Monday, 30 November 2015

Invermere Retreat




On Friday, we loaded up the robot, as we like to call Michelle’s car, and headed out to her cottage in BC.  It was a nice drive out there and the trees were all pretty and snow covered.  When we arrived, we headed right to Sobeys so we could load up on snacks and food for the weekend.
Taken from the Sobey’s parking lot.  I knew it would be too dark to take a pretty mountain photo when we left the store or when we got to Michelle’s so it would have to do from this spot.
Friday night consisted of snacks and appetizers, wine and some games.  I bought Heads Up on my iPhone which is a game created by Ellen Degeneres.  It comes with a few free categories and then I bought a few more.  It was a lot of fun.  We then moved over to Apples to Apples which I had never played before and it was a lot of fun.
Saturday morning I was up early and it was way too cold and too dark and too snowy to go running outside there – especially since I am not that familiar with the area so I did a workout at the cottage.  I didn’t bring my yoga mat so I made her furry rug do the trick.  I did a great core workout 3x through and had sore abs for the most of the day so it was definitely an easy but effective workout.
We lounged around for most of Saturday morning before another friend joined us and we headed to Copperpoint Resort for lunch.  I had asian inspired chicken noodle soup which was good but basically it was a glorified ichiban haha; I also had the beat salad and it was AMAZING.  Probably the best meal I have had in a long time.  Everything about it was perfect.
After lunch, we headed downtown Invermere and had some ice cream and did some shopping.  I bought a christmas present for the girls and a bluetooth speaker for my workout area.
A picture taken from a side street off of what I assume is main street but I cannot be certain.  It’s much less quiet then Banff Ave that is for sure.
 On our way back from shopping, Michelle stopped at a booth some guy had in a parking lot selling these deer he made.  She wanted one and negotiated a price and he loaded it in the suv for us.  However, because the antlers were so long and delicate they were resting on the back seat and they had a good chance of being wrecked on the short ride back to the cottage so I had to crawl into the back, since I was the smallest, and hold the deer on my legs so that the antlers didn’t touch the back of the seat.  It was far heavier and colder then I could have ever imagined.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get back to Michelle’s house and stretch my legs and get warm.
Before we headed out for supper in the evening, we relaxed with chocolate, chips, popcorn and champagne.  We went to Strands for supper and were treated to a really good meal before we headed back to the cottage where we hit up the hot tub and went to bed.  It was a cold walk to and from the hot tub to the door but it was a great way to wrap up a great day.
Sunday morning, I was again the first person up so i plugged in the Christmas tree, made some tea and did some pinteresting while the other girls slept.  Soon they all got up and Kelly made us breakfast and then we packed up and we were on our way back home to reality.  I had a great weekend away but I was excited to see Greg and the girls.
One of my favourite things or photos I guess, is clouds lower then mountains.  It is always such a pretty thing to see.  This was taken at a gas station in Radium as we were leaving for home.
Thanks Michelle for having us all out for the weekend.  It was a much needed weekend away from the normal grind and a great way to recharge for the craziness of Christmas kicks in.

Friday, 27 November 2015

FriYay



Today I am leaving Greg and the girls and heading to the mountains for a few days. I am so excited to be getting out of the city and into some crisp mountain air. In typical Becky fashion, I have supremely overpacked but you never know what you might need! I did bring workout clothes, my orb + a resistance band incase I do decide to get in a workout or a run amongst all the other fun things we have planned.
Have a good weekend + look for a post early next weekend!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf



I made this for supper again last night. Finley loves it. It’s her second favorite meal that I make haha. I didn’t add green peppers in mine and I don’t use the spicy brown sugar rub either. I did ketchup, brown sugar + Montreal steak spice and it worked out pretty good. I broil it for the last 5 minutes to get some good color on the bacon.    
 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

