Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Responsible Riding

We are a family that loves to quad.

We are also responsible riders.

If you are a user of ATV's, skidoos, off-road bikes, and off road vehicles here in the Yukon please click on this link to fill out an opinion survey on the Safe Operation and Use of Off-road Vehicles.

Then go and become a member of the Yukon Off-Road Riders Association. Fill out their survey as well. You can also find them on facebook.

Both of these surveys will take just a few minutes of your time. The government needs to hear from responsible riders. Even if you only use your off-road vehicle a couple of times of year for hunting, to take photos, or a family ride in the snow please go and take this survey. Have your voice heard!

Just one more thing- please join our family in asking for a helmet law. We have seen tragedies that could have been easily prevented had a rider just been wearing a helmet.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Off to Ross

Matt left this morning for Ross River for work and we will be following in a few hours. It is so nice that we can stay with him when he travels for work and we get a chance to visit our friends in Ross too.

I have my sewing bin all packed with three more pairs of mittens and a pair of booties on the go. A store here in town just sold two pairs of mittens and one pair of booties. Good timing since I just spent a bunch of money ordering new leather!

Have a good weekend everyone and thanks so much for the encouraging comments on my last post. I am blessed to have so much support.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And I thought summer would be easy...

I thought losing weight during the summer would be easy. Lots of veggies to choose from, walks in the nice weather, sun to keep me energized.... Well that plan went to hell in a handbasket.

Summer sucks ass. Veggies? Naw. How about hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. Walks? Not in the +25 weather we had a lot of this summer and the hellish bugs. Sun to keep me energized? How about the sun to cook me so fast I have to hide in my basement.

I got off track. Really off track. Since March I have been losing the same 5lbs over and over again. I am mad at myself for wasting all of this time. The only thing that has kept me from going off the deep end has been Tina.

Tina, another awesome blogger who used to live in the NWT, is trying to lose some weight as well. We started a blog together to encourage each other. A goal was set of each of us losing 50lbs by Feb. 1st. What is on the line? A trip to Edmonton, thanks to my awesome husband, to finally meet Tina after years of talking online. Once a week we check in on this blog and share how we are doing. Without that this summer I know I would have done a whole hell of a lot worse.

I haven't talked much on my weight loss on the blog this summer probably because I have been hiding from everyone!! So time to come clean and tell everyone how lazy I have been. And I need the encouragement everyone was so generous with over the winter and spring. I feel odd asking for encouragement, but honestly it really helps me. And if that is what it takes, then I will ask for it.

Today was my check in day with Tina and I am going to share what I wrote on our blog here today too:

Last week I was doing great and then it all went to hell. Snacking went overboard, meal sizes were ridiculous, and then I got my period. Just call me camel this week. I weighed myself and it says 286.8. Fuck.

I am mad. Mad at myself for not staying on track. I did it for months last winter and my weight dropped easily. People keep saying oh don’t worry, you are just at a plateau, but I know better. I am being lazy. I am not planning my meals ahead of time, I am not using my scale to measure my food, I am not keeping track of my calories, I am not walking every day.

So how do I get out of this funk? Same as I did last winter when I made up my mind to change my life. I write it all down. I make my charts, I keep track of calories, I plan my meals, and now I think of Tina kicking my ass if I don’t hit my 50lbs and meet her in Edmonton.

This morning I ate my breakfast and after I write this I will put it all into my food planner online. I made Matt take the truck to work so I will have to walk to playgroup, even if it does rain which looks probable. I am going to print off my goal chart and put it on the fridge. I am going to make Matt take his granola bars to work so I don’t snack on them. I am going to make my lunch before I leave the house this morning so I am not rushed when I come back after playgroup. I am going to plan my supper and take whatever it is I need out of the freezer. I am going to put my kitchen scale on the counter to remind myself to use it.

I am going to do it all.

Well nothing like sharing all my issues on my public blog to motivate me!!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Family Quadding Time

Today Matt took the afternoon off work so we could join some friends of ours on an afternoon quad ride. Nothing brings a smile to my face quite like an afternoon quadding through the bush as a family.

We took a very kid friendly trail to a tower above Little Salmon Lake. It is about 16km each way and the view at the top in unbelievable.

Happily exploring our new spot:

Little Salmon marker thingy:

Cavan and I:

New family photo and of course neither kid is looking:

BLUEBERRIES! I could have picked for hours.
Instead I made do with filling half a zip lock bag.


Our friends exploring the area hand in hand:

Climbing their own little mountain:

Me and my backseat driver:

Our wheels:
I have now named my quad Betty. She is the one on the left.

