Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Fraudulent Voters?? come on

Three in a week!!! Sorry guys, I know I am not a political pundit, I don't even live in the USA but I am an American and I too want to see America become a great nation but not at the expense of other nations.

So Trump has come out to say that he would have won the popular vote except 3-5 million votes  were fraudulent votes.  Ummm what?? Where is the proof that this happened? There are absolutely no claims that have been brought forward except Trump's.  He won the electoral college so the popular vote doesn't even matter.

Is Trump's ego that sensitive that he will be a poor winner?  As Elsa said "Let it Go!"

Seth Meyers commented on his show and said it very succinctly you can watch it here 

But here's the other side to that.  Trump is so SURE that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud, but, just stick with me for minute, what if the voter fraud helped Trump win the Electoral Vote?

With all the controversy around this election and the fact that Trump keeps bringing America's attention back to it maybe this will end up biting Trump in the butt.

He needs to be a gracious Leader, he needs to accept the results, like Hilary has(for the most part), she conceded, she congratulated him, she went to his inauguration.  She may not like the results but she isn't still talking about the results of the election, she is not protesting them, it's time to move on.

Trump is not the popular president but I am not surprised this is the issue he is losing sleep over,  I mean this is the man that runs popularity contests for years and criticized the ratings of the Apprentice after he left.  He's so focused on being liked that he can't stand that he is not the most beloved president ever.

But that also ticks me off because people do love Trump! People near and dear to me, who I am hoping my "Screaming Liberal" as my dad would say, views don't project that I don't respect that they love Trump.  All that happened is based on their experiences and perspective they saw something in Trump that I did not.  They are still the same people I love, we just have opposing view points.  And Trump should be grateful for the supporters he has and focus his attention on showing his dissenters what his supporters already see, that he has a vision and he is for ALL the American people and for HUMANITY!

There are quite a few things that have come out since Trump took office, a few I am happy about because I think they are beneficial, but some I have concerns with.  As it was with the Obama administration.  To be fair we won't all agree on everything, but we should discuss the issues that are important and stop focusing on the irrelevant facts.

But what would happen if it is found that Trump won the Electoral College because of fraudulent votes????

And instead of trying to prove that their was fraudulent voting (because who knows what could come of that) how about Trump just focus on where he feels the fraudulent votes could have come from and work to fix those problems. Cross reference voter lists to see if people are voting in two states and see why that may be and how you can fix that. If there is a problem I say fix it but stop pouting and saying you would have won the popular vote if xyz.  I don't know exactly what the right thing is but can we let the election results just rest so we can get on with moving forward and making positive changes for the world.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Photo Journal from Jaspar!!

We had a great time in Jasper! Here are some more pictures from our trip there.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Friday Five: Five Daily Habits I do

I'm not much for daily habits, the thought of being tied to doing something each and everyday (cough cough exercise) exhausts my mental capacities before I even start. But I know there are daily things I do each and every day that are super easy and make all kinds of sense.

So here they are!

1) I wash my face everyday.  I was blessed with good skin, it is very even I don't get a lot of breakouts, never really did and I have a young face.  But I do wash my face every day. It may not be my full RE9 routine but I do wash it, which is not something I can say I always did.  But over time this became more of a habit.  Especially, since I started teaching again having a clean face starts my day off right I guess.

2) I write down one positive event from the day.  It doesn't matter if I have had a bad day or my kids having been driving me nuts I sit down each night before I go to bed and write down one great thing that happened.  This has taken awhile to get into a routine but it is so much fun to look back each year to see what we were up to.

3) I eat breakfast, I have always eaten breakfast, I love breakfast.  It's not always a full five course meal but sometimes it is, for me it doesn't matter I suffer from HANGRY disease if I don't eat regularly so I eat something. It could be some quick eggs, overnight oatmeal, a smoothie, but I eat breakfast every day.

4) I tell my kids that I love them everyday.  But I make an effort in this, not because it doesn't come naturally to me, it does, but because as my children get older, having mom say I love you isn't always received with the same enthusiasm as it used to be.

5) I log my food on myfitnesspal every day.  This may be a habit I break when I feel like I've broken all my other bad habits around food, but for now it keeps me accountable and helps me see my progress

What are some habits you do each day? What are some habits you'd like to introduce to your daily routine?

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Welcome Mr. President Trump

I don't often do political posts.  For me politics is a private matter and one I don't usually care to discuss because it's not a "thing" for others to judge me on.  I have my perspective and you have yours but even if our perspectives don't match doesn't mean we are lesser human beings. With that being said here are some of my thoughts, and observations on the new President of the United States.

Mr. Trump during his campaign and his life has made some very questionable comments.  His comments about being able to "grab her pussy" indicates that he thinks because of his richness and celebratory he is allowed to treat women as second class citizens or objects.  Something women have fought against forever and just when it felt like we were pulling away from that this is brought to light.  Yes it happened 12 years ago, but Trumps brain was not that of a 17 year old at the time, he was fully matured adult with adult children and locker room talk shouldn't be condoned if it disparages against one sex or another.  This indicates that mistreatment and sexual assault against women is ok if you are of a certain status, which it absolutely is not.

Mr. Trump has said he would send all the immigrants back, would build a wall at the Mexico border, so my question is this, Will he send Melania back? Blaming a group of people on a problem, is a huge problem because it's painting all people with the same brush.  I am a caucasian female, but just because I am European decent I don't want people to start believing that I am a member of the KKK, that's just dumb.  All people make their own decisions and there is not one immigrant group in America (or Canada) that hasn't helped improve the nation in some way and they do not deserve to be disrespected. Blaming others for your lot in life isn't fair, big businesses closed up shop in America because it didn't help their bottom line and they could get cheaper labour in other countries, the government may have introduced taxes that started that process but at the end of the day it was the company who made the final decision to leave the country and find else where to set up their factories. Those companies blamed the government for making them make that decision but at the end of the day they could have taken a cut to their bottom line and added it back into the company and stayed in America.