DIY Chalkboard Wall



Last year I made a giant chalkboard for the girls in our basement.  I had saw an article on A Beautiful Mess’s Website for homemade chalkboard paint and decided to use it – you can read about it here.  It basically served the purpose but my biggest complaint was that because of the type of paint I used, it had to be sprayed down to get the chalk off which caused the paint to run down the wall leaving black marks all along the bottom.  I searched pinterest again for options when making a chalkboard wall but in the end, I contacted my friend Sarah who I knew had a massive chalkboard wall in her basement.  Plus she’s seriously the most talented and creative person I know.  And if you don’t believe me, you will when you see what she is making for me for our family christmas present.  Anyways, she told me what she did and so I did just that. 
As you can tell it was in rough shape.  And I never got around to painting a border on it either.  The kids still loved but I did not.  It seriously needed a re-fresh.
I got out the tape measure and measured all around the board so I could fix it up and make the border properly and make the whole board itself even.  I didn’t do it very well last time (Greg claims I didn’t do it at all but I did kinda try.  But I definitely tried harder this time).
I applied 3 coats of pink paint to go over the existing chalkboard.  I still need to do touch ups with the grey paint to get rid of the extra black on the wall but I will do that in January when I get rid of all of the turquoise paint.  The whole basement will be the winter white paint in the new year.  There isn’t a lot of natural light in the basement, so lighter is definitely the way to go.
I wasn’t sure if I should use the Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint available at Home Depot + Walmart or if I should use the Benjamin Moore stuff (which was a lot pricier I believe and further away from me).  Sarah used this brand so that is what I decided to do too.
I used 3 coats and it turned out great.  I was so happy with it.  Please ignore the rest of the mess as we were in the middle of purging our house again and most of it was stored in the basement until it was sold, garbaged or donated.
The girls are quite happy with having their chalkboard back.  Although they were happy with what it was beforehand too.  I wish chalkboards stayed the nice black even when it was erased.  I hate chalkboard dust!!  I have lots of chalkboard paint left over so I can re–paint it every 6 months or whenever I feel like it!  Thanks Sarah for all of your help with this project!!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Winter Running





I hate treadmill running and I don’t particularly like winter running which leaves me a bit of a log jam considering I live in Calgary and we get cold and we get snow.  Sometime a lot of cold + snow and sometimes not so much.  And thankfully we have chinooks.  I love chinooks!! Chinooks are good for running outside.
Last Friday, I had every intention of running outside.  The night before, Greg got out my ice pick things that attach to my shoes, I laid out all of my winter running gear so that I didn’t have to go looking for it.  I woke up got dressed in my running gear and took the girls to school.  It wasn’t too cold but the wind was cold and by the time I got home from dropping them off, my face felt like it might fall off and I couldn’t much feel my legs.  So I made the decision to stay home and run on my treadmill.  My goal was to be 90 minutes. 
It’s kinda funny that I hate treadmill running so much considering that outside of races, I never ever ran outside.  I loved my treadmill and everything it represented.  But when I decided that I was going to run a half marathon, Greg said that I would need to start running outside.  At first I was hesitant as I loved my treadmill so much but the more I started running outside, the more I loved it.  Last year all my runs were outside until we hit mid-October and I retreated to my basement treadmill.  I was not happy with this transition but I wasn’t committed enough to my running to run in the winter.  Example: In October, November + December of 2014, I ran a total of 41.87 km both outside and on my treadmill.  So far, I have ran almost 98km in October and November and I still have 5 weeks until the end of December.  It’s still down significantly from my warmer weather runs as I usually averaged 100km per month but overall I am happy with it.
So I switched out of my winter running clothes and into shorts and a tank and grabbed my iPad.  I opened netflix and tried to decide what to watch.  I originally selected Suits but I realized watching a new show where I had to pay attention was not a good thing so I decided to watch Along Came Polly which I hadn’t seen in years.  It was funny enough so it should keep me engaged.  My first 15 minutes were great, I was confident that I might, just might, make it to the 90 minute mark.  Unfortunately by the time I reached 30 minutes I was done.  So I quit and promised myself that Sunday I would run outside no matter the temperature.
I set my alarm on Sunday for 6:15am.  Sunrise was scheduled for 8:01 and Greg figured it would start getting light out around 7am.  This gave me enough time to kinda wake up, get dressed and drive to Fish Creek where I do the majority of my runs.  I got there just before 7 and it was still dark but I had a headlamp so I wasn’t too too worried about running because I knew it would be light out.  I had lucked out in the weather department because at 7am, it was plus 8 celsius out!  Bonus!!!  The parking lot looked pretty slick so I grabbed the ice crampons and put them on.  I started running and like 2 minutes into my run the headlight charge went dead and I realized I hated running in crampons and so I headed back to the car where I disposed of the crampons, headlamp and my running mitts and neck warmer.  I probably should have ditched my running vest but it was holding my iPhone and keys and I didn’t feel like switching everything around.  Once I got rid of the extras, I was ready to go.
When running at Fish Creek and you park at Sikome lake, there are a few options you can take.  I decided to head towards the creek and into deer run where I normally do my longer runs.  I was happy to see that the running path I run on had been completed and was no longer running into the creek.  When we got hit with the devastating flood in June 2013, the original pathway fell into the creek and since then the end of the path had been fenced off with a makeshift path that was mostly mud was what we used to get to the connecting path.  It will be nice to be running on pavement and not mud and dirt.  And as you can see, it was starting to get light out. In the fall and winter, you don’t see a lot of runners out as early as me until I get back to my car and then it gets busy.  But I like running really early and so far, I haven’t had any problems running early alone in fish creek.
  
