My best 9

I’m late to the party but I’m finally sharing my Instagram best nine collage. I looked it up over the holidays when my feed started to showcase everyone’s top Instagram moments of 2018, but didn’t share it, for some reason or other (my screen time dropped by over 50% over the holidays, according to the iphone activity tracker and for that I am proud! Trying to keep it up but that’s a post for another day).

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This is literally a popularity contest among the photos. Which ones had the most likes? Is it all really just for the likes? If the “best nine” are considered to be the ones with the most likes, then yes, I guess it is. I guess it all depends on what you are using Instagram for. I had 1,570 likes on 49 photos in 2018. Only 49 photos posted to Instagram last year is not very many (in comparison, Matt posted 107). My posting certainly goes through fits & starts.

While my “best nine” doesn’t necessarily translate to the actual “best photos”, or my personal top favourites, it is fun to see what photos prompted the most “likes”. We have:

  • Double trouble #twinsies in the kitchen * Milestone first day of school * Mom & dad go rogue weekend getaway

  • 17th anniversary of our first date selfie, back where it all began at the movies * Our Incredible family halloween costumes * A milestone 5th birthday

  • Now & then photos on the steps of King’s College, 11 years apart to the day * An elusive Mr&Mrs photo on the beach at White Point * All dressed up in Ottawa

Of course, I think it’s a nice collection of photos, I posted each of them to Instagram after all. And they’re all fun or special moments. But it’s not a very fair representation. There are 0 solo pics of the second-born child, and 2 solo pics of the first born (she did however celebrate two pretty big milestones this year). Just 1 picture of the two of them together, 2 family photos, and 4 of just Matt and I, which is hilarious because it’s probably the only 4 photos of just the two of us taken all year, and 3 of my them were taken within a week of each other! We rarely get pictures of just us, so I actually love this result. Is that what my audience likes and wants? More love bird posts? Seriously, my kids are way cuter!

If I were to pick my own top 9 Instagram photos from 2018 it would be these, with actually only 3 new admissions!

  • a pool picture that sums up so many fun summer days, and captures Anna’s zest for life perfectly * A picture from Rosie’s birthday that captures her sweet personality perfectly * A family photo from my birthday which was a super fun day we spent together doing so many of my favourite things!

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In going through my Instagram photos for 2018 and the camera roll on my iphone, there are so many pictures I didn’t post and moments I have not shared! A trip to NYC, road trip to Ottawa, camping adventures, day-to-day life, the list goes on. I enjoy scrolling through my own feed now and then. It’s my own personal, curated photo album. Much better than my mess of a camera roll which currently has, um 27,278 photos on it. Five years of our lives, with so many duplicates and outtakes. I really should clean that up. But yes, it would be nice for my own personal, curated photo album to include many more photos and moments.

And as a so-called lifestyle blogger, I clearly need to step it up. 2019, here I come!

Hot off the (online) press

I have two new assignments published this week. First up, my latest for East Coast Living magazine, a step-by-step DIY fresh winter wreath. I paid a visit to Props Floral Design in the Hydrostone and they walked me through the process of making a wreath. I’m planning to make my own this holiday season and will design it to last all winter. I painted the front door navy blue this summer so I am thinking a silver bow, or going rustic with a burlap bow. I think it would look really nice with our warm white Christmas lights. Learn how to make your own here: DIY Fresh Winter Wreath.

Though the Heavens Fall by Anne Emery is my latest book for review over at Atlantic Books Today. I have reviewed books from this series before, and I do enjoy them. I love reading local and having a connection to the setting. (Fictional) Halifax lawyer Monty Collins and his sidekick Father Brennan Burke sure get themselves involved in a lot adventure. What’s not to love about a good mystery? I learned a lot of history about the conflicts in Ireland through this story along with the help of google to keep up, since I really didn’t know much at all. It’s a deep, complicated and still ongoing issue. I thought Emery handled it well with this book. Given the connection to Ireland through Matt’s side of the family, it was neat to learn more about it, and the fictional story is intriguing too.

