My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Have you tried Wodify?

I have been using the Wodify on my iPhone to book my West London CrossFit classes and I am really enjoying it. It’s simple to use and I especially like the function where I can keep track of my progress online instead of on paper. I made a quick video about using Wodify here if you want  quick preview.

It is available free for both Apple and Android devices. If you haven’t checked it out yet, give it a try. It’s nice to be able to book wellness classes and appointments on the go and with ease.

Here is the board at the gym where you can sign in and record your progress during your classes.

Here is the board at the gym where you can sign in and record your progress during your classes.

 

Here is my progress at my last class!

Here is my progress at my last class!

 

 

Fan Girl Power!

Dear John Green,

Thanks for turning me into a hopeless fangirl with your latest novel The Fault in Our Stars. I admired its brutal honesty and deadpan humour. I loved that you see teenagers the way I do; not as monsters or miniature adults, but as people with their own identities and rich inner lives. So to highlight my fangirl-ness, I made some art:

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I also have my signed copy of the novel and I recently saw the film. There is plenty of gushing already online about the film so I’ll keep this to a minimum. I make a practice of reading the novel before I see the movie; I generally like the novel better. I like the novel and film version of The Fault in Our Stars equally. That is a rarity. Keep up the good work, Mr. Green. I need more novels for my students and I to read!

Sincerely,

Jen

Kitty’s Mommy Alarm

Pets can tell when you’re under stress. Don’t believe me? Take my big tabby Tracker. Whenever I feel sad or sick, he always comes to find me for a snuggle. We say he has a Mommy Alarm and whenever I need him it goes off and he springs into super-cute cuddle mode.

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Here he is interrupting my morning yoga session for a hug.

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And here he is guarding me while I was sick in bed one day. If you have a furry buddy in your home give them a big snuggle for me today. They are worth it.

Homemade Iced Tea

It’s time to make my perfect summer iced tea! This recipe is very easy and better for us than store-bought iced tea.

I have a Ceylon tea jug from the Bay, but you can use any jug you would put in the fridge.

I have a Ceylon tea jug from the Bay, but you can use any jug you would put in the fridge If it doesn’t have a built-in strainer like mine, use a tea strainer or tea bags instead.

 

My favourite teas are Lemon Cream Rooibos from the Tea Haus and Midsummer Night's Dream from David's Tea, but you can any tea you like. Pick something with lots of flavour.

My favourite teas are Lemon Cream Rooibos from the Tea Haus and Midsummer Night’s Dream from David’s Tea, but you can any tea you like. Pick something with lots of flavour.

 

You don't have to add extra flavour but I'm adding local honey and mint from my garden. Other suggestions might include agave syrup, lemon or other herbs such as lavender.

You don’t have to add extra flavour but I’m adding local honey and mint from my garden. Other suggestions might include agave syrup, lemon or other herbs such as lavender.

 

The key is to over-steep your tea. You want the flavour to be quite strong so you can add ice later.

The key is to over-steep your tea. You want the flavour to be quite strong so you can add ice later.

After the tea is steeped, remove the tea leaves and then cool it in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Art Assignment 10: Make a Rug

So I am terrible at crocheting, even finger crocheting. I still wanted to complete this art assignment so I did a little research and found this project that looked more my speed. Here goes!

First I gathered my materials; one hula hoop, one pair of scissors and a pile of my old t-shirts.

First I gathered my materials; one hula hoop, one pair of scissors and a pile of my old t-shirts.

Next I cut the strings for the warp, (the part you string on the loop).

Next I cut the strings for the warp, (the part you string on the loop).

Here is my hoop with 11 weft pieces in place.

Here is my hoop with 11 warp pieces in place.

Then I cut my weft pieces, (the part you actually use for weaving).

Then I cut my weft pieces, (the part you actually use for weaving).

I tied my weft pieces together by cutting a little hole in each one and then tying a simple knot.

