Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Monday

It is impossible to listen to this song (& watch the video) and NOT have a smile on your face. It is nearly impossible to listen to anything from The Vespers & not smile. They are a happy, sunny, smiley, care-free, & fall-asleep-in-a-field-of-wild-flowers-with-the-sun-on-your-face kind of beautiful.

If ever in a bad mood all you need is to put on some music by The Vespers, close your eyes, and you will be transported momentarily to a lovely tea party in the woods. (or to wherever your happy place is, but isn't my happy place just peachy? It can be your happy place too, I can share!)

Listen to them, purchase their music, and be happy!

Friday, May 25, 2012


I think I'm going to start a new thing on Fridays. I shall call it Fitness Friday & give an update about what happened that week in my world of fitness, running, and weight loss.

I've been slowly trying to start the Paleo diet. I know it would be better for me if I went hard core into the diet, but I've tried stuff like that before and within a small time frame I usually give up. Paleo isn't a fad diet, it's more of a lifestyle & I think if I slowly integrate the recipes into my regular diet I will be less likely to give up & more likely to be successful in making long-lasting changes. It helps that a friend sent me some info on the Paleo Diet with recipes & grocery lists!!

After the 5 month move overseas (where I was not nearly as active as I should have been!!) & then soon becoming injured once I did start up again, I am finally getting back on track. My body has not been used to rigorous exercise for some time, I am embarrassed to say, so getting back into it has been tough on my body.

The first run after my costochondritis was healed I made the mistake of running 6 miles. My chest was able to bare it, I had no flame up of the injury, but I didn't realize how badly my feet would hurt!! Many people advised me to take a shorter run, but after months of no running, I was just so eager! I messed up my left foot pretty bad, and I'm still having trouble with it. Since then I've been sticking to the elliptical at the gym. I was very fortunate in finding out that one of the base gyms (I have access to 3 gyms!) has a parent/child room with a safe area for children to play & be entertained, and another area with exercise equipment. There isn't as much in there as I'd like, but I make it work with what is in there.

I've been working on my speed & upping the resistance on the elliptical to make my legs stronger. It's actually been going really well! One Sunday I did 5 miles for my "long elliptical run" & two weeks later I did my "ler" 5 miles 14 minutes faster! During the week I have been working on quickening my 5k pace. I cut 15 minutes off of my initial 5k time, then each week since I've been cutting off 30-50 seconds. Now I am running 4 miles in the time it used to take me to run 3 & I'm upping my "ler" to 6 miles this Saturday. I'm hoping to reach that in less time that it took me to run 5 miles that first week.

In addition to working on the elliptical & improving speed & time, I've been slowly getting myself back into real running. Or, at least treadmill running since I don't have a jogging stroller. I'm taking it slow, but this past week I was able to run 1 mile foot pain free! I'd like to try more, but my foot keeps getting sore and painful from just walking around on my busy, errand-running days. So I'm pacing myself. I am very proud of how far I've come this month! Most of April I was injured, and May has really been a turn-around for me!

I am down 3 lbs thanks to my efforts, but I know I could've lost 5-7 this month. I still need to work on getting my eating habits in order, and I think with Jer's encouragement & help in the kitchen, I will get there soon! Next week a new month will be starting and in that time I'd like to lose 6 lbs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Tough Mudder

Someone in Jer's office somehow convinced him to run a 12 mile race. It was not only 12 miles of running, it was also filled with 25 challenging obstacles in the MUD!! A few of them had live wires that electrocuted the participants as they went through!! I must say, it was pretty entertaining to watch!

The starting line in front of the lovely estate hosting the race

Marc, Jer, and Chris

Layla & Marc's daughter, they were buddies!

Wolverine, Captain America, and Spiderman are tough mudders!

This was right after the first obstacle, I think it was called 'kissing mud' or something silly like that.

Playing ring around the rosie while we waited for the guys to reach the obstacle.

Going through the 'electric eel' those orange wires were live and shocked them as they went through.

My handsome tough mudder!

We had a fun time watching the race. Spectating a tough mudder should be considered it's own sport! Layla & I were exhausted after all was said and done!! The estate hosting the race was vast & hilly!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Music Monday

So there is this band called First Aid Kit. They are a folk-duo made up of 2 sisters from Sweden. I love love love their music. Their voices are smooth, hypnotizing, and glorious. You know that feeling you get when you've been trying to cut wrapping paper in a straight line, but it's been tearing, then all of a sudden the scissors just start gliding cleanly through? Yeah, it's kind of like that.

If you like Fleet Foxes or Blitzen Trapper, you will love First Aid Kit.