I have an education, I have a degree that I paid good money for and I feel I am qualified to work in a number of human services fields because of that degree.  But if the economy took a downturn and I were to lose my job, I'd be at the Mcdonald's or Starbucks applying for a job because I am not above working anywhere if it will feed my family.  This isn't the popular opinion from my observations.  Many North Americans believe that they are above sweeping floors, changing bedpans, hauling garbage or the like because they went to school.  Well then the immigrants come in and want to work and are willing to do whatever and guess what they get the job.  Not because they are immigrants but because they are willing to take any job and they work hard.  Hard working is not a characteristic I can put to all North Americans, many still are and they are out there applying for jobs, working jobs and it is those North Americans I hope the governments in Canada and the States maybe focus on helping a little more. It's time to stop feeling so entitled to our many freedoms (education, healthcare, freedom of speech) and stop treating them as if they are something else.  We are free to work, but we need to work the jobs that are available and you need to work them for the going rate, not some inflated amount you think you deserve simply because you showed up.  We are free to share our thoughts in speech and press but it shouldn't be at the expense or detriment of someone else, do unto others as you'd have done to you. We are free to receive an education but if you don't put in the work to learn what is being presented that falls on you not the educators, we are cells but we do not learn by osmosis.  Health care should be free and all Americans should have access, it should be affordable and not onerous, so yes Obamacare had some issues but don't scrap it, fix it, alter it make it something that is beneficial.

Mr. Trump entered into the political realm for his own reasons. I don't know if it was to prove his statements correct about Republican Voters ( I sincerely hope not),  I don't know if it is because he does want to build America up again, I don't know if he did on a bet from one of his locker room buddies.  I was not there when he made the decision.  But he did and now he is in one of the most important roles in the world. He knew going in that he would be under a microscope, he used the same microscope to dissect Obama and now he is at their scrutiny.  Every move he makes America will be watching and passing judgement, right, wrong or indifferent, this is what has happened and what he signed up for.  I hope he has the strength to withstand and to maybe listen to those dissenters,  if he doesn't his term may be a one and done.

Right now it is the States of America, they aren't united and that is Trumps number one job.  He may accomplish this through different avenues but to Unite the States and the population that should be his number one priority moving forward.

My only hope is that he will start paying attention to the calls of people who did not vote for him through their rallies and protest and maybe think long and hard before he makes generalizations about other groups and works to unite a country that in essence he is working for.  The country is not working for him, he has been appointed by the people and it may be the minority in population he is still the president, but he needs to start acting like one. Stop focusing on satirical comedies that are poking fun of you! Embrace the comedy or better yet focus on your job, you aren't a tv critic (anymore). Start making decisions that don't just better the world for you and your fellow billionaires but for the world in general.  Don't take away people's rights to marry, keep church and state separate!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Women's March on Washington

I am having huge issues with this meme! One I find it completely stupid and two absolutely not correct.

Ok so I am going to give you my perspective on this meme and what people are complaining about and it is only that.  I don't have any agenda, I'm not a Trump supporter but I accept and have hope that he will do a good job in the role he has been assigned.  But it's time to stop and it's time to stop discrediting our other citizens for their views,  it's time to stop saying their perspective is wrong just because it doesn't agree with yours.  And you are all fully allowed to disagree with me on this.

The dictionary defines Protest: Noun: a statement or action expressing disapproval or objection to something;  Verb: to express an objection to what someone has said or done; declare something firmly and emphatically in the face of stated or implied doubt or in response to an accusation.

So for me I am so proud of all the women who chose to go out and let their voices be heard in protest (noun) to Trump becoming the president.  They don't approve of him being President based on some of the things he said during his campaign, things he needs to take ownership of and explain or apologize for.

To say that no rights were violated is akin to saying a girl deserved to be rape because she wore a cheerleader outfit.  To say that a women's body is just an object that men can treat as they want isn't a violation to rights is wrong.  Trump was caught on tape saying he could just reach and "grab her pussy" and to say that that statement isn't a violation of rights well then you are saying the sexual assault culture in our society is ok, and I am not OK with that.  Those same women that came forward were called liars and no one took them seriously and were publicly shamed because of who Trump was and their rights weren't violated.  I march for those women so that Trump and all men know they cannot treat women this way and expect to come out unscathed.

So in my perspective rights were violated and women came together but it wasn't just women, it was immigrants who were threatened to be deported, the LGBTQ community would have their rights and equalities taken away (Trump has removed that page from the White House website which could be a very real statement of people having their rights violated already).  So yes the first part of the meme is a lie, it's wrong and people need to stop being so short sighted. Ok that's not fair I am just asking that maybe you take another look and see things rom another perspective.

The second part of the meme is insinuating that the population of people who lost the election are just pouting and crying because they lost.  Again I will refer you to the definition of the word Protest this time looking at protest as a verb.  If you don't think that Trump's statements did not cause people to object well this march was exactly that.  They didn't like what Trump had to say about his mandates and policies and so they took to the streets to let the President know that he would have many voices to answer to. Many voices that would stand up against Hate, many voices that would ban together to ensure the rights of those Trump wished to marginalize in his campaign were protected.  So I am glad my sisters marched, I am so proud of them and I stand tall as a firm supporter of Human Rights.  

