Monday, December 31, 2012

Re-visiting Last Year's Goals

Hurray!  The new year is nearly here so time for new goals!  And I love goal setting!

But before I set my goals for the next year, I need to re-visit last year's ones and see how I did.

1.  Craft more with Cavan.  Success!  He and I were crafty like foxes this year.  It helped that I organized all of the kid craft supplies and keep them out in the living area. 

2.  Numeracy and literacy work with Hunter.  Success!  We have been playing a lot of math games with him and working on sight words.  I never made a word wall with him, but he has a box of cards with words that he has told us he wanted to learn such as train, tender and pirate ship.  The kid is creative!

3.  Find more free time for Matt.  Semi-success!  Matt gets out to the gym and out visiting a lot more without me and the monkeys, but I would still like to find more time for him to do the things he likes.  Gotta keep working on this one.

4.  Expand my sewing skills and business.  Continued success!  I am pretty proud of my little business.  Last year I made around $12 000 in sales which I am very happy with.  Of course my supplies are very expensive, so that isn't all profit.  But I make enough to buy more supplies and buy myself something fun from time to time.  My skill-set grew in leaps and bounds last year and hopefully that happens again this year.

5.  Water my house plants.  Success!!  Well except for the ugly plant that I put outside to die.  I am a cruel plant owner.

6.  Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  Success!  I worked to stay away from people like that and my happiness level is at an all time high.   :)

2012 was a fantastic year!  Stay tuned tomorrow for plans for the next year and reflections on my last year of weight loss.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Fur Scarf!

A custom order came in for a wolf fur scarf and I was excited to try something new!  An online friend of mine in Alaska had posted pictures of ones she had made, so I asked for a bit of advice.  Her tips and tricks made all the difference in this project!  How I wish I lived closer so I could sit in her studio and learn more from her.  Check out her website here:
and her esty shop here:

I worked on the scarf over two days and it turned out so lovely.  It is fluffy and incredibly warm.  The ends of the scarf are made of dyed black seal fur.  There is a slit in one end of the scarf so the other end can poke through to keep it secured.

Now I have my fingers crossed that the customer is happy with it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Another wonderful holiday in the Went home.  It was just the four of us for Christmas, but we hooked up with another couple of families for supper that day.  The day was the perfect mix of family time and friend time.  Boxing Day was a bit busier for us as we hosted a brunch with 21 adults and children in attendance- heaps of chaos and fun!

As much as we love our families, we love staying in our own home creating our own traditions for the holidays.  The idea of traveling at this time of the year to see them just doesn't seem pleasant.  My family is a day and a half drive away and Matt's family live at the other end of the country.  Maybe one day they will all come here for Christmas instead!

Always have to make sure the reindeer are well taken care of!

I love my Christmas candles!

Honest Santa!  We have been good this year!

And Santa fell for it!  

Family photo time!


Are the holidays over with yet?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Make Your Own Bazooka

This morning I made our traditional Christmas Eve Wrapping Paper Tube Bazooka Gun.  This tradition goes all the way back to my childhood.  There is a great picture of my brother asleep in his bed clinging to his wrapping paper tube just in-case of a nighttime assault. 

So how do you make this your very own family tradition?  Follow these idiot-proof instructions:

Step one:  Round up all the rolls you have been saving for the last month (toilet paper, paper towel, and wrapping paper).  Make sure you have a full roll of packing tape.

Step two: Cut the paper towel roll in half and tape it to the wrapping paper roll.  Lots and lots of tape.  Then add even more tape.  If in doubt, add more tape.

Step three:  Add a scope using the other half of your paper towel roll.  Tape.  Tape.  Tape.

Step four:  Slide the toilet paper roll over the end of the wrapping paper tube to make it into a pump action.  No tape required.

Step five:  Immediately give to small children or husbands and be prepared to run.  If small children or husbands gets out of control with their bazooka, just use the tape to tape them to the nearest wall.

Note:  users of the bazooka guns will be inclined to find ammunition for their gun.  Dinky cars are not optimal as they will become crammed in the barrel resulting in a mama having to cut the gun apart and create an entirely new gun.

Just Like Big Brother

Cavan is becoming a lego junkie just like his big brother.  Up until recently, he has been happier destroying whatever Hunter made.  But now his creative little mind is making me turtles, Autobots, guns, rockets, and planes.

