August 2014 Favourites

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Around The Neighbourhood

My second daily ritual after my morning coffee is to walk our two Golden Retrievers around the neighbourhood. Our dogs have a ton of energy to wear off and it gets me moving too! During the Winter, walking the dogs becomes more of a chore but in the warmer months it’s a great way to soak up that fresh air and sunshine!
I was really excited that our new home is also so close to the water and couldn’t wait to familiarize myself with my new surroundings.
Since we looked at the house in early Spring, we had only come to see the very edge of these trails. Then, still coated in snow, it was difficult to imagine everything in full bloom. What a fantastic surprise when the dogs and I came out of the clearing and ended up here!

As we walked the trail for the first time, I spotted this monarch butterfly caterpillar hiding under some milkweed.
And loved the simplicity of this small vine wrapped so tightly around this branch.
Genevieve and Murray were ecstatic when we ended our walk with a swim off the pebbly beach.
Walking the dogs has now become one of my favourite daily tasks. 
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We’ve Moved!

Wow! What a busy year it’s been for us!

   Out of the blue one snowy, February morning, my husband said to me ‘I think we should move’. I instantly began crying because I’m an emotional nut like that. So many thoughts went rushing through my head – How can I leave behind our first home? The home we bought together to start our life together. The neighbourhood I grew up in. The home we had spent the past seven years fixing up and making just right for us. 

In my heart though I knew it was the right thing to do. Our neighbourhood had been slowly going downhill and we didn’t want to be caught up with it. It wasn’t a place I would want to raise a family and we had outgrown it. I was constantly frustrated with the lack of office space I had and our small backyard wasn’t suitable for our two large Golden Retrievers either. If we had children one day there was no place to put them! So we decided to work really hard fixing up a few rooms and renovating a few others so we could get ourselves on the market by the beginning of April.
All of our hard work paid off and we had an offer five days after listing. A week later and it was official – we were moving! 
We had an extremely quick closing date and suddenly the panic set in that we had just over 6 weeks before we would be homeless! We spent days with our realtor visiting every home on the market that fit our criteria. And then we found The One. That dream home we had always envisioned for ourselves. It was absolutely perfect. There was just one problem – they couldn’t leave until July 4th and we had to be out of our home on June 2nd. 
Thankfully we have some incredible family and friends and we were able to sort out places for ourselves and the fur family to stay while we were in between homes. The paperwork was signed and it was official – the house was ours!
Moving out was a nightmare! We had lots of hands but despite our reservation, U-Haul didn’t have a truck for us. Instead we were given a trailer. A trailer. We had to move our entire home in to a storage unit 45 minutes away with a trailer. Thank goodness for those great family members, friends and a sun filled weekend!
The days leading up to the move were incredibly emotional for me. Every room had a thousand memories both happy and sad, but mostly happy. Even harder to cope with was the fact that I was going to be out of a home for over a month, most of our beloved pets weren’t going to be with me during that time and I would only see my husband on weekends. 
On move out day, Hubby packed up the car while I did one more walk through our first home. I sobbed the entire way to my Dad’s.
Then something happened. The next morning I woke up at my parents with a sense of calm enveloping me. The chaos was over and the thing I had been dreading for months – leaving our first home – was also behind me. Our fur family was in the care of some amazing people and best of all, our dream home was only a little over a month ahead of us.
And that month went quickly! I had a great time staying with my parents and spending time with my amazing seven year old brother. The dogs enjoyed their daily walks down the country trails and I looked forward to the weekends when Hubby would come up to visit.
And then finally July 4th was here! I’m not sure if it was the month in between where I had time to properly leave our first house behind and get excited for the new one but walking through that front door for the first time just felt right. 
I was home. 

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Our First Home | June 2007-June 2014

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Cruelty Free Shopping | Beauty & Skin Care Products

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Soyummi Chocolate Non-Dairy Whipped Pudding

Curiosity influenced me to pick this up from the health food section of my local grocery store. Not only is this product vegan but it is also gluten-free. Although the texture of this pudding was more jelly-like, the flavour was good and it satisfied the chocolate craving Hubby and I had!
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The FitBit Zip!

