Thursday, November 16, 2017

PL2017 - Week 34

I know back in my PL2017 - Week 29, I talked at length about seeing the milky way and the rings of Saturn. It was truly one of the highlights of summer for me. Another much anticipated event was the eclipse that was happening on August 21st. Some parts of North America were going to experience a total eclipse. 

I did a blog post on our eclipse experience. You can go back and read it here. 

Spoiler alert. It was a little disappointing. For us any way. The change in light was so subtle, that if you hadn't known this was happening, you would have totally missed it. Having said that, watching the moon move across the sun with our special eclipse glasses and home made eclipse viewers, was very cool. It shows you just how strong our sun is. It does tend to leave you in awe. 

We'd all like to be somewhere to check out a true full eclipse. Who knows, maybe we'll plan all our vacations and trips around seeing eclipses... 

Probably not, but it would be fun to do, if money were no object. 

Here is week 34:

  • Our little eclipse party. 
  • Starting our plumbing project. The first cut was definitely the hardest. 
  • Our orange sunsets because of forest fires throughout Alberta.
  • Madelyn still eager to play at the playground. [Please stay little forever]
  • Trip to the trampoline park before school heads back. 
The following Sahlin Studio product was used:

Pause Kit -
Pause Journal cards -

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

PL2017 - Week 33

The downfall to being 12 weeks behind in my project life album is this:

I'm currently sitting in my house, dressed pretty much head to toe in fleece. I've got on my coziest slippers, I'm sipping hot tea, and outside my window I'm watching the snow fall...

These pictures absolutely do not coincide with our current weather. That makes me two things: 

1] Glad, I get to relive our awesome summer days.

2] Sad, that we're a long, long way away from awesome summer days... 

Here is week 33 of my project life album, and to awesome warmer days:

  • Mason rescued a baby robin from our deck. It got flustered and stuck on our glass railed deck. 
  • August birthday celebrations
  • Sadly, Mad's little dwarf frog only lived a week. Another devastation...
  • Picking our girl up from her week long sleep away camp.
  • A pretty common scene, a teenage and preteen, on their iPads.
The following Sahlin Studio products were used: 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

PL2017 - Week 32

Moving right along, and trying to catch up a little bit. Here is week 32 of my project life album.

The highlight of this week was the weekend trip we took to Vegas with friends. [I also documented our one and only trip to Calaway Park this summer. I got pulled in and bought the pass, then used it once... Will try to remember that for next year.]

Having never been to Las Vegas before, it was quite an eye opening experience. If I had to describe it in two words, it would be sensory overload. We arrived late Thursday night, and flew home Sunday night. I wanted to capture as many photos of our time away as I could. We had a lot of fun with our friends. 

The following Sahlin Studio product was used:

Monday, November 6, 2017

PL2017 - Week 31

We just had our first real blast of winter. 

It's a bummer. It's cold. It's snowy. And at this time of year, I really do feel like hibernating. It's getting dark earlier and earlier each day. Yesterday we changed the clocks back. 

On the bright side, we did have our first fire in the fireplace last night. Nothing like the sound of crackling wood, and smell of cedar, snuggled under the blanket. 

It makes me glad to go back to summer photos and warmer longer days. 

Here is week 31: 

Another camping trip to the mountains. This time Mum and Dad joined us. It allows us to go on family bike rides. [We can't leave Miss Libby alone at the campsite] The weather started off amazing [read HOT] and then got colder and colder. By the day we left, it was miserable. Glad we had lots of warm clothes, as well as the furnace in A&B's R.V. The night before we left, we played games and all sat around inside their RV. Also, the fire ban was still on.  We were lucky enough to use Dad's propane powered 'fire pit'. It was better than nothing, but not quite like roasting marshmallows over the fire. Barry also ended the trip by getting a pine branch in the eye. Scratched his eyeball. It was pretty scary. We got in to see the eye doctor a few hours after we got back. They take eye trauma very seriously. He was given ointment, and by the next day had nearly healed itself. [Apparently the eyeball heals amazingly rapidly] We were so lucky it wasn't worse. 