Here is a picture from three minutes ago.  I am sitting at the table drinking tea and Cavan is making me all sorts of treasures.  I love seeing my boys becoming so creative with the lego! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Year of Reading

Since having my weight loss surgery I have been reading more.  A lot more. 

I have always loved to read, but with little kids it just seemed to be pushed to the back burner.  I was reading heaps of books to them each day, but by the time I was able to put my feet up, I wanted my brain to be numbed, so on went a tv show or some internet surfing.

Reading has been one of my biggest techniques to break myself from mindless eating.  It is hard to hold a book and read at the same time.  And I really don't want to eat and read with my kobo that has a touch screen!  Grime on the screen?  No way!  Seems odd, but it works.  Reading distracts me so well and lately I cannot seem to put my books down!

I have to thank Letia in Iqaluit especially for helping me get back into reading.  It was through her generosity that I was able to spend money on myself (something most mom's have problems doing) and buy myself an ebook.  I love being able to buy a book instantly and also to be able to carry around as many books as I want!  Now, I still have a real book on the go most times, but my kobo is my new best friend!

So what did I read in the last year?  Here are the titles:

Game of Thrones books 1-5
Hunger Games Trilogy
The Dovekeepers
World War Z
The Twelve
The Passage
As the World Dies Trilogy
Ashes, Ashes
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
The Zombie Autopsies
Autumn Series (5 book series about zombies!)
50 Shades of Grey Trilogy
The Girl in the Steel Corset
Wool Omnibus (books 1-5)
On the Island
The Island
Dog Blood
Newsflesh Trilogy
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Hitching Rides with Budda

I know I am missing a few on that list, but that looks like most of them!

So what was my favorite?  Individual book was World War Z.  The movie is coming out next year and even though it looks like crap compared to the book, I am still excited to see it.

Favorite series?  Too hard to pick!!  Game of Thrones is awesome and addictive.  But so was The Hunger Games.  And so was Autumn.  Can't pick.

My theme of the year was definitely zombie.  And I love anything apocalyptic. 

Worst book of the last year?  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I couldn't finish it.

And what am I reading now?  The rest of the Hater series and then onto The Maze Runner.

Input!  What should I read in 2013??  Leave me your favorites in the comments!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

14 Month Update

I am already fourteen months post-bariatric surgery....  Where has that time gone? 

The weight is still coming off, although it is coming off a lot slower now.  Since my one year mark back on October 19th, I have lost another 5.5lbs.  That has been the slowest weight loss over two months that I have had to date.  However, my surgeon and nutritionist are both happy at the slower rate since I am approaching my goal weight.  They would be concerned if the weight was coming off at a rate of any more than one pound a week right now.

I have now lost 124lbs.  My goal is to lose 150lbs and that is so close now!  Well sort of close.  At this rate I won't be at my goal until late spring or early summer, but that is still exciting.

Last month I went down to northern BC to visit with family and boy did I ever go on a shopping spree!  I pretty much bought a new wardrobe, but a lot of it came from Value Village, so I didn't feel too bad about all my spending.  It feels great to have a few nicer items to wear out and about!

So where am I struggling?  Holiday eating is tough!  Last year at the holidays I was barely up to eating 1/2 a cup of mush.  This year I can eat one cup of pretty much anything.  Items that are too sweet or rich make me sick pretty much instantly, but some times that still isn't enough to stop me from trying a bite.  I am eating a bit more than normal right now, but am making sure I don't overfill myself and space out my eating.  Also, I need to focus on visiting instead of eating.  That is really the real reason we all get together, right?

I am also having a hard time dealing with my stomach flap.  It gets in the way of everything and clothing fits so awkward with it.  When I had my one year appointment with my surgeon, he gave me the go-ahead to start looking into surgery.  Based on how much weight I have lost and my level of activity, he said if I was doing this at his clinic they would do it at the 18 month mark.  So I have an appointment with a doctor that is coming into Faro in January to see if that type of surgery could possibly be covered under our insurance here in the Yukon.  If not, well I will start to save my pennies and get help researching a plastic surgeon to have it done.  I am hoping I can find a place closer than the clinic where I had my bariatric surgery, but I would be happy to go right back down there too.

