However...) Toni's partner was totally on the ball and got her present to her even before we were supposed to have them sent out. (I need some of her motivation!). The person that Toni got gifted from was also the person Toni gifted to. So even though it didn't quite make sense to me, considering it was called 'Secret' Santa, I went with it. I just figured that because Canadians were buying for Canadians that only me and Renee had signed up as bloggers

Anyways,  when it came time to package up Renee's gift and get it sent off I was already a day late in sending it (whooops) and my plans for writing a long letter introducing myself went right out the window. I figured, 'oh well, she already knows who I am because we were matched together. She'll understand why I sent some of this stuff'.  So imagine my surprise when my gift arrives and the address was not a Newfoundland address but instead an Ontario one. I was confused to say the least. And felt like crap for not actually introducing myself at all to Renee. So, sorry Renee! And thanks for sweet email about your gift! I've loved getting to 'know you' through your blog!

 photo signature-21.png

December 12, 2013

Finish the Sentence (CHRISTMAS EDITION)...

If I make it through this week I deserve a huge pat on the back. I'm burning the candle at both ends in regards to work and trying to get things accomplished off my Christmas to-do list. The weekend can't come fast enough. Thank goodness for Holly and Jake who are once again giving me an easy out for the day. Thanks guys!
button
1. My favorite Christmas was.... the year I got my Barbie Deluxe Dream House.  I was the envy of all my friends. It had a working elevator for effs sake!


2. The worst Christmas I had... was the year my Mom was sick and we basically cancelled Christmas. My Dad tried his best to step in and do the shopping but it just wasn't the same

3. That one gift that made me scratch my head and say, "Hmmmm" was... One year I got foot powder in my stocking. Thanks for telling me my feet stink Mom 'Santa'

4. One year I.... went to Mexico for a friends wedding and was gone from December 14 until the 23rd. I will NEVER do that again. I felt like I missed half of Christmas. Thank goodness our hotel had a tree in it. And I even downloaded Home Alone on my phone to watch on the plane and when I was feeling homesick for Christmas. HA

That's definitely not a Canadian Christmas...

5. I think the worst gift to give is.... Bath sets! As a stocking stuffer, fine. But as an actual gift, no bueno

6. At Christmastime I typically.... go crazy with love for the holidays...  I blast Christmas music in my vehicle for all of December... bake every chance I get (even though I don't like sweets)... only let Christmas movies grace my television... decorate my bedroom until it resembles something Martha May Whovier would be proud of... and so on

7. Typically, family Christmas.... involves a lot of alcohol. And sometimes thinking that your little brother has accidentally murdered your cousin. You know, the usual

8. If I could change one thing about the Holiday season.... I would make it longer and have it happen at least twice a year!

9. It is so hard to buy for.... my parents. They have EVERYTHING and never give ideas

10. My favorite Christmas tradition is... Elf on the Shelf... Say what you want about it but this girl loves it. I started it last year for my nieces and the way that their faces light up when they see their elf, and when I hear them so excited to tell their friends all about their elf, makes my heart grow three sizes bigger

11. Santa, baby, bring me a .... all expenses paid trip to NYC. I miss it more than I ever imagined I could :(

 photo signature-21.png

December 11, 2013

Photo Dump...

I'm completely un-inspired today. This week is full of meetings for work and since I've been glued to my computer getting ready for said meetings I want nothing to do with one once I get home. It's now 10:00 at night and I'm just getting around to blogging for today. Normally I would have just skipped posting today but I made a goal to blog every weekday in December and I'm damn well going to follow through with it!!

But since the only thing running through my brain right now is all work info I am going to take the easy road and leave you with a photo dump of some recents from my iPhone


1// If that doesn't just melt your heart then you must not have one. Everybody say it with me now: "AWWWWW..."

2// 'Oh the weather outside is frightful'... But for real. Life doesn't shut down around these parts in inclement weather. Unfortunately

3// A Canadian treasure. I'll admit I'd still prefer Starbucks over Tim's but when the closest Starbucks is 2 hours away you gotta do what you gotta do

4// Nothing like wearing a bathing suit top with a santa hat...

5// If I don't document it didn't happen, right? 

6// Candy Cane, the girls elf, was upset that their Grandma hadn't put her Christmas tree up yet...