For me this march was essentially, a welcome to the White House Mr. Trump, but before you get to comfortable and think you've only got to listen to your cabinet,  hear our voices because we won't be ignored.  From most accounts the Protest was peaceful, sure some celebrities may have made some inappropriate remarks, but those are the remarks of those celebrities not the message behind the march.  

I really dislike doing political posts but I am going to have a couple here coming up because I can no longer sit back quietly and watch.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

State of the Next Generation.

I fear for the state of the next generation.  I am very worried about whether or not they will be able to function in a society that does not embrace change and has rewarded just showing up their entire lives least their egos be hurt.

I didn't raise my oldest son that way and I don't plan to raise my younger sons that way.  Where I have maybe neglected my children is in their ability to navigate through different aspects of grown up life.  Things like bill paying, getting loans, building credit, negotiating deals for items such as cars and houses.  I am seeing now that my oldest doesn't know anything about these things and is learning them by being thrown into the fire at 18.

Here's the problem though, he was unable to learn any of these things prior to being 18.  You can't get loans or credit before you are 18 but by then you need it to function in society.  Do you know that to buy a cell phone you need credit?  Do you know that most of society needs a cell phone now because most people no longer have home phones?

So how does an 18 year old develop credit or get any kind of understanding about it, if they haven't been able to get credit before.  It falls on the parents but credit is a really abstract concept and even if a child understands about it they can't build it until they are 18.

And negotiating deals, is something you learn as you go but you want to give your kids the best advantage and yet you don't want to spend their lives negotiating with them about bed time, or earning different rewards.

I also don't know that it needs to be taught in school, but it's almost like there should be a LIFE course and all students who are in grade 12 should need to take it, it should be after school for one semester or they could take it as an online course. But it should be focused on things that they need to know, like sales people want your sale and the first thing they offer you will not be the last thing they offer you.  Or that credit takes awhile to build but will collapse quickly with poor repayment.  And throw in there how to change a tire, change your oil, change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Why writing a will is important?

I get that they have a CALM course in Alberta but I don't know that it focuses on what is really needed. I had a resume built and a job by the time I was the age at which I was suppose to take the CALM course so focusing on resumes and cover letters seems to be redundant but an easy task.  Or maybe the CALM course should be altered so that the kids pick their five modules based on what they feel they need to survive LIFE OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL and do projects to support those learnings.  I don't teach calm but I'd love to  if I would be given freedoms to help people get a real reality check to life.

In life there are due dates, in life there are consequences and it's time we start really teaching the next generation about reality!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Monday Update: Goal Busting!!

I feel like I do these posts more for me than for anyone reading, seems like a bit of a selfish statement to make but in reality I go back and read my blogs from time to time and reflect on where I have been.  And that means more to me than getting readers or likes or whatever Social media says we need to get by sharing. Sorry not sorry.

I guess in that way that is my intrinsic motivation and if my sharing helps people make changes than that's awesome but I like to keep me on track and by updating these blogs then I am focusing on my goals and working to make them happen.

Monday Updates:

I have been on a weight loss journey off and on for at least 6 year.  I have always fluctuated comfortably around the 190 mark.  Since my last child I have been up around the 220 mark, but I knew that was neither healthy nor a number I wanted for myself (especially since it didn't have to be).   Since my youngest was born almost three years ago I have been on a steady decline with times of plateaus.  Those plateau times haven't been bad because I never went up in weight but they also allowed me time to focus on other things not just my weight loss.

I've set different goals for myself.  Sometimes they have been weight goals (these are my least motivating goals) other times they have been total body inches (I enjoy these goals) and other times it's just been fitting into clothes that I love but can't wear because they don't fit properly. (most motivating).  I find the clothing goals most motivating because its a visual and I can attempt to put the clothes on at any size and see progress towards the goal.

So currently I have a goal to get to 200 lbs, that is the goal on myfitnesspal and my fitbit apps.  Its a good and fair goal, but I know my body and I know I am capable of gaining muscle mass faster than I lose fat, I don't know why my body works this way I just know that it does so sometimes when I am doing strength training or weight lifting that number on the scale won't decrease yet every other area will. So I am currently 2 pounds away from my first goal.  The total goal was like 50 pounds so I had to break it up into smaller amounts so that I would stay motivated.  So far I am almost down 20 pounds!!

I also have a goal to be a total of 320 body inches.  This is a total body measurement from neck to calves, I would say I measure 15 spots on my body and obviously some of those areas will be larger than others  I have been doing measurements since 2011 and I find these very motivating and you see results regardless or even because of the muscle development.  Currently I am at 346 total body inches, which is 42 inches less than where I was when I first really started in July 2016.

I also have a goal to fit into my size 10 Banana Republic Jeans (these are my favourite jeans, I seriously love how I look in them).  They are out of the container now and are hanging in my closet.  Right after my youngest son was born I could barely get them past my knees.  I may have thrown myself a pity party, but then I pulled myself up and started focusing.  Now I am able to pull them all the way up and over my hips and I can almost button them.  So I am not into them yet, but I would wager that as long as I keep working on being healthy, eating my macros and exercising I can fit into them by my birthday. BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!! A new outfit without having to buy new clothes ;)

These are the photos that are my inspiration I want to get back to this, and I would say I'm steadily making progress!!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Friday Five: Five things we did and loved in Jaspar

Our Trip to Jasper National Park
As I had mentioned in my last Friday Five Post we were going to travel to many different National Parks this year since the pass was free and I wanted to travel more with my family.  Now even though Banff is technically closer we decided to take our first trip to Jasper.  I have only been there twice and my husband only once (he was born and raised in Alberta ~:)~)

Jasper is such a pretty area and so many things to see!! We travelled up through Edmonton and came into Jasper on Highway 16.  This is a nice double laned highway, but the weather had snowed the few days before so the road was slick with Black ICE. If you don't drive a lot, and even if you do, Black Ice is scary to drive on, your vehicle just slips and slides and there is really nothing you can do. So from just outside of Edson to the park entrance it was a pretty white knuckle drive and me in the passenger seat trying to find a break or a way to brace myself for impact.  

