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Hypothermichalf 2015 Halifax – A Recap

hypothermichalf-2015-recap

Yesterday one of my besties, Nicole, and I ran a half marathon, called the Hypothermichalf!!

It was a very challenging run, the condition of the trail was super icy and we hit some major psychological walls during the run, needless to say we are super excited and proud…we did it!!

Here’s the thing, we did not train for this race. I know…seriously. We were both eager to get back into running after the typical winter hiatus a lot of runners experience. I have been recovering from a foot injury, while still keeping fit swimming and working out. My bestie is in great shape, working out multiple times a week with me and on weekends with her super fit hubby. Although the idea seemed a little on the crazy side, I am so grateful Nicole jumped in for the adventure!

We checked out the route a few days before the race and the trail, although icy, wasn’t too terrible. We ran almost 10k and felt like it was going to be challenging but doable race day. It also gave us an opportunity to fine tune our race gear for the big day.

Sunday morning, Nicole dropped off her three kids at my place and we headed to the location of the start of the race.

Big thanks to my amazing husband for looking after 6 kids while we ran and even bringing them to cheer us on at a turn point!

Initially the route was 10.5 km out then turn and 10.5 km back. However due to the conditions of the trail deteriorating further out, the organizers decided to change the route. While I totally respect they made the best decision possible, the way the route ended up being was really really tough psychologically for me. So we ran up 7km then turned back to the finish line, turned and went up 4km then back again to the finish line. Well to turn at the finish line when fast runners where finishing kinda sucked. If the bottom turn point was even like 1km from the finish line it would have been better I think for me psychologically.

Going back up was tough on us both. We did it, however A LOT of runners that were behind us didn’t. They quit at that turn point. I was reading Piper’s Run, and her recap volunteering for the Hypothermichalf, she stated there were a lot of injuries, including a broken arm! We did see one lady go down and a lot of people were slipping. It was crazy icy and I was so grateful both of us had extra traction on our sneakers and neither one of us experienced an injury. One spot on the route there was blood in the ice and that was super disconcerting too. It was seriously a challenging run psychologically and physically (due to the ice).

It was super cold at the start of the race, I wore long underwear under my running tights, knee high compression socks and three layers on top. Nicole and I bought identical, yet different colour coats the week before for the run. I had thick mittens that I handed off to my husband at the turning point and wore the gloves and neck warmer that were part of the race kit. Once we got running, I was warm and the sun shined beautifully all morning.

I would not recommend this run for a beginner. Everyone that took part looked to be seasoned runners. The weather can be very unpredictable and the trail conditions were so not ideal. I would definitely recommend Yak Tracks or something similar (my husband got mine at Costco a few years ago).

I am so glad we experienced the Hypothermichalf! It was great to feel like a runner again after recovering from an injury. I had the opportunity to spend a gorgeous, albeit chilly morning with a fantastic friend. We also took a chance, believed in ourselves and each other, encouraged each other and pushed our bodies to the edge. Bonus…the metal is so pretty!! It has sparkles and snowflakes!!!

Up next we will be running a half marathon at the Bluenose. We will definitely start training now so we are better prepared both physically and psychologically for the demands of running long distance.

Are you a runner? Do you winter run? What challenges have you faced? Or do you just think I am a little crazy (that’s ok I am a little!)?

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Free Crochet Patterns…5 of my Absolute Favorites!

I love to crochet.

Like, reeeaaally love to crochet.Favorite free crochet patterns

I have been crocheting since I was in high school, maybe earlier.  I used to knit when I was quite young, but being the instant gratification kind of gal I am, crocheting works up so much faster, so it’s no wonder I like it more.  I read somewhere that knitting/crocheting are great stress relieving activities…go figure.  It works!

I love to be creative, but also love (and almost have to) feel productive…crocheting gives me the best of both! The free patterns on Pinterest make it possible to make just about anything you can think of!  Finishing something awesome makes me feel so great and I have to admit, having someone stop you to say how much they love the piece you’re wearing is pretty awesome, too. ;-)

I pin a lot of patterns and I’ve attempted most of them least once, but I definitely have a few that I seem to make over and over. These are my current favorites – they work up quickly and are super cute!

