Be Real My Friends

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Creating A Little Inspiration

So for a long time I have wanted to great an inspiration board, a motivation board call it what you will. The main point is to have a gathering space for all those items and things that inspire or motivate you. Some people may create a board for a specific goal – think a wedding or re-designing a room. I’ve had journals where I’ve kept quotes and my scrapbooking is a way of, in addition to documenting my family’s life, is also a way for me to use paper and craft materials that inspire me. I have a blank space above my desk that I have saved to create a place to collect some of the quotes and pictures that motivate and make me happy.

Here are a few for inspiration:

inspiration board 1

inspiration board 2

inspiration board 3

inspiration board 4

There are a variety of ways to create a motivating space. They will reflect your personality. They can be clean or clustered, colour coordinated or based around textures. It can be as simple as sticky notes on your bathroom mirror! The important thing is that it is esthetically pleasing to YOU. Think about what kind of inspiration you are looking for and embrace that. Be sure that when you look at it, it inspires the peace, happiness and goals that you are aiming for.

Here is another source of some great options: http://www.everythingetsy.com/2012/10/inspiration-boards-to-inspire-you/

Have you created a board? I’d love to hear what kind of things make it to your space. I’ll get pictures up as soon as I get finished with mine 🙂

Maple Syrup On A Stick

In honour of family day and the fact that maple syrup season is just around the corner I thought for today’s “recipe” I would post about making maple syrup taffy. If you have ever been to a sugar bush you may have tried this tasty treat. If you live in a region where you have access to a sugar bush, yet have never been, what are you waiting for??? Our family usually hits at least two every season. It’s probably one of our most consistent traditions. Our kids could probably do the tour at the one sugar bush we hit every season.

You can find lots of recipes on the internet. Our family’s only requires, maple syrup, fresh snow, and a few mistakes for good tasting.

So onto the fun!

What you’ll need:

  • Pure Maple Syrup – no ifs ands or buts, it needs to be the real thing
  • Freshly fallen snow. You are going to be consuming this, you want the fresh stuff!!
  • A candy thermometer can be very useful, but is optional
  • A pot, Pyrex measuring cup, plates or cookie sheet
  • A spoon, and popsicle sticks if you have them, we’ve even used chopsticks.

The “technique”:

  • Bring about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of maple syrup to a boil. I prefer a slower boil as I can keep a better eye on it and it doesn’t reduce too quickly.
  • If you are using a candy thermometer, you are aiming for the “soft ball” stage, 235 degrees F
  • If you aren’t using a thermometer, you will be reducing the maple syrup by approximately 1/3. You are looking for when it starts to thicken and the syrup sticks to the back of the spoon.

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Now onto the real fun.

  • As the syrup is nearing this stage, you can have everyone fill their plates with snow. We always give the kids their own, saves on any arguments! If there aren’t any of those concerns in your house (well that just means you’ve never done this before!) you can use a cookie sheet and pack that with snow.
  • Being VERY, VERY careful, this is boiling sugar, pour the syrup into the Pyrex measuring cup. Pour the maple syrup in lines on the snow. Without transferring to a cup, you can also use a spoon to drizzle the syrup over the snow. I tend to use the spoon method because I don’t use a thermometer. So sometimes I find i have to return the syrup and boil it down a little more. Honestly I think the kids enjoy these “mistakes” and they get to enjoy a little more of the maple syrup.
  • Wait about 30 seconds. Using the popsicle sticks, roll the toffee onto the sticks, or you can also use a spoon to roll it into a ball.

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This wasn’t quite ready, as the “balls” were still soft. Too bad, but not really, it was still delicious!

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imageEven if it’s not quite perfect, the memories will be! I hope you get to enjoy this fun, tasty winter tradition with your family!

How Awesome Are You?

This is a little something I’m striving at every day:

“Self confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. how can anyone see how awesome you are if you can’t see it yourself?” – Unknown

…how about you?

One Simple Thing for February

Have you started thinking about the one change you will be making in February to add to what you have been doing in January? Did you forget about your one simple change from January? February is around the corner, so why don’t you take some time to sit down and think about one change that you can implement to increase your happiness and mindfulness. The goal can be fitness, nutrition or personal growth based. Pick something to add or remove that will be a bit of a challenge, the best part about starting a month with a goal and reaching the end of that month is the accomplishment, and then of course, there is the added health benefit! Here’s the link that started the plan this year. I’ll be continuing with my stretching and I have to admit I have let a few days lapse with my food journalling so I think that is what I am going to focus on this coming month.

So here we go:

  • 2013: Run 1 km per day and stretch
  • January: Pay attention to my sleeping needs. On nights, go to bed during the day (I feel guilty missing the kids, even though I can be a grump – go figure), and on days off and day shifts, get to bed earlier. **I have been doing okay with this, but it definitely needs more work. For me this is an ongoing challenge, so I’ll keep working on it.
  • February: Time Management! Journal what I eat, and create a workout schedule for the month.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas, from simple to challenging…and don’t forget what might be simple to you may be challenging to someone else and vice versa. Think about what you will benefit from the most.

  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day
  • Walk the kids to school every day (this can focus on a lot of different areas, time management, family time, fitness)
  • Commit to 30 mins of continuous exercise every day
  • Take a special interest class (think painting, writing workshop, Zumba, tai chi)
  • Meditate
  • Start a yoga practice
  • Borrow a new exercise video from the library every week – and do it!
  • Plan a family game night, every week
  • Add a new healthy recipe to your meal plan, every week
  • Eat veggies with every meal (even breakfast!!)

I’d love to hear what your plan is…