The one thing I do not like about driving into Jasper on highway 16 is you never feel like you are driving or climbing into the Mountains and all of a sudden you are just there.  My favourite part of Mountain driving is the climbing and descending and you kind of miss that when you are on highway 16. 

Now onto Five things we did and loved in Jasper
1) We ate at Jasper Pizza.  This is a little restaurant right on Connaught street. It was amazing and the food was delicious.  The kids enjoyed colouring and watching the sports on television, I was able to visit with my husband and children without a lot of background noise.  The waitress was excellent and super friendly!  So if you go to Jasper and want a place to eat check out Jasper Pizza!! 
After Pizza we explored the townsite and walked around until our feet got too cold!! My husband and I both agree that we like that the storefronts are all similar and that there are no obnoxious billboards or signages for chain restaurants like you see in the city.

2) In the morning we set out to explore many different areas of Jasper National Park.  Our first stop was Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Island.  As we drove up we noticed that Pyramid Lake Resort had ice skating areas cleared off, included a .7km loop around the lake.  Definitely, bringing our skates next time we come up to Jasper in the winter.  We walked out to Pyramid Island and I showed my family where my good friend Tara had gotten married.  Leigham thought it was pretty cool. 
I don't know if this is all kids or just my kids, but they had such a fascination with the snow and with wiping it off surfaces and picking it up.  And I make them play outside all the time, but they were seriously behaving like they had never seen snow before and would never see it again.  I promise you there is a boat load in my backyard and they are forever welcome to play with it!!

3) We left Jasper and headed south along highway 93, we figured it couldn't be worse than highway 16 and we were in no rush. So it was a lot of meandering and moseying along the highway with frequent stops.  Our first stop was at Athabasca Falls.  I am a sucker for Waterfalls, like of my top three natural things, waterfalls are probably number 2, the ocean is number one and mountains are number 3.  Athabasca falls was spectacular, it did not disappoint.  I love the blues and they ice formations, and Leigham was enthralled, he even had to make a short little instagram video about it!! lol

4) our next stop was Sunwapta Falls, just 24 km south of Athabasca Falls.  I had initially thought this would be a 2.6 km hike but it turned out to be much closer.  We took Theo in the sled and we all walked to see the falls.  It's a super easy trip and no one froze!!

5) Glacier!! All things water seem to enthrall me, maybe it's because I am a water sign (Go Pisces) or maybe it's something else, I don't know, but all things water just capture my attention and really humble me.  I was like a kid in a Candy store making my husband stop so I could get some pictures of the Glacier, and had I not had my two year old with me and had it been just a little warmer I would have walked much closer to the Glacier. So next time..... oh yeah I am going as close as I can.  I just think it's amazing that this frozen body of water is still here (thank goodness) and that it has been here for thousands and millions of years.  Wow is the only way I can describe how I feel about this natural phenomena.

Added bonus, we left Jasper National park and took Highway 11 home so we drove by Abraham Lake.  I love this place and next time I come out here in the winter I will have ice cleats so I can go down on the lake to take pictures of the bubbles in the ice!! There were so many people down there doing that but I didn't have the gear, so next time I am doing it! Abraham lake is beautiful, it can be super windy too, but it is well worth the short trek out of the park to see!! Welcome to Back Country!!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Classroom Life Skills

When I am working with my kids I am always trying to ensure that their needs are put first.  The skills and learning my students need are very different to the other students in my class but also different from the general population.  So even if I am teaching a lesson on hygiene for a Job Interview, I am teaching a separate lesson to each student because they are all at different levels.

This past week we've been working with hygiene skills.  Now if you ever spend any time around children and teenagers you will know that hygiene skills are not second nature, in fact for some they plain just don't know about them.  I've worked with students who wouldn't know what deodorant was if it came up and bit them, I've also worked with students who think Axe spray will mask all bad smells. These are two sides of the same coin, they are terribly assaulting to anyone around them.  And this has happened in every school, in every grade and every program I have worked in. If students aren't taught hygiene skills they just don't know.

So we started our lessons talking about the big and important Job Interview.  We discussed the importance of a first impression and how even though we shouldn't judge people by their appearance in a job interview this is common place.  So in order for a person to get a good job, they must demonstrate that they are fluent in hygiene skills.

It's been some fun lessons.  I work with some students that really benefit from having things in a check list with pictures so we've been doing picture checklists.  It's so fun to see their thinking and processing skills as well.  Sometimes I am dying with laughter because they come up with the craziest things.

We brainstormed all our areas of hygiene, from bathing regularly to changing socks regularly.  One student researched pedicures, another put together information of scent awareness.  We discussed the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant.  I have one student writing a comic strip on good hygiene and showering.

Teaching Life Skills is one of my favourite parts of the job!!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Lessons for The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

I've been reading this book for a year.  It's not a bad book, but I just kept putting it down and reading other things, but I made it my resolution to read this book this month, or to finish it.  This is also a book I treat like my University books, making notes as I read so that I can remember what I've read.

So here are my top ten take aways from this book.

10) Meditation or focused reflection each day is going to help you create the vision that you want for you life.  By continually thinking on this vision each day it will start to come into reality.

      I've started meditating before bed each night, I find it's a very relaxing activity and helps me to sleep better. I have crazy dreams now, but I'm not bothered by them. I would like to start doing this in the morning but it means getting up earlier, so that will be a work in progress for sure.

