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I am a read, writer, runner and mom to toddler twins. My blog encompasses all of this into one neat place and takes readers on the adventures and mis-adventures to be had within these boundaries.

  • Training the Puppy 7 June 2016 I’m trying very hard to recommit to all of my healthful ways again.  Not an easy task, but I’m doing the best I can even if it isn’t very good.   People who knew me before on MyFitnessPal and Daily Mile will find that I’m not using those accounts anymore.  I’ve reset my MFP account so I can have a clean slate.  It is a huge weight off of my mind.   I’m also going to just keep my run and gear tracking to Garmin.  This should streamline things a bit for me and let me just work in private and not feel like I have people watching my pace or the fact I’ve been losing the same 5 lbs for two years over and over again.  I’m sure no one even looks at it, but I do and it’s making me nauseous when people “like” a weight loss.  Yes, I am neurotic.  Most days.   I’m also hoping to blog more as part of my recommitment.

    Something new that has come into my life recently is an amazing rescue puppy named River.  She is brilliant.  She makes me want to train to run with her.  I could never run with Abner.  His little legs, heavy body and cancer weakened body could never handle it.   But River.  She was made to run.   It was just a matter of waiting until she was mature enough to handle it.

    I have been leash training her with 3 daily walks since February and she is pretty good most days.  I bought a waist leash for her and we’ve used it a few times on the walks, but it was anyones guess how she was going to be when it was time to pick up the pace.  And yesterday, at 8 months old, River got to start her running journey with me.

    Disclaimer: there will always be people in the crowd who say “wait til one year” or whatever.  I DID talk to my vet when she was 4 months old and she advised me to wait until 6 months.  The rate River was growing made me want to extend that a bit.  She is a Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Great Dane so is not a tiny mutt.  I want to make sure I ease her in and I want to make sure I don’t hurt her.  Luckily, my running ability is pretty weak right now so she is getting a pretty gentle intro.

    To avoid the possibility of disaster as much as possible, I decided to take her out on her inaugural run on the pathways of Chestermere.  No cars to dodge, like in Langdon where sidewalks exist in less than half of the town.  I figured I’d been good for 3:1 run/walk so she would get plenty of breaks (especially since that 3:1 is actually more of a 3:5 haha)

    A photo posted by Cori Nicholls (@khourianya) on

    and the verdict?  She’s a natural!This dog was born to be my running partner. She runs straight, stays right beside me and adjusts to my pace perfectly (and I know how fast she CAN go. She’s holding back for me.

    I set out to do 5k with her, but we ended up doing 6.4k. There are still some kinks to work out with getting her to drink (I drained my hydration pack for her and neither of us seemed to get enough) but I think this will be easy to solve. Most importantly? I’m excited to run with her again. This is going to be a great way to keep me running this summer…and to help her get some exercise to tame the puppy crazies when she isn’t getting 3 spaced out walks in a day.  We can run in the morning and walk for errands.  It should work pretty well if that first run is any indication.

  • #sketchadaycafe March 2016 25 February 2016 I’m hosting another sketch challenge over on Instagram.   I’ve been struggling with doing a daily challenge, so I decided it was time I got back to hosting one!  Welcome to the #sketchadaycafe challenge.  March 2016 has a theme of COFFEE!  (mmmm coffee).  You don’t have to be some master artist to join in – just grab a sketchbook and start doodling on the daily prompt.   Tag a friend who you think might be interested (if you want) or repost this image to your own account to help spread the word.  I’m looking forward to a fun, coffee filled March!  I hope you’ll join me!
    Here is a printable version of the prompts.
    Have fun!

  • DIY Mom: Homemade Laundry Soap 27 January 2016 In our house, I always thought I was the one with the skin allergies until I had my girls.  Specifically, Buggie.   Every liquid soap we tried set her off.  Almost every powder did too.  That poor kid needs the most gentle soap possible and for the longest time, we just stuck with what I had used on the girls cloth diapers – Country Save.  It was both inexpensive and didn’t give her any issues.   There is nothing more miserable than watching your toddler scratch away for a week at a rash that covers every inch that clothing has touched.

