Monday, 23 May 2011

A Tour of My Backyard

What did you do this weekend? I'll let you in on what I did... one of my most favourite things... getting my fingers dirty in the garden. Well, I shouldn't say dirty dirty. I always wear gardening gloves. Something about squishy worms directly on my skin isn't exactly appealing. My yard isn't that big, but I've enjoyed every minute of learning to be a gardener. This weekend Scott and I put in all the pressure treated ties to give the gardens a more finished and clean look.

On Friday night I started off with my a trip to a few nurseries with my gardening partner in crime. (Side note: My gardening partner in crime is one of those friends who is a constant encouragement and makes your life seem more exciting because of her enthusiasm for the little things. She's awesome).

I found a few "planter" pictures that inspired me this year. Alot of my house falls under the "shade" category. So when I saw this picture of a planter called "Sizzle in the Shade", I was in love.

...and so I started my own version of it.

Can you see the parsley sneaking out from the back of the pot? It's made up of coleus, new guinea impatients, potato vine, begonia and a spike. That planter also inspired some of my hanging baskets...

I've hidden parsley, cilantro, rosemary, dill and basil in a number of my baskets and pots this year instead of having one big herb pot.

And this is the "sunny" pot, that I found. (It wouldn't let me upload the picture). It's got a beautiful red spike, asperatum (which took us a while to find), a beautiful orange coleus, peach million bells and purple petunias. And this is the start of my version of it. I've included lobelia and snuck some rosemary in the back as well!

It inspired some of my "sunny" planters.


It's hard to see,...but the above planter has some basil that I started from seed back in march. I'm wishing it the best of luck as it transitions to the great outdoors.

Looking forward to watching them all grow into what I hope they can be! There's something really fun about building the baskets myself and watching them grow everyday! (Yes, everyday. Mock what you may...but it's these little things that make me happy. In contrast, when the animals get into my baskets, it makes me sad, almost personally offended).

And on top of all that...Scott and I finally got our front door painted as well as all the interior doors that we hung a few weeks ago! What a great and productive anniversary weekend!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Monu-'mantle' Disaster

I'm not a DIY-er. Decorating doesn't come naturally to me. And I'm not crafty...I don't even own a glue gun. But!!!! I love unique things, beautiful style, and doing things on a budget. You see the problem!

I'm always feeling inspired by AKA Design blog. (Shannon also happens to be Scott's cousin! Major score!)  She made the comment in one of her posts that "...I just can't stand a blank space." I thought, me either! I just have no creativity to know what to put there! (Scott might input at this point that my dislike of a blank space may be the reason I leave piles of clothes, accessories, mail and random items everywhere. I would then add, "No, that is due to my dislike for (outside of the gym) bending over to pick things up.")

A few months ago I came across one of Shannon's blog about a "Feather Boa Wreath" and thought I LOVE feathers...and I happen to have a boa (with tags on it still) hanging in my closet! So I attempted it.

I also read an article in the most recent copy of Style At Home Magazine about how to decorate your fireplace mantle. This got me fireplace mantle needs some love shown towards it.

This happened to also coincide with a trip to Michael's to purchase the styrofoam wreath for the above project where I noticed what I thought was a sale on silk hydrangeas. The kind lady customer who saw me struggling with flower choices helped me make a beautiful arrangement (carefully choosing all the "Ashland" brand flowers that were supposed to be 50% off). When I took it to the check-out it was only the "Ashland Spring" flower collection that was on sale. gerbra daisies, silk tulips...not a fan. Unfortunately, the lady who spent 20 minutes helping me choose the flowers was now behind me in line. I felt bad as I didn't want her to think she wasted her time with me, so I read the return policy sign, purchased the items, and will be making a return trip within 60 days with my reciept to bring them back.

This is what the mantle looked like at 6 o'clock.

This is what it looked like at 9pm with the removal of the almost dead Christmas poinsetta and Christmas silk flowers from the blue vase.....

I don't even know if I like it better. ...or like it at all! Your thoughts to help the situation would be greatly appreciated.

Here's a closer look at each side. Notice the feather boa wreath? Haven't figured out quite what to do with it yet. For now, it's become a "vase ring".

*Sigh* Going to think about what I want to do in the garden. I always seem to fair better there with design then inside the house anyhow.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

I am a "No Contact Zone"!