This was my view at my turn around point. It was amazing.  This photo doesn’t even do the colours in the sky any justice.  One of my favourite things about running so early is getting to see the sky open up in such brilliant colours.  About 5km from the Sikome parking lot is one of the best views around.  The weather was perfect but there were some icy and snowy patches on the trails.  Most of them had spots where I could run through that weren’t too bad but some I had no choice but to run over them and I wonder if that changed the way I run because my calves and ankles were sore after my run and when I woke up this morning my calves were still sore.  I noticed that after I finished my run on the treadmill, they were also sore.  Thankfully I have a massage appointment on Thursday to fix my hip and now my calves will get a good work out too.  I finished the day with a 10km run with an average pace of 6:53/km which is a bit slower then what I was running but still pretty good considering I haven’t ran much the last 10 days or so!  Tomorrow is supposed to be really cold and that will perhaps test my true winter running ability.  You should look for a post about that in the near future…hahahah.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Kitchen Aid Mixer



Last Friday I was making pizza dough for supper that night.  You have to let it mix until the dough is sticky and shiny and so I turned it on and went and sat down on the couch while it mixed.  Soon after I sat down, I could smell something burning.  It was a weird smell and so I started looking around the kitchen and main floor so I could see what it was.  Eventually I made it back to my mixer and that is where the smell was coming from.  Along with some smoke.  This was not a good sign.  Although in hindsight, I should have known it right away it was the mixer because it was making a really loud unusual sound while it was mixing.
Thankfully the pizza dough was basically done and just needed to rise but I still called Greg in a panic.  It’s never a good thing when your mixer breaks and it is about a million times worse when Christmas baking season is about to commence.  Greg seemed to think he would be able to fix it.  I was not as confident.
After supper was done, Greg went and got his tools and began to take the mixer apart.  I was not even slightly optimistic that it could be salvaged especially when I told him that there was a bit of oil in the dough and I had noticed it leaking oil before.  He was not happy when he found that out.  That being said, Greg was enjoying the challenge of fixing it and thanks to the world wide web, there were several forums and videos of the most common problems facing mixers.
The inside of a mixer was slightly surprising and extremely messy.  I never have once thought to myself what it looked like on the inside but I don’t think I would have suspected this.  After some fiddling around, it was determined (mostly by me) that it was not salvageable.  Greg kept working at thinking that he would still get it going until he was working on it while plugged in and nearly electrocuted himself.  He came upstairs and told me to start looking for mixers.  I had longed for the day when my mixer would die and I could go pick out a fun new colour instead of the boring silver that we had gotten nearly 10 years earlier.  When we got ours the first time, there were basically like 3 models in existence but now there were so many different ones.  Most stores didn’t even carry the same models as other stores did.  I was pretty sure I wanted the larger bowl and the lift and more horsepower then my current one so that eliminated most of the fun colours.  Someone had suggested I look at Costco because it had all the fancy features for a really good price.  I gave up my membership years ago because we never went but I thought if I found one I liked, I had enough friends who could order it for me.  Costco online did have a few different options: the basic artisan in fun colours for $399 or the Professional 6000 Lift Stand Mixer for $389 but in only four colours: red, white, black and silver.  If I had to choose between those 4 colours then I wanted white because I love the vintage look that white brings to most things.  But they were sold out online :(.  So I picked my second choice and added it to the cart.  I then logged in with my email that I used when I had my Costco account years ago and updated my credit card info and hit submit.  I had expected it to come back and say declined because my card was expired but it went through and was processing.  This was on Saturday as we drove to Banff for the Winterstart so I knew it wouldn’t be cancelled on the weekend but probably on Monday when they went through the orders but sure enough it shipped and we have not yet been billed for a Costco membership.