About 3 weeks ago I realized I had been procrastinating and made a commitment to myself to begin working out again. My in-laws have a treadmill so we began working out a schedule where I could use their machine a few times a week and do the rest of my workouts at home. 
A week later, my father-in-law surprised me with a FitBit Zip. The Zip is a tiny device that you can easily clip on to your clothing. It’s lightweight, comes in a variety of colours and tracks your daily steps.
FitBit Zip
Much more than a pedometer, the FitBit Zip will also track the amount of calories your intaking as well as the amount of calories you burn making it an excellent tool for weight loss. One of the most difficult challenges I face is portion control. Everything nowadays comes super sized, including dish ware! In the past I would find that even though I was eating healthier meals and exercising regularly the number on the scale wasn’t decreasing.
The Zip makes that easy! FitBit.com offers a weight loss dashboard tool in which you can set your current weight, your goal weight and the amount that you wish to lose every week (with a healthy maximum of 2lbs). It uses this along with your daly activities to automatically create a daily caloric deficit to reach your weekly goal. As long as you are logging your food portions it will monitor your calories in/calories out. I love that by dinner time I know exactly how many calories I have left for the day so I can choose what I want to eat wisely! As you move more during the day this will of course fluctuate – so if you had a high intensity cardio workout in the afternoon you will of course be given a larger amount of consumable calories afterwards then if you sat on the couch. 
FitBit Computer Dashboard
The log contains thousands of pre-programmed foods so you can quickly look up an item and add in your serving size. It will then calculate your calories. Unfortunately as it is a US based system, many of the products available in Canada aren’t in the log. This hasn’t been a major issue though, you can also log your own foods, saving them in the history so you don’t need to provide the nutritional information multiple times.
Logging the type and length of your workouts on the dashboard as well as the time and calories burned will also adjust your caloric burn. Logging the time ensures it doesn’t double count your steps.
FitBit also offers a free downloadable app that is great when you’re out and about! That way there’s no excuse not to be logging your food and watching your steps. 
FitBit Dashboard On iPhone
I have been using the Zip for about 2 weeks now and am so happy with the results I’m seeing! I have lost 5lbs with it’s help and find that using it has really motivated me to keep moving. It challenges you to walk at least 10,000 steps per day and I often find myself taking an extra quick walk around the block or around my house to reach this daily goal! Logging my food has given me a new appreciation for the meals that I eat as well as controlling my portions. It seems to be the little extra oomph I needed to fuel my weight loss!

FitBit also offers devices that will monitor things like your sleep and heart rate. If you are interested in learning more I suggest checking out their website: http://www.fitbit.com/home
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Tofurky Pizza

Generally Hubby and I make our own cheese-free pizzas but one thing we definitely miss is that traditional pizza taste! Then while doing our grocery shopping we stumbled upon this! I’m not a huge fan of imitation meat but I do enjoy Tofurky’s products so I was really excited to try this out. I have to say, it was pretty good! It didn’t of course taste just like a real pepperoni pizza but the flavour was yummy and it satisfied that pizza craving we had! Best of all – no animals were hurt in the making of it!

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Running

Thanks to a gift certificate I received for my birthday to the Running Room I was able to purchase some new running shoes.

As you may know from my previous blogs I have been focusing on adding daily exercise to my routine. I have to be careful of what exercises I do due to previous injuries I sustained in a car accident but lately I have really been missing the accomplishment and high you get from running. Years ago running used to be a huge part of my life. While in University I worked out anywhere from 1-3 hours daily. I loved the way it made me feel, how it made my body feel and how I looked.

When I added a full time job, having my first home, being a newlywed and pets in to the mix I found it harder to keep up. My gym dates became few and far between. Sometimes I would have the momentum to go, which would last a week or two and then I would just become too overwhelmed and it was the first thing I dropped.

While trying to strengthen my body post car accident I found running was just too much. It caused my neck and back to seize and I could barely put any weight on my knee. So I began walking instead and sticking to the recumbent bikes.

It is now almost 3 years later and although I have the same problem spots they are nowhere near as painful as they used to be. So I thought I would give it a shot. I enjoy walking with the dogs but I don’t feel like it’s a great workout – I need something to challenge me and make me sweat!

My husband has also been running for a few years now with our dogs and said he’d really like me to join him. He has been an amazing coach, pushing me to go that little bit further and encouraging me with praise when I hit or surpass my goals. When I have to stop short of my target he isn’t mean or negative but still makes me feel great for what I have accomplished.

Right now my goal is to run four times a week along with my daily walks with the dogs. I love running with the dogs, they love to run themselves, and it feels great to have family time with them and my husband. We often run through the dog park as it’s a safe area for the dogs and has lots of beautiful wooded trails for us to follow. On Friday I did so well that I beat my previous time by more than 10 minutes. Instead of heading home I asked my husband if we could run a few fields again!

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Birthday Celebrations at the Cottage!

What an awesome birthday weekend I had! Being at the end of August, my birthday occasionally falls on the Labour Day long weekend so I decided to head up to the cottage to celebrate! My family joined me as well as my sister’s friend and my best friend!
We had a beautiful weekend and took full advantage of the lake! My best friend and I even went out tubing a few times! This was probably due to the amount of margaritas we consumed!
My husband had to work all weekend so he had stayed home….but just before dinner time I turned around and he was there! Hubby had driven 2 1/2 hours just to see me on my birthday, bring me flowers, stay for dinner, go out for an evening boat ride and then drove the 2 1/2 hours home for work the next day! What an amazing guy!
This is the gorgeous bouquet my Husband brought me. I was so shocked when he showed up! There were some definite tears! 

 
The sky was absolutely incredible and I was able to give my sister’s friend a tutorial on night photography. I’m not a professional but I have been playing around with star photography a bit and was really happy with how this one turned out! Love the clarity of the milky way and the fact that this is what we see every night at the cottage!
The next morning my Bestie and I got up bright and early to kayak around the lake. The lake we are on is so serene, it doesn’t get a lot of traffic and is fairly small so our kayaks cut the water like glass. We loved touring around this one rocky area where the trees intertwined with the rocks and their roots continued in to the water.
In the early evening we enjoyed taking a round trip in my Uncle’s newest toy – a pontoon! The sunsets on the lake were incredible!

And just because we could, one day we took the pontoon out to the middle of the lake and just jumped in! We had a blast swimming and even the dogs jumped in for some fun!

When it got dark, we started the bonfire and spent the rest of the night gathered around it. The perfect way to end the summer!
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