Sunday, December 23, 2012

Homeward Bound.

 It's gonna be a long night ahead. 

But the reward at the end is so going to be worth it. 

Tonight, I'm making my way across the country to spend the holidays at home in the Maritimes. 


That's what the holidays are all about. 

And I couldn't be more excited to be coming home. 

But, as my luck would have it, all of my flights have been delayed. Guess that's the price you pay for flying during the holidays, and during the winter. Oh, Mother Nature!

With much determination and patience, I'll be home for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. It's been a busy month, as December usually is. With Christmas parties, work, and recently coming down with an awful cold and sinus problem, I honestly just haven't been all that motivated to write. And I'm always so stumped as to what to write about. I have been meaning to write an update on my new lifestyle change/diet, and I wanted to share another recipe with my readers. I'm in this routine now where on Sunday's, after getting back from swimming, I make a pot of soup to have for my lunches for the week. I find that it motivates me to eat better, and it keeps me from eating out as frequently as I used to (saves money too!) A couple of Sunday's ago, I made "Chicken Pot Pie" soup, a recipe I found on the blog For those of you who are interested, here is the recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup*

1/4 cup flour 
2 cups water 
4 cups fat free milk (skim milk) 
1 large celery stalk, chopped 
1/2 medium onion, chopped 
8 oz baby portabello mushrooms, sliced 
2 chicken bouillons 
fresh ground pepper 
pinch of thyme 
10 oz frozen classic mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn) 
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed small 
16 oz cooked chicken breast, diced small (about 3) 

1.  Create a slurry by combining 1/2 cup of cold water with flour in a medium bowl and whisk until blended well. Set this aside. 

2. Pour remaining amount of water and milk in a large pot and slowly bring to a boil. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, chicken boullion, thyme, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables, and return to a boil. Partially cover and swimmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. 


3. Remove lid and add potatoes. Cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes. 

4. Add chicken and slowly whisk in slurry, stirring well as you add to prevent clumping. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until soup thickens. Adjust salt and pepper to taste then serve!

This soup makes about 6 servings (1.5 cups each). It's a hearty soup, and I find it difficult to finish the full 1.5 cups. It's 6 points a serving and packed with vegetables. 

*A few tips: 
  • I poached my chicken breasts with garlic and thyme, then shredded them when they were cooled. This added a little bit more flavour to the chicken, and made it super moist and tender.
  • When washing fresh mushrooms, use a damp cloth to whip away any dirt. If you rinse them under running water they get rubbery as they act like a sponge and absorb any excess water left on them. 

I am nearing the end of my 4th week on Weight Watchers, and up to this point I have lost 11lbs. My goal was to lose 10lbs before flying home for Christmas, and I reached that goal a week early! I know that the holidays will be tough with home cooking and holiday treat temptations, but I have to remember to watch my portion control and also not to be too hard on myself, because honestly, Christmas comes once I hear and I think I can splurge here and there.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think! I love reading all of your comments :)

*Recipe originally posted by Gina Homolka on her website

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Weekend.

I had a good weekend, did you?

Friday night I went to a dinner party at my friend Jenny and Gary's. Gary made his homemade tacos, and they really gave me a new perspective on how delicious such a simple meal can be. He made the tortillas from scratch, as well as the guacamole, salsa, and refried beans (I LOVE REFRIED BEANS!).  My mouth is watering just thinking of all the flavours that exploded in my mouth. These dinner party nights are going to hopefully become a regular occurrence in my life. There is a group of 8 of us in total that will rotate dinner party duties once a month. Andrea and I will be hosting in the new year sometime, and I am really looking forward to having everyone over to our place where we cook for them. I love to cook, and I don't often get to cook and share my love for food with other people. I'm quite excited to partake in this routine and learn new things as well as share some of my own secrets.