    About a year ago, though, Country Save started to be harder to find.  Really – I had only ever been able to get it at London Drugs and then Target for that brief moment in time that they were in Canada.  I decided I wanted to take a stab at making our own laundry soap.  I figured if I knew what was in the soap, I’d feel much better about having it on her clothes.

    Even better – she has never had a reaction to my soap.   I don’t know if I am saving much money over what I’d pay for commercially prepared soap, but I usually make such a large batch that it lasts forever so I MUST be saving money.


    Here’s the washing soda box in case you have trouble finding it on the shelves like I usually do.  I live in Canada so your packaging may vary (or not)

    1 Bar Gentle Soap – I really love Dr Bonners because the almond hemp one smells so good in this mix, but recently tried this with Ivory bar soap and it still works great, costs less and is much easier to find in most stores.
    1 Bar Sunlight Soap
    2 Cups Washing Soda (You can substitute with baking soda if you can’t find washing soda.  It just makes it much more powdery.  I’ve had to use this substitution a few times)
    2 Cups Borax

    Grate the bar soap.  I prefer to do this in my food processor.  It’s just faster.  You can use a hand grater if you want but a food processor will make your fingertips happier.

    Put the regular blade back into the food processor and pulse it until the soap grates are tiny.

    Important – before you add the powder, you want to make sure the little blocker is in the chute of your processor.  unless you happen to like huffing Borax.  GAG!  Not recommended.

    Add the Washing soda/Baking soda

    and pulse until mixed then do the same with the borax.

    Voila.  Homemade laundry soap.    I repeat the process until my laundry room jars are full and I always keep the supplies on hand so I can make more at a moments notice.

    You only need 1-2 tablespoons per load.  I used a coffee scoop in ours.  It does not foam up like a commercial soap would, but my clothes are clean and don’t smell like chemical fragrance.  The lack of sudsing should mean it is fine for a front loader.

    I got my apothocary jars at Wallyworld

    A note about food processor cleanup:

    As for concerns about using your food processor to do this and then being able to use it for food after…don’t worry.  But don’t toss the parts into the dishwasher straight away.  You will want to soak it and then hand wash it first.  Then run it through the dishwasher to get any last soap residue off.  If you put it into the dishwasher first – it will coat everything in wax-like soap residue.   So take the extra step because you’ll only end up handwashing everything that was in the dishwasher all over again if you don’t.

  • My Running 2016 26 January 2016 Did y’all know I used to be a running blogger?

    Like seriously.  I was.

    I ran and ran and then wrote and wrote.  It’s how this blog got it’s name.  But then I broke my leg after a really struggly year and I didn’t want to just sit here and bitch and moan and be all anxious and shit about my leg.   So I didn’t write as much anymore.

    Well – guess what.  I’m turning forty this year.  Eeek!  Unsubscribe now – this bitch be OLD!   and I miss running.  I left my job a year ago to stay home with my girls and you’ld think that would have meant more time to eake out for my health and fitness.  It hasn’t worked out that way.  Much of this year has been finding my footing with being a stay at home mom with a side business and contracting obligations.

    But in 2016, I will return to running.  I ran a half marathon just 4 months ago. It’s not like I’m completely out of shape.  I walk 4k a day just dropping off and picking up my kids from school!   But it’s not running.  Not even close.

    Right before the new year, I saw one of the people I follow had posted this:

    and I decided it was perfect.  I don’t have to commit to running more than 5k at a time.  I have no intentions of racing this year (though I may do a couple shorties).  I have a new puppy to train to be my running partner.   This could be perfect.

    So I put it on my Instagram.   And I got 60 likes for it.

    60 likes x 5k = 300 km in 2016

    Totally do-able.

    Early January left me battling the flu, so I got a late start as I waited for my lungs to normalize again.  But yesterday I kick started my return to the world of running.

    and an interesting thing happened.   When I tagged the person I dedicated the run to…they later tagged me back to say they had done a 5k solidarity walk!

    I don’t know if it will happen every time, but it was pretty cool to have it happen even once.