  1. Triple Luxe Cowl This is my most favorite cowl! I found this just last week on All About Ami and I’ve already made two (of different lengths), with another one in the works! The pattern suggests using Woolspun, by Lion Brand Yarn, but in my search for that, I came across Loops & Threads, Woolike Chunky and loved how soft it is.  It’s a size 5 bulky, as is Woolspun, so I grabbed three balls of that to try instead.  The cowl is made using a “V” stitch which gives it a knitted look, but the pattern works up so much faster than knitting. These balls are smaller than the Woolspun, so I did need to go back to grab another ball to finish these pieces:  I used four balls for the purple cowl and for the black and white cowl, I used almost three balls of black and about one and a half of ivory.tripluxeCollage
  2. Cabled Wrist Warmers  These are a huge hit with my teenage daughters and their friends.  I also made myself a pair to keep my hands warm while I’m typing…been a cooooold winter and I think we’re going to see quite a bit more of it!  They whip up in  just a couple of hours and make a great  birthday present.  Love the cable design and it’s surprisingly easy to accomplish, even the first time! I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, in Barley – I love them, but I do think the cabling would stand out better with a smoother yarn.  I’ll have to try that for my next pair!fingerless gloves
  3. Slipper Socks I have made four pairs of these since January and I am hooked (pardon the pun!)!  They are the most comfy, warm slippers and I’m still surprised how quickly I can make a pair.  These are two pairs I made for my kids, using two strands of a worsted weight yarn I had in my stash (the stash that hubby says I have to deplete before I can add any more to it!).  My daughter asked me to add a flower to hers…how cute are they?! I also made a pair for myself using one strand of a thicker (size 6) wool.  Seriously, super easy and so nice and warm to have on your feet during this never-ending cold snap we’ve been having.slipperCollage
  4. Buttoned Shell Stitch Cowl I think this is the fastest and easiest scarf I’ve ever made and I love how elegant it looks!  Once again, this pattern is from All About Ami (definitely one of my favorite sites for awesome, free patterns!).  This post offers a couple of options for yarn to use for this pattern – I used Patons Cobbles, in Moon Rock, and was very happy with how it turned out. It can be worn nice and high around your face (so cozy and warm) and the button is perfect for those days when you’ve spent too much time on your hair to pull a cowl on and off over your head…really helps with the static electricity during this time of year, too!  :-D buttoncowl2
  5. Easy Button Crochet Boot Cuff Pattern There are hundreds of free boot cuff patterns out there and I’ve made a few of them, but these, from Kadie at Seven Alive, are my most recent completion.  The pattern is just as it says – easy(!), perfect for a beginner who wants to make something useful with minimal frustration. :-D  These worked up in about an hour (using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick), but I have to admit, I was too lazy to sew on the buttons when I finished, so my daughter just used them without and folded them down over her boots – I love it!cuffs2

If you’re a crochet-er, be sure to give these great patterns a try.  If you’ve never tried, these are definitely good choices to start with.  Also make sure to take a look through the other patterns on the websites I’ve mentioned – they have a LOT of great pieces and most of their patterns are free.  Oh, and a special thanks to my model daughters…how beautiful are they?!

What are some of your favorite crochet patterns – I’d love to check them out!

 

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Finding that Local Coffee Spot – Joellee’s Cafe #Halifax

findingthatlocalspot-1For our weekly blog meeting this week, we chose to check out a new to us cafe, Joelee’s Cafe. It is a locally operated cafe, open 7 days a week located on Dutch Village Road.

When we arrived, it totally had that cozy, comfy cafe feeling. There is free wifi and endless tea when you order a pot (great for our blog meetings!) The food looks fantastic, with both breakfast and lunch options. We were pleasantly surprised at the prices and that the food is real food. They also have some scrumptious deserts. Underneath the snow and ice, there is a patio that will be perfect for a place to stop on an evening walk, when the weather improves.

You can check out Joelee’s Cafe website, for the address and some of the menu items they have.

We spent time discussing how important it is that there is a local place that we can enjoy. There are franchise coffee places within driving distance, however this spot is more part of our community, in the heart of the residential area. It feels good to support a local place.

Findingthatlocalspot

The owner mentioned that the umbrellas for the patio are on order, hopefully spring weather will follow!

Do you have a favourite local spot you adore?

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Fitness Friday – How to workout when injured

http://blessednstressed.com - Fitness Friday- How to work out when injured

The more active you are the greater the chances are you are going to encounter an injury at some point. I have injured myself a few times over the past few years and it really can be challenging to recover both physically and emotionally.