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Smelly soup

a recipe for…smelly soup?

a recipe for…smelly soup?

Did you know that turnips stink? Because they do. They smell really bad. Like sweaty gym socks or something. I found this out when I made my last batch of soup. I thought the turnips had gone off when the smell started wafting from the pot of boiling turnips on the stove. A quick check-in with google and I discovered that yup, they smell. Totally normal. On went the stove vent and eventually, the smell faded. I was still nervous. Smelly soup?

Turnips aren’t something I would necessarily seek out from the grocery store on my own but they came in the food box we bought from the school fundraiser, through Nourish NS. I was determined to use up all the produce and needed a new soup for the week. Another quick google search had brought up a cream of turnip-apple soup so I gave it a go. I appreciated the fact that one of the top hits in my search for  “turnip soup recipes” was for Saltscapes magazine (a regional lifestyle publication for Atlantic Canada), so I kept things super local!

CreaM OF TURNIP-APPLE SOUP SMELLS GOOD ONCE IT’S READY

CreaM OF TURNIP-APPLE SOUP SMELLS GOOD ONCE IT’S READY

Despite the smelly turnips, the soup turned out well. It was super easy to make and enjoyed by everyone in the house. If you find yourself with some turnips and want to make something different with them, I recommend this recipe. When I think turnip recipes, I automatically think roasted or mashed alongside a turkey or roast beef dinner, so for me, the turnip soup idea was something totally different.

I made this soup two weeks ago, and at that point decided I was kinda over the soup thing…. Weekly soup, it turns out, is a bit much. A week goes by so quickly and it felt like every time I turned around, it was time to make more soup. Last week went off the rails with strep throat etc., mind you a lot of chicken soup was consumed. Of the Campbell’s variety. Now this week, on this cold and rainy day, I am kind of craving some creamy thai carrot sweet potato soup, courtesy of my Oh She Glows cookbook… it’s a favourite in this house!  

So, whether I slow down on the soup or not, unless I discover something amazing, I will lay off on posting about it, because I think reading about my soup is just as tiring as making it every week! Thanks for hanging in there with me. Four soups later, maybe I inspired you to simmer some up yourself and if not, maybe now you will? I promise it will warm you up. Enjoy!


Turkey noodle soup

Curried carrot, apple and sweet potato

Leek and potato soup with carrots and celery

Cream of Turnip and Apple


Whatever happened to predictability...

There are no sick days with this gig, but there are grandparents! And that is a major perk.

Like I say in that intro column to the right (or bottom of the page, if you’re not on a computer), between all of us in this house, there is always a story. Matt left on Friday for a 7-day work trip to NYC so strep throat decided to come visit me! I was already tired and run down when he left (thanks to a night of legendary rock and roll with Jack White earlier in the week). By Sunday my throat was on fire, and Monday’s aches and chills brought me to my doctor’s office where a rapid strep test quickly came out positive.

Thankfully my parents swooped in, collected the girls from pre-school and school, delivered them to and from activities and had them sleep over - even though it was a school night. They got them back into the city and off to pre-school and school Tuesday morning and collected them again. They were slated to sleep over with Grandma and Grandpa that night anyway, because I had a full day appointment scheduled for Wednesday (sadly no, not at the spa), which also happened to be a PD day - no school. So another sleepover went ahead.

I didn’t have to deal with any children in the night (the three-year-old comes in our room “scared” every.damn.night and proceeds to toss and turn and kick me in the back until morning). I got ELEVEN hours of sleep IN A ROW, I read an entire novel, I caught up on some TV. By Wednesday morning I was feeling pretty rested. Not so sure my parents could say the same thing. So by Wednesday afternoon I went off to collect them and now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming, mind you all three of us have head colds.

But this is not how Wednesday was supposed to be. The blog post I had in mind this week was going to be about my Wednesday plans. Again, in that intro for the blog, I talk about how I strive to balance my life, “All while living with an unpredictable and chronic illness: Crohn’s Disease, and all that comes with it.” And in my about me section, which you’ve all read of course, I express how “I’d like to focus more on my experiences with chronic illness to help myself, those around me, and maybe a reader or two who just needs to know they are not alone.”