9) Live in the Now, but don't stop dreaming, purposeful dreams that will help you create the life you were meant to live.

   I've been reading a lot of books about living in the NOW. And it makes sense, you can't change the past that has already happened and even if you don't like it, you can't change it you can only learn and grow from it.  And the future, it's going to happen all you can do is live in the present moment and make it the best one it can be.

8) Give yourself to others, do things for others to help them accomplish their goals, this will increase the quality of your life.

   I use to want to be famous, a famous actress or model or author even, I thought that would give my life purpose and I'd leave this world known by millions.  Since I've grown and matured I've come to realize I don't want the famous life of celebrity, I think there may be more pains then gains in that life style.  But I do want to make a difference in this world, some how I want to be connected to something that made the world a better place, even if that is only for the people in my small city or the people in my social circle.  But in some way I want to do things for others so that I make their life better.

7) Be Time Consciences, 80 percent of what you accomplish is done with 20 percent of your actions. Say no when you need to, do not be at everyone's beck and call. Time is truly the only non-renewable resource.

   This was something I had to pause on, I mean what am I doing 80 percent of the time that is accomplishing nothing, (cough cough social media) and how can I better leverage my time to be more effective. I also liked the idea of saying no, but in the way that you can turn off your phone, and not answer just because it rings. I liked the idea of giving your full attention to your priorities and getting to everything else when you have time to address it.

6)Will Power inspires you to do what is right in any given moment.  You can build your will power by doing little things, things you don't like to do, keeping silent except to answer direct questions for an extended period of time.  Small victories lead to bigger victories it is up to you to create those victories.

   This makes sense, there is no point in trying to do the big thing if you can't control the little things.  For me it's living a healthy lifestyle and eating better.  Well this will never come to fruition unless I can get control over my emotional and boredom snacking. So I've been working very hard to find my triggers and retrain myself with those triggers. Instead of eating when I am upset, I write (killing two birds with one stone here) I focus my attention on something else so that I don't just dig into the chips.

5) Face your Fears to help you live a fearless life  Be the Leader of your own life. 

  There are so many things I could be afraid of, public speaking, rejection of my writing, mocking of my insecurities, all of these things cause me fear, but if I try to do them I may find success and the more I do them the more comfortable I will be.

4) Create a dream book that has four sections. One section for physical health, one section for financial goals, one section for personal empowerment, and one section for spiritual goals.  

   I am intrigued by this one, I think this is something I am going to try, and really write out my vision for each goal on those pages and review them until they become reality.  I believe in writing my goals down, I believe in vision boards, and I think this is just another step in that direction. I even have a book that has "my favourite dream is you" on the cover.  Could that be any more perfect??

3) A habit is formed after doing it for 21 days straight

   I am totally on board with this one.  And I work hard to install new habits in my life that are beneficial, meditating at night, writing in my bullet journal, all of these things will form a habit if done consistently.  I know it's true, I've been tracking my food for 50 days now and now it's just part of what I do at a meal I don't even really think about it.

2) Enthusiasm is the key for success, happiness will com from steadily working towards achieving your goals and moving in the direction of your life's purpose.

   This makes all kinds of sense in that "OmG I just got hit in the face with a door I saw coming" kind of way.  Obviously if you are enthusiastic about something you are putting a lot of energy into that item to make it what you want it to be.  And when you are working enthusiastically towards that goal and as you are getting closer and closer your feel accomplished and feeling like you have done something always brings about happiness (unless it was something mean that you did intentionally or on accident, but then just apologize and move on).

1) Find what you Truly Love to do and Direct all your energy towards doing it.

   And this is a total, "well no shit" but the hard part on this is finding what you truly love.  That is the greatest challenge, but once you find that thing that you love you should never back away from it, you should pour your whole self into what you love and own the shit out of it.  It doesn't matter if this is teaching, direct sales, car sales or waitressing.  If you love what you do and you feel happy and accomplished then you do it, because that is what matters, being happy is what matters.

Have you read any great personal development books? What books are they?

Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday Five: National Parks I'll visit this year!

This year is Canada's 150th Birthday! So Parks Canada is allowing free access into all the National Parks.  This is a great time for you to explore the parks in your area and maybe find that one place you and your family really want to go to again and again! So here are five of the parks I am planning to visit this year!
Banff National Park: This is a quick journey from my house in relation to National Parks.  It's probably the second closest at a short 2 and half hour drive.  I always go visit the townsite in Banff but this year I'd like to go visit some of the other areas and maybe do some of the easier hikes with the boys.

 Elk Island National Park: I have never been to this one, but I have passed it countless times when I used to drive to Edmonton.  It has or is close to a Ukrainian Village that I think would be really cool to take the kids too, this is definitely one of my summer destinations.

Jasper National Park: This one is a bit of drive, 4 and half hours from my place, but it is so pretty and right in the mountains.  It reminds me of Lake Tahoe so I am very excited to take my kids to visit this place. This is actually our first visit this year because to see it in the winter is just so pretty!!

 Pacific Rim National Park: I love the ocean so being able to go to a National Park on the ocean would be such a fun experience.  None of my family has ever been so this will definitely be a family trip, and maybe I can line it up before or just after the Seawheeze, I'm still hoping I will get a bib!!
 Prince Albert National Park: I have not been here since I was a teenager but it was very pretty and I think it would be fun to go back.  We go to the Prince Albert Area enough to visit so it wouldn't be hard to jaunt up there for a day while we were in the area visiting! I know there is so much to do and we won't fit it in in one day but that's the beauty of these passes they are good all year, we can make multiple visits if we'd like!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wednesday Whys!!