On Saturday, Jenny, Andrea and I went to Banff for the day. Andrea's aunt filled us in on some Christmas events that were happening in Banff on Saturday and invited us to meet them there. Mainly, we wanted to walk down the shopping street (Banff Ave.) and check out all the cute little shops and stores, take in the Christmas parade, then have a nice meal at a pub. And we accomplished all of those things. I picked up a few small Christmas presents for friends and family, as well as enjoy a holiday beverage while slush fell from the sky (I say slush because it wasn't snow, nor rain, nor freezing rain. Just slush). We watched the cute little Banff parade and almost froze our toes off in the process. Then we had a wonderful meal at a pub above the shops called "Elk and Oarsman." I had a lamb shank with a yummy honey barbecue sauce, butternut squash bread pudding and grilled vegetables. A nice beer to wash it down made for an almost perfect meal! Our table was right beside the fireplace, and the restaurant had this ski lodge feeling about it. The ambiance was comforting (minus the drunk middle aged man who spit on a woman at the bar and got kicked out...) 

Here are some pictures of my day in Banff: 

There was something about the snow covered mountains, bright Christmas lights, crisp and cold air, and quaint small streets of Banff that made us feel like we were in the Swiss Alps somewhere. I felt comforted, warm, and happy. I said to Jenny on our way home that night that as the days pass and I experience more of the west the more normal and comfortable it feels. I'm so excited to come home to the Maritimes for Christmas and to see all of my closest friends and loving family. But I know when it is time to come back to Calgary, I'll be okay. Because I'm making a new home, slowly but surely. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

City Girl.

Last weekend, a bunch of us "Calgarians" went to a hockey game at the Saddledome. With the NHL lockout, it seems like taking in a WHL game on a Friday night is the thing to do for us hockey fans. I've felt like something was missing from my life, and it was the smell of the rink, the atmosphere of the game, and the team spirit. Growing up watching my brother play hockey saw a love for the sport grow within me. So, when Jenny proposed going to see a game with a group of people, I didn't hesitate to commit! 

The hockey game was great and everything, but I learned something about myself that night that has nothing to do with hockey. Allow me to paint a picture for you. My roommate Andrea and I both work until 6pm and the game started at 7pm. We knew we wanted to cab or take the transit to the Saddledome. By 6:40pm when we still hadn't succeeded in contacting a cab (ALL phone lines were busy!) we ran to catch the bus outside the apartment. We already know at this point that we are going to be late for the 7pm start time. We had to make a connecting bus downtown, but because of construction, we couldn't find the stop. Here's where the story gets good...

Andrea: "They must have removed the bus stop because of construction!"

Me: "Should we take the C-Train?" 

Andrea: "I don't know..." 

Me: "Or I could hail a cab!?" 

As I stepped off the curb slightly, and with the swift lift of my left arm holding up one finger and waving at the yellow SUV cab coming my way, the driver swerved in our direction and gave us a lift to the rink. I sat in the front seat with this goofy grin on my face, not knowing that Andrea was thinking the exact same thing I was. When we got out of the cab, Andrea just looked at me and said (something along the lines of): "You look like you've done that before!"

I had my first Carrie Bradshaw moment...This means I'm a real city girl, right?!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Motivation is the Key to Success.

What's important is not necessarily where you are, 
but in what direction you are going.

I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting last night, and I left felling extremely motivated and excited to start the program. Today is officially my first day of my new "lifestyle change." The program has changed a little bit since that last time I did it in high school. Your daily point total isn't decided upon solely by your weight, but figured out through an equation that takes into account your sex, age, height, and weight. I as given lots of resources and all of the welcome forms, and then I watched as person after person hopped onto the scales and found themselves a seat for the meeting. 

As I left work yesterday on my way to the meeting, I could feel a nauseous pit in my stomach making me question my motives and decision. To get to the building, I have to pass right by my apartment. I kid you not, I totally convinced myself not to go and turned the blinker to turn right onto my street instead of continuing straight. I was worried about so many things - would I be the only younger person? Would people judge me? Would people stare and know that I was new? Would the employees snicker about me? Would I look out of place? Talk about insecurities! Then I thought about how much I would be letting myself down if I backed out. I would just be quitting all over again - without even starting in the first place! So I went. And am I ever glad I did! 