    So I’m running again.  Not fast, yet.  and not far, yet.  But for 2016 it is about turning 40 with a healthier mindset and healthier body.  I have alot of weight to lose from a year spent on the couch bitching and moaning about a broken leg…but more importantly – running is a mental health thing for me.  The thing that turns off the naysayers echoing in my skull…and I need that more than anything else in life.  

  • Happy Homemade: Easy No Bake Energy Bites for the Kiddos 26 January 2016 This year, I am trying to improve our eating around here…mostly because we’ve been really bad about it of late but also because I have the big 4-0 hitting this year and I want to feel better before I get there.  My kids are ravenous when they get home from school so I decided that instead of having them hit the pantry for some carb filled empty snack, I would make them something a little more satisfying yet every bit as much fun.

    Enter the Easy Energy Bite

    Toss all of this into your mixing bowl:

    1 cup Peanut Butter (or other favourite nut butter or nut substitute butter)\
    1/3 cup honey
    1/2 cup raisins
    1 cup oats

    You could also toss in things like coconut, flax seed, hemp hearts, chocolate chips or whatever else you happen to like in cookies…but I keep it simple.

    Mix it all together until well mixed and roll it into 1 inch balls with your hands.  Voila – you’re done…These should keep at least a week in the fridge…if they last that long.  They totally taste just like munching on cookie dough.


  • Making Your Elf Poseable 17 December 2015 I am really amazed that the Elf on the Shelf people don’t do this in the factory, but this year, I took a few minutes out of one evening and it has made a huge difference in our elf flexibility.

    What did I do?  I wired my elf.

    What you need:

    • Wire – I used 20 gauge
    • Wire cutters
    • Scissors
    • Red thread
    • Needle

    What I wish I’d used:

    • a dab of glue gun glue on the ends of the wire
    There are tons of posts on Pinterest on how to do this, but here is the readers digest of what I did.
    1. Make tiny snips in the back of the elfs armpits and at the top of the legs near the crotch.
    2. Cut the wire to match the full length of the limbs
    3. Carefully insert the wire into the slits and thread it through tot he end of the limb.  This is delicate work.  These Elves are made of felt and the wire can and will punch through if you are not careful.  I wish I had taken the time to heat up my glue gun and drop a dab of hot glue onto the ends of the wire because ours did poke through within a couple of weeks of posing.  In the off season, I’ll be remedying this on ours.
    4. Once the wire is threaded – sew up the slits
    Voila – poseable elf.   Sorry for the lack of photos.   I realized after the fact that I should have taken some but I forgot.  Maybe if I end up helping someone wire theirs – I’ll shoot some.

    For a simple craft that takes only minutes – this really took Libby to the next level this year.  It is so much easier to make her cooperate now that she can sit independently and have posed gestures.

    If you really need pics and want to see other ways people have done this – here are some links I got off my pinterest.

  • Elf on the Shelf 2015 – More Ideas 17 December 2015 I’m a little late posting the elf shenanigans this week…ah well.  Tis the season to be busy….

    Every Elf mom needs a list of lazy or late ideas….

    I have to admit – I’m a little surprised more people didn’t get this one. Just me and a friend of mine who is a pinup model. We laughed our asses off…

    Once an elf craft, always an elf craft…saving things you made in past years can make for fun reuse opportunities.

    Raiding the recycle bin for elf crafts can be super fun…and all you need is some washi and a glue gun to pull this one off.

    A photo posted by Cori Nicholls (@khourianya) on

    Piggy bank robbery in progress…

    The girls had a playdate the day Libby did this…and I heard a chorus of “Darn it. Why does our elf have to be a boy! He never does pretty things like this!”

    Another easy one that looks harder than it is…just cover the front of a framed picture and voila!

    I have to offer a word of warning to anyone who wants to attempt “Crying over melted snowman” Use a piece of acetate to put the glue on…I started with waxed paper thinking I could peel the dried glue off and as the glue dried, it crinkled the paper and ripped it. Ruined the melted snowman. So I ended up doing a 5am rescue on acetate and the glue was still wet when the girls saw it. But when it dried, it looked amazing…just like a puddle of water. Even better – make it in advance instead of fling by the seat of your pants like I did.