Looks like the bears were into the blueberries too!

Couldn't quite stay away for the drive out:

Being silly:

Helping dad tie-down the quads for the drive home:

And supper tonight was blueberry pancakes!

Our Date

Our Saturday date was fantastic!!

We left our kids in the care of our friends and took off. Matt and I drove 100km up the North Canol road. It was so muddy that it took us three hours to get that far, and since the ferry goes back across the river at 5pm, we turned around at that point. Not a single caribou or moose came out to greet us and our guns. And I am officially re-naming that road as Chicken Road. Grouse everywhere and of course that season doesn't open for another week.

After that drive we weren't quite ready to head home. So we drove up to the Faro mine site, got the quads off the trailer and went riding for a few hours. I hadn't had the opportunity to explore up there at all since we moved to Faro, but I already cannot wait to go back! The sub-alpine terrain is gorgeous and the trails go on for miles. I just want to see over each hill!

After a few hours of quadding in drizzle and just above freezing temperatures we finally called it a day and went home. We arrived home right around 7:30pm fully expecting our kids to greet us at the door. But our friends worked their magic and both boys were sleeping when we walked in the door.

The only way that day could have gotten any better would have been us arriving home with a moose or caribou in the back of our truck. But I am not complaining!

Quads with a view:

I thoroughly enjoyed my day:

My handsome date:

The trails were calling my name... too bad we had to head home:

And a random bonus picture.
This kid really loves mud:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Change of Plans

Tomorrow was supposed to be a fun filled day of quadding with friends on the Dena Cho trail. Sadly, the weather has been crappy for the last few days and tomorrow looks no better. Quadding in the cold rain just doesn't sound like much fun to me at all. Our quadding trip will be rescheduled for later this fall when the trail hardens up and won't be a soupy mess. Good thing we have back-up plans! Friends had offered to take the boys all day tomorrow and we are going to take advantage of that offer.

Instead of quadding, Matt and I are going to drive up the North Canol Road to look for either caribou or moose. Our freezers are nearly empty and need a refill before winter. Wish me luck; I haven't been out hunting since shooting caribou up in the Arctic nearly four years ago. And I shot that poor bugger in the rump- worst shot ever!!

My first caribou!
Kugluktuk, spring 2006

Successful hunting party, spring 2006:

Like New!

I have no clue what I was thinking when we moved to Faro a few years ago. I bought a beautiful wood table complete with a huge leaf, six chairs covered with, can you believe this.... white fabric! Seriously. White fabric. Why the heck did I ever pick anything with white!!

Needless to say, they are no longer white. They are a nasty shade of off-white with highlights of purple (blueberries), blue (blue pen), brown (dirt, poo, chocolate cake), red (strawberries, red pen), orange (mac'n cheese) and a lot of unknown colours from who knows what!

On our trip south this summer I bought some vinyl fabric to re-cover the chairs and just got around to it last weekend. They look fabulous now! And the best part- I can now just wipe off any messes! Absolutely necessary for a house with two boys.

Looking like new again!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Backyard Progress!

Matt has been steadily plugging away at our landscaping projects. We are finally seeing results!

The front yard has been dug up, walls built, dirt moved around.... There is still a lot to do, but I am starting to see what the finished product will be like.

Matt in the front yard:

The backyard has some dirt on top of the fill finally! We still need a heap more to get it deep enough so we can sod it next year. Matt has marked off the swing set area and will soon block it off with wood and fill the entire area with sand. The fire pit is in place and trees pruned back. The other big project for this level will be flower beds to go around the wall to make it look pretty and more importantly to keep the boys in!

Imagine this all green with grass next year!

A friend's husband made this awesome fire pit for us! How fantastic is this! I see many a night sitting around a warm fire with cold beer in my backyard over the years.

Went's Pit!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Etsy: Went North Creations

I have been thinking about starting an Etsy account for a while now to make it easier to sell my crafts. Finally this weekend I set about to taking pictures of the assortment of sewing projects I have completed and learning the ins and outs of the Etsy website.

For anyone not familiar with Etsy, it is an easy to use and navigate website designed for handicrafters to sell their wares. A seller receives their own page and pays a very small fee to list their items for sale. Once items sell, you pay a small percentage back to the website. I have made one purchase from another seller and that too was an easy process.

So please check it out at http://www.etsy.com/shop/wentnorthcreations

There is a way on the site to request custom items, but I am still trying to figure that part out! Hopefully I have it set up soon.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Damn he looks good!