7// & 8// ... So, Candy Cane and her elf friends put it up for them!

9// I'm obsessed with this outfit. If only I could wear it in every day life. Sigh...

  photo signature-21.png

December 9, 2013

Cookie Swap 2013...



I may have mentioned a million times  time or two last week that I was participating in a Cookie Swap on the weekend (I was excited, mmmmk?).  I'm happy to say that another successful Cookie Swap is in the books! We drank, we crafted, we ate, we laughed, we watched Love, Actually and, of course, we swapped cookies

Toni is working in 'the city' on weekends so I hitched a ride in with her the day of the swap so that I would be able to drink and still be able to head back to O-town that night. The only downside was that I was in 'the city' 3 hours before the swap even started. Which then meant that I went shopping and spent waaaay to much money. Story of my life...

After finishing all my errands (and many unnecessary purchases) I spent a half hour in the back of Ton's van putting the finishing touches on Christmas gifts for the ladies at the swap (more on those gifts in a post later this week!). Nothing like waiting until the last minute...

L picked me up and we headed to A's house for the swap. Here's how our swap worked: 

There are 7 of us in our little group. Each person had to make 7 dozen cookies - 6 to swap and one for themselves. We could make 7 dozen of one kind or an assortment of different goodies - it was up to each person to decide. The 'twin' ditched us for Disneyland so only the 6 of us attended (though she did make her cookies and sent them with me). We had also decided at our last town council meeting that we would drink and craft at the swap.  Each person had to come with an idea and the materials to make a Christmas ornament/craft. In hindsight this was a bad idea on my part because as soon as I got into the wine my productivity went right out the window. I managed to take a picture of the mess on the table and some of our ornaments together but it doesn't do our projects justice #bloggerfail

I'll try to get a picture of my ornaments this week and link to the instructions

The goodies. Mmmmmm

I picked up a Christmas photo prop set at Target when L and I went to Bismarck and it was the best $5 ever spent! We had so much fun and I will definitely be pulling them out again at Christmas 

1// Merry Christmas from Beaver Cove, Maine
2// A's tree with some of our goodies/presents
3// The packaging for the goodies I swapped
4// I put the goodies out for everyone when I got home
5// My hostess gift for A

Linking up with Sami for the last time for awhile (and possibly EVER. Insert sad face here!)
Sami's Shenanigans

 photo signature-21.png

December 6, 2013

Five on Friday...

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG  

I haven't linked up with Darci and co. for a long time and it is about time I got back at it!

(ONE)

Tomorrow is my Cookie Swap get together with the Beaver Cove crew. I may still have a shit ton bit of baking left to do but I am super excited to get together with the ladies. I bought some fun photo props in Target and have the most ridiculous outfit planned for tomorrow so stay tuned for a photo recap next week!

(TWO) 

The Canadian Olympic Curling Trials are on right now and my favourite team of all time, the Jennifer Jones rink, is in the final. However, the final is tomorrow night and I will be in 'the city' for the Cookie Swap. We plan on going out for supper so I have made the stipulation that we cannot go anywhere with a television because I don't want any spoilers on how the game ends. I will also have to stay off all forms of social media after the game starts. I will be recording the game and watching the instant I get home. Judge me all you want, curling is the SHIT

(THREE)

I ordered myself a Sony VAIO laptop on a Cyber Monday sale from Best Buy. The laptop was originally $699 and with the CM sale was down to $499. I 'cashed in' some of my VISA reward points for a $250 Best Buy gift card AND have over $220 in my safety deposit box from my '$5 Saving Plan' (more on that in a different post) so I am actually only paying $85 for the laptop. That's a win in my books

(FOUR)

I accidentally found out some very exciting news and have been DYING to tell somebody. It is killing me not having anyone to talk with about it.  Unfortunately I can't even blog about it in case the people it involves reads this blog - STUPID me for not having a separate blog IG or Twitter account! But when the big news is finally out I will absolutely be blogging about it!

(FIVE)

I'm SO excited to get the rest of my Christmas decorating done this weekend. What I'm not excited for is seeing this every time I walk into the house:



My parents bought a 6ft tall inflatable Santa for outside,  but somehow he has made his way into our dining room. This is the first thing you see when you come into the house from the porch. Even though I know he is there it still startles me every.single.time. Everyone on FB and IG agreed with me that it is absolutely terrifying but my family doesn't see anything scary about it #they'recrazy

TGIF!

 photo signature-21.png

December 5, 2013

Twelve Hours Later...