I tied my weft pieces together by cutting a little hole in each one and then tying a simple knot.

I thought this would be a solo project for me but soon after the cats joined me in the basement.

I thought this would be a solo project for me but soon after the cats joined me in the basement.

They quickly made themselves comfortable.

They quickly made themselves comfortable.

At first I treated each loop of the warp as one spoke.

At first I treated each loop of the warp as one spoke.

Then I moved to treating each loop (except for one) as two spokes. That gives the rug more stability.

Then I moved to treating each loop (except for one) as two spokes. That gives the rug more stability.

I love my completed project! It looks like some sort of weird sea creature or an amoeba.

I love my completed project! It looks like some sort of weird sea creature or an amoeba.

I'd love to take a photo of me using the rug but it's occupied right now...

I’d love to take a photo of me using the rug but it’s occupied right now…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can stress make you sick?

Here is a Venn Diagram I made of stress and the common cold. All the items in the middle are the common symptoms.

Here is a Venn Diagram I made of stress and the common cold. All the items in the middle are the common symptoms.

As if I didn’t need one more thing to be stressed out about; stress can make you sick. Don’t believe me? Check out this article Understanding How Stress Can Make You Sick from their book Stress Management for Dummies. They link stress to loss of libido, muscles aches and pains, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and even the common cold. They also point out that stress can exacerbate conditions such as “HIV, AIDS, herpes, cancer metastasis, viral infection, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain allergies, as well as other auto-immune conditions,” (Stress Management for Dummies). There is no denying that stress affects every part of our bodies and brains.

Sheesh, all this stress talk is making me feel a bit down. I think I’m going to go do some yoga and have a hot bath. What are you doing to reduce your stress and improve your health?

Clara’s Big Ride

From March 2014 until Canada Day 2014 Olympian Clara Hughes rode across Canada as part of Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative.

Bell and Clara teamed up to reduce the stigma of mental health and encourage everyone to openly discuss mental health issues and supports. Clara has been very open about her own battle with depression and seeing stories like this gives me hope. Maybe one day, I’ll feel totally comfortable sharing my battle with anxiety as openly and she does. Maybe I won’t shake and panic at the though of letting my employer know about my mental health issues. Maybe one day no one will think my anxiety is my fault. Thank you Clara for bringing me one step closer to this.

Get involved in the conversation:

  • You can visit Clara’s webpage here to read her captivating blog entries and learn more about her Big Ride.
  • You can Tweet Let’s Talk at @Bell_LetsTalk or by using #BellLetsTalk
  • You can visit http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives/ to learn more about the anti-stigma, care and access, workplace health and research work Bell is funding.

World Pride Toronto

If you follow me on Twitter, (@JenMcAwesome) you know I recently marched in Toronto’s World Pride Parade with the Secondary Teacher’s Union. It was an amazing day and I wanted to share my photos with you in case you missed them. Keep in mind that not all of these photos are suitable for children so view at your own discretion.

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Happy Canada Day!

I hope you are all having a lovely long weekend! I am on vacation but I still wanted to share something special with you for Canada Day. I play this spoken word poem entitled “We Are More” by the amazing poet Shane Koyczan whenever we discuss Canadian identity. It also seems appropriate on Canada Day to play tribute to what makes us unique. Enjoy!

The Last Day of School

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. There are so many celebrations and graduation events to attend. At the same time, everything is coming to an end and I’m exhausted. I’m up to my eyeballs in exam marking but the weather is beautiful and all I want to do is go play outside. The school feels strange; buzzing with energy but empty.

Here is my classroom all packed up for the summer. It looks so sad this way!

Here is my classroom all packed up for the summer. It looks so sad this way!

Most times of transition are difficult for me. I suppose most people naturally resist change. It makes me feel out of sorts and a bit distracted. However, I find looking forward to the things to come makes it easier. I have a summer full of family and friends and exciting activities planned. I can’t wait to share them with you!

Happy summer everyone!

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