#thankfulproject | a day

Today is day 28 of The Thankful Project. Find out more about it and link up here! Today is a free day, with no given prompt, so I will be writing about "a day".








I can't end my [sporadic] participation in the Thankful Project without mentioning how thankful I am for a very special day - our wedding day. It was a beyond perfect day - from the location, to the weather, the food and drinks, and most importantly, the friends and family that shared it with us. 
On a side note: Happy 30th birthday to my sister-in-law and Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends!

Have a good weekend!

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#thankfulproject | a simple pleasure

First off, a huge THANK YOU to everyone's kind messages regarding yesterday's post.  Your extremely kind words and knowing that feeling this way is normal and that I'm not alone in my experience and feelings is huge for me.  So again, thank you.

Now onto today's business

Today is day 27 of The Thankful Project. Find out more about it and link up here! Today's prompt is "a simple pleasure"

Life is filled with simple pleasures, the little satisfying effects you never really anticipate, but always take great pleasure in. Simple pleasures are not big things, but a simple pleasure can translate into a great day. 

One of the simple pleasures I am thankful for is my walk to the bus stop in the morning.  While it may seem silly, I enjoy the first light shining through the tall buildings, the stillness of the morning, the emptiness of the streets and the quiet of the city. The crisp air against my face is refreshing, waking me up and preparing me for the day and the hour-long commute ahead of me.






















What simple pleasures are you thankful for?


Looking Ahead


Lately people have been telling me they miss reading about our Alaskan adventures.  I usually only have one response, "Me too." I won't sugar coat it, moving back home has not been easy for me. I'm hesitant to call it a culture shock because it is where I grew up and it is familiar to me, but that's really what it is. Six months later, I'm still trying to reacclimatize myself back into the life we had before we moved to Alaska. Six months later, it is still a massive adjustment period.

Like someone trying to hold on to their high school days, ever since we moved back to Ontario I've been holding onto this crazy, unrealistic idea that some thing would take us back to Alaska. For the past months this unrealistic idea has absolutely consumed me and hasn't allowed me to enjoy the moment and every thing right in front of me. Things have not been easy, but in a way I wasn't making it any better for myself with these crazy ideas either. 

For my own health and well-being, for my husband's sanity and our relationship, my plan for 2014 is to move forward. I don't want to forget, but instead of trying to live in the past, I need to enjoy the moment at home, while at the same time start looking forward to the future. While I can't make things the same as they once were, it comforts me in knowing that we will always have Alaska. And now, I can start looking forward to planning our summer trip back to visit our friends and the place we once called home, instead of trying to once again make it our home.

This isn't to say that I will never talk about Alaska again.  I can't discount the fact that it was a huge part of our lives, so I'm sure once in a while these unrealistic ideas will still come over me.  But, I do need to try and keep them at bay. So, in honour of our time in Alaska and moving forward, every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of the year I am going to do a little reminiscing of some of the amazing adventures we took in the great state.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.




What inspires your senses? | a photo linkup

A photograph is but a moment frozen in time, preserved for the future.  They have the power to tell stories, convey feelings and the strength to move us emotionally. Photographs have the ability to capture a moment that's gone forever, one that's impossible to reproduce. Today's linkup is all about exploring the world of photography through our senses.  Sharing moments in time, memories, feeling and emotions that have inspired our senses. Today, I hope you enjoy "sensing" the world and connecting with others through the universal language of photography. #whatinspiresyoursenses

If you would like to join in on the fun,
1| Follow yours truly: bloglovin | instagram | facebook | twitter | pinterest
2| Linkup your blog post on Friday, November 22 at 6:00am EST.
3| Please link back to this link-up in your post, either with text or the below button.
4| Share with social media, using the hashtag #whatinspiresyoursenses.
5| Visit and check out as many blogs as you can to see what inspires others' senses!
6| Last, but definitely not least, get creative and have fun!

t.o. & fro


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Here are just some of the things that inspire my senses:

SEE | City lights.


SMELL | Salty ocean air.

HEAR | The waves of Lake Huron crashing against the shore.



TASTE | A fresh catch.

TOUCH | The bumpy skin of an American toad.

"SIXTH SENSE" | A school of fish.


What inspires your senses? 
Leave your link below!