Yesterday I spent 12 hours (TWELVE HOURS!) in the kitchen prepping for my cookie swap get together this weekend. And I'm still not done. (I told you I get a little overzealous).  See, I'm a perfectionist. And there's not a snowballs chance in hell that I am going to give someone something that doesn't look perfect. So half of the stuff that you see below will be eaten by my family. Thank goodness I'm not one for sweets (give me chips over sweets any day!) or my plans to start losing weight again would've went right out the window!

Here's what I've made so far:


The Pioneer Woman's Monster Cookies. I make these cookies during every holiday and use chocolate chips coloured for the seasons. If I'm donating something to a bake sale I always make sure to send a few dozen of these. These will definitely be going to the Cookie Swap this weekend


 Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies. Another Pioneer Woman recipe. (I love her, in case you haven't noticed.  If you look at what I have DVR'd its full of Pioneer Woman episodes). I'm not sure what went wrong with these but I ate one and felt like I was eating chalk. I'm not a chocolate fan (weird, I know) so maybe they're supposed to taste/feel that way?! I won't be giving them to anyone unless I find a chocolate lover who is adventurous enough to taste test them for me

 

Eat More Bar. It looks like shit (literally) but tastes devine. I made this last year and the girls requested it again this year. I'll have to make another batch for my family too because this is one of their favourites!
 Do they make Eat More Bars in the US?! Chocolate bars (aka candy bars) are so different between the GWN and the US. If they don't then anyone who loves peanut butter and chocolate needs to try this!
 
 

Turtles are one of my favourite parts about Christmas so when I saw this recipe for Chocolate Turtle Cookies on Pinterest I just had to try it. They didn't turn out quite as pretty as the picture but they still taste good so they will also be included in the Cookie Swap


My first attempt at Girlfriend Cookies (thanks for the recipe Chelsea!). I really should've paid more attention to Chelsea's instructions. I left them in for 9 minutes and didn't check them at all before the timer went off and they were a little brown on the edges. Still good enough to eat but not perfect enough for my standards for the Cookie Swap. My family is probably hoping I mess up the second try too! (They're THAT good!). Attempt number two is happening tonight and hopefully I pay attention so I can include these in the Cookie Swap

Not pictured: Butterscotch Confetti 'cake', Pecan Bars, and Cinnamon Rolls. I was on a roll but by the time midnight rolled around I was exhausted!

I have a few more recipes to try out tonight (while I watch curling, obvi...) and then hopefully I'll be ready for the Cookie Swap this weekend. I still have at least another weekend of baking to go before all my Christmas baking is complete so if you have a good recipe please send it my way - I make my favourites every year but love finding new ones to try!

 photo signature-21.png

December 4, 2013

A Weigh In Wednesday Of Sorts...

If you've been around these parts for awhile you will recall that Wednesdays used to be reserved for weigh ins and progress on my fitness and weight loss goals. But it has been more than a hot minute since the last time I posted anything fitness or weight loss related. Why? Because my weight loss is at a complete standstill. But today I am taking control of that!

At the end of May I linked up my Operation Red Bikini progress. I was down to 169.5 lbs.  By the middle of June I was down to 166 lbs. I ran a 5k, the Colour Run in the Twin Cities, and truly felt like I was going to hit my fitness goals. I felt on top of the world.  And then I drank my way through the summer.  But then, at the beginning of August, I had surgery - a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. I went into that surgery completely unprepared. It had been almost 18 months since the first (and only) time I had met with my surgeon before the surgery. I looked up some information online but didn't really research much. It's something that I had been needing since I was 7 years old and it was about damn time I got it done

I guess what I didn't really realize was that it was a MAJOR surgery. It's no walk in the park. I had initially figured I would take only three days off work (one being the day of surgery),  have the weekend to rest, and then head back to work on Monday. I was SO wrong. I ended up needing 10 days to recover from the surgery before I could even think about going back to work. The first 10 days were the absolute worst - I couldn't keep anything down - the antibiotics I was on did not do well on an empty stomach and because of the incisions in my throat I could barely eat anything (I survived on freezies!) - and I could barely stay away for more than 1-2 hours at a time because of the pain medication. It was horrible! It ended up taking over 6 weeks before I started feeling normal again and over 8 weeks before my scabs fell over (tmi) and I was able to eat all my regular foods again

And that's where things really got ugly. After the 10 days following surgery I had lost over 13 lbs from not being able to eat, and from throwing up what little I was able to eat. But  when I could finally eat and not throw up I was eating everything in sight. Nothing was off limits because I hadn't eaten in almost two weeks dammit! 