We talked about the holidays and what to expect when you're on a diet. We talked about strategies and ways to still eat the things we love, but not over do it. I totally know that I'm starting a diet at the most inconvenient time. Christmas and the holidays are so much about family, and a lot about food too. But with will power and support, I know I can get through it and still enjoy all the Christmas fixings that I love so dearly (mmm, gravy and mashed potatoes!) 

This blog isn't going to turn into a tracking device for my weight loss. But the reason I did start this blog was to document my life and as a means to look back at this crucial and ever changing time in my life. All of the readers and support from my family and friends are just the cherry on top of a pretty sweet cake! So every now and then I might post about my successes and maybe some of my worries. 

At the end of the meeting yesterday, our instructor showed us the quote above on the board ("What's important is not necessarily where you are, but in what direction you are going.") Talk about relevant! Relevant to my new weight loss journey, relevant to my future career, relevant to my present day life. 

Did I mention that I left the meeting highly motivated?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turning Over a New Leaf.

For about two years now, I've been promising myself that I would get in better shape and lose some weight. I did DVD workout programs, dieted, and tried to go to the gym/pool more often. What I found was that most of the time I'd lose focus once, and that would ruin it for me permanently. You know what I mean? Like those evenings when you're exhausted and you say to yourself "I'll go tomorrow." Or "Just this once." In the end, I quit. I don't like that I'm a quitter, but the reality is that it was easier for me to quit than to continue. So that's what I did. 

Now I'm at a point in my life where I have a constant daily routine and I have an income that can allow me to join a gym and dieting program. So, on Wednesday I will be attending my first Weight Watchers meeting. On top of that, I have been going to the pool every Sunday to do between 1 and 2 km in lengths (minus this past Sunday - congrats to whoever won the swim meet that took up the time block that is adult lengths). I have done Weight Watchers in the past when I was in high school with my mother. We both were quite successful and I think that this program will work for me again. I think the biggest difference for me between joining Weight Watchers and dieting on my own is the fact that I will have someone to report to once a week. They will be there to weigh me in and to view my point totaling for the week. They will know when I've cheated, and I will be focused on not letting them down, and subsequently, not letting myself down.

So, in preparation for my new routine, I went out this weekend and bought a cookbook at a used book store that is full of Weight Watcher recipes and their point totals. Like my mother, I'm not a sandwich person. I like one here and there, but not every day. So what ends up happening is that I eat out for lunch or just eat little snacky things to tie me over until supper time. I need to have stuff pre-prepared that are quick and easy to reheat that I can eat for lunch. My first recipe: Chicken and Rice Soup with Vegetables. I posted pictures on Instagram and had a lot of people asking me for the recipe and commenting on how delicious it looked. I'll tell you right now - it's AMAZING! So for those of you who are interested, here's the recipe. Super easy to make, and done in under an hour. 

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
1/3 cup quick-cooking brown rice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme; cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften (about 5-6 min). Add the broth and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a cutting board; cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cover the saucepan and return to a simmer.

3. With 2 forks, shred the chicken. Add the chicken and rice to the saucepan and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and salt. 

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think! I portioned it into 4 containers (1.5 cups in each) and put them in the freezer. The book says that if you microwave them on high for 5 minutes, they'll be hot and ready to eat. 

Wish me luck!

Recipe originally from the book by Weight Watchers entitled "From Pantry to Plate - Easy Meals from Foods You Keep on Hand"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

Today is my amazing friend Amanda's 23rd birthday! Amanda and I go back about 5 years. We met when we both lived in Holy Cross House during our first year of university but didn't become the kindred spirits that we are today until our 4th year when we were RA's together in Vanier Hall. Then we became roommates during our grueling year as education students. And now we are beginning our lives in the "real" world - her in China, and I in Calgary. 14 hours apart. When this all came about it almost seemed impossible to stay in touch with someone so distant. But when you have a friend as dedicated, loyal, and kind hearted as Amanda, it's hard to not have that constant light in your life. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here, Amanda, is that I miss you and I wish you a million birthday wishes and only wish that I could celebrate with you. Hopefully this blog post will help connect us across the miles and affirm the love and admiration I have for you, friend!