Pie.

Earlier this week this beautiful thing was created in our kitchen.


I would love to take credit for it, but the last time I tried to make pie, it resulted in me violently throwing the failed crust dough into the garbage and driving to the store to buy pre made crust. All the credit goes to the husband on this one. Ladies and gents, he's not just a pretty face - he cooks, he cleans and now, he bakes pies. Apple pie to be exact.

I wish I could share the recipe with you, but I would totally butcher it and I don't want to be responsible for a horrible pie experience.

So instead, I would love to share the delicious and easy caramel sauce Steve made for the apple pie. It can go on pie, ice cream, fruit, or my personal favourite, by itself from a spoon (I was caught redhanded).

Enjoy!

Easy Caramel Sauce
Yields: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half cream
4 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1.  Mix the brown sugar, cream, butter and salt in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.
2.  Cook while whisking gently for 5-7 minutes, until it gets thicker.
3.  Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.
4.  Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour sauce into jar.
5.  Store in the fridge.



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One more day - don't forget to participate in the "What inspires your senses?" photo linkup here TOMORROW, Friday, November 22! More details can be found here.


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The last of fall...

I saw my first specks of snow this past week.  Although they didn't last long, it was a gentle reminder that the days are getting shorter and colder, and that those beautiful colours we all enjoy during fall are quickly disappearing. 

These photos are from a recent trip to visit my parents. I am glad I could catch the leaves before they all fell. 

I love this place.



Don't forget to participate in the "What inspires your senses?" photo linkup on Friday, November 22! More details can be found here


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Toto, we're not in Alaska anymore...

This was my view at the bus stop yesterday morning. See those tiny white specks? Look reeeeaaal close, the ones on the leaves. Ya, that's snow. Ya, I'm excited. Sue me.


Anchorage got dumped on earlier in the week.  I'm not going to lie, I was a wee bit jealous to see friends' pictures of the fluffy white stuff. And all we got here were these measly little flakes, that probably melted minutes after I snapped that shot. Toto, we're definitely not in Alaska anymore.

The snow, or lack there of, isn't the only adjustment we're going to have this fall/winter, but it may be one of the biggest. Here's some others:

>> I can get away with wearing my Costco knockoff Uggs to the bus stop instead of them just being my "office shoes". 

>> I haven't even begun to think about snow pants.

>> Leggings and wool socks are no longer appropriate office attire. In fact, my wool socks didn't even make the cut in my sock drawer. (Ok, that's a lie, I snuck one pair in.)

>> I can look out the window at 7am and see sunshine. (And also concrete for miles.)

>> People at work look at me funny when I say things like "bathroom", "9th grader", "college", among many other words.

>> "Eh" has been added back into my vocabulary. Or at least, I am more aware when I say it now.

>> Instead of a beautiful 15 minute drive up the mountain, I'm stuck on a train with a hundred sleeping and texting people as my view.

>> Instead of a moose running out in front of the car in the mornings, my biggest fear is being pushed in front of the train. (True story. I don't know which one is more scary.)

And my favourite…

>> The "acceptable" fashion has changed. For example, I wore my favorite sweater/jacket to the mall the other day. A woman in the store referred to it as my "Christmas sweater". Huge fail.


Don't forget to participate in the "What inspires your senses?" photo linkup here on Friday, November 22! More details can be found here.



Have a happy week friends!


#thankfulproject | an opportunity



Today is day 12 of The Thankful Project. Find out more about it and link up here! Today's prompt is "an opportunity".

Last week, I had a program for a bunch of 2nd graders at our Pacific Kelp Forest gallery - a huge 2-story gallery featuring numerous species of fish from the pacific northwest, including Alaska. The point of the program was to compare and contrast terrestrial and kelp forests and the animals and plants that call them home.  I started the program with a simple task for the students, to raise their hands if they've ever been in a forest.  All of the little hands shot up in the air excitedly… except for one.  Maybe he didn't understand the question, or maybe he just wasn't paying attention, but as he stared blankly at me, it made me sad for him.  Although the city is filled with concrete, there are still pockets of green and many hidden gems around. How was this possible?

That moment really got me thinking about my own childhood and how childhoods like mine are fewer and far between these days.



