Refresh

Kids are back to school. There’s a cool crispness in the air. Fall arrives next week. To me, this time of year always feels like a fresh start. A sort of renewal, a time to hit reset. Even more than the new year does come January, for some reason. I think it’s the back-to-school, back-to-routine, back-to-our-regularly-scheduled-programming that does it. The new school supplies, the new back-to-school clothes. It just feels like the right time to get life back on track and feeling fresh. 

This might explain why I’ve been feeling itchy to get stuff done around the house - finally finish our basement, decorate my office, fix up our bathroom.

So if like me you are craving some change or looking to refresh some areas of your house, here is a piece I wrote with tips on how to decorate like the pros, from East Coast Living’s design blog. I hope these tricks of the trade help you out! East Coast Living: Style your home like a pro

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DIY Sea Glass Art

Summer is drawing to a close, but it’s still nice enough for beach walks to comb for treasures, like sea glass! Back in the spring I met with artist Susan King of Ceilidh’s Sea Glass Creations on assignment for the summer issue of East Coast Living magazine. We talked about her love of this ‘jewel of the sea’; she’s been collecting sea glass since she was a little girl. She shared some info on sea glass and tips on collecting it. She also showed me how to create my own sea glass art.

Learn how to make your own here, step-by-step: Crafty Sea Glass Picture

 
The sea glass King uses is natural, collected mainly in Cape Breton at beaches in the summer. White, green, and brown are the most common colours. Blue, red, orange, and yellow pieces are harder to find.

The sea glass King uses is natural, collected mainly in Cape Breton at beaches in the summer. White, green, and brown are the most common colours. Blue, red, orange, and yellow pieces are harder to find.

 
 
Ensure whatever sea glass you collect is cooked, sea-glass-speak for rounded without sharp edges, says King.

Ensure whatever sea glass you collect is cooked, sea-glass-speak for rounded without sharp edges, says King.

 

Off the press

A few community pieces I’ve yet to share, some oldies but goodies:

More to come!

I’m sorry if some of the links won’t open for you, if you’ve viewed all your freebies. I know that’s frustrating but the newspaper is a business. I do like when my work is filed under ‘premium content’ (doesn’t that sound fancy?) ,and journalism isn’t meant to be free…writers do need to be paid! Subscribe to the paper and you won’t miss any articles.

School's out for summer

It’s our first official school-year summer vacation! And it’s a summer that looks unlike any we’ve ever had before.

It’s our first official school-year summer vacation! And it’s a summer that looks unlike any we’ve ever had before.

It’s the Monday-est Tuesday ever but I’m not complaining. But I am panicking, just a little. It’s the first official day of summer vacation. The weekend and the Holiday Monday didn’t count, because that was a regular long weekend holiday.  Now it’s Tuesday and for the first time in 10 months the girls are out of school. It’s our first official school-year summer vacation! And it’s a summer that looks unlike any we’ve ever had before. 

Sure, I’ve been freelancing year-round, but this is the most freelancing I’ve ever done, and I’m doing a lot of it. Far too much too balance at the same time as the kids, my mental sanity, and the safety of my children. The past six summers, I’ve been home with the girls and freelancing on the side and it’s been manageable. Awesome, actually. Summers are the best part of stay-at-home parenting, if you ask me. Basically living in the backyard, beach days, day trips. It’s helped to have some teacher friends with kids who are off and friends on maternity leave. But that amazing season of life has passed, which makes me a little sad...the days are long and the years are short, or so they say. But I’m working - writing! - and it feels good. And I’m super grateful with what we have arranged for this summer. 

Because she’ll be starting pre-primary in September, we wrapped up Rosie’s full-time journey at pre-school. If Anna is going to be home from school, Rosie might as well be here with her. Plus  my rate is way cheaper than pre-school. Actually I guess it’s exactly the same. Instead of paying for her to attend, I’ll keep her home and the money in the bank! Shame the standard of care will decline. jk, jk. Kind of. The grandparents have ever so graciously offered to help out this summer. Between two days with my parents and one day per week with my MIL, I’ll be able to work full-time three days a week, rather than five days just during school hours. I’m confident I can get the same amount of work done with longer, uninterrupted work days and by adding an evening, weekend, or extra babysitting here and there when needed. 