We also got to celebrate Baba's birthday. We're always glad to have the opportunity to eat cake and sing. 

The following Sahlin Studio products were used:

Friday, October 27, 2017

2017 - Week in the Life -

I'm 98% finished with my Week in the Life Album. I documented April 17th - 23rd, 2017.

I still need to do my title page. My intention was to have a Madelyn draw a picture of each of us, then on the back side I have a little blurb about each of us. Madelyn is not agreeing to this. She keeps telling me she draws terrible people. So, it's possible it might never happen.  

I had also planned on adding a little 'intention page', to start my album. [The blank space on the right, in the first photo] It hasn't happened yet. And it might not. What I've learned about creating these albums, sometimes you have a to let things go. I would rather have it 98% complete, and put it away, than not finish it at and have it there nagging at me every time I see it. 

Going through past albums, what's most important to me, or what I like to reflect on the most, are the stories. So I have lots of words. Most photos have words. Each day I have either one or two pages, mostly in time intervals, of what the day looked like. 

This year, I used a 6x6" format. I used an old Heidi Swapp chipboard album that I've had in my stash forever. I also used some different embellishments I've collected over the years. I like the idea of adding physical memorabilia, but am not always super successful at it. This years format is very simple, and mostly digital. 

Here is my 2017 Week in the Life album, mostly done: 

By Sunday, I'm usually struggling a little bit. I've kind of had enough. Not many photos to capture our Sunday this year. But as is the case, when I'm done, I'm so glad I did it.

I had to get this finished, because my December Daily Kit just arrived!! This will be my 9th year doing a December Daily album. I am excited to get this process started as well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

More CZ Inspiration

A few weeks back I wrote a blog post about the fact that I was re-taking CZ Design Your Life class. It was a 'go at your own pace' type class. It was over a 4 week period, each week there were two new layouts introduced. 

I got busy, as life does, and didn't get the chance, or rather, have the time to watch the videos or complete the layouts. I had only completed 2 of 4 weeks.

Here are the two layouts I created from week 2, which I guess I forgot to post here on my blog:

These are both 8x8 sized layouts. I like them. I got a couple of stories down, which makes me happy. But I don't love them. Sometimes I feel a little like I'm 'reaching'. With these two layouts, that's how I felt. 

This past week I found I had some free time. So I went ahead and watched the week 3 videos and got right to work on my layouts. Now I'm not sure why... The pictures themselves... The subject matter... The layout size... [8.5 x 11 compared to 8 x 8 size] But I love how these two layouts turned out. Love, as in they make me absolutely giddy.

Here they are:

I'm looking forward to seeing what week 4 brings. Hopefully I can set some time aside sooner rather than later.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

PL2017 - Week 30 [and a Halloween Layout]

Here is week 30 of my project life album. 

  • This week Madelyn was in an art class each afternoon. She spent a few days at my M&D's house. Mason and I went for a few bike rides which would have been a little bit more strenuous for Mad. 
  • Barry and I went on a date night, ended up downtown. 
  • Madelyn's artwork came home and it was awesome. 
  • Grandma and the kids after they came over for dinner one night. 
  • Movie night in the back yard, we watched Robots which has longtime been a favourite. 

Also created a Halloween layout from last year. Sahlin Studio has just released it's new Project Mouse (Halloween) Enamel Pin and Artsy kits. Check them out, they are so much fun. Here is the 8x8 sized page I created. 

Each Halloween, all four of us decorate our own pumpkin. We always have fun, and I like to include our jack-o-lanterns on layouts. Last year was also the first time Madelyn had ever gone out with a friend. It also marked the first time she'd used a pillow case to collect her candy. I really don't understand why that is such a novelty. I'm sure it will be in vogue again this year as well...

Also, I got word that my December Daily stuff I ordered from Ali Edwards is on it's way!

So excited about that. One of my favourite projects for sure. 

The following Sahlin Studio product was used: 

Week 30

For Real Journal Cards -
For Real Paper -

Halloween 2016

Friday, October 13, 2017

PL2017 - Week 29 & My Summer Highlight

We started week 29 off by camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park. When we started camping last year, we went Sunday to Wednesday. It worked out really well, because the weekends are generally busier and more in demand. We're lucky Barry is flexible, and he can also do a little bit of 'remote working' as long as he has cellular coverage. 