Whenever you change something in your life the most frequent question you will receive is why?  Why are you selling Arbonne? Why did you leave teaching? Why are you doing that diet? Why aren't you friends anymore?

So here are some of my Whys?

Why have I decided to sell Arbonne?
I have been buying Arbonne for years and I love the skin care and nutrition lines, and no other products have ever come close to comparison for me.  My friend Stacey had been persistently asking me to join for years, but I kept turning her down.  Sometimes I was selling Fifth Avenue Collection (which I still love) and sometimes I just didn't want to do the direct selling.  Direct Selling is not my passion, but I do have a passion for the products, they are amazing.  So after the economic downturn of 2014 I jumped in.  I kept thinking if only I had $500-1000 extra each month we'd get out of debt and then we would be able to really start planning for our future.  So now I am selling Arbonne, I am not always the most active but it has definitely helped us out and it has definitely been significant enough to always provide what I have needed it to provide.

Why did you leave teaching?
I had left teaching five years ago and now I am back.  The main reason I left was I wasn't finding a position that I loved. I was willing to take any position but when you take positions you don't have a passion for it kind of takes the joy out of teaching.  So I went and worked with PCLASS for five years and I loved it.  Then when my current position became available I felt it was a great blend of two things I love. Working with a marginalized population in a teaching environment.  Being able to help make a difference in kids lives, it's something that I have a HUGE passion for.

Why aren't you friends anymore?
If there are people that I was once close with that I am no longer close with it would be a parting of company because of a change in our growth, not because I have any ill will towards them.  I truly believe in the analogy of the train, at birth you board a train and throughout your life many people will come onto your train.  Some will leave after a short time and others will ride the train with you for many years, some into senility.  It's not about why we aren't friends anymore it's about what lesson were they here to teach me about!!!

What are some Whys you are constantly asked?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Antsy to get back to working out

It's so hard being in recovery, and it's not even that my recovery is going bad. In fact I would say it is going fabulously.  I am pretty much doing everything I used to be doing save for one thing.  Working out aerobically (Sad face).

I love being able to work out, going to classes, visiting with people and feeling the sweat pouring down my back.  It's a glorious feeling and it helps me feel so alive.  And now I am benched.  All I can do is watch everyone else have fun in workout class and I am sitting on the sidelines moping.

Well no more!!!

 I am determined that I will continue to workout and if nothing else my stamina for workouts will be the same or greater than it was before my surgery.  I have a stationary bike that I am using at least 4 days a week and I have light weights I can use to continue to tone and tighten this glorious body that God Gave me!!

My workout regime is going to go like this.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a weekend day I will bike for an episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, that means that is 45 minutes of vigorous biking.  I am also going to dedicate 30 minutes every day to a gentle stretching yoga routine. I have a few bedtime routines that I actually really enjoy doing so just to print them out and get back into gear with them.  Tuesday and Thursday I am going to get up and do some form of exercise with weights and get on the ball, I am also going to do a 30 minute walk after school if the weather is cooperative.  Sorry, not sorry, I am not walking outside when it is colder than -15.

I can essentially use any five pound weights and do any exercise that does not require me to jump or bounce.  The giggling of the breasts is really very painful, but anything else and I am good to go.

So here is to working out my lower body, abs and arms.  We will let the chest rest for a bit!!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Arbonne Goal Achievement

It's one thing to have a goal in your head of what you want but you have to be able to work towards that goal.  So I have a goal for my Arbonne aspect of my life.  I want to be able to hit my District Manager promotion in the next month.  But how does that goal get broken down.
Well the first thing is knowing what it takes to receive the District Manager Promotion.  It's not just something they just hand out, it is something you need to work towards.  In order to become a District Manager you need to do 7500 QV (volume of sales) over 3 months with 2500 in your last month or 6000 QV over one or two months. Then you need to maintain 2500 QV in sales each month to maintain your title as a District Manager.  
The reason I want to become a District Manager is for the override payment.  So I would make my regular commission but I would also make an 8% override which would allow me make more money on my sales, seems like a no brainer right.  I've hit District Manager before and I had it for 6 months but then I just let things slide and I didn't work my business.
So I have now set out some goals for me in my Arbonne Business.  Obviously, I want to hit 6000 QV this month so I am a District Manager for next month.  I have also set out to finding two Business Builders this month, those would be people who could also use this opportunity to help them reach their goals.  I'd also like to sign up or resign up 4 new Preferred Clients as my Preferred Client list has dropped since I have lapsed in my business.  

I will also be tracking what I do for QV in each week so I know how much more I need to work each week in order to hit my promotion.  I have also written down the number of Learn and Burns I need to do each week so I can keep my mind in my business!

On the otherside of this whiteboard I've broken down how I am going to do this.  It will happen if I have 10 parties (presentations/ appointments) this month and of those 10 I should be doing four Business Builder launches.  Where I help my business builders have their first two presentations. I'd personally like to do 4000 QV with each of my business builders doing 1000 QV.  By doing this each of my Business Builders will enter into District Qualifications.

As I book the presentations I am writing them up on the board.  I am sending out Discover Arbonne Videos to people I think would be amazing at this and who I'd like to link arms with to go out and take over the world!!

This is going to be a busy month, but it will be so worth it to start getting my family to living in financial freedom.  It will allow my husband and I to pursue our dreams for what we really want to do. I don't know what he really wants to do, but he's not completely happy with what he does and I want to go back to school to get my Masters Degree.  

So we will work hard to make this happen!!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Friday Fives!!

I'm going to try to get back into my Friday Five Posts!! I love them and they help keep me focused!
I am going to start my first Friday Five Post of 2017 as a Five Gratitudes I need to share.