I’m happy the girls will get some time with their grandparents, time with me, time for playdates, and time to be bored. Anna’s in a couple different weeks of day camp to give her something adventurous to do with some friends. Rosie’s still too young. But I’m still looking at three solid days to work and two days off to spend time with the girls, lapping up the summer. It’s the best of both worlds and a balance I am looking forward too. (Please check in on me in a few weeks. These could be famous last words). But hold on. I am actually lol-ing at myself right now as I re-read what I just typed. Rewind to “two days off to spend time with the girls.” HA HA HA. Reality check. These won’t be days OFF. These will be days filled with endless sunscreen applications, constant snack and meal prep, cleaning up, struggles to get out the door, sibling fights, whining, threats, and tears. Probably mine. Matt’s predicting it will be  2pm on our first day at home when he will receive my “I’m done” text. Give me some credit. I’ll at least make it to 4p.m! Hopefully our days together will also be filled with swimming, beach days, ice cream, playgrounds, water fights, and reading stacks of books. 

At the end of the day…there’s always wine.

At the end of the day…there’s always wine.

My thought/hope/prayers are that if I’ve handled the kids five days a week in the past, two days a week will be a breeze. Especially being granted three whole days to do my own grown up thing. The key will be to stay on top of my work so I can focus on my days with the girls, which will be a challenge. While flexible, the freelance life is unpredictable. And stressful. Sometime’s sources can only talk on certain days at certain times. Sometimes opportunities will pop up, deadlines will loom. So I’m going into this summer with an open mind to go with the flow and try not to stress. It’s summer vacation for my kids but I need to be the most organized I’ve ever been to make this work. So yes, it’s already Tuesday and omg it’s already Tuesday?! I have deadlines to meet! See? Already panicked. But at the end of the day...there’s always wine.  All of the wine.

Based on how insanely fast the school year went, I believe summer’s going to go by in the blink of an eye. So to all the work at home parents balancing your kids summer vacation, I salute you. May the odds be ever in your favour. May the force be with you. I’m here with you (lunch date anyone? Kidding. Nobody’s got time for that!).  I don’t know about you but I’ve already booked a very important vacation day for myself. It’s called the first day of school and it’s going to be all mine! From 9-3pm, anyway.


Run, run away

Last Saturday, my kids participated in the Youth Running Series third run (of ten) of the season, The Aerobics First Gorsebrook Hill Run. Rosie and I did the u6 500m run together. Anna and her girl gang took on 1km, up and down hills. Rosie was very serious and ran with perfect form. Anna crossed the finish line with a huge smile on her face. I’m so proud of these little runners.

On Wednesday it was Global Running Day. I attended a celebration of Kids Run Club at Anna’s school. Olympian Adrienne Power was there. I got dragged into running  enthusiastically ran laps of the field with the school.

Tomorrow, the girls are participating in the Doctor’s NS Youth Run as part of the Bluenose Marathon. And they are SO excited.

Matt’s lucky. He can set out on a 10k run at anytime, no matter how long it’s been. Sure, some runs may be sweatier than others, but as a former athlete he’s still got the stamina to push the limits and just take off for a run. Me, I had to take a breather after one lap of the school field!

Awhile back I got super into fitness for a very short time and was feeling really good. Jillian Michaels’ 30 day Shred, Slim 60 and Bangin’ Bikini Bod ;) for the win. Well, almost. I completed all these programs, more than once, working out daily from my living room. Then totally fell off the wagon.

I’ve wanted to do Jillian Michaels’ ‘learn-to-run 5k in eight weeks’ program next. I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time. Thinking about it is not good enough. After working on a recent article for The Herald, I realize I’m not even at the baseline for physical activity and it’s not cool. Vigorous activity, thirty minutes a day, five days a week, plus some strength training? Minimum? Gulp.

Matt and I agree, we want to be an active and fit family. We love spending a ton of time outdoors. A weekend hike with the dog is great, but it’s not enough. Time to start modelling some active behaviour because right now, the roles are reversed.

Sadly, my days of chasing toddlers around are behind me. Now that was some good cardio. But I’m back to a regular desk job. I barely even get to leave my house for work! The living room workouts aren’t going to cut it anymore. I live here, I work here, I don’t want to work out here too.

So now that summer weather is FINALLY here, where better than the great outdoors? We live near an amazing trail. I can steal some time to myself, outside. My feet are itchy. It’s time to get moving. Maybe I will give it a try. Maybe I’ll hate it. In Jr. High, My best friend and I tried to join the cross country club. We ran one lap of the field, straight out the gates and never looked back! Hopefully this goes better than that.

Are we going to become a running family? Stay tuned...

I wrote a fitness primer for The Chronicle Herald: Go your own pace, but go . Check it out!


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