Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Reads: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time at all, you know I am all about my fantasy books.  When I found this one, I was on the hunt for something with a strong female protagonist.  I'm still not sure if that is what I found...but it was still a fairly entertaining read.

In a nutshell, Nora goes away for a weekend to attend a friends wedding.  Unfortunately her evil ex is also there.  To forget about him for a while, she grabs a book and heads off for a hike in the woods to find some solitude for a while.  As she is wandering around, she begins to realize she might be lost...and ends up finding an old cemetery, surrounded by an iron fence.   After reading the inscription on one of the tombstones, she walks out of the gate and realizes she really is lost.  Shortly, she finds herself in the middle of a grand estate.  The only thing she doesn't realize is that the "estate" belongs to the queen of the Faitoren people.  Nora is in a different world!

In the months that pass, she is swept up into a series of extravagant parties and the charms of the prince, Raclin.  On a picnic one day, she accidentally wanders out of the Faitoren territory and meets the wizard who gives her a token in case she ever needs to be saved from the Faitoren.  At the time, she thinks his warnings ridiculous.

And then she marries Raclin...and her life becomes a living hell as the only reason they wanted her was to continue the Faitoren race.   After a brutal attack one day that nearly kills her and does claim her unborn child, she activates the token and Arundiel (the wizard) saves her life and, eventually, makes her his apprentice.

I don't want to tell too much.  This book contained everything I look for in a book, but I am not sure if it all fits together that well.  At times, Nora came across with some strength and then other times she fell into being a "typical woman" and I say that with disparagement.   I didn't like when she would revert into simpering and bemoaning.   I much preferred when she was leading missions to save those she grew to love.  But in retrospect - really, she was just as most of us actually are.  Strong when we need to be, overcome when we feel to be, and as human as we want to be.

I enjoyed the book, though I did feel there were many parts that were entirely too predictable and others that just lasted far too long.  It is a long-ish book but it is a captivating story that will draw you in.  It would be a good one to read in the backyard this summer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My New Reality

I've been a stay at home mom for two months now!  Seriously - ALREADY!  How did that happen?  I realized I never really did a post on how things have been going in my new reality and that it was about time I did.

Well, in a nutshell:  It's been DIFFERENT.  And it's been VERY, VERY busy!

When the girls were first born, I stayed home with them for nearly 2 years.  I even started this blog during that time and my life then was so much different than it is this time around.  Back then, Langdon was quite different.  There wasn't a doctor or a grocery store or even a good coffee shop.  And with two babies/toddlers and no car during the week, I was fairly restricted on my interactions with other people.  So we stayed at home...all the time.

Now - Langdon is almost a stand alone town.  We have a grocery and a decent pharmacy.  There is a doctors office (about to be 2 doctor offices), a pretty coffee house, a Tim Hortons...and most of all - two girls who ride two wheelers and have friends from school.  I am meeting moms and getting to know them...and trying to convince them that I am not some glamourous trophy wife who could afford to abandon her job to stay home at a time when they are all facing having to go back to work.  It's take two months, but I think they are starting to understand that when I bring the girls to school - it is the start of my work day.

Work is going well.  I enjoy being able to set my own hours and the company I am working for is fantastic.  They understand my time constraints and that my kiddos come first.  They know I will get my hours in even if it means an hour a day.  I couldn't ask for a better situation there.  That's not to say it isn't hectic.  There are only so many ways to talk about on hold messaging...but I'd like to think I'm doing pretty well :)  

And running my own business has been fun as well.  Though when it comes time to produce product for my shop - my days get VERY long.  There is only so much I can do around the girls when they are in a mood to "help".  I am looking forward to Fall when they are in school full time and I will have all that much more time to create products and market my shop.

Life as a stay at home mom in a small town is interesting right now.  We are establishing routines that don't involve the television being on for most of the day.  The girls are loving the warmer weather and spend a lot of time outside.  Doodle recently tore a ligament in her right knee falling off her bike so she's had to slow down a fair bit while it heals, but it doesn't stop us from strapping on her knee brace and going for walks and bike rides.  The kids are great pace bikes as I am working my way back to a regular running habit.  One of the other moms on my block has been my accountability partner since she wants to learn to run...so we go a few mornings a week.  There's more walking than running right now, but that will change.  Right now, we're building the habit.

Walking the girls to school has given me an automatic 4k of walking everyday so I am definitely more active than I have been in a while and the walking has been great rehab for my tibia.  Much of the tenderness is gone now.  It is rare that I feel a tweak at the break site.  It's nice to be pain free.