It shipped that Monday and arrived on Thursday.  I planned my day so that the only time I would be leaving the house was to be picking up the girls from school so I wouldn’t miss the delivery.  I was cleaning the bonus room and talking to Michelle on the phone when I happened to look out the window and see the UPS truck out front.  I was so excited I told Michelle to hold on and ran downstairs and had the door open before the delivery guy got to the steps. I couldn’t wait to go get Penelope from school and do some baking!!
Here it is in motion whipping up a batch of whipped shortbread.  It has a high performance 1 HP motor with a flower power index of 3.1L which delivers the power to mix enough dough for 7 1lb loaves of bread of 11 dozen cookies in one bowl!!  At first I thought it was whipping properly because it looked like the shortbread dough didn’t whip like my old one did but I realized it was because my bowl was bigger so it looked like less.  On that Thursday, I made 10 dozen shortbread and 4 dozen monster cookies with leftover smarties from the halloween stash.  Getting the bowl to fit properly in the mixer and the lift handle was really weird and I think it will take some getting used to.  It has to sit on my cupboard now though because it is too big to fit in the cupboard where I had been keeping it.
The only bad thing is that last Christmas I got a really good deal on Amazon for the flex edge, which makes mixing so much nicer since you don’t have to stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides because this did it for you, and it won’t work in my new mixer.  My bowl is a  6 quart and my old one was a 5 quart and you can’t find as good a deal on the larger one on Amazon as far as I can see.  I will have to watch for it though in case it goes on sale one day.  Using the spatula kinda sucks but I can’t complain too much because I have a brand new mixer sitting on my counter.  Can’t wait to work on more christmas baking this week!!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Penelope's New Desk



I scheduled this for yesterday without realizing that I never actually wrote about it haha.  With Finley getting a new desk for her birthday, I decided to give her old ‘desk’ a makeover and put it in Penelope’s room.
This is what it looked like when it was in Finley’s room.
This is what it looked like after I finished it.  I had ordered the gold triangles to put in her room along with her gold heart but I hated them on the wall so Greg suggested I incorporate them into Penelope’s desk and it worked out really well.  I am very happy with it.
Penelope was very excited to have her own desk in her room. And the first few days she spent hours in it working on her printing, writing stories and just drawing.
She quickly found things to accessorize it with and made it her own.  However, a few days ago she lost it and all her markers for colouring on her doorframe, the stool, our downstairs door, window and table by the door.  Thankfully everything came off except for the doors.  Although I haven’t tried that hard to get that off.  She has her desk in her room again but still markers.  She needs to earn our trust back but not sure how to go about it.  I have removed all crayons from our house because those are impossible to get off.  Pencil is also a limited use product as she took a pencil and drew on her bathroom sink and toilet seat.  It came off in the sink but not on the seat.  Not too sure how to deal with this.  I thought giving her paper and markers would solve her artistic tendencies but they have not, leaving me even more frustrated.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Banff Winterstart Race