On your 23rd birthday, I want to take one of your birthday blog post rituals and give it back to you. Here are 23 reasons why I'm glad I have you in my life (mostly in the form of memories):

(In no particular order): 

1. You encouraged me and motivated me to start this blog. When I complained on several occasions that I didn't know what to write about, you reminded me that the blog could just be for me. I'm thankful every time I write a post that you got me doing this, because I'll have these memories and writings with me forever. 

2. You always know the best time to have a spontaneous dance party. 

3. You love trying new things (and inviting me along for the ride). Even little things, like making banana muffins. 

4. John Cougar Mellancamp. 

5. You appreciate a classic road trip. Those road trips to Vermont are some of my favourite memories with you, and I'm so glad I have them to cherish forever. 

6. You introduced me to the joy of Gilmore Girls. I'm sorry that we didn't get to watch more of it together, but every time I watch an episode I'm reminded of you. (PS - OMG! Luke has a daughter. And Rory and no likey. He's gonna really hurt her. He has so many times already. I still don't think Luke and Lorelei are gonna get married. I can't believe he hasn't introduced her to April yet! I'll be sad when the series is over...) 

7. Friday Night Lights - all of the tears and laughter. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't loose. 

8. Remember that time you, Alex, and I went and saw the Breakfast Club in the theatre and it was my first time seeing the movie. Now I've watched it 5 times. And every time I think of you.

9. Snooty Fox. And the charm of the rooftop patio.

10. Numerous Sunday suppers.

11. Sitting on my screened in porch, sipping beer, and just enjoying each others company.

12. You always remind me how important it is to read for pleasure. I admire how quickly you go through books, and how you are always reading something for yourself. I try to be more like you in that aspect, and am thankful that I am - because I've read more in the last 2 years than I have...ever!

13. You also remind me how important it is to journal. Even if it is just a sentence or two. Those memories, when written down, can truly last forever.

14. Winning a cheer off together.

15. Thank you for introducing me to Mumford and Sons. OH MY GOSH, GOOD!

16. One thing (of many) you taught me: It's never too late for a girl talk.

17. Listening. You are the best listener I know. You make eye contact, you respond, and you give thoughtful advice. I can truly say I have never met anyone who listens like you do.

18. Honesty. Your honesty helped me grow. It helped me to be honest with myself and my friends. It made my relationships stronger, and helped me to appreciate ours even more.

19. Laughter. Cures everything.

20. You're the only person I know who drinks milk with her popcorn. I always thought it was disgusting. Until the other day. You were right. A wonderful combo!

21. I'm so glad your camera takes better pictures then mine. And that you appreciate taking pictures to commemorate the different stages in your life. Because those pictures remind me of the happiness that we have shared together.

22. Remember that time we got kicked out of Cara's room for being too loud. And the time I asked Cara to open the window and she opened it about 1mm. And all of the times we did homework in your room. And watched Grey's. And all of the girl talks we had, you, me and Cara. And hearing Cara's shoes clicking down the hallway, and my slippers shuffling. I miss those times. But so glad I have those memories.

23. Your loyalty to your friends stretches for miles, and I admire it. You have always been there for me through thick and thin, good and bad. You literally picked me off the ground when my world came shattering down upon the news of my Grandfather. You held me, gave me a shoulder to cry on, and listened to me and my insecurities. I only hope I have been as good as a friend to you as you have been to me. 

Happy happy happy happy happy happy birthday, Amanda! I hope it is all you wish it to be and more.

Love you, always!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I'm Coming Home.

Last week was a week of tickets. The good kind.

On the radio last week here in Calgary they announced that Maroon 5 would be playing at the Saddledome in March. SAY WHAT!? I immediately broke the news to Andrea and Jenny and told them that I was going and that they should join. Unfortunately, by the time we decided to sit down and buy tickets, the show was sold out. Sad days. But alas, kijiji saved us and we were able to buy tickets from someone who bought them in bulk. HAPPY DAYS! Mmm. Adam Levine, I'll see you in March! favourite ticket from last week....