1) I am so thankful for my mother.  She is one of my very best friends and I know I can count on her support for whatever I need.  She loves me unconditionally and even though we don't always see eye to eye on a topic I know she respects my opinion and decisions.  She is such a super hero in my books, she raised three kids on her own, she went back to school, she never let being older stop her from improving herself! I am thankful if I am half the person she is!

2) I am also very thankful for my grandma.  I have always had a special relationship with my grandma.  She has always been there for me and helped me out when she could.  She has had such an interesting life and lived through some horrible experiences, experiences that definitely altered her life.  But she has always been good to me and I am so happy she is still in my life and has met her great grandsons who love her!!

3) I am very thankful for all the strong women in my life. Women who never back down from there goals and keep going no matter how bleak the outlook may be.  You all need to know you are an inspiration to me and make my life so much better just because I know you!!

4) I am thankful for my husband.  Sometimes  I don't show it because I am frustrated, stressed and plainly fed up, but I know he loves me, I know he supports me and I know he will stick by me.  I sometimes questions if this is because he wants to or feels he has to? lol

5) I am so thankful for my three boys!  Chandler has been such a blessing in my life, he teaches me everyday about being relaxed and not getting worked up about things you can't control.  Leigham is another blessing but almost completely the opposite of Chandler,  he has shown me what it is to love all things with enthusiasm, to just love because that is all we have time for.  And my Little Teddybear, a complete blessing in the fact that he is teaching me patience and tolerance and how to parent without losing my cool.

What are you most grateful for coming into 2017??

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Dream Boards

To do a Dream Board or not to do a Dream Board.

When I first heard of dream boards I was like ok, yeah whatever like looking at a picture is going to make something come true.  Then four years ago I made my first dream board, it was a last ditch resort really.  I mean at the end of the day the only thing I would lose would be the two hours it took me to cut and paste the pictures onto the dream board. It's not like I'd lose faith in Oprah's big idea I didn't have any to begin with.

I sat down and made that dream board, I put on the dream board ridiculous things, things I would never really expect to be able to get knowing my financial situation.  Things like a trip to Moose Jaw to see the Fifth Avenue Collection headquarters (I was selling Fifth Avenue at the time), a trip to Disneyland, paying off credit cards, buying a new car, a Ford Focus Titanium, going to Vegas.  It was pretty and set it up by my computer desk where I looked at it daily.

I would scoff and roll my eyes thinking it wasn't working.  Then things started happening. My sister got married in Vegas so we went to Vegas, my car got hit in a hit and run and I had to get a new vehicle, so I got a Ford Focus Titanium, it was the 25th anniversary for Fifth Avenue Collection so seminar was in Moose Jaw, I was able to pay off and cancel two credit cards and then I got pregnant (which was not on the dream board) but that made us put aside our Disneyland trip. So there it was my Dream board came into reality.

I am now a firm believer in Dream Boards. If you picture it in your mind it will later come true in your life and a Dream Board just helps you focus those thoughts.

This year my Dream Board is set to creating financial stability in my family as well as allowing my family to explore some of Canada's National Parks!! My Dream Board is now done with magnets so that it can be fluid.  I can add things as they come up and I can take them off when they are realized. I am beyond excited about it because my kids can be part of adding to the Dream Board as well so we can realize our family dreams together.

So if you don't Dream Board I really suggest you do!! It's amazing how things will come together and off of a sudden your little Dream Board is no longer a Dream but your reality!!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Breast Reduction Surgery

I finally had it done, I got Breast reduction surgery!!! The pictures contained in this blog are for before and after comparisons of a medical procedure.

I'm beyond happy about it and feel absolutely amazing, now that the surgery is a week behind me.

It was a long road, but it was so well worth it.  If you live in Canada, and have back problems because your breasts are abnormally large for your shape, then I fully recommend taking advantage of the government supported surgery.

I was an H-I cup with a 36 band prior to the surgery. Yes my cup sized spelt HI! I had such pain in my back from these humongous watermelons I carried around.  It was stupid, but it got to the point where I'd only notice the pain at certain times or when I had a massage.  I can't tell you how many massage therapist asked if I was stressed out. Nope honestly I just have big boobs.

 These are some before shots of my chest, this was the morning or evening before surgery.  I love that bra from The Bra Lounge!!! I hope they have one similar in my new size!!

These are the after shots.  Excuse the mess you can now see beyond my chest!! The bra I have on currently is one I had after I had Lil Man and it's a D Cup.  So I have gone down 4-5 cup sizes.  And they took off 1.2 kg during the surgery.

Now a little about the surgery.  If you are on the control freak spectrum like I am, then make sure you ask questions. I was pretty relaxed even though I was being put under, but when I woke up my throat was sore.  Apparently, they inserted a breathing tube (I'm told this is normal) but because I wasn't expecting it all the bad things that can happen during surgery (Come on I watch Grey's Anatomy) flooded my cloudy thoughts and I started crying and I couldn't stop.  Eventually they brought in someone else from surgery and he had breathing tube in as well so that was ironically comforting.

Post surgery I have been doing well. I slept most of the second day, I was so tired, but because I was sore I couldn't get into a nice deep sleep.  But now I am doing well and almost feel back to normal. Then I will go and do something and be reminded completely that I am NOT back to normal.  I booked the surgery so I would have the holidays from work to help with my recovery and I am not sad about this.  I have been able to participate in all my families activities and I won't miss any work because of it!

I now realize how much strain my back was under because of those huge breasts, because now that it is gone I notice that it is missing, where I was so used to the pain that I had learned to live with it.  The other nice thing is the breasts are back where they should be, they aren't hanging real low!!

If you are considering this I would be happy to share more with you if you require more info!!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016 reflection

This is going to be a wordy post with few pictures.  But it's a post reflecting on the year that was 2016 for me.

