when life explodes

i’ve been working really diligently at pursuing my hearty list of new year’s resolutions, but the fact is- sometimes priorities HAVE to shift.  this post is about how i intend to have success in 2017, even after my world flipped upside down.

without giving too many personal details: my husband spent all of march sick, and almost all of april in the hospital. he’d been recovering at home since then, until a partial return to work this week.  

with each new phase of his illness, we have had to re-adjust what is “normal” in this house.  schedules have had to alter, and priorities have had to be down-graded.   the details are different in my story, but it’s a familiar scenario to most of us who set goals and try to keep them, no?  you’re in a groove, it’s great, then BOOM.

it’s okay to reprioritize. it’s the right thing to do when your goals are not as important as the moment you’re living in. i want to encourage you in this, because i believe it to be the difference between success and failure.  

my daily goals of practicing french, stretching & reading my bible did not fit with my new daily routine of biking to the hospital/home to feed the kids/back to the hospital.  the reality of life is that there are only 24 hours in every single day, and we are accountable for how we use them.  instead, i climbed 8 flights of stairs rather than using the elevator. i listened to french podcasts while cleaning the house once vising hours were over.  i read my bible more, desperately clinging to My Anchor in this storm. 

life is not static, and our goals and schedules must flex with it.  if you’ve been working on a new year’s resolution and were surprised with roadblocks as well- i encourage you to remember that the real goal is still exactly where it was when you started; it’s not too late to pursue it.

May 19, 2017 at 10:25 2 comments

2 minute toothpaste

this morning i saw a kitchen tip for how to cook an egg with less fat: they used water. they POACHED AN EGG and included it in a list of healthy life hacks.  i’m astounded. 

i also saw a DIY for night cream recently- something about blending 4 different drugstore lotions with petroleum jelly.  mmmm. *gigantic eye roll*

the internet has been a great source of helpful information as our culture strives to raise up a healthier generation.  sadly, the internet is also littered with… well, garbage. 
let me give you an actually real, and not new, and not expensive, and not time-sucking recipe for something that is legitimately  good for your body: toothpaste.

here are my daily potions:


sadly, today my toothpaste is empty. 

but hooray for you, because now you can make some along with me!   i’m not even joking- this can NOT take more than 2 minutes to make, and you likely have the ingredients at home.


ingredients:

  • 3Tbsp coconut oil (amazing for oral health: healthy gums, kills bad breath, whitens teeth, and my fave: improved sensitivity issues)
  • 2Tbsp baking soda (for the cleanest mouth feeling ever!)
  • 15 drops peppermint oil* 
  • 5 drops clove oil* 

i use a 4oz mason jar, you can use whatever container you’d like. so:

microwave the coconut oil for 30 seconds, or until it’s soft enough to stir.  add in the remaining ingredients, and mix it up. throw it in the fridge if you want to hurry the cool-down, but you don’t have to refrigerate the final product. i like to give it one final stir when it’s sort of semi-solid, and then it’s done.

*use any oil/flavourings that you’d like, but research the oral health benefits first. clove & peppermint are amazing for oral health, but so are spearmint, cinnamon, and myrrh. play around with your favourites!


i hope you give this a try!  i love it, derek loves it, and everyone that i’ve given a sample to, loves it.  your mouth will feel cleaner, look better, and be better.  i haven’t priced it out, but i’d be shocked if it even cost an entire dollar to make a 4oz jar.  

i could ramble on about my experience with ditching factory toothpaste, but it’s already taken you longer to read this post than it would to make the toothpaste. enjoy, and let me know what you think!

March 25, 2017 at 15:25 Leave a comment

homeschool french

hi friends! just writing a quick note to share with you how we answer the dreaded homeschool question: what about french? 

there are so many options out there, and we’ve probably tried most of them.  we tried a computer curriculum from costco, then the french smart books, then rosetta stone, and back to the french smart books. we tried duolingo, then duolingo in tandem with the french smart books. mango languages also fit in there somewhere.   

all of these choices were fine, but not great. they taught vocabulary and grammar, but there was never enough life-application to make the language stick.  a while ago i stumbled across a podcast called coffee break french. i listened to about 10 episodes before realizing that CONVERSATIONAL french was exactly what my kids needed! they didn’t enjoy the subject of french, because they didn’t see any reason for it (despite the relevant history of canada).  