The surgeon also suggested that I stop tracking my food as much.  This is a really tough one for me.  I love tracking every little bit and I feel so lost when I don't keep track.  I am not sure I am going to be able to follow through on this one.  My personality type likes the control I feel when I track and measure everything and I have great success with it.  We will see where it goes.

The weight is now coming off my lower end.  I haven't lost a single inch off my waist or boobs in the last two months, but I have lost another inch and a half off my hips and two and a half off each of my thighs!!  Woweeee!  I am so happy to see my bottom shrinking.  I have now lost a total of 10.5" off of each thigh and a whopping 18.5" off my hips.  Get out a measuring tape and look at that one.  Unreal.

I haven't been very active in the last month due to my vacation and then being hit with the plague upon our return.  Yesterday I was back at the squash court and loved every minute of it.  Time to get back into my routine!

And now my 14 month photos:

Looking nice for the staff party last night!

124lbs down.

See that tummy flap?  It sucks. 

hmmm.... I need some hair help today!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shopping Local

I organized a craft show for our local artists, crafters and bakers to sell their wares and it was a big hit!  There is always a craft show at the end of November in Faro, but I thought it would be nice to have another one closer to Christmas for all the last minute shoppers. 

There were sixteen tables filled with great stuff!  I am always blown away by the talented people we have here in Faro and Ross River as well.  And Faroites are incredibly supportive!  Locals came out in droves to spend their money on great items for Christmas.  Money and donations were also collected for our Christmas Hamper program; thank you to everyone who donated!

I sold a number of items and a few pricier ones that really made my day.  There are also four more custom orders added to my to-do-before-Christmas list and even one item that was put aside with the instructions of, "Call my husband and tell him to buy this for me for Christmas!"

Thank you to all the vendors, shoppers, and staff at the rec centre for making this such a successful event!

A full room of vendors and shoppers!

My table of goodies!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Year of Bad

Well not bad in that way... just a year of boys and the bad things they do!  Check it out for some laughs:
2012: A Year of Bad in the Went Household from Kara Went on Vimeo.

I should have really titled this, "A Year of Dirty Faces and Bare Bums!"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Traditions

A lot of my friends are doing the Christmas Elf with their children and I wanted to come up with something special for my kids as we count down the days until Christmas.  I though about buying the Elf, but honestly, the thing just creeped me out.  But then I saw this nifty little advent train in a Regal catalogue and an idea took shape.

Each day the kids open up a door on the train and take out a special note.  We started a bit late since we arrived back to Faro on the 2nd and have been overwhelmed with the Faro Plague since then.  The kids haven't asked who wrote the note yet, and I am not sure how I will answer that when they do ask. 

Each note with either be something that we will do that day as a family or it will be a special act of kindness that we will perform.  Yesterday's note was letting the kids know it was the day to write their letter to Santa.  It was a fun family activity even with both kids sick.  Today, we will be doing some baking to share with friends of their choosing.  I am looking forward to putting a new task in each night and keeping this new tradition going each Christmas season.

Naked thanks to a high fever, but look at that writing!  He knows how to make almost every letter on his own now.
Side two of his note to Santa.

Looking through the Sears catalogue to find the perfect present request for Santa.

Our advent train and notes so far.  And the stack of Christmas cards all ready to be mailed out today!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

House of Plague

We returned home on Sunday evening from a fantastic two week vacation visiting my parents in northern BC.

And by Monday night, the Faro plague started its aggressive assault.

Cavan puked a few times Monday night and had a high fever all day Tuesday and into today.  He is seeming a bit more like himself this afternoon, but I can tell he is still isn't back up to full power since he is napping on the sofa right now.

Hunter woke up miserable with a fever this morning.  He hasn't been able to hold any food, water, or medicine down.  At least all of the puking has been in a bowl or toilet!  Beware if you drive by my house: the kid refuses to wear clothing today and likes to sit up in the window to cool himself off.  Full moon/wanker alert!

Matt seems healthy so far.

Me?  Not too sure yet.  I am still getting over a bad chest cold I had while on vacation and my tummy doesn't seem quite right.  I am also cold and just cannot seem to warm up.  Ah well.  Get it over with now and we will all be healthy for Christmas, right?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Best Birthday Cake!

I made my husband this cake for his birthday and it went over quite well!