On Saturday, we finished up with soccer, dropped the girls off at my Aunty Sandy’s and headed to Banff so we could participate in the Banff Winterstart – a 5 mile race ran at night.  I had wanted to do this race the last few years but our schedule made it impossible until this year! However, I kept forgetting to register or I would start the process and not finish and when I finally got around to actually doing it, it was sold out. I had absolutely no idea it was so popular!  After confirming with the organizer that it was indeed sold out, I posted my sadness on Facebook about not getting in and one of my Calgary running friends saw it.  She knew of 2 people selling their bibs and managed to get me their contact info and I got the 2 bibs for the race!  It was really easy doing the bib transfer too – all we needed was first and last name and $10 and it was done at package pick up on race day.  I wish all races were that easy!
When we left Calgary it was warm and sunny.  However, the closer we got to Banff, the cloudier and colder it got.  I was not overly happy with the cold and wet rain but thought to myself that this had to be better then snow right??  We went and picked up our race package and then walked down Banff Avenue.  It was raining but it seemed to be clearing up which was great for us.  After that, we headed back to the bed and breakfast (this is the best b+b probably in the whole world) and relaxed before the race.
I was unsure of what I was going to wear for the race.  I had never ran at night in the cold so it was a whole new experience for me.  I probably brought every running outfit combination I could think of in preparation for that night.  I ended up wearing the same thing I did for the Harvest Half except I switched out my CRB for a short sleeved run swiftly.  Greg was confident that it was enough but I was worried I would be cold.  He was right like he always is when it comes to what to wear during a run.  I got a little warm during the race but nothing like I was struggling with heat or anything.  I was only cold walking to and from the race.  Especially after the race because I was sweating, my clothes were wet and it was cold!!
Walking to the race.  The b+b we stayed at was a 5 minute walk from the Banff Caribou Lodge which is where the race started and finished so that was really good.  It was a little icy and so I was a little worried how the road would be for the race.  It had quit raining but the temperature had dropped below zero slightly and I had slipped a few times just getting there!
There were a lot of people dressed up in various costumes and lit up with christmas lights.  I don’t think i would ever run in a costume but Greg is trying to think of a way to work Unikitty into his costume next year.  The race was in the dark except for the christmas lights and the glow sticks we got.  Some people used camping headlights but both Greg and I hated them.  They either made things way too bright or way too dark.  It made it hard to adjust either way.  That was my only problem with the race.
Getting ready to start the race.  There were about 2000 people there!!  I had no idea they registered this many people for this race.  It was crazy!  It took awhile to break out from the pack since it was a mass start.  I discovered early on that anything painted on the road was icier then just plain pavement.  I tried to stick to the right until I got to the hill and then I loved to the left and then ran right all the way down the hill and to the finish line.  I had great times to and from the hill but up the hill really got to me.  I had a running cramp which I haven’t had in years and I found it really hard to catch my breath running up the hill and ended up walking a bit more then I had would have liked but it wasn’t much of a surprise since I had been sick since Monday with a cold.  I finished my 8k (5 miler) in just over 55 minutes which was fairly good.  It worked out to be a 6:49/km so I was happy given the circumstances.
Greg finished about 10 minutes ahead of me and was waiting at the finish line with a cold bottle of water.  I was so thirsty!!  I was very happy to get water immediately.  Being sick had really dehydrated me no matter how much water I drank leading up to the race.  In the parkade of the hotel they  had beer, beer cozy’s and pop and water.  They also had cookies, brownies, bananas and oranges.  It was a fantastic after party.  We stayed for a bit and drank our beverages and then made the cold 5 minute walk home to the b+b.  We changed and headed out for supper to a new restaurant in Banff.  You can read all about that on Thursday :)
Greg and I both enjoyed this race and we look forward to doing it again.  However, I would register the day registration opens and not wait like we did this year and I would book a hotel immediately as we waited until Wednesday (no  joke) and we ended up at a bed and breakfast which really awesome.  I had never stayed at one before and she was fantastic.  It was clean and we all had private bathrooms and she made us the most amazing breakfast on Sunday morning.  She also had a friend visiting from BC who was in Calgary for the month because she runs the art market at the Telus Convention Centre and she gave us free passes to the show.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Trick or Treat