the best part of listening to the coffee break french podcasts, is that we do it over breakfast.  once the kids are done breakfast, they copy out the notes that i’ve made into their french journals- bonus penmanship practice, and time efficiency!

if the idea of making notes intimidates you,  don’t sweat it.  download the google translater app, or open the website on your computer.  pause the podcast if the pace is too quick for you; the explanations are very clear on the podcast.  as you can see from elliot’s notebook above, the content of each episode is quite manageable. you can also pay for notes through the radio lingua website, but i’m a fan of free.

once we have about 5 episodes listened to and written out, i give the kids an assignment to put all 5 episodes into a comic strip. you can find blank comic strip templates for free and to print, all over pinterest. 

we’ve been enjoying learning french together and using it in real life. the kids are actually forming sentences and asking “how do i say ______ in french?”. 

i don’t think that there’s a perfect curriculum out there guaranteed to engage your children and turn them bilingual.  i DO think that not giving up until you find the right one, is really important.  i also think that we’ve found the one that works for us, and maybe it’ll work for you too.

bonne chance!

March 23, 2017 at 14:02 1 comment

trying new things

there’s no delicate way to avoid being laughed at for this, so i’ll just come out with it: i’m taking ballet lessons. i started in january, at the request of anne’s ballet teacher. anne’s been struggling to stay focused in class for a little while, and i was “strongly encouraged” to join in the class with her.   

if you know me, then you know that i’m the most tom-boyish, awkward, clumsy, and uncoordinated human in the world. it’s okay if you’re laughing at the idea of my dancing– i certainly laughed for days at the idea of joining the class! i laughed for days, i brainstormed ways to say “no”, i laughed some more, and then i said “yes”.

also this winter, i finally said “yes” to skiing with my friend krista, who has been inviting us to join her for years. we’ve always had something else happening on fridays, but this year the calendar finally supported the homeschool skiing lessons schedule. i’ve tried skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and various other winter sports. and although they are a lot of fun, my lack of coordination means that i am good at none of them. 

if you were to ask me what i fear the most in this life, i would answer “regret”. so as much as i had every confidence that i would embarass myself in ballet class, and bounce down the ski hills, i HAD to say yes.  

and now, as ski lessons give way to spring, and ballet transitions into recital preparation; i can say that i’m so glad that i didn’t say “no” to either of these activities. i want to be the sort of person who always challenges herself, is always learning, and one who faces intimidation and fears.  

a year ago, my friend liz and i confronted our fears of “the man section” at the gym, and decided to pursue weight-lifting.  we refused to be intimidated by unfamiliar machines and our own inexperience. familiarity and experience came quickly.

i want to encourage you, reader, to try new things. i want for you to feel intimidation, and the accompanying pride when you overcome.  suprise yourself, and maybe you will inspire others in the process.  as my husband has wisely said to me too many times: don’t let fear run your life.  not great to hear when i’m standing on the kitchen counter screaming that i saw a mouse,  but great life advice nonetheless.  

so, what will you say yes to?

February 26, 2017 at 22:01 Leave a comment

january=success

despite (or maybe because of) the scoffers and naysayers (aka: my sisters), i have successfully completed my hefty to-do list for the month of january regarding my list of new year’s resolutions.  you can see the full post here, but i’ll summarize below:

  1. bible in a year: on track! loving the bible project app, and totally recommend it. 
  2. stretching after working out:  i started out january with an ankle injury and no time to rest it, but modifying my workouts and stretches has kept me successful with this one.
  3. meal planning: stayed consistent with this.
  4. not wasting food: i was far from perfect on this, but i did order my groceries online as planned, and that definitely cut back big time on the wasted food. also, my freezer is full of jars of veggie stock! room for improvement next month, but also experienced an improvement compared to 2016.
  5. blog once per month: yup.
  6. practice flute 3x per week: i’ve loved being reunited with my flute! fave thing to do: put on some beatles music and play along with it.  i’m in the band!
  7. practice french every week day: finally broke the 40% mark! i’ve been struggling with getting out of the 30s for so long, and that threshold felt reeeaaally good!
  8. knit something: i knit a clapotis scarf out of knit picks chroma, and although it was a boring knit, it was a perfect project to get back into the craft, and the self-striping yarn kept me interested.
  9. home improvement:  i mudded, repaired, and sanded every wall on my main floor, plus the back stairwell that has been neglected for over a decade.  huge task, but what a relief to have it finished even if my house is now covered in drywall dust.
  10. woodworking: this was by far the most intimidating item on my list! it had been too long since i’d built anything, i couldn’t make a decision, and i was honestly just intimidated by the whole process.  odd, considering how comfortable i used to be in a woodshop. time does strange things.  anyway,  i eventually settled on an easy project from anawhite.com to get me back into “it”, and i had a lot of fun! the smell of sawdust will always feel like home to me. 