When we arrived Sunday, it was super smokey. Ash was actually raining down on us, our vehicle, trailer and picnic table were filthy. We had a spot right down by the Bow River, which made Madelyn's trip even more awesome. Lots of time spent 'frogging'. 

This week had one of my most memorable experiences of the summer. 

On the 22nd of July we went to a presentation of Milky Way Nights put on by the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory [U of C] The observatory was open to the public for night sky viewing. [There were many telescopes set up by numerous excited astronomers, volunteering their time] I had found out this was happening by reading about it in Calgary's Avenue magazine. I was absolutely keen to do this. Thankfully, so were Barry and the kids. Gates opened at 10 pm. We arrived at 9:40 pm, and were at least half way down the dirt road, waiting in line. At 10 pm, the gates opened, and we made our way up to the parking lot. 

The night couldn't have been more perfect. It was absolutely still. It was warm. And most importantly, totally bug-less. We observed Jupiter and Saturn through high powered telescopes. [I actually saw the rings of Saturn!] I was totally nerding out, and lined up to have another peak at saturn on numerous occasions. We waited in a very long line, to have the opportunity to look into the night sky through the large telescope. The hope was we would get to look at a nebula, but they were having a hard time locating one. Instead, we got to see Arcturus. It's an orange giant star which is about 37 light years from earth. It's part of the Bootes constellation. It's visible to the naked eye in both the norther and southern hemisphere. It's the 4th brightest star in our sky. It looked like a huge shiny diamond in the sky. [Told you I totally nerd out about this stuff...] It was very cool. 

After that, we went back to a grassy area, and found a place to sit down. [My only regret was not having a blanket to sit on the ground on] By this time, there were many, many other people. It was dark, with no moon [not very easy to see ones way around] We watched as the sun set deeper on the horizon, and the milky way came into view. It. Was. Awesome.  Around 11:00, they began a talk on the night sky. The man doing the talking pointed out various constellations with a laser pointer [making sure there were no planes in his path] Told us stories of different constellations. We saw the ISS [International Space Station] fly overhead. I saw the little dipper, turns out what I've been calling the little dipper my entire life is actually not the little dipper at all. 

The milky way though... Wow. It was amazing. Even the guy giving the talk couldn't believe what a great view we were getting of it. 

We finally left at about 11:45, Barry felt the talk was 'wrapping up', and there was still a steady stream of people flowing in. As we left and made our way back to the highway, people were literally streaming up to the observatory. There were cars parked all along both side of the highway. It was totally dangerous.

We were so lucky to get there when we did. We got a spot to park. We got the chance to look through telescopes. We got to listen to a fantastic talk. I got to see the rings of Saturn! With my own eyes! 

My hope is that all the people that were flowing in, were donating money to the observatory, as 100% of the proceeds go to educational programs. At the time, the suggested donation was $20 a carload. Since then, as of September 15th, 2017 the donation has gone up to $30 per carload. For our little family, it was absolutely money well spent. 

I was giddy the entire ride home. It was absolutely a highlight of the summer for me. [I included a tiny photo of what Saturn looked like for me on my journal card]

Here is week 29 [though I've touched on everything but the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming]:

  • We took Mason to see Spiderman. Seeing a few movies that aren't cartoons have been such a treat for me. Madelyn was invited to join us, but chose to have a sleep over and A&B's instead.
The following Sahlin Studio product was used: 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

JNP [Jasper National Park]

I'm a born and raised Calgarian.

We are far and few between. Calgary seems to be full of transplants. 

I only visited Lake Louise for the first time, about 8 years ago. I've skied Louise many times, it's one of my favourite hills. But I'd never ventured to the other side of the highway. Since that first time, [which happened to be a wedding, which was amazing] we've been back quite a few times. We've checked out the ice magic festival. We've skated on the lake. We've warmed up with extremely expensive hot chocolate inside the Fairmont Lake Louise. We've hiked up to Agnes Tea house and fought for a spot to have an extremely expensive cup of tea/hot chocolate and scones. We've checked out the gorgeous larch colours and started up the hike to the plain of six glaciers. Though we realized we weren't ready for the weather that was changing right before our very eyes, so we turned back. 