I just have to share, much to my husbands displeasure that I am blogging about him, how much weight Matt has lost since the new year. A side effect of me making better meals with proper portion sizes has been Matt losing a whopping 30lbs. Another part has been all of the physical labour he has been doing landscaping the yard this summer. He hasn't been nearly as restrictive in the eating as I have been. He has boxes of granola bars at work (at work mainly so I won't eat them if they are left in the house), beer is consumed on a regular basis when he is not on call and he never, ever turns down seconds on chocolate anything.

He now weighs about the same as when I met him ten years ago.

You look fantastic Matt!

Before picture:
-taken Christmas 2009

After picture:
-taken just two weeks ago, August 2010
I know he has his winter gear on in the first picture, but the face is proof enough!

He now weighs my goal weight. Uggg.... so far to go! Will be nice though to weight less than him one day.

Make sure to smack his ass and tell him how great he looks!

My Kid Free Day

Yesterday I took both kids to the sitters so I could enjoy my first alone day in three years.

Oh my.

It was so wonderful!

I spent almost the entire day hiding in my sewing lair. For the first time ever I was able to start and finish not just one, but two projects! I also took the time to teach myself how to use the walking foot for my sewing machine and to make some new patterns for ideas I have. Matt met me for a peaceful lunch at the restaurant and then it was right back to the lair to make a little bag. Then I made a delicious roasted chicken supper without kids underfoot.

A kid free day was exactly what I needed. I will definitely try to give myself a kid free day now once a month. But now in order to pay for it, I need to sell more of my handicrafts! I think I will be starting an Etsy account this fall to make it easier. Right now I have these lovely black leather and seal mittens for sale! They have rabbit trim and pile lining. They are a small fit, fitting a hand length of 6.5 inches (finger tip to bottom of palm. Leave a comment or email me if you are interested in this pair or would like something custom made to your size.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Makin' Mukluks

I get asked on a regular basis to make mukluks for folks and I have turned down every request. It is not that I don't want to, it is that I don't really know how and the cost of making mukluks is a lot. I have no clue if people would be willing to pay what they are worth. The most common request is for canvas topped ones with smoked moose hide bottoms and also for ones with the top made out of beaver. Smoked moose hide is beyond expensive and sometimes just finding a quality piece can be a challenge.

But I wanted something new to try.

So this week I went through some patterns I had been given and tried the first one- a canvas top one with moose split on the bottom. The plan is to use my cheap hide for the process of perfecting the pattern and then shell out for the pricey stuff. But a fail. Wholy crud was it ever ugly. Not what I wanted at all. So then I pulled out the pattern a friend in Whitehorse gave me and wow! Perfect! I ended up recycling a beaver coat I had purchased and again using the moose split for the bottom. I think I did alright for my first try! The pattern is nearly the same as what I make my baby booties from.

Check them out:
I still have to make linings for them and ties for the top. I have no clue how to make yarn ties, so thank goodness for the internet. I am betting someone has a tutorial online to teach me how to do it.

Normally on the top of the foot that would be fur too, but I didn't have enough beaver to do it. I kinda like the look of the increased leather. Other more talent people would add beadwork, but even though I was taught how to bead when we lived in the NWT, I really don't like doing it. I have no talent for making pretty pictures out of beads.

For my first pair of fur mukluks, I am impressed with myself! Now readers- I need feedback on ways to make these better. Any suggestions? Or maybe you have a fantastic source of smoked moose hide that you want to share with me? Or idiot proof directions for making yarn ties? Please share!

And my friend in Whitehorse who gave me this pattern is going to send me her pattern for canvas mukluks. How lucky am I! Thanks Lena!

Healthy Pancake Fail and Recovery

Yesterday in an attempt to sneak some veggies into Hunter, I added some sweet potato puree to his pancakes.


He stared at them for a while (they had a nice orange brown colour), took one nibble and then said, "Mom, these pancakes are yucky for my tummy." He refused to eat anymore.

Meanwhile, Cavan ate two pancakes lickety-split and then screamed until we passed him Hunter's plate.

Whenever I make pancakes, I make enough that the boys can snack on them for the next day. This morning I gave Cavan one as a snack and Hunter requested one for himself. He stared at it, took a bite and then said in a surprised tone, "Mom, these aren't so bad after all!"

Silly kid.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

By Myself?

In the past three years I have not had a single day to myself. I have had three days spread over those three years where I was able to spend the day with Matt with no kids- two of those days were spent shopping to stock up on supplies while we were down south and the other was the day I was in the hospital waiting to deliver Cavan, so I don't know if that counts!