I injured my foot this past October and have been trying to get back into shape since then. In my case I think I tried to do too much too soon, after a summer hiatus from fitness.

What I have learned from this injury, is how important it is to maintain my fitness, even when I am not hard core training or have intense personal goals. This may seem like common sense to most active people, however I am still relatively new to being a fit, active person.

It has taken me almost as long to recover emotionally as it has been to recover physically from this injury (and past injuries). I am very attached to the concept that I am a runner. Yet I have been unable to run for months now. I want to run a half marathon this spring. Accepting that this may not be possible is very agitating for me. I still struggle to maintain the momentum to work out consistently. So to have something act as a barrier, that I cannot control is very frustrating. The following are the things that I am doing so I can work out when I am injured and maintain my fitness level.

  1. Active Rest Days - My goal is to be active everyday. I swim 80 laps 3 times a week, which has been awesome to maintain my fitness and is not hard on my foot at all. Weather permitted, I try to walk often and prefer to walk outdoors, with my dog. For me it is a great way to reconnect with nature and hope to head out of the city more as the weather changes. There are other options, stationary bike and the rowing machine at the gym would be great to use with a foot injury. I have spent some time working out, lifting weights and will modify things if I feel my foot pain. Listen to your body.
  2. Mobility Exercises - I am still just discovering what this means. From what I can gather mobility exercises are connected to flexibility and range of motion. Both I need to work on a great deal. I should be going some stretches and/or yoga daily.
  3. Sleep - Seriously, we know this. Our bodies repair and heal and do so much when we sleep. I aim for 8 hours of sleep a night, even if that means that as soon as the kids are in bed I head to sleep too. I used to resent that, feeling like I was being ripped off quality “me time”. However, if I am honest with myself, by 9pm I am tired and the time is not quality time spent.
  4. Hydration - Water, it does a body good. Every function in your body requires water, think back to a time you were seriously thirsty. Your body aches, you start feeling totally out of whack. I find drinking water challenging, mostly due to not always being in a place that a bathroom is easily accessible (waiting outside at the school for the kids). I constantly have drinking water on my ongoing goal list.
  5. Self talk - Beating yourself up emotionally is not going to help you recover faster. I am super guilty of this. Our self talk has power, to do great things or to destroy us. Accepting my limitations, grieving the loss of running was super hard. I want to be a runner. It is not lack of motivation and desire holding me back, my own body is and I felt betrayed. I have shifted from those feelings now. If I never run again (ack) I will be ok, there are other sports I can excel in and enjoy.

Have you been injured when working out? Have you remained active while injured? How do you keep active?

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Finding my Inner Ninja…What Doesn’t Kill Me, Makes Me Stronger – Right??

I just got back from a Valentine’s weekend in NYC and in spite of the fact that it was cut short a day early because of stupid winter, it was a great trip. Before I left home, I had arranged to spend one day of the trip with a friend of mine who lives in Princeton, NJ…the last time I was in New York, she came into the city to hang out with me, so I thought I would return the favor and head out to see her.

One problem…I have a bit of an “issue” with public transit.  By that, I mean that the thought of taking it alone sends my anxiety level into overdrive. I have this crazy fear of getting on the wrong train, getting off at the wrong stop, or going in the wrong direction and even though I know it’s not a big deal should any of those things happen, well, let’s just say I’d rather walk 100 blocks than take the train by myself.  In any case, walking to Princeton was not an option.  I’m forever telling the kids to do what makes them anxious, so to set a good example (and boy, do I ever hate when I have to do that!) I committed to taking the train… by myself… to Princeton. Cue my Inner Ninja!

(I don’t know what it is, but it seems the more I have to encourage my kids to find their Inner Ninja, the harder it is for me to find mine!  Ugh!)

In all honesty, I don’t think “fear” is the right word to describe my aversion to public transportation because I’m not really afraid – millions of people use public transit, every day and it’s a very easy system to navigate. What gets me all worked up is the time I’ll waste if I do end up going in the wrong direction, or on the wrong line.  I hate to waste time… I never feel like I have enough of it (clearly, I have to work on being more organized so I don’t feel like that), so the possibility of making a mistake that causes me to lose/waste time is very upsetting for me. I have to learn to let that stuff go and just go for it…which is exactly what I did.