I get mocked often for not liking to hug.  I don't know why I don't like hugs. I just find them awkward and mostly unneccessary. Maybe it's because I'm not all touchy-feely. Maybe it's because my sympathetic/empathetic gene is still developing. But mostly...I just plain don't like 'em. It doesn't matter who you are, friend, strange, family member... whether you live near or far...I prefer to commune without the physical touch.
At my wedding, the thing I feared the most was the recieving line. So, ...we didn't have one. After our ceremony, we hung around the church to share cupcakes with our guests, at which time, multiple people tried to hug me. I was given sage wisdom from a friend who, going through a similar situation at his nuptuals, said: "Just keep moving." Here's one picture of that unfortunate event where I didn't follow that advice quick enough:
My solution? I picked up a tray of cupcakes and started walking around with it. People can't go in for a hug if you are holding a dozen cupcakes!
In fact, even hand shakes make me feel awkward on occasion.
What do I like? I find fist pumps a great alternative.
When Scott and I were first dating, I was explaining how gross I found the "meet and greet" portion of our church service. Multiple handshakes and points of contact spreading germs like wildfire throughout a room of 200 people.  As Scott  was a Pastor at our church at the time, he would often encourage the people to shake hands and greet each other. (Once or twice through the service, the pastors might say the regular line of "shake 4 or 5 hands." Do the math. If one person in the room has spreadable germs on his/her right many have it acquired that germ unknowingly by the end of the hour and a half you spend there!) I knew Scott loved me the day he suggested to everyone to shake it up and give each other fist-pumps instead.
But it's not about the germs,...because I wouldn't consider myself a germaphobe. I've lived in foreign countries. I don't wash my grapes one by one. I've eaten things off the ground. No, I'm not a germophobe.
People always ask why I don't like hugs.
I can't give you an answer other than I just don't feel it neccessary to be that close to another person. It's not that my parents didn't show me enough affection as a child. They tried to be affection, I promise you that. I've been told since I was little I was independant, wanting to walk on my own as opposed to being held or carried. The only person that I can handle being close to on a regular basis is my husband. Which I suppose is a good thing. (Except for first thing in the morning when he rolls over to curl up with me in bed...I still find that a little constricting.)
At Easter, my grandparents were leaving our house to go home and I waved good-bye. My grandma laughed at me and said "You are just like your Aunt Elly." Mom will only get a hug on special occasions. I think my dad is more like me and doesn't care. That's probably why we get along so well. So given my dad isn't a hugger, Aunt Elly wasn't a hugger...I'm guessing it runs in my Dutch genes, which kind of makes me happy!

So if you go in for an embrace, and get a side hug and a roll of the eyes...don't take it personnally, it's not's me, really.
*virtual fist pump*

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Circuit & Taboule

Do you ever have one of those days/evenings that just makes you happy? You do things that make you feel good and bring a smile to your face. That was my evening last night. I had the opportunity to sub a "circuit" class at the gym for another instructor. It was a small group but did we ever work hard. I got to test out some of the routines that I want to do for my upcoming "Bootcamp in the Park" that I'm setting up for a group of friends who are crazy enough to get togethat at 6am at the start of the week to sweat! This was last night's circuit. I call it "Bootcamp by Numbers!"

What you need:
1. A Bar with at least 10kg on it (for chest pres, row, dead lift, squat).
2. Bench with at least 3 risers.
3. Mat
4. Resistance tube 

  • 1 min lap, then do the following, after each bullet is done, run another 1 minute lap
    • w/ 10 Jacks
    • w/ 10 jacks, then 10 squat jumps
    • w/ 10 jacks, 10 squat jumps, 10 sec squat hold
    • w/ 10 jacks, 10 squat jumps, 10 sec squat hold, 10 plyo lunges
    • w/ 10 jacks, 10 squat jumps, 10 sec squat hold, 10 plyo lunges, 10 sec lunge hold (each side)

Strength Training #1  – Heavy Bar
  • Chest press – 1 set of 15
  • Push ups – 1 set of 15
  • Chest press – 1 set of 15
  • Push ups – 1 set of 15
  • Row – 1 sets of 15
  • Dead lift – 1 sets of 15
  • Row – 1 sets of 15
  • Dead lift – 1 sets of 15

Functional Cardio #1 - (Do each exercise 21x, then go through it again 15x, and then 9x)
  • Circuit: 21-15-9
    • Weighted squat 5 kg
    • Box Jumps
    • Burpees

Strength Training #2 - using the tube
  • Bicep Curls- 3 sets of 15
    • first set - Singles/second set - Bottom half/third set - Top half
  • Triceps - 1 set of 15 for each
    • Tricep Dips
    • Tricep Extension right side (using tube)
    • Tricep Extension left side (using tube)
    • Tricep Dips

Functional Cardio Training # 2 - 5 min
Partner Shuffle Tag w/ Mountain climbers - One person shuffles around the circle while their partner does mountain climbers. Then they switch.

Strength Training #3
  • 10’s & 1’s – Chest push up & Shoulder press (using tube)
    • Do 10 push-ups, then 10 shoulder presses. Then 9 push-ups, the 9 shoulder presses. Go all the way down to one.

  • Sit-ups (no top/no bottom) -15
  • V-sit – 20 sec
  • Russian twists   - 25
  • V-sit – 30 sec
  • Toe touches – 35 (singles)
That was our workout. Burpees and toe touches always kill me...but in the good pain kind of way. I hope the ladies are feeling it this morning too!