My plane ticket. It's official! I'm coming home for Christmas. An expensive trip, but well worth it. I can't imagine NOT going home for Christmas. I'm so thankful to have this opportunity, and beyond excited for my trip home. 

Things on my to-do list when I come home: 

- visit my loving and supportive family 

- visit my amazing friends whom I miss immensely! 

- go on a bumble (or two, or three..) 

- Snooty Fox (and other charming gathering places in Freddy)

- Sleepover at Sara's (with junk food, cheesy movies, hugs, tears, laughter, and sharing stories)

- Relish date with Kate 

- visit campus 

- Coffee and Friends with Kathryn 

- Sleepover at Grandmom's 

- Lunches at Grammy's 

- girl talks with Mom 

- laughter, wine, and food with Dad 

- visit Grandad 

There is so much more I'm probably not including in this list, but if I write anymore I'm gonna cry out of happiness. Because when I write this list, I remember how much I'm loved and how much I love. I watched Ellen today (like I do everyday!), and she said something that really stuck with me. I can't remember it word for word, but it was along the lines of this: 

"I believe there is nothing more important in life than love. To be loved, to know how to love, and to give love are the most important things and all that matters. It's a beautiful thing." - Ellen DeGeneres

To sum it up, I can't wait to go home! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Come Back Fall.


6 inches of it (or more). 

Outside my window. 

On October 24th. 


I can't say that winter is my least favourite season, because I find something I like in all of them. Spring smells good, summer brings sunshine and days on the beach, sipping cold beverages on the patio, and bonfires behind the house, fall brings the most beautiful colours and new smells, and winter brings comfort, the crunching of snow, and Christmas. 


Where did fall go? Here in Calgary it seemed like one day the leaves were falling out of the sky and the next there was white snow EVERYWHERE. I'm not exaggerating. Friday while supervising kids outside they were making piles of leaves and jumping in them and trying to catch the leaves out of mid air when they fell from the trees. Today they were building snow forts and snow men and bundled in layers of clothing. How is this possible?

What happened to the crunching of the leaves under my feet, wearing a light coat and sipping Caramel Apple Spices outside and the damp smell of leaves disintegrating on the ground. Now I feel like I have to move on to damp socks and cold feet inside winter boots, scarves around my neck, and peppermint hot chocolate on my walk around the city. 

And kids are starting to sing Christmas carols. Too soon. Too soon. (Blog post to come)

Come back fall. I miss your charm!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Weekend Getaway.

This Thanksgiving long weekend, my Great Uncle David invited me to spend the holiday in Vancouver. I was thrilled when I got the invite, and even more thrilled when I was able to get the Friday off to spend 4 days in the city. It certainly was a whirlwind trip, but it was absolutely fantastic and the best possible way to spend the Thanksgiving weekend!

After getting completely lost on my way to the Calgary International Airport Friday morning at 5:30am (details to come in a future post about my bad sense of direction), I flew over the Rocky Mountains and landed in Vancouver at 8:30am. A warm hug and quick catch up chats later, Uncle David and I began our weekend together by checking out his humble abode and remarking on the beautiful weather. I was excited to see the sun and its warmth in Vancouver because recently it has been bloody cold in Calgary and we've seen many a snowflake fly. Uncle David has a rooftop deck that I admire. It looks out over the harbour and along the mountains. You really can't get a better view. I can see myself spending many many hours in the summer on top of his house taking in every minute of the scenery and peacefulness. I hope that in my future trips I get to spend more time atop the deck! (hint hint Uncle David!)

After taking a walk around the University of British Columbia campus and checking out the Anthropology Museum, we finished the night off with a fantastic and delectable dinner at Cactus Club Cafe - a restaurant owned and run by celebrity chef Rob Feenie. Now, I've written before about my love for food and everything about it. So when Uncle David suggested we check out this restaurant I was so excited to take in my first meal at a celebrity chef's restaurant. A big deal for this foodie. I had a seared halibut atop noodles and a vegetable medley with a saffron cream sauce. For dessert, we enjoyed a chocolate mousse with a caramel foam and toffee bits and a drink of cappuccino. Yum yum yum!