I haven’t done much of that yet, so my planned post for this week was going to be about my appointment for my treatment for Crohn’s. But I can’t have that treatment, which I normally receive every 6 weeks, if I’m sick with a cold, flu, fever or on antibiotics. This week I can tick 3 of those boxes, so no treatment. It’s delayed 12 days, which is a gamble with my health but there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. I’m on a 10-day course of penicillin and I have to be off antibiotics for 24 hours and the clinic has to fit me back into their full schedule (these appointments are booked 6-8 weeks out). Like I said, I’m “living with an unpredictable and chronic illness: Crohn’s Disease, and all that comes with it” and this is part of the package.

With that, I’m putting the missed treatment out of my head and proceeding with caution. Here’s hoping all remains stable and in a couple weeks we are back to our regularly scheduled programming. Once again.

Sick in bed, dreaming of being on the beach instead.

Sick in bed, dreaming of being on the beach instead.

Gratitude

Fall #reflection, #thankfulness and #gratitude in full effect

Fall #reflection, #thankfulness and #gratitude in full effect

With Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day behind us, and the holidays looming largely ahead, it’s time for some neglected #reflection and #gratitude. I didn’t even post an obligatory #thankful photo of the fam jam on Instagram over Thanksgiving like I usually do. I did attend two Remembrance Day services this year (one at the elementary school and one at the Grand Parade downtown). The school ceremony was wonderful and Anna was overjoyed to be asked to help light the peace candle. And on November 11, even though we are always way at the back where it’s hard to see and hear and its cold out, I enjoy the city ceremony as a time to pause and reflect for all that we have here in Canada. There’s also three generations of military service in my family to be proud of.

In our house, we sometimes find ourselves craving the chance to slow down. We’ve made an effort to stop booking our schedule jam-packed full, but sometime that’s hard, because life. And we like being on the go. But maybe 2 or 3 things at a time, not 4 or 5! As long as we regularly schedule some down time, and use it to unwind and reflect on what we have going on - the good and the bad. It’s equally as important to open our eyes during the flurry of activity and gigantic messes and whirlwind motions of the day to look around and be thankful for all of the craziness too.  

I wrote the following post last winter, but wasn’t blogging at that time, so never shared it. I’m thankful for the encounter because it was a reminder to be thankful and grateful for what I have, so I’ll share it today:

On Thursday I overslept - on the morning after a small snow storm, which slows everything and everyone down in and of itself. I messed up Anna’s appointment time at the eye clinic and thus the rest of our regularly scheduled morning, which morphed into a hectic sprint to get organized. When I double checked the appointment time before we left, I discovered the appointment was earlier than I realized and we missed it. A quick call to the office confirmed we could still come in, as long as we got there right away. I then drove completely the wrong way to get to the hospital. And I didn’t realize my sweater was on inside out until after we left the appointment. Then I found myself at least 15 people deep in a line at Tim Hortons, because I let Anna have a treat after her eye appointments at the hospital and she never lets me forget. ‘What a rough day,’ I grumbled to myself, annoyed.

Unsurprisingly, Little Miss Chatty made friends with the woman ahead of us and they gabbed as the line slowly moved, me interjecting with a fake smile or murmured laugh here and there. As the woman stepped away from the counter after her turn, she crouched down and pressed a five dollar bill into Anna’s little hand. “Hey, will you use this to buy you and your mommy a treat?” I was surprised and of course followed up with a very quick “No, no, you don’t have to do that.”

“No, please,” was her response. “Let me. I miss my kids so much I want to treat her. I’ve been here for 3 days!” And at that she took off. Anna was beside herself with excitement and I wanted to kick myself. It was a very kind reminder that what I considered to be a rough or frustrating morning can easily sound pretty damn good to someone else. It was a reminder to be thankful for all I have. It was a reminder not to sweat the small stuff. It was a reminder to slow down, and be grateful for it all - the good, the bad and the frustrating.

ThaNKFUL EVERY DAY.

ThaNKFUL EVERY DAY.