We have also just recently, as in the last couple of years, visited Moraine Lake, which is one of the prettiest vistas I've ever seen.  It's iconic.

But, getting back to the point of this post, last weekend, I made my first trip to Jasper. [Apparently I was there as a two year old, but have no memory of that visit at all] I went with Madelyn's new guiding unit, as a parent helper. An extra set of hands. We stayed in... Wait for it... A hostel. We stayed in a hostel.

That alone, is quite an experience. I did stay in a hostel in Banff once, back with my girl guide unit, we took the train to Banff, stayed in a hostel, and rode a bus back to Calgary. I have very little memory of it. Except to remember that it did indeed happen.

What can I say about staying in a hostel... We stayed in a bunk room, with 14 bunk beds. 28 women. And it was full. Not a bed to be had. A hostel is a little bit like a ski resort. As in, you bring your lunch bag, full of lunch, to the hill, and leave it in the lodge. And when you come in to have lunch, it's still there. And while you come in to have your lunch, you leave your skis and poles outside, against the ski racks. And when you come back out after eating, your skis and poles are still there...

So, it's a little bit of the honour system. And for the most part, people are pretty honourable. Having said that, I didn't take anything of value. Though I would love to have had my DSLR camera, I didn't bring it with me, because I didn't want to leave it in the hostel, or in the vehicle.

Jasper itself was a bit smaller and much less commercialized than I'd expected. The main street with shops etc, was one block long. We prepared all our meals at the hostel, so didn't have an opportunity to check out any places in town. I did however, get my Timmy's coffee in Jasper. Lucky me.

We had a jam packed schedule.

We arrived late Friday night, it was dark by the time we got there. Thankfully we had light until the Columbia Icefields. Here are a few photos of our time spent there.

A shot of the dorm room... Got it with no one in there, not easy.

 So thankful Madelyn took a top bunk, allowing me to take the bottom. The top bunks were at least 5 feet high. Actually, more like 6. Again, thankful I didn't have to make my way up there. 

 Downtown Jasper, near the train station. The girls did a fun scavenger hunt. They had to find things their list, and text photos of proof back to the leader. This was clue number one, find the train.

 Love these older buildings. This is the building the Friends of Jasper work out of. Lots of great info can be found here. Would love to have more time to explore. 
Maligne Canyon. 

The hike down Malingne Canyon, to the various bridges was great. It started off a little bit cool, but once we got moving, it was perfect. The canyon was so deep. It was so neat to see. 

 Taking a rest.

 Trail selfie with Mum. 

 This is at Medicine Lake. The area suffered a forest fire two years ago, it's still very desolate looking. 

The landscape with the burnt trees and yellow grasses was beautiful. 

 Madelyn, posing with her inukshuk. 

 Mad's inukshuk. Mine was just a tower of rocks. 

 The girls outside the hostel. This place was absolutely Madelyn's cup of tea. She loved everything about it, except the people that used flashlights in the room at night. That was extremely annoying... But in the common rooms, she was ready to chat up anyone who would chat back.

 Headed back home on Sunday. The colours... They were breathtaking. 

Quick stop at Athabasca Falls. 

The colour contrast the blue water and yellowish rocks, is so pretty. 

 Another photo with Mum at the mouth of where the falls come out. 

 Awesome view and colours captured in this photo. 

 There is something about rushing water, that is humbling. 
 Quick restroom and lunch stop at Columbia Icefield. Would love to come back and check it out. It's on the bucket list for next year.
Madelyn and a mountain goat. If it was alive, she'd want the same pose. 

Out my window. 

Bow Lake, another place I'd like to take some time to explore. 

Many photos were taken out the car window, as we were driving. The highway was so beautiful. And the the photos in no way, do justice to what it actually looked like. The leaves were all changing, it was just so darn pretty. Do yourself a favour, and if you've never been on that highway before, add it to your bucket list. 

We will absolutely be making a trip back at some point.