and now it starts all over again! choosing projects for february and finding time to complete them. i’m definitely enjoying the feeling of productivity that accompanied january, and am looking forward to another big list at the end of this short month.

how are you guys doing with your new year’s resolutions?

February 4, 2017 at 15:55 1 comment

koombaya


i’m a big fan of this quote by the father of medicine, and have been convicted by it for a long time.  for the last 4 years i’ve been testing this theory, and recently have been seeing some almost-miraculous results. 

for the last 2 years, i had rejected my friend trina’s offer to try kombucha. i was down to manageable levels of pain, and my need to call in sick to various activities was at a minimum. besides the fact that i couldn’t remember or say the name (koombaya? komboochoo?), it looked disgusting, and i was not going to risk it sending me back to my former levels of chronic pain.

for those of you who don’t know my backstory or what i’ve gone through for the last 4 years, here’s the basic summary:
i took antibiotics of increasing potency almost non-stop for about 6 months to fight your standard UTI. the antibiotics stripped away my ability to digest anything, and i’ve since been on a journey involving doctors, specialists, many days in bed praying for the pain to pass, many events/appointmets bailed upon.  having been burned by prescriptions in the past, i decided to decline the lifelong pain management prescription offered, and attempt to find my own way to just… deal.

as i said, after about 2 years of playing with diet, i’d reached a comfortable place that was neither ideal nor crippling: a sort of compromising balance.  i became dissatisfied with this compromise after my belly took me down this summer when i really needed it to be non-participatory.  a series of following disappointing setbacks forced me to rethink the solution that i’d thought i’d found.  so i gave trina’s crazy hippie drink a try. 


at first i had to choke it down, but after about a week, i started to aquire a taste for this strong beverage.  within 2 weeks, i actually started to like the kombucha!  even better than my tastebuds accepting this strange new drink, were the results that i was feeling in my belly.  it’s been about 6 weeks of drinking one cup each morning, and i haven’t spent one single day in the fetal position in my bed.  

i’m not functioning at 100%, but for the first time since beginning this journey, i am starting to feel a glimmer of hope. 

anyone with dietary restrictions will understand how big that little word can be: HOPE.  the idea that i can travel without reading food lables via google translator.  the crazy idea that i won’t be hangry in social settings because i forgot to bring food with me.  being able to share a meal with friends without having to “be special”.  to not fear food will be such freedom!  even just writing that paragraph makes me so thankful for the leaps in health that i’ve experienced since drinking my daily kombucha.

here are a few links for the how-to.  i won’t bother writing out my technique because there’s no need to make the internet redundant.  if you’re local and you want to try making your own though, i’d be happy to donate a scoby and help in any way you need. i don’t think that kombucha is the cure of the ages or anything, but if you’ve been struggling with gut health then you should skip the skepticism and give it a shot! i’m so glad that i finally did!

tools i use:

  • 1L mason jars
  • fabric scraps to replace lids
  • funnel
  • nylon mesh strainer
  • korken bottles from ikea
  • kettle
  • black tea

links that have helped me:

i’d love to hear if anyone else has had great success with kombucha, or advice, or flavouring combinations that win. happy fermenting!

January 7, 2017 at 22:42 1 comment

i’m in the 8%!

i have literally been obsessing over what my resolution will be for the new year.  i have a healthy post-it note board of options, plus a brain-full that haven’t made it to paper.  

normally i wouldn’t agonize over such a decision, because, who does?  it’s your standard new year’s resolve to try to be better for maybe a month or two.  however!!  i actually completed my NYR for 2016!  the internet tells me that 92% of the people who make resolutions, don’t keep them.  so, i’m celebrating this!

in light of the fact that NYR success is possible, the decision becomes more significant.  as a non-decision-maker, this leads to the abnormal “agonizing” mentioned in the previous paragraph.  there’s just so much room for improvement! 