So today, I am thankful for my parents for giving me many opportunities as a child that I've learned to appreciate and realize that not all children were fortunate enough to experience. Thank you for raising me on the shores of Lake Huron and for teaching me to not be afraid of the water. Thank you for taking us on many family vacations and igniting the travel bug within me.  Thank you for pushing Steve and I to get over our hesitations and move to Alaska with a simple "You've got nothing to lose." While this list could go on and on, I am most of all thankful for you forcing me to get outside and explore, to not be afraid to get dirty and for shaping my passions and morals to appreciate the natural world around me, even if I currently am surrounded by concrete. I wouldn't be exactly where I am today if it wasn't for you and these wonderful opportunities.

Day 3 | a place
Day 4 | an experience
Day 7 | words


What opportunity are you most thankful for?



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Don't forget to participate in the "What inspires your senses?" photo linkup here on Friday, November 22! More details can be found here.



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ANNOUNCING: What inspires your senses? | a photo linkup


I am super de duper excited to announce my FIRST EVER linkup party!  As most of you know, I loooooove taking pictures, so this linkup party is going to be a photo challenge called "What inspires your senses?" All are invited to participate, whether you're shooting on an iPhone or something a little more fancy.

Details: On Friday, November 22, I challenge all of you to select 5 of your favorite personal photographs - one that best describes each of your 5 senses: see, smell, taste, touch and hear. As an added challenge, come up with one for the "sixth sense", an open-ended category to interpret your own way. The photos can be ones you've taken recently or those you've dug out of the archives, those you've taken in one location or in several. Use your imagination and get creative!

Rules:
1| Follow yours truly: bloglovin | instagram | facebook | twitter | pinterest
2| Linkup your blog post on Friday, November 22 at 6:00am EST.
3| Please link back to t.o. & fro in your post, either with text or the below button.
4| Share with social media, using the hashtag #whatinspiresyoursenses.
5| Visit and check out as many blogs as you can to see what inspires others' senses!
6| Last, but definitely not least, get creative and have fun!

t.o. & fro



Don't forget to linkup here on Friday, November 22 to "sense" the world and connect with others through the universal language of photography! #whatinspiresyoursenses


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In case you missed it, this past week I:
>> Went back in time to the War of 1812.
>> Was thankful for Lake Huron and Alaska stealing a piece of my heart.
>> Was thankful for being able to experience polar bears in the wild.



#thankfulproject | words

Today's post for The Thankful Project comes a day early - not because I'm any less thankful, but because I've got a super exciting linkup party announcement coming tomorrow!  Stay tuned! In the meantime, day 7's prompt is "words".


Lately, I am extremely thankful for stumbling across these words,





I am thankful that finding these words came at the best possible time, because they are extremely fitting to my current state of mind.  They have taught me that it is ok to be feeling the way I am, to be resisting and struggling with change and to be missing things that were once a huge part of my daily life.

At the same time, these words also make me happy. I am extremely thankful for having more than one place I feel at home.  For having been able to experience living in a different place, meeting new people and experiencing a different way of life. I am extremely thankful for having very close friends and family scattered all over the continent and for being able to visit these wonderful people and places. I will always cherish these relationships because they have made me a better person.  And for that, I am very thankful.

Day 3 | a place
Day 4 | an experience

Have you ever come across words that have tugged at your heart strings?



#thankfulproject | an experience

Today, I'm joining up with Chasing Happy for her November Thankful Project. Each day this month she has come up with a topic, and today's prompt is: an experience



Back in October 2011, I was given the incredible opportunity to participate in Polar Bear International's Leadership Camp.  I traveled to Churchill, MB, polar bear capital of the world, to join several other educators from zoos and aquariums across North America and experience polar bears in the wild and learn about the factors threatening their existence.


I am thankful for Ursus maritimus, the stunning iconic Arctic species we call the polar bear. I am thankful that the country I call home proudly supports a large majority of the world's polar bears and that organizations like Polar Bears International and the 5 polar bear nations, including Canada and the US, are committed to protecting the integrity of this species for future generations. Most of all, I am extremely thankful for being given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to have experienced the big white bear in the wild.

If you're interested in reading more about my trip, including photographs I took, look here:

The Thankful Project recap:


Do you have an experience you're thankful for?

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