I was still low on energy and completely overwhelmed from the surgery. I wasn't exercising but was eating like crazy. And days turned into months and now here we are. The only time I have worked out between the Colour Run and now is the 5k that I did at the end of September. And that completely horrifies me. I was doing SO GOOD and now have to start back in that routine all over again. I guess I should be happy that I'm not back at my original starting point - I've luckily managed to keep some of that weight off even though I have been eating like my old self (poorly!) and not exercising

I'm glad that I had the surgery, don't get me wrong. It was completely necessary and I am 100% happy with the outcome of the surgery. What I'm not happy with is that I let it completely fuck up my progress. But like I said, today I am taking control back

My plan: Start tracking again through my Weight Watchers app (I've only been paying for it all this time anyways...). Eat clean but allow myself those cheats so I don't go completely crazy and binge (it is the holidays after all!). And as part of my 'December Goals' I am challenging myself to work out at least 4 days per week doing Ripped in 30 to kick start my weight loss before rejoining the fitness centre in January, after the stress of the holidays is over


This was taken today (ignore the leggings - I was trying on my outfit for the cookie swap get together this weekend - I'm so excited for my outfit I had to try it on! LOL)  and will be used to track my progress

Wish me luck!

 photo signature-21.png

December 3, 2013

Cookie Swap...


Ive posted before about my love for the holidays. (see here). But Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday. Every year on Boxing Day I am completely depressed thinking about spending another year waiting for Christmas. This year I get Boxing Day off so I will be in bed all day watching Christmas movies and sobbing into my wine... 

Something I may not have mentioned before is my love for baking (but not the mess that goes along with it...) Every year I get more elaborate and more overzealous with my Christmas baking. Last year I was gone to Mexico for a friends wedding from December 14-22 and I was determined that I was going to get my Christmas baking done before I left. And I did. I stayed up until 2:00 am (on a work night, no less) just so I could say that I did my Christmas baking that year. THAT is how much I love this holiday

But I digress. The reason for this post is because I need YOUR help (yes, you). I am participating in a cookie swap with a group of friends THIS weekend and I still dont know what I am going to make. If you have a good recipe send it my way please! 

I have holiday days left that I need to use up so I am taking tomorrow off of work and plan on getting a good start on my Christmas baking. Ive been scouring Pinterest for recipes for the swap but nothing has jumped out at me. Most of the Christmas baking that I do is bars or other dainties, not cookies, so I am completely at a loss of what to do! HELP!

(side note: my apostrophe key isnt working on my keyboard  - it just does this: รจ. So sorry for the lack of punctuation)


 photo signature-21.png

December 2, 2013

Life Lately & December Goals...

Oh, hi blog. Have  you been feeling a little neglected lately? Sorry bout that. Life, ya know? 

HUGE apologies to the wonderful ladies I was sponsoring in November. Kind of hard to promote someones blog when they only post 4 times in the month. Whoooops

Here's a little of what I missed posting about lately:

My parents had a Grey Cup party at the house and THE RIDERS WON THE GREY CUP AND I'VE BEEN ON CLOUD 9 EVER SINCE. And we didn't even start a small kitchen fire at this years Grey Cup Party... 

We're number ONE!

I went on a little weekend getaway to Bismarck, ND with a friend and got 1/2 of my Christmas shopping done and ALL of my supplies for the Christmas baking that is about to begin!

Candy Cane has made her return! I LOVE doing this for my nieces and am so excited for it this year. Last year I was in Mexico for a week and had to leave the elf shenanigans to my Mama Bear for an entire week. Though I do wish I was going to Mexico again ... :(

________________________________


I've been wanting to set some goals for myself and I figured the best way to make sure I accomplish them is to put them out here for everyone to see


 photo signature-21.png