Inner Ninja CollageI checked out the (very clearly detailed) train map, made my way to Penn Station, grabbed some caffeine, bought my ticket and waited with everyone else to board the train.  I had a very quick little panic attack when I saw there were 20+ tracks to chose from and no signage to indicate which one I had to take, but managed to assure myself that the info would pop up when the train was there…which it did.  :-D

I got on the train, sat back, relaxed and away I went to Princeton…all my myself!  BAM! There I was, “goin’ with the flow” (no easy task for me, just ask my husband!).  And now, not only can I check that little box off my list, I was able to spend the day with a great friend, in the town where Einstein lived (pretty cool, huh?).  Another bonus, the next time we go to New York with the kids, it’ll be a breeze to grab tickets and head to Princeton with them!

Well done, Inner Ninja!

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I want to Pin that! Valentine’s Day Edition

Seriously, Valentine’s Day is two weeks away! This month went by super fast!

I have been happily cruising around Pinerest, pretending I will craft up some Valentine’s Day magic in my free time. The following are my favourite Pins for Valentine’s Day this year:

1. Love notes on fruit! We are always striving for healthy ways to celebrate the high in sugar holidays and when I saw this Pin I fell in love.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/232005818280013790/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/232005818280013790/

2. I am totally crushing on this coffee mug, so creative yet simple! Maybe just maybe my Valentine will get one of these mugs this year!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/232005818280014236/

 

3. When I spotted this Pin, I was smitten. I have a tea lover in my house that would swoon if she received this custom made tea bag!

tea1

4. This next Pin, I have actually done before with great success and have considered doing it for Cordi’s class this year.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/232005818280014235/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/232005818280014235/

5.  This Pin looks actually doable in the next two weeks. I love the simplicity of the idea and it looks so cute.

9b5241126230cc3286d99425eac28cd0

 

We would love to see your favourite Valentine’s Day Pin from Pinterest! Leave us a comment and share!

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Online Tattoos…Social Media Posts are Forever

Talking to kids about their social media presence on www.blessednstressed.comChances are, if you live anywhere in Canada, you’ve heard something about the controversy going on with the Dalhousie dentistry students.  For those who haven’t heard, apparently, some of the 4th year, male students of the program had a Facebook group in which some offensive, unethical and just plain unprofessional things were expressed about females in general, and also specific to several of the female students in the class.

Since the story broke, we’ve had several conversations with our kids about what you post online and the permanence of it – every post you make is like a tattoo, no matter how “private” you think it is.  The content of the posts is awful.  But aside from that, I made the point that putting anything of that nature online is not only wrong, but just not smart.  It’s scary for me to think the message about the importance of being safe and responsible with what you post online isn’t getting through to kids…and clearly, not to some adults, either.

Our conversations at home about this story have centered around making choices and the consequences that go with those choices and our kids seem to understand the students were wrong for posting what they did.  They were, however, a bit shocked at how extreme the potential punishment was…”kicking them out of school could ruin their lives, Mom.”  Yup.  That’s what happens when you don’t make smart choices – you have consequences.  I guess I can see why my kids feel expelling the students might be extreme…they’re kids and as such, there are always second chances (or third, fourth…) and not allowing the students to graduate after all the money and time they’ve put into it…it’s a huge and really awful thing.  But we keep reiterating to them that it’s exactly the reason you have to make sure to listen to what you’re being told about online safety and professionalism. Expectations change drastically as you get older, the stakes get higher and you will be held accountable for your actions.  This is why school boards put so much time into educating kids about it.  It’s a BIG deal.  I just worry about how much kids are actually hearing and understanding…even at the high school level.

Every time an adult talks about their childhood, the common point is “how much harder it was for us when we were kids”….I told my kids that this is one way it was easier for the generations before them.  Kids did stupid things, everyone does at one time or another – it’s how we learn. But for us, we didn’t have to worry about the everlasting “proof”, or tattoo, of that stupid thing.  We didn’t have pictures, or group chats posted online for someone to find years after it happened and bring up/repost again and again.  It lasted just long enough for someone else to do a stupid thing.