Three days in three years. That sure isn't much.

I love being a mom, but the lack of me time has been a struggle, especially when we went to having two kids. Last fall and winter I was eating to cope with what I believe now was postpartum depression and I was exhausted all of the time. I thought then that my desire to have more me time was selfish, but I am now coming to realize that it isn't selfish- it is necessary!

My husband is fantastic with giving me a break when I need it. He does most of the bedtime routine with the kids and they spend a lot of time outside with him so I can clean or cook in peace. But that break is never more than an hour or maybe two- enough time to clean and maybe have a few minutes to return emails without a kid in my lap.

Last year a friend here in town started operating a dayhome and I began sending Hunter there once every couple of weeks. It gave me some quality time with just Cavan and I was able to get a lot of house work done while he played with Hunter's toys without fear of his big brother taking them away. I found it worth the money to have that break for a day. Plus I get receipts and can always claim that expense at tax time.

This Friday my friend has space to take two kids and I have been going back and forth on the idea of having an entire day to myself. One minute I am thinking things like why am I wasting money when I don't work, am I not a good enough mom to take care of my own kids, how horrible will Cavan be since he is so sucky for mom right now, maybe I should keep one kid at home and on and on. But then I start thinking that yes I need the break! I have a list of sewing ideas a mile long that I want to try, I want to go fishing without kids, I want to go berry picking without kids, I want to go quadding without kids... Now I know that is more than I can do in one day, but it still gets me excited about eight hours kid free.

Talking with Matt last night he told me I deserve the break. We have decided that once a week I will send one kid to the dayhome and once a month we will try to have both kids go for the day. And on these days I will not spend the entire day doing housework. I will spend time doing tasks I want to do such as sewing. It will cost me about $230 a month, but that isn't a bad price to pay for my sanity!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vacation Part 3: Francis Lake

We spent five nights camping at Francis Lake up here in the Yukon. It is only about a three hour drive from Faro and is a gorgeous lake with a fabulous campground. The campground was very clean (same with all but one Yukon campground we have ever been to), had huge spots with many sites right on the lake, beaches full of rocks to make boys happy, and the every friendly Yukon squirrels.

My parents camped with us and we spent a lot of time out in my father's boat. The fishing wasn't all that great, but I got a lot of relaxing time and Matt drank a lot of beer so we were happy! I even got to read three novels and start a fourth while I was there. Amazing how many books I go through when the internet is no where to be found!

The boys were dirty within minutes of waking up and by the end of the day I am pretty sure they were dirtier than the ground in our site. They had a blast playing with their grandparents, taking turns driving the boat, poking at fish, throwing rocks, swimming, driving their gator around he campground, picking up girlfriends from the site next door, eating treats from grandma and chasing the squirrels. The weather was around 30C everyday, but it still cooled off in the evenings making it nice for sleeping. This was the best vacation with family I have ever had! I hope we can do it again another summer for sure.

The bugs were nasty though!
Both kids were covered in bites and Hunter even had this one right at the top of his butt crack!

Rubbermaid baths were mandatory for these kids every night!

And they didn't mind one bit!
And every night we got a shower too! My parents brought a shower tent and a propane water heater- what a treat!

Relaxing with a gorgeous Yukon view!
My father's boat!

Cavan driving the boat. The poor kid had so many bites on his face he looks as though he has chicken pox!

Cavan napped on the boat every morning!

Hunter taking the responsibility of driving the boat very seriously:

The cold lake felt great with the hot weather!
So one afternoon Hunter wanted to try swimming in the lake with his water wings. He wanted to catch up to his grandpa who was floating past at that moment. He stepped into the water and declared it too cold and ask me to carry him out deeper. So I did! Once I got about mid thigh he told me that was good and to let him swim out to catch the boat! So I obliged and dropped him into the cold lake! That kid clambered up me so fast I am not sure his swimsuit even got wet!! I had a good laugh, and he decided he would wait for the boat to come to shore to get him.
Playing peek-a-boo with grandma on the boat:

Cavan is in the silly grin phase and I love it!

Little boy underwear drying on the line. I just loved how this looked!

Dad and his little fish:

Matt caught a gorgeous trout!! Had it been just 1/4" longer we would have had to have thrown it back. Instead it was turned into fish burgers and is now in my freezer. Yum!

Hey you! No drinking and boating!

Happy times:

Dirty feet, dirty bums and of course no pants or shoes:

The boys and their grandparents:

And my huge trout! We had to throw it back because it was too big!