Saturday was another fantastic day weather-wise. David took me to Grouse Mountain - the peak of Vancouver. I can't describe in words how magnificent the view of the city is from atop the mountain. You also get a great view of the different mountain ranges. The pictures don't do it justice, but at least they'll give you a taste.

After our adventure on the mountain, David ventured home for a much needed nap and I went to Robson St. and did some shopping. Can never get tired of shopping! I'm quite proud of myself - I looked up the bus schedule online and found the proper bus to get me to the shopping district and back to the hotel. Didn't get lost once! A different story can be said for my first bus trip in Calgary (another future blog post about my bad sense of direction?!) I bought a new pair of shoes on my shopping adventure and wore them on our dinner cruise along the harbour and Falls Creek that night. Another great way to get some beautiful views and pictures of the city. The city looks so majestic at night. The lights reflect off the water and create a wonderful ambiance. If only it hadn't been so darn cold!

Sunday was an action packed day! David and his friend Marg meet for breakfast and walk along the sea wall on Sundays. So I joined in on the fun. Now, I must add that the night before the new shoes I wore gave me quite the gash on my right heel. So wearing sneakers and walking approxiamtely 10 km that morning I knew was going to be painful. But it was totally worth it! That was probably the most beautiful walk I've ever taken. It was sunny out and warm, but not too warm that I was drenched in sweat by the end of it. Lots of people take in this unique walk. And not only do they walk, the rollerblade, skateboard and bike too! Which leads me to the next part of my day. I rented a bike later in the afternoon and biked around the rose gardens in Stanley Park and then back along the sea wall. Everyone rents bikes in Vancouver. I can probably direct you to 5 different rental shops within a 7 block radius from the hotel I was staying at. My bike had a cute little basket to hold my purse and leftover noodle take out from a cute noodle pulling restaurant around the corner from my hotel. I got some great pictures of the city on my stroll and bike ride on Sunday (and on the bus tour I took between the two). Did I mention that it was an action packed day?!

That night, David and I went to the lookout tower restaurant and had supper. This restaurant had a rotating floor so that while you ate and chatted, you got to see some beautiful sites of the city from every angle. I mean, I saw EVERY INCH of the city at night from up there and I didn't have to move (the floor did that for me). The food was delicious, the sites were breathtaking, and the company couldn't have been better. It's difficult to pick one thing that I enjoyed most of all the fabulous things I did while in Vancouver, but I must say that this is on my list of things to do again whenever I return.

After a busy busy busy three days in Vancouver, David and I both agreed without conversing with one another that Monday we needed to slow down. After having breakfast, I strolled out to the beach and sipped on a coffee, read a good book, and sat in the sand wiggling my toes through it. Nothing feels better then sand between your toes and the sun beating down on you. The smell of the water and the sound of children splashing around brought a smile to my face and a peace in my heart - like nothing I've felt before in a long time. The feelings are returning slightly as I write this all down...

The rest of the afternoon before my flight departed back to Calgary was spent with David on Granville Island checking out the fantastic market and people watching on the boardwalk. They had some decent buskers performing, but I think the performance from the plethora of children chasing pigeons was top notch. I found myself in tears giggling at their presistence and tactics on several occasions.

What a fun filled weekend. I'm still tired and haven't gotten caught up on sleep. That's okay though, because it was totally worth it!

PS - did I mention that I came home with a tan?! The weather was so perfect that this pale red head came home with a slight tan. Yes, sir!

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Love Love.

Wednesday's at my job are "Meltbead" days with the students. This is probably my favourite day of the week at work, and also the students'. Meltbeads are a neat craft for kids to build, experiment, and be creative. And let me tell you, my students are some of the most creative I've ever encountered! I've seen kids create robots, the earth, peace signs, men and moustaches, and a world of other creations out of these little beads during meltbead day! 

This past Wednesday, I created the meltbead below and this is the conversation that followed with one of my students:

Student: What does that say? 

Me: It says "Love"

Student: I love love!!