Anything you post online is like a tattoo on your social media presence – it’s forever. I can’t imagine how anyone that far into their education (and the ages of 25, 26, 27, or older!) hasn’t learned that yet.  NOTHING on the internet is private.  There is no such thing as a “private” chat room, or “private” message…when it is done on the internet, it can ALWAYS become public and will last forever – all it takes is a screenshot and it can be shared to billions of people in seconds.  Kids have to know that if the messages they write, pictures they share, or comments they put online aren’t something they want publicly known, then DON’T POST IT!  Otherwise, one day, these online tattoos could come back to haunt them.

Tell your kids…and keep telling them.

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Out with the old – In with the new

Happy-New-Year!

Happy New Year!

My family has been more distant from social media over the holidays than normal. I have been very, in the moment. Rarely remembering to even pick up the camera or phone to capture the moments. I have peaked in on Facebook and Twitter, and well I am addicted to Instagram (but for fitness stuff, honest).

New Years Eve, we took the kids to the Canada Games Centre for the New Year’s Eve Family Extravaganza! Not entirely what I expected, however the kids had a fantastic time! My husband and I went in workout gear, thinking it would be like family fitness/games, however it was totally geared to the kids. All three kids experienced the zip lines (it was 6 years and up, Cordi is so tall we just snuck her through). I was super thrilled that Ethan, being our most anxious kid, didn’t even really hesitate to do it. I am excited to take them zip lining in the trees in the near future (perhaps when Cordi is actually 6!) There were also bouncy castles, an obstacle course and swimming. So definitely geared to families with kids 12 years and younger.

New Year’s Eve my husband and I approached it a little differently this year. Rather than staying up late and drinking or what have you. We went to bed relatively early, (although it was close to midnight) and New Year’s Day we woke up early, snuck out of the house and went for a walk. It was a crisp morning yet there was no wind, so the walk was really enjoyable. We talked about the coming weeks and year, our hopes and dreams, and started our new year off active and together. I think it is going to be our tradition for years to come.

As for resolutions and the like, well I will share some of those with you in the coming weeks. I have a few blogging and creativity goals that I hope to work on with Suzanne in the coming year.

Do you buy into the New Year Resolution concept? If so what are your resolutions this year?

We look forward to sharing our thoughts, experiences and stories with you this coming year.

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Well it is official, I am a Hockey Mom!

It is official....As I have become more active, I have pushed for the kids to be more active too. Growing up, my parental figures were not really active. My Dad rode his bike on occasion, but daily fitness just wasn’t a thing. We have always encouraged the kids to participate in sports, but honestly we are not like hard core sports fans, so it was not a priority for anyone. I am more a solitary sport girl. I like swimming, running, hiking not the team sport stuff (although I LOVED softball as a teenager).

As a result, we tried soccer and it was meh. The older two never really got into it. My youngest really wants to play and will this summer. Swimming is definitely a big thing in our house. The older two are on a summer swim team and are amazing swimmers, the youngest is quickly following in their footsteps. We have signed the kids up for the Bluenose Youth run the past few years and it has been a great experience.

Hockey was never on the radar. Like ever. Until this Fall, my children had never even been skating. We have a fantastic outdoor skating oval and the children have been begging to learn to skate for about a year. So this year I signed them up for lessons, knowing I could not attempt to teach three kids to skate by myself; especially considering I had not skated since I was 14 years old!

A friend contacted me asking if I had ever considered hockey for Ethan. She went on to explain there was a program for kids that had no experience with hockey, equipment was provided, the program would last six weeks and the cost was reasonable. Ethan had expressed interest in hockey, however he had no exposure. My husband and I talked it over. I talked to other moms that had kids in hockey. After mulling it over, we decided that it was worth a try.

Ethan loves it. The coaches are amazing. Every kid is treated equal. When Ethan slacks off or doesn’t follow through, he is called out on it and made to do it correctly. It is by far the best experience we have had in sport (although our summer swim team is a very very close second). Ethan is still learning to skate, however he can skate so fast now! The program has a few weeks left (it is six weeks in total) and we were given the option to join midseason at a prorated cost. Ethan is so excited to join a team, and we have completed the forms. I am a Hockey Mom!

The program has been such a positive experience even Becca is interested to try it next time they offer it! We have started skating as a family, I was relieved that I could skate after all those years!

As we watch his practices I am flooded with childhood memories of watching hockey games and playing street hockey. I am in awe how focused and determined Ethan is, I have never seen him so into a sport. I am excited to watch him grow with this!

You can find more information on the First Shift program at their website.

Do your kids play hockey? Have you ever considered it?