So you all know what the girls were for Halloween now lets see some photos of them trick or treating!!
Greg takes the girls trick or treating every year. I actually don’t like this part of  Halloween so I stay home and hand out candy.  Greg loves Halloween and candy and he loved the girls costumes so he was as excited as ever about heading out.
I followed them to our neighbours house to take a few photos for the (digital) albums
Finley found it awkward a lot with her costume and being able to ring door bells and stuff like that.  But it didn’t seem to stop her from getting TONS of candy.  Finley stayed out for almost 3 hours.  Penelope tripped 2x and was done in about an hour which is usually the norm for her.
penelope
Penelope would much rather hand out candy then get candy herself.  That’s not to say that she doesn’t like candy because trust me she does.  She’s just never been much into the door to door aspect of getting said candy.  Maybe next year…..

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Unikitty



Penelope decided last October she wanted to be Unikitty for Halloween but we had already boughten her a witch costume and a cheetah costume so there was no way we were doing a third for her.  So this year towards at the beginning of September she reminded us that she was going to be Unikitty for Halloween. To be honest, I had no idea how this costume was going to turn out but I never ever imagined it to be as awesome as it was.  Now that Halloween is over though, I hope I can get the Everything is Awesome song out of my head hahaha.
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We used a banker box that Greg had from when he switched jobs in August.  He wrapped it in white bristol board and then painted everything on it.
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It was a long process finding the right shade for everything.
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Greg working hard at getting all the details just right.
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We were not sure how it was all going to comfortably fit on her head and her be able to see.  He cut a hole in the mouth and then used an old bike helmet, glue gun, + cardboard to get it to all balance out.
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Running through a Halloween dress rehearsal so that we were sure she could see and that the helmet project worked with the Unikitty head.  It looked like it was a success
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Unikitty in her finished costume.  She was supposed to have a blue sock on her foot but she lost it so we had to do purple.  We went to a Halloween Birthday party on Halloween day and she hardly wore the costume because she said her head hurt and it was hard to play with it on.  When we got home from the party, Greg went and weighed it to see how heavy it was.  It was 3 lbs which is a lot on a tiny body.  Bike helmets typically way about a pound or so I think.  So he removed a bunch of the foam inside of the helmet as well as extra cardboard inside the box itself and this too about a pound of weight off which seemed to make it better.
Kids everywhere loved her costume but most adults – especially the older ones had no idea what she even was.  She loved every bit of attention that she got that day!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

DIY Rubic's Cube



For Halloween this year, Finley decided to be a Rubic’s Cube.  It was a cool costume and she loved that her dad made it for her but I don’t think she really liked it.  Nobody really knew what she was and the only reason she picked it was because her cousin was one a few years ago.  It seemed like a really easy costume to make but it turned out to  be a lot of work. Greg spent hours fixing it right up until it was time to go trick or treating.
We started by finding a box that would work size wise for Finley.  Thankfully my friend had a few boxes I could pick from and I picked well!!!  We painted it black a few times on both sides.  Finley had fun doing this.
Greg then measured the box and then measured all of the paper and cut all the bristol board into the right size and then laid them out on the box and then glued them to the box.  He originally used glue sticks since all the stores near us were sold out of white glue (like for real.  Seriously how does this happen??)
On Friday, Greg noticed that the pink and red squares weren’t holding and so he had to use our hot glue gun to glue those back on.  Then on Saturday she got her costume on at a halloween birthday party and even more fell off so when we got home, he hot glued them all back on so there would be no mishaps while she was out trick or treating and there wasn’t.
Adults loved seeing her costume and she ended up getting more candy because of it.  A lot of kids didn’t know what she was.  Someone thought she was blocks and loved it.  She did not.  She asked what Madi was for halloween this year and so we told her and I bet next year that is what she wants to be too hahahaha
rubics cube front rubics cube side
And here is her finished costume!  I think it turned out really good!!  They only had neon yellow bristol board which is why we went for orange and she wanted pink on hers too so we did that as well for her.