Me: What a coincidence, so do I. It feels so good to be loved, doesn't it? 

Student: I've never felt anything more good'er 

Have I said lately, how much I love my job and the kids I'm surrounded by on a daily basis? They really are fantastic and I'm at my happiest when I'm around them! 

Side note: Leaving for Vancouver tomorrow for 4 days. Updates and photos from the trip to come. Bon Voyage! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Good to be Happy.

I've been living in Calgary now for 6ish weeks. Almost 2 months. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long. Which I guess is a good thing because isn't it the saying "time flies when you're having fun."

I've been working at my job for about a month now. I'm enjoying it quite a bit, as I relayed in my previous blog post. It's so nice working with children again. Many of my closest friends and family will know that I am NOT a morning person. My Uncle David on the phone last week jokingly (or at least I'm hoping so!) said that I can be a bit unpleasant in the morning. I told him that I like to keep the beast inside so as not to scare people away - hence why I just stay quiet in the mornings. With this job, I have be up and at work at 7am. Eek! However, it's the children that motivate me to get to work on time and to be my perkiest so bright and early in the morning. They continue to melt my heart, remind me why I went into a profession working with children, and blow my mind with their brightness. I've been saying to everyone that I think this is the perfect job for transitioning between being a full time student and finding my career as a teacher. I'm really really happy!

In addition, this is the first job I've worked strictly Monday - Fridays. Every weekend off! I hardly knew what to do with myself at first. However, I've quickly learned that weekends are a great time to get caught up on sleep, get the things done on the to-do list that pile up throughout the week, explore this new city I'm living in, and to catch up with friends and family via Skype. This weekend I had a long but much needed Skype date with my friend, Amanda who is living in China for the year. We talked about our new lives and our new adventures. It had been over a month since we talked to each other, and I truly and honestly missed having her in my life. It made me appreciate the time we had together as roommates when living in Fredericton. Miss you. I also got to Skype with my parents. Man, do I miss them. Seeing their faces and being in the presence of their motivating words, updates on family and their lives, and my Dad's hysterical sense of humour relaxed me and reminded me that I did the right thing moving to Calgary. I couldn't have gotten through this month without them and their support, and I can't thank them enough (I know you're reading this, and I mean every word!) 

There is a lot to do in this city, and a lot to see - and I haven't even put a dent into it. I'm going to dedicate more of my time here really getting to know this city and getting to know new people. But for now, I'm feeling pretty blessed to be in a place where I feel safe, loved, and happy. 

I want to end this blog post quoting something my Grandmom said to me not all that long ago. Keep in mind that my memory isn't the greatest, and I may not be saying this in the exact words that she did - but I definitely have the gist of it and the meaning behind it.

"For the first time in a long time, it seems like everyone is happy again. And I couldn't be more proud of our accomplishments as a family."

... I couldn't agree more Grandmom. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Love My Job.

Today a mother came in to pick up her son from Student Care. This is the conversation she and I had: 

Mom: "My son is loving Student Care this year, so much so that he wants to come on Friday when there is no school even though I'm going to be home that day" 

Me: "That's fantastic! Glad to hear he is liking it so much" 

Mom: "Last year, he used to cry when I told him he had to go to Student Care after school" 

Me: "Oh?" 

Mom: "Let's just say, we are so lucky to have you!" 

...This is how I know I've made the right decision when it comes to my profession. I'm so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful, amazing, and inspiring children and families.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Brad!

Today is my "little" brother's 20th birthday. I use quotations when I say little because ever since he was about the age of 12 he's always been bigger then me. In fact, sometimes he gets credit for being the oldest sibling. False! Also, when did my brother grow up? I can't believe he is 20. We are back in the same decade again. 

Brad, I just wanted to write this little blog post to wish you the happiest of birthdays. It's been a pleasure and an honour to watch you grow up. I know that we didn't always get along, but I want you to know how much I cherish our relationship and how important you are to me. Can't imagine a world without a Big Brad in it. So in "Melissa Birthday Blog Post Tradition," here are just a few reasons why I think I'm the luckiest sister ever to have such a great little brother like you (don't blush!): 

- You put up with my cheesiness (sort of). When I try and do something special for family, or try to be all sentimental on ya, you are patient and take it in stride (even if you poke fun of me afterwards). 