    I knew we were going to have a tooth out before Christmas so this one was on the list – I just didn’t know when it would be played…well, Buggie lost that tooth last night and voila…she felt special because the elf was in her room especially for something that happened to her. If you’ve got wiggly teeth in the house, it’s a good one to keep in your pocket.

    SO there is another week or so of creep-free elf ideas.

  • Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Week One 8 December 2015 It’s that time of year again and I’m still sharing our Elf adventures on Instagram everyday.  But if you aren’t on there, here they all are in one easy place.  Just a few ideas to get you through the month.  Especially if you’re pantsing it (ie: flying by the seat of your pants for those non-nano folk)

    Stay tuned next week for another week’s worth of non-creepy elf fun. Or follow me on Instagram to see the daily shenanigans.

  • A Year Without NaNoWriMo 1 November 2015 Today marks that magical first day for so many aspiring authors around the world.  The day they embark on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and start to write the 50,000 words that will become their novel.

    This year, I won’t be with them.

    Not for lack of wanting to.  Or ideas.  This is the first year in the past five years that I am not going to write a novel.

    It’s because I want to write and illustrate a children’s book instead.  I have three solid ideas I’d like to attempt, but my goal is to just finish one.

    But children’s books don’t happen to be 50,000 words.  Not the storybook kind.  

    So, I wish everyone who is doing NaNo great luck!

    Pants on, my friendly pantsers.

  • Let’s Sketch It Returneth….November Prompts 28 October 2015 I do’t even know how many people here follow my Instagram #letsketchit challenge, but here are the prompts for November in case anyone would like to build a sketchbook practice and play along!

  • Techy Tuesday: London Drugs PhotoLab Service (Service & Product Review) 27 October 2015 I was recently contacted to review the London Drugs PhotoLab Website and happily agreed.  The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous since I had just started building a gallery wall in my upstairs hallway!

    I decided it was time to get the shot of my girls with the parrots in Punta Cana printed to add some awesome colour to that wall!

    The website itself was incredibly easy to use.  Just like shopping anywhere online, really.

    You just hit the Get Started button.

    The website makes it incredibly easy to select the photos you want to print…you an even pick photos on Facebook, Instagram and Flickr!!!  That was incredibly helpful to me, because I couldn’t find my original photo in my house but I knew where to find it on Flickr!

    From there, you just pick your photo and it will ask you what products you want to print it on.

    You then get to select from a list of options you have for that product.  Here is a sample from the 4×6 photo prints option:

    Add it to the basket and repeat as necessary until you have everything you want to order.

    Checking out is super easy – just go to your cart and hit the Checkout button!

    Here’s where the beauty of working with a company that has bricks and mortar stores EVERYWHERE!

    Sure – you can pay online and have it shipped to you just like every online photo printer.  BUT, if you live near a London Drugs – you can have it sent to the store for free and pay for your order in person when you pick it up.  I LOVE THAT!

    As for what I ordered – I had a 16 x 20 CANVAS print done of the parrot picture.  I wanted a statement piece.  

    later that same day, the store I arranged for pickup at called me to clarify my order and ask if I wanted it stretched or just flat.  Silly me.  I thought I would stretch it myself.  So I told them – nope – just what I ordered is fine.  They told me it would be ready in a day or two.

    And it was – after I finished my half marathon, I popped on over to the London Drugs on 130th and there, in a lovely triangular box/tube, was my lovely canvas print.

    The colours are amazing and I couldn’t be happier.  unfortunately – the image I chose isn’t really conducive to stretching and the print is exactly 16×20 so there is no extra canvas to work with here – stretching it myself would cut off parrot heads.  I ended up simply framing it and I am perfectly pleased with that.   It is just a word of caution – if you want a canvas print stretched – get them to do it or choose an image with a border to it.

    A canvas print this size would cost around $35.

    And my gallery wall?  Looks fantastic with it up there…in my own humble opinion.

    From what I could see – their pricing is fairly competitive with other sites I have used in the past.  The convenience of local pickup, however, is priceless to me.  I will be using this service for my photo printing going forward.  I am smitten with the fact that my photos won’t be at the mercy of the postal system and that I can pick them up.