I came into 2016 and I was going to make it the year of me.  The year I focused on the things I wanted most, putting myself first.  In some ways I definitely succeed at this but in other ways 2016 did me like it did the icons on my youth, killed my spirit!

I wrote last year in February about being in a Funk, being a little depressed (ok maybe more than a little) and essentially giving up on all things that were me.  But I kept putting one foot in front of the other and moved forward.

January of 2016 the PERFECT job landed in my lap.  It was like kismet... I actually had two interviews one at a high school I loved (NDHS RD) and one at Chandler's high school (LTCHS RD). I was torn, if both jobs came to offer what would I do... choose the position at the school I loved and had built relationships already or choose the job that was quite frankly tailor made for me..... Yeah hindsight the choice was utterly simple. I chose the job I knew I'd love and now I love working at LTCHS, it's an amazing school for an amazing district.

We made it through the winter months of 2016 fairly unscathed, I was still working out and working and kind of let my Arbonne business dwindle.  I didn't mean to let it dwindle but I just didn't have the energy to put into it. But I had it active enough that I sent myself to GTC in Vegas in April.

In this time my husband wasn't really working and it was uber stressful on our family.  But no one was talking about anything, we just kept moving forward and held unrealistic hope that things would just turn around.  The problem was our hope was drying up, things weren't turning around and we'd gotten into such a rut about things that we started ignoring each other.

I found out in May that I was going to continue working at LTCHS for the 2016-2017 school year (GLORY DAYS) and signed my contract in June.  I was sad because the teacher I was sharing the classroom with was taking an LOA (she totally deserves it) but I would miss her. We had become fast friends and who knew what the new person was going to be that they hired.  But I let that go and just knew that NO MATTER WHAT I would still be me for these students.

The summer was quiet we didn't do a lot, but my husband got a job and became employed.  We were still struggling under a mountain of debt that had accumulated from us continuing to live as if we were a two income family when we were not a two income family.  That was our fault.  We started making cut backs, cancelling our cable and looking at getting consolidation loans to pull us out of this waste land of financial instability.  I don't think this is an unusual situation in Alberta right now I think this is more accurate for most and the more I speak with people the more apparent it becomes that yes financial instability and mismanagement is the norm.  (What a sad picture that is)

I was still working out and trying to take control of my physical health.  This is the one area that 2016 did not take from me and I was triumphant.  I wasn't as triumphant as I'd have liked to be, meaning I had set backs, but in the grand scheme of things I'd say this was a win for me.  It was slow and steady but there was definite progress made.

I did go through times of huge frustration with my husband.  It wasn't all his fault I take some ownership in this piece as well.  But we just weren't talking and he was angry all the time.  He was frustrated as well and stressed due to the finances.  I get it, it still was bad that we weren't talking.  Asking him to leave the house a few times did cross my mind.  But we started talking, we started moving forward as a team and though things aren't 100 percent better between us, we are working on it.

Yesterday, his OCD stressed me out!! BIG Time, but then we left the house took the boys to the park and came home and had a relaxing evening.  I went out to a friends house for a few hours then came home and rang in the New Year with him.

I woke up this morning with a fresh perspective and I am ready to take on 2017 to make this the year for me and my family to thrive and find our dreams!!

So how was your 2016?

Monday, 2 January 2017

Why Macronutrient Diet?

There are so many diets out there, like as many diets as there are people I would almost hazard to guess.  So how do you know which one you should follow?  How do you decide?

I am not here to tell you what you should do and that this diet is better than another diet.  I am only going to explain why I chose a macronutrient diet and where you can find more information if you'd like.

Now I have tried many diets, low calorie, portion control from Dr Phil (this was very successful for me ten years ago), paleo (that didn't last long at all in my house), South Beach, Atkins (not really I love Carbs), and most recently I've been doing the clean eating with Arbonne ( and this one fits nicely with macronutrients).  All had some degrees of success but none were long term options.  None really taught me how to make the changes with food that I needed to make.  And it was my relationship with food, my boredom snacking activities that I had to change.

So I worked on the boredom snacking, and I think I've won that battle most days, some days, well you just have to give in to the inner demon because it's better than dealing with the devil!! Then I went back to portion controlling my diet, which didn't seem to be working real well, I wasn't seeing the results I wanted so I needed something else.

My girlfriend was having AMAZING results working with Rozanne Pyper, using macronutrients.  She even lent me a book to read on macronutrients which I read, I say almost in surprise. Diet books are not usually my chosen reading material but I did because I wanted to start seeing some real results.

Macronutrients is a set of nutrients your body needs to function each day.  They are comprised of protein, fat and carbohydrates (yeah!!) Each category has a different percentage that your body needs in order to be in optimal working condition.  What I especially like about a macro diet is that you can eat whatever you like, as long as you stay in your macros.  You must eat the same macros every day but it will help you lose weight!! That means my double double coffee is still allowed, my Jacob's Creek Moscato wine is still on the diet plan and that makes me a happy girl.

I am not a person that can live with restrictions. I do believe that in moderation everything is fine, it's when we live a life of excess that we have problems, so living in my macros means at Christmas I can enjoy those snacks, but I have to keep it limited!!

I have been using MyFitnessPal for years now, but I currently got back into it and I have logged infor 30 days now, it seems like I have developed a habit!! I don't find it onerous to log my food and because it syncs with my fitbit my daily activity is calculated in for me.

Here is a site I used to calculate my calories and macros!! Hopefully, if this is something you are interested in you can check it out and get started. If you are on MyFitnessPal, add me as friend jennlacourse is my username!! We can be our accountability partners!!