There is a caption by Matt that reads, "Aw crap!" and the deer is saying, "Ha Ha!"

Happy Birthday Matt!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The last few days have been a whirlwind of house cleaning, sewing and packing for our trip.  Tomorrow we are leaving for two weeks to visit my parents in Dawson Creek.  We all drive to Whitehorse and spend the night.  On Friday, the boys and I fly down while Matt drives down!  Sucker!  ahahah  

We booked the tickets months ago before we knew if Matt would have time off work.  Once he was approved for leave, there were no more tickets left.  I am happy he is driving down though, since that means I can fill the truck with goodies from my shopping adventures in Grande Prairie!  Matt is only down for one week and then he drives back to Faro to get back to work.  The boys and I will be down there until the 1st of December.

I haven't seen my father in 13 months but I did see my mom in the spring when she drove up for a visit.  Quite the change in me since I have seen them last!

While I am gone there will be a craft show in Faro that I have always attended.  My wonderful husband has volunteered (read: been told) that he will run my table for me since I will be away.  I have been sewing my heart out to have a variety of items ready for the show.  Plus sewing a heap of custom orders as well. 

I finally sat down last night and made myself a pair of mittens and was heartbroken when they ended up being just a wee bit too small for myself.  Tonight I cut myself out a new pair, but I am just too pooped to work on them!  I am going to take them down south with me and will finish them down there.

Here are pictures of what I have made in the last week:
Baby booties!

Fox fur earmuffs!

More booties!

Blue fox trimmed mitts.

Lynx fur earmuffs

Beaver fur hat

Ginormous gauntlet mittens! 

So sad these are too small for me!  Fuchsia seal with inlaid black seal in the shape of a raven.  Blue fox trim.

These mittens will make someone happy!
Have a great couple of weeks everyone!

Can I damage my new stomach?

My new stomach isn't that new anymore, but still new enough!

I have been asked a lot over the last year if my stomach will stretch back to the size it was before surgery and I didn't honestly know the answer.  I was assuming that it could be stretched by continual binge eating.  Right now my stomach will hold about one cup and I work hard to keep my meals to about 3/4's of a cup to ensure that I don't stretch out my stomach.  If I have even a couple of tablespoons more than one cup, it is painful.

I have been drinking fluids a lot quicker though, especially when I am exercising, and that did have me worried that I might be stretching out my stomach doing that!  So I sent my nutritionist and my surgeon an email to as about how easily it is to stretch the stomach.

Their response settled all of my fears!

Here is what my nutritionist had to say:
Your new stomach will give you that instant feedback when you try to overfill it!  If you routinely try to limit the volume of food you eat to no more than one cup, then it is not going to stretch out.  Over time if you were to increase the volume, then your stomach would stretch but probably not to the size it was originally.  If your stomach is pretty much empty when you drink the fluids then it won’t be a problem as it will just go right through.

And from my surgeon (who has actually had this surgery himself):
Kara, what you are experiencing is normal. I don’t honestly know the answer regarding the stretching. I do know that it will stretch to a degree. I do believe that chronic overeating (like if this were a daily occurrence) probably would allow it to stretch to a greater degree. I don’t believe the occasional “woops” we all do is a problem. It gets easier, but still happens from time to time. I don’t think the fluids will stretch it out. Plan to pre-hydrate before workouts – that helps.

That was a relief to hear from both of them!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend Already?

Is it Saturday already?  Where did the last five days go?

Oh yeah....  playgroup, sledding, baking, sewing, school, cleaning, coffee time, rec centre time, squash, book reading, movie watching, tea time, skating lessons, hockey, meetings, company for supper...... repeat over and over!

Our weeks are full.  But full of good things.  Activities centered around our family, our volunteer work, and our community. 

I love the life we have and love this community.

Afternoon goodness.  Cavan does patterns, I am sewing and Hunter is in the living room building with lego.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend Goodness

We had such a fantastic weekend of family and friend time!

There was sledding time with friends, helping out at the arena with youth hockey, trying out new snowshoes, playground playing, lots of hot chocolate, friends over to visit, squash, movie nights, and even some housework.....  Whew! 

All of the outside time seems to have helped reset the boys with the time change since last night they were back to their usual 7:30pm bedtime and sleeping right until 7am.  I was worried the time change would have them popping out of bed at 6am or earlier.  Hopefully they are good now!