After the workout I went home and made dinner for Scott and I.

The Menu:

Chicken Breast with a Barbecue Rub by Victorian Epicure
Sweet Potato
Homemade Quinoa Taboule - It was my first attempt at the recipe...and it was pretty darn good!

The evening was topped off with a walk to Starbucks with thought provoking conversation with a friend! My latest Starbucks order is Grande Chai Tea made with the tea bag and steamed soy milk. It's like a Chai Latte without using the sugary syrup! 

I enjoy sharing what I'm learning in my life and getting feedback from other people about how their journey is also teaching them new ways of thinking and seeing the world. It makes the path of life more interesting and provides the comfort of friendship for the road! Best of all, brings balance...which we all desperately need more of on the journey!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Detox Week

So, I found out a few months ago that my body is intolerant to quite a number of items. Though intolerances range from mild to severe, the ones that topped my "severe" list were as follows: Gluten, wheat, ALL dairy (including goat dairy), and  eggs (yolk and white). Some things on my "medium" list were: asparagus, spinach, bananas, peanuts and pineapples.

Though I get a lot of headaches, often related to sinuses, I never have had a lot of stomach issues that one might think would be associated with having these crazy intolerances. But then I started eliminating these foods through the week. (I don't often watch my diet as much on the weekend.)  When I do eat the foods I should. I just feel "ugh".

This weekend consisted of a lot of burgers, sandwiches, brownies, cereal, toast. Everything my body has decided it doesn't like. Boy is it taking its revenge on me!!! Sluggish, psoriasis and acne!!!! This afternoon after a lunch of sandwiches, I felt like a bloated sheep that got into the chicken feed and imploded. We were up at Scott's childhood home, so that's why I inserted the country/farm reference. (Side note: Don't google "bloated sheep" for pictures. Blech!)

So...I decided it was detox week. Here's the plan:

- No dairy
- No bread
- No eggs (or mayo)
- At least 4 big glasses of water a day
- Work out 4x - aiming for Monday (Vive), Tuesday (Pump), Wednesday (Circuit) & Saturday (Run).
- And when next weekend rolls around....try to lay off the burgers and sweets!

What are your goals and ambitions for the week?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Candyland Christianity?

Lately I’ve been getting more and more unsatisfied with myself, with what I believe and with what I see around me. Just to premise this whole blog: I don't have the answers to a lot of my questions. But I want to ask the questions and think the thoughts to work through it.

I hear sermons about "everything God can do for me because of what Jesus did 2000 years ago." I hear sermons about "how God wants to heal me, bring life to my life, and do good for me." I believe all these things, but sometimes it feels like it’s stunted. Sometimes I feel like we promote “Candyland Christianity.” It’s full of gumdrops and rainbows. I compare it to Disneyland, because sometimes we promote life with Jesus as a place where “all your dreams come true!”  *Cue Jimminy Cricket singing “When you wish upon a star...”*

See Tammara's blog for more thoughts that have started to poke and prod at my Christian worldview.

I came across a blog by Brian McLaren recently that really REALLY spoke to me.  It was a charge to songwriters and worship leaders, but it plays into thoughts that have been swirling around my head lately:

“Too many of our (worship song) lyrics are embarrassingly personalistic, about Jesus and me. Personal intimacy with God is such a wonderful step above a cold, abstract, wooden recitation of dogma. But it isn’t the whole story. … A popular worship song I’ve heard in many venues in the last few years (and which we used to sing at Cedar Ridge, where I was a pastor) says that worship is “all about You, Jesus,” but apart from that line, it really feels like worship and Christianity in general have become “all about me, me, me.”

If you doubt what I’m saying, listen next time you’re singing in worship. It’s about how Jesus forgives me, embraces me, makes me feel his presence, strengthens me, forgives me, holds me close, touches me, revives me, etc., etc. 

Now this is all fine. But if an extraterrestrial outsider from Mars were to observe us, I think he would say either a) that these people are all mildly dysfunctional and need a lot of hug therapy (which is ironic, because they are among the most affluent in the world, having been materially blessed in every way more than any group in history), or b) that they don’t give a rip about the rest of the world, that their religion/spirituality makes them as selfish as any nonChristian, but just in spiritual things rather than material ones. (That last sentence may be worth another read.)”

I was watching a DVD of one of my all time favourite Bible teachers. His message was called, “The Secret to a Worry-Free Life.” Good sermon. Good biblical basis and biblical references. Good theology. But it left me pondering…what’s next? How do we take all the great things that we know about who God is and what God does and continues to do in and through us…but take it a step farther. How do we impact our world and use everything we believe about our heavenly Father and use it to benefit more people, rather than just ourselves…. What steps do we take to bring impact for a better neighbourhood? City? Province? Country?

Does it take tweaking our thinking? Or, will it take a brain shifting overhaul?Brain shifting overhauls are scary. Am I ready for one? I’m not sure.

Ask questions. Journey with me…