- You make me laugh. Whether it's pulling a funny face when I try to a get sibling photo or doing something completely random and foolish out of no where, you make me shake my head and wonder how you got such a unique sense of humour (I think our Dad has something to do with it). 

- When I ask to borrow your precious car to teach a friend to drive standard, you don't hesitate to say yes. This reminds me that you'll always have my back. 

- I know that I can confide in you, and it warms my heart that I know you trust to confide in me. 

- When I had my little break down before moving to Calgary, you were the one to remind me that family is always there and that I am loved. For me, this was a big step in our sibling relationship. 

I'm proud of you, Brad and everything you've accomplished in your 20 years. It breaks my heart a little bit that I'm not in NB to witness your final year of Junior hockey. I know you'll do great and I am so looking forward to seeing what step you'll take next in this big world. 

Happy Birthday! Love you. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Love of Food.

I'm a natural born foodie. One of those free dictionaries online describes a foodie as "someone who has refined interest in food." Urban dictionary refers to a foodie as "a person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation." In another excerpt, they also call foodies snobs. Pft. In my own definition, I'm just somebody who gets excited about the world of food and flavours.

In reflecting on this during one of my many bus rides in the past 2 and a half weeks of living in Calgary, I realized that I don't share this love for food as frequently as I wish on my blog. So, I am going to try and devote more of my blog posts to favourite recipes, food experiences, and sharing my love for flavour. This story comes from an experience I had not all that long ago. The first Saturday that I was living in Calgary...

Along with being a foodie, I am a Food Network freak. Whenever there is a television available with the Food Network station "unlocked," I'm glued. There is this one show I love to watch called "You've Gotta Eat Here!" In this show, the host John Catucci travels all over Canada hoping from restaurant to restaurant checking out what our country has to offer in the food department. He's even traveled up to the middle of nowhere New Brunswick - Shippagan - and sampled food at a local seafood restaurant. However, Catucci makes most of his visits to big the one I'm currently residing in, Calgary. Every time he visited a restaurant in Calgary before I moved here, I'd immediately think to myself "I've gotta eat there" (guess they picked an appropriate show title). I'm pleased to announce that of the four places featured on the show from Calgary, I've currently eaten at one: Tubby Dog

What a place! They specialize in hot dogs. When I saw the show, one hot dog stuck out in particular. "The Captain's Dog." This all beef hot dog is bacon wrapped, topped with peanut butter, grape jelly, and Captain Crunch cereal. I know what your thinking (it was my first thought, too) - EWWW! But how could I go to this place and NOT get such a unique hot dog. So when Jenny, Andrea, and I ventured to Tubby Dog that first full day in Calgary almost three weeks ago, we decided to buy one and split it three ways then each get our own hot dog. I have to say, if and when I go back I'll be ordering my own Captain's Dog. It was surprisingly tasty. Think about all the best things about breakfast and put them in one bite. That's the Captain's Dog. 

The Captain's Dog
So besides the previously mentioned delicacy, I also had the A-Bomb. This bad boy was topped with mustard, mayo, ketchup, bacon bits, a variety of flavours in crushed potato chips, and nacho cheese. It was HUGE! And I ate every last bite. The onion rings were enormous as well and we split one order between the three of us. I didn't have to eat for the rest of the day after this meal (seriously - not a figure of speech this time). 

The A-Bomb
I highly recommend going to Tubby Dog when you come to visit Calgary. It was cheap considering the amount of food you get, and it's an experience. There is so much to look at on the walls and in display cases. Plus you have a great view of the cooks putting together the masterpieces of hot dogs. They even have old school arcade machines like Mrs. PacMan. 

Six onion rings in an order - plenty for three people!
It's not gourmet, but it is unique. I loved it. And I think my excitement shows in the pictures. Just ask the girls, I was a overflowing with excitement and emotions - I couldn't sit still. And this is my constant feelings about the world of food.