So time has been flying by in my new reality.  I am really liking it.  Much of the anxiety I was having in my old job has melted away (probably since I am not in the worst desk in the office anymore) and I am able to concentrate on my kids.  I had my first reward for this decision at the end of the first month when Doodle's report card came back saying "(Doodle) has shown considerable restraint over the past month in controlling her emotions".  That is a huge win that goes to show what a couple extra hours of sleep can do for a kid and the impact that more parent time can inspire.   I think the girls are thriving and that this really was the best decision for our family.  I know it makes it much harder for hubby to leave us in the mornings to go to work, but with the shortened commute - even he gets more time in with us in the evenings.  It's like a win-win all around.

I'm so happy we could make this new reality.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: SHP Planners

Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Pinterest knows I have a slight thing for notebooks and planners.  Heck - I even started a company to sell them!   For the past year, I have been using a paper planner again to keep my mind in the game and make sure nothing gets missed.   My discbound system has been awesome, but it hasn't stopped me from drooling over a couple of different coil bound systems - the Erin Condren Life Planner and the Plum Paper Planner.   Sad thing is, though, that shipping from the US is PROHIBITIVELY expensive.  Sure - I know people down there who would be happy to order and ship for me at a much cheaper price...but the planners themseves are still expensive too.  Now that I am a Stay at home mom - it is part of my job to make sure I don't bankrupt us.

But then an Instagram friend shared a new Canadian Etsy store with me - SHPPlanners.   Oh my gosh.  They make coil bound planners that are very similar to the two I have been drooling over...but for MUCH cheaper and with $6 shipping (to me anyway - I'm in Alberta, they are in Vancouver...it might be more expensive to ship further east).  All of my reservations melted away and the order was placed in seconds!

It shipped the day after I ordered it, which amazed me!  I expect that may slow down a bit as they get busier - they are a fairly new Etsy seller.  And then it got here in about a week.  I loved that I could specify the start month.  But what I really loved was having the opportunity to support a small Canadian seller.  THAT is super important in this age of online shopping.

So - I'm pretty happy with it...and I'm not sure when I became this person...but I did my first video review...I may do more going forward if this is well received....so here goes.


Meet My Little Free Library!

I'm done with apologizing for not posting more.  Let's just say I went on sabbatical for a while to live in the real world.   From now on - I'm not going to focus on how little or how much I post. Or whether I am appealing to one group or another...this blog is me and I just want to write again...so be prepared for a bunch of random crap to come down the chute :P

Ok - now for the real reason for the post.  This weekend - our family's little free library went up!  I have been collaborating with Calgary Reads to bring a Little Free Library to Langdon.  They set me up with a reasonably priced carpenter who built the book house for me and were happy to provide answers to any questions I might have...but ultimately - this library is from my family to the families of Langdon.  I had really hoped to be the first in town, but someone else beat me to the punch so this is Langdon's SECOND LFL.  And the first one on the west side of town.

Here it is.  I decorated it myself (the munchkins may have helped with a couple of the drawings)
A video posted by Cori Nicholls (@khourianya) on

If you ever find yourself in Langdon, I hope you'll drop by Bishop Crescent and check it out! And maybe make sure you have a couple of books to donate in your car. You just never know what might be in there for you to discover!

And, if you are on FB - the Little Free Libraries of Langdon has it's own page.  Please like it ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Things Thursday

Hallooooo?  Anybody still here? <sneaking sideways into the room with a sheepish look on my face>

So yeah - I've been a bit absent.  Ok - completely absent - and for a month and a half.  I think I just lost my blogger license.  Haha.  But I'm not going to apologize  I have been insanely busy.

So - to try to step back into this world..I thought I would post the three things that have kept me away.

1) Wrapping up my day job
Yep - I am officially a stay at home mom now (well, work at home mom), but the entire month of February was jam packed with my wrapping up my full time job.  My days, lunches and sometimes evenings were filled with putting the finishing touches on my projects and training my replacement (who I had an UNHEARD of three weeks to train! THAT NEVER HAPPENS!).  But it was good to be done when I shook hands and walked out of the building on February 27.  My journey there had ended and I was ready to move on.