I just love weekends filled with fun like this.

The mamas fly down the hill!

Hurray for hot chocolate!

It's Hunter to the rescue!

So much fun with friends!

Big steps!

All ready for the snow!

And they are pros right off the get-go!  Here they are running full out.

And always a lot of laughs!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Black Widow in my Grapes!

The day before Halloween I got quite the surprise.  I took a bag of grapes out of my fridge (they had been there for a week) and dumped them into a plastic container.  I was getting them ready to take to playgroup for the little kids to snack on.  Next I rinsed them a few times under the tap using my hands to hold the grapes in as I poured the water off.  Then I was snacking on a few of the grapes WHEN A BIG BLACK SPIDER CAME CRAWLING OUT!

Now, I am not afraid of spiders.  They don't really bother me, but this one crawling out of my grapes gave me the heebie jeebies!

I quickly put the lid on the container and put the entire works outside into our lovely -24C temperatures.  I was going to kill him!  But then I knew I needed picture of him.  So I brought the container back in, bravely lifted up the lid and snapped a quick picture before the spider crawled out.  Then back outside it went.
Well hello spider!  Good thing the grapes didn't make it down to playgroup!

The picture wasn't great and my friends on facebook were appealing to my inner science geek to figure out what kind of spider I had found.  So a few hours later, once I was sure he would be dead, I brought the container back into the house and took his frozen carcass out to photograph.

Turns out I found a black widow spider.  Wow!  It was really easy to identify with the bold red markings under his abdomen.  A friend sent me this link to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about black widows traveling up from California in the fall on grapes.  I looked at the package the grapes had be in, and yes, they were from California!

Most definitely a black widow!

We named it Bob and it is now in a jar.

The best conversation had about the spider came from Michael in Whitehorse.  I have a deathly, irrational fear of moths and I said I would rather be around the spider over a moth.  This is what he said about that:

That's so weird. Let's assess the comparative threat level.

Black Widow Spider: Not dangerous if left alone, but capable of causing painful death with one bite. Threat Level 9 out of 10.

Moth: A fuzzy relative to the butterfly. Flits about, causing no direct harm to any human ever. Commits suicide by repeatedly "flying into the light" Threat Level -1000 out of 10.

ahahah  So funny and true.  But I am still scared of moths.  Deathly afraid.  

So check your grapes thoroughly and maybe you will find a new friend too! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

One is the most wonderful number!

I never thought I would see this on the scale, but this week I made it!

Thirteen months ago there was a three up there and now there is a one.  120lbs in thirteen months.

Today it was even better at 198.8.  Bit by bit the scale keeps moving down to reflect a healthier me and I am so happy that I went through with the surgery.

The kids have never commented on my weight loss until this week.  Here is my conversation with Hunter:

Hunter:  Mom, your bum is getting skinnier.

Me:  Yep, it is!

Hunter:  I don't like it.  I want you back to the old you.

Me:  Why?  Now that my bum is skinnier I can run fast and chase you!

Hunter:  Yeah, that is why I want the old you.  You can catch me now!

So my next goal is to weigh less than Matt and that is about ten pounds away.  After that it will be my original goal of losing 150lbs and being down to 169lbs.  I see that finish line is sight!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Fun!

We had a great Halloween with the boys again this year.  All the usual fun of pumpkin carving, community party and hitting up the houses for loot.

This year we tried something a little different with the boys in dealing with the large amount of candy they received.  People in Faro are very generous on how much they hand out to the kids.  Our boys didn't go to a lot of houses and still had their bags overflowing!  We told them that if they left out a big pile of candy for the Candy Fairy, that she would leave a toy in return.  The boys thought this was a great idea and bought right into it.  They were screaming with glee the next morning when they found Ninja Turtle figurines sitting out for them where they had left their piles of candy.  So that reduced the loot to about half.

I wore my beard hat and was a lumberjack!

Having fun at the community party!

Very happy when we managed to squeeze their snowsuits under the costumes!

Practicing at home first!

Pumpkin fun!

Our traditional puking pumpkins!

Pumpkin cake and cupcakes that I made for the community party.

Heading out for loot!  It warmed up for Halloween and the windchill was only -11C.