This is one is one of my favourites, and I love their album 'The Black and the Blue' I can listen to it all day & dream of falling asleep in a field of daisies. (Then probably waking up horribly sunburned, because sometimes I forget to put sunscreen on!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ode to the Clouds

First off, let me say: THIS MAGAZINE ROCKS MY SOCKS! It is dandy & spiffy in every way! It makes me want to go flea market shopping for treasure & then go into creative mode to fill my home with whimsy & vintagy goodness. (Yes, I just made up & used the word 'vintagy' get on board with it!) This mag only comes out every 3-4 months, and I was oh, so happy to discover that the newsstands here on base carry American Magazines, and this one was included! I just picked up this new one today & I am in love with every page!!

Also, I would like to take this moment to show off my awesome version of 'Starry Night' by Vincent Van Gogh. I drew this for my mom on 'Draw Something' & I think I did a decent job considering I was drawing this on a small iPhone screen.

Okay, and on to the clouds; England really knows how to make clouds. I don't know why it's so different here than it it is anywhere else I've been in the world, but every day I am just in awe of how beautiful they are. I don't even mind that I've hardly seen the sun in the months that I've lived here. The sky seems so much bigger here than in the states (I know, physically impossible!) & so the clouds seem to be bigger and somehow more grand.

I took the above picture while I was driving (gasp!!) but in my defense, I was driving around 15 mph & there were no other cars on the road! So I figured I was safe! This was so strange. It was dark all day, clouds rolling in & out. Then it was dark, but it was also light. It was strange, and I've never experienced anything like it before. 

This is the view out of my living room window. The other day Layla & I were sitting on the couch, Layla was watching cartoons & I was enjoying the constant change of clouds outside.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Monday!

I've found some amazing bands the past few weeks thanks to music monday posts on other blogs, so I thought I'd join in!
This week I'd like to share with you the band The Head & The Heart.
Here is the video for 'Down in the Valley'
It's a lovely song. I can listen to it, and the entire Head and the Heart album over and over again, all day long!! Please enjoy!
& happy music monday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Homemade Detergent

In my previous post that had recipes for homemade cleaning supplies I posted a recipe for a liquid laundry detergent. We used it, and we didn't like it. After a friend posted a recipe for a dry detergent, I knew I had to try it! It's awesome, cheap, and it smells SO GOOD! I love it! Plus, the original recipe makes a HUGE batch that lasts forever!

I decided to make a new batch today & Layla wanted to help me out.
I ended up making a smaller batch to fit my containers. I didn't feel like going out to buy a new container, since I didn't have one that would fit a whole batch.

Here is the recipe as Sandra posted:

4 lb 12 oz box of Borax
4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
3 lb 7 oz box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap (or Zote)
3 lb container of Oxy Clean, or two of the smaller ones, to make about 3lbs
1 container Purex Crystals

Start out by grating your soap with a cheese grater. 

Combine all the ingredients in a 5 gallon container. 

Store and use however you like.  Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.

I switched it up a bit, by just not putting as much in. If you have a smaller container, just use one bar of soap. Then use just 1-2 cups of each of the other ingredients.

I just started pouring the ingredients in & eyeballing it. It turned out fine.
Layla had a lot of fun making this with me!

*Sandra mentioned on her blog that if you have a front loading washer it needs to be added to the barrel and not the dispenser.

Friday Favourites!

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about her before, but it's been a while! Plus I've just received some new Katie Daisy prints that I need to show off!
I've made no secret of my hatred for the house the military has forced us into for our first 12 months abroad. Since moving in I have been trying my best to make it liveable. I can't do anything about the horrible plumbing, but I can make it a bit prettier! So I turned to one of my favourite artists & raided her etsy shop The Wheatfield for some prints to add to my collection.

The prints I already owned and love:

this is my "filled with joy" print in my living room. I have it hanging in my living room near my bookshelves because books fill me with joy!

These two prints are also in my living room. I love the colour scheme, they match pretty much everything in my house.

This is hanging in the hallway at the top of my stairs. I think this was the first print I bought from Katie Daisy. I was searching for Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired art on etsy and I was drawn to this print. That was when I found Katie Daisy and fell in love with her work. It was so hard to decide which print I wanted! I loved everything in her shop! I'm sure that one day I will own everything in her shop.

I picked this one because Jer loves astronomy and stargazing. This hangs in our bedroom near the book pages I embroidered with the Galileo quote "I have love the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."

This is one of my new ones! I was excited to order it because since moving to England we haven't really had much sunshine. We've had more rainy days than sunny days. I love the rain oh so much, so I've not had a problem with it. This print is just perfect for where we live!

These are the two other prints I ordered with the rain one. I've loved the ampersand since the first time I looked at Katie Daisy's shop. I don't know why it's taken me so long to order it, but I finally have it! These two still need to be framed, I have yet to find frames I like, but I can't wait to hang them & enjoy them everyday!