i was whining to a friend about how impossible it was to choose just ONE area to improve upon, and she shot back “why choose?” –good point!  

my 2016 resolution was to basically become an adult. more specifically, to do dishes, sweep the floors, and clean the bathroom before bed each night.  i know some would cringe at the fact that i wasn’t already there, but we’re all programmed differently!  for me, this was an area of self-improvement that i knew i needed to make.  it’s been so great to wake up to a house that’s ready for me, instead of being presented with a “to do” list each morning.

as for the daunting post-it note list, i want to tackle it all.  i know that it’s too much to focus on, but instead of making cuts to ensure success, i’m going forward with a plan.  you may not care to read it, but part of the commitment process involves “telling others”, so here i go!

  • bible in a year: daily, and with a friend for accountability (already coordinated).
  • blog: basically just take the mental blogs that i write all the time, and actually put them onto the site. aim for once/month, but i’m not going to make up content if i have nothing to say.
  • don’t waste food/ meal planning:  i’m already a pretty decent meal planner, it’s the “going shopping for the planned meals” part that i have a hard time with.  i’ll often grab containers of fruit at costco because i’m already there, but i really only needed 3 apples, not the giganto bag.  not sure if that makes any sense to you, but trust me- it translates into food going into the compost bin.  action plan: shop for groceries online and go pick them up. make something out of the food about to spoil (like apple crisp!), or don’t buy it at all.
  • woodworking: fun fact- i used to be a carpenter.  my plan to get back into my shop is pretty simple: schedule one small project each month. i have a pinterest board of things that i want to make, and i feel like setting myself a 2017 goal is just the kick that i need.  one of the warmer months will definitely be a “clean out the garage” month if i’m to have any success though!
  • music:  leave my flute out of its case, and practice 3 times each week.  i tell my kids to practice their instruments daily, and i feel like this is something that i can set an example in.  also,  i plan to buy myself a piccolo at the end of 2017 if i have been successful in this resolution.
  • stretch: i already have pretty good habits for waking up and doing daily cardio, and my gym buddy and i are lifting weights thrice a week.  so i feel like stretching NEEDS to be added to this schedule if i’m going to be able to stay in it. action plan: add 10 minutes of stretching to each morning workout.
  • french: i’ve always wanted to be fluent enough to speak to my french half of the family.  i’ve been doing duolingo for a few years now, but i need to make it more of a commitment.  action plan: duolingo every week day, 50xp. also, when  costco gets the french smart books back in stock, i’m going to buy and work through them.  goal: to be able to communicate with our host family the next time our youth group does a missions trip to quebec.
  • knit/crochet: i go through phases on this one, and i’m looking to be more consistent.  the plan is pretty similar to the woodworking one: pick a project for each month and do it.  part of the goal with this one is to be off of my phone when watching a tv show with derek, and to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • home improvement: again, one project per month. some of it will be DIY, and some of it hired out. if you’ve ever been in our home, you’ve seen plenty of half-projects. walls that are drywalled and mudded, but not primed and painted. my goal is to complete our projects.

so there you go. basically broken down into manageable time frames and more set-up for success.  the last thing that i have to do is pick out the monthly projects and schedule them, but i have lists and pin boards already made, so it’s just a matter of picking and choosing. the sticky note wall that i just wrote on, will be at the top of the home improvement list :)

what do you think? am i taking on too much and setting myself up for failure? (if someone says “yes” to that last question, you’re basically locking me into success because i excel at being stubbornly defiant!).  i absolutely love that i completed my 2016 NYR, and am looking forward to a year of seeing my goals accomplished, and wistful regrets disappearing. 

anyone else in the 8% club with me? 

December 30, 2016 at 23:36 1 comment

Older Posts


my life in pics

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ just because I like them. celebrating the end of the school year with new AiO albums and sundaes. goodbye grades 5&7! 
#homeschool thanks for your kind (and hilarious) comments on my last pic. there's a lot of "what happened?" coming my way, and i can't respond to all of you! so, in short:  blinding cloud of black flies, collision with another biker, my bike stopped but i didn't. my knee got the worst of it, my face got the rest. @dwaynefrancois told @hannahchristief and me to make memories, and we did!
photo features the signed bandage by my sweet kids who didn't have a cast to sign, so they signed my tetanus shot.