2) Learning the New Routine
Being the newest member of Team No Daycare, I had so much to figure out and two little girls to train that being home with mom is not the same as being home on weekends.  They needed a home routine and FAST!  So our days have been filled with learning and establishing chores, doing lots of reading, earning our screen time and walking to school (a BIG adjustment after being driven everywhere before).  My fitbit has no problem reaching that 10,000 steps each day sine it is a km each way to the school and I am walking it twice a day!Makes me feel like I am being more active too...probably because I am.

I am also trying to get back the running habit by putting in regular 2k runs on my treadmill.  Ok - maybe not so regular...but I am making an effort to use it for more than a clothing drying rack.

Plus, I am working part time when the girls are at school, doing social media for a local recording studio - which is pretty fun in itself.  My days are flying by now.

3) JOT!!!
My new business, JOT, is officially open as of Monday!  I kept putting off the opening, hoping to build up more and more stock, but finally realized, I just needed to get moving and I could add more each week as I go.  I'm so proud of it so far so go check it out and keep me in mind when you are looking for unique stationery gifts for people (or yourself).  I'm not going to market the business much on this blog, but will have a logo and link on the sidebar soon :)

So with all that is going on - there's no wonder I've been MIA.   But with warmer spring weather happening and the nerve pain in my leg starting to calm down as it gets used to moving more - I am hoping I will soon be able to start positing about my adventures in running again...and I KNOW I am going to have some new adventures in mommyhood to share along the way!  Stay tuned!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Five

1) I quit my job this week!
We decided that it is time to not deal with dayhome crap anymore and that I can stay home.  I'm terrified and excited.  I'll still need to find something part time to do for work but, given my background, that should be possible to find something to do from home.  I'm sad in some ways to be leaving my current job, where I have been for 3 years, but in other ways I am really excited to take on being home with my kids when they are capable little beings (as opposed to the twinese speaking completely dependent beings they were last time).  So - starting in March - this adventure begins!

2) Why must kids be sick constantly?
I think we have had some sort of illness running rampant through our house since before Christmas.  Just when I think we get everyone healthy - the next thing hits.  It's quite frankly exhausting.  Which probably means it's about to hit me again.

3) I RAN!
Yes, I did.  Last Sunday.  It was slow (3.5k in half an hour) and icy (oh so icy!) but I made myself get out there and do it and I am happy I did.  It was pain free for both my ankle and my shin. Now I am working on scheduling in some time to gain some momentum again.

4) Coffee is my best friend.
Oh, wait.  You already knew that.

5) Could I possibly be any happier that it's Friday?
No - I think not.

Have a happy weekend, everyone.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Things Thursday - changes

Happy 2015 to you all!

*Crickets*

Okay okay!  I KNOW!  It has been a month since I posted anything.  A month filled with sickness and busy-ness the likes of which have never been seen around out house.  So frustrating but hopefully also nearing an end.

So let's start 2015 over!  I know it's not possible, but January has pretty much been a write off and I'd REALLY like a do-over.

I ended up spending the past couple of days out with a migraine (thank you stupid Chinook), but I am feeling much better now so figured it might be time to post a quick update.

1) I have not been running.  At all.  Still.   BUT I DO have a reason for it.  After my last run - the one where I fell on the ice - I ended up with a sprain in the capsule joint in my left ankle.  Dr Dale couldn't adjust it at all and he put me on rest for two weeks until it healed.  Then came the new year and I ended up with a chest cold kicking off right as I was ready to workout and run again.  So running has been a backburner activity so far this year, but I am looking to start fresh in February and get the ball rolling again.  Wish me luck.

2) After all of our dayhome woes last year...they announced on Monday that they are moving back to BC and we will soon be without a dayhome again.  This one hits us particularly hard since all of the dayhomes I have spoken to in Langdon only operate silly hours like 7-5 and those do not work for us at all as a one-car commute family.   This one isn't solved yet, but hubby and I are looking at creative options so am hoping to have a plan in place soon.

3)  Not really related to any of these, but I have also decided to start a side business.   As you all know, I'm a pretty crafty lady and I have perhaps an unhealthy obsession with stationery products and fancy pens and so forth.  Too funny, really, since I work firmly in the digital world professionally.  Must be a balance thing.   Anyhoo - I decided to start Jot.  The idea is to carry creative products for people who love to jot.   My plan is to photograph and list product this weekend.  THEN you will start to understand exactly what I am doing ;)

So - hopefully this explains why I have been a little absent lately.  I am hoping to be back running and reading and writing again very soon.  And my next update should be a doozy.  Just a little teaser for when that happens.