    So – if you are looking for a place to print the photos for your Christmas cards, I encourage you to give the London Drugs PhotoLab website a try.  I think you’ll find you are as happy with it as I have been.

    Please note:  All prices are as of the time of publication and may increase or decrease over time.  I was provided with this product for review, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • MOMday: Illuminasia at the Calgary Zoo 26 October 2015 I have a few mommy posts to do this week, but I wanted to start with this one because it is a bit time sensitive for anyone local.

    If you have been to the Calgary Zoo lately, you have been greeted by a lovely surprise.  The entire grounds is strewn with stunning lanterns as the Illuminasia Lantern and Garden Festival  is going on until November 1!

    Until I saw these during the day – I didn’t really have any desire to spend the money to attend the festival at night.  But look at these!  How freaking adorable are they?  Me and the girls were fascinated…nay…OBSESSED with them.

    It then became a race to figure out when we might be able to actually make that happen.  Doodle and I both have this thing about crowds…as in how to avoid them.   When a mom at our school mentioned that she had gone on a weekend and strongly suggested we go on a weeknight, suddenly our options for available dates changed dramatically.  We had two Thursdays left.

    So, when parent-teacher conferences left us with a whole Thursday night at our disposal…we took full advantage and leapt.  Luckily, I am an Engage member at the zoo (yay – free parking) so it meant I could buy up to 5 tickets at 20% off.  Every little bit of savings helps..especially since this event is not one of those “included in your membership” things.   For our little family – it ended up costing around $70 to get in.  My advice would be to buy your tickets online and then bring snacks and a wagon!

    We got to the zoo as the sun had set and headed through the light crowds to where the magic was happening….everywhere.

    See for yourself…

    Daylight has NOTHING on this bridge at night.  NOTHING.  Wow.

    The butterflies are gone from the garden, but the lanterns were enough to put smiles on these faces.  (Also – holy hell humid in there.  We only lasted a few mins.  I feel bad for hubby who had to wait for his pro camera to acclimate to it).

    In the atrium of the conservatory – there were vendors and a “dress up” station to try on traditional costumes of the featured culture.  That night it was part of India’s week.  My beautiful Buggie was all too happy to don that saree.

    It was breathtaking.

    Now – do I think it is worth the money?  That’s something you have to decide for yourself.  I DO think it is overpriced for what it is…but so is Zoolights and how many of us shell out for that each year?   This event does make for a very late night…particularly if you don’t live near the zoo.  We walked around and saw all of the lanterns but we didn’t hang out for the entertainment.  My girls went to bed after 10pm that night…on a school night.   That is a bit late in my thinking for two 6 year olds…but it was an interesting experience for them and they did like seeing the lanterns.  But they liked seeing them in the daylight too – when they weren’t tired and cranky.  When the sun was up and warm without the chill and dark surrounding them.  And I liked that during the day was included with our zoo passes.

    This is the last weekend for Illuminasia.  Thursday-Sunday to see them lit up…or anytime to see them unlit.   Your call, but they are cool to see.   And if you have kids who maybe don’t handle staying up past their bedtimes – you can still get in on this cool experience without feeling your wallet cringe.

  • Friday Reads: The Martian by Andy Weir 24 October 2015
    I’ve had this one on my “To Read” list for some time. It came highly recommended to me by friends I trust for their taste in books.  It gets rave reviews EVERYWHERE!  Hubby even wanted to read it and read it before I did.  I was absorbed in my Thursday Next books (another excellent series by the wonderful Jasper Fforde that I need to get a review up here for) and just figured the Martian could wait for me.
    Of course, that was before the movie came out and the pressure mounted for me to read the damn book before we could go see the movie.
    Now, I wonder why I waited so long to load this one up.  WOW.
    The premise:  
    A team of astronauts in the future are on a mission to Mars when a storm blows in early into the mission and the team needs to abort the mission and head back to earth.  Unfortunately, in the low visibility on the way to their escape craft, one of the team members, Mark Watney, is hit by debris and blown away from the crew.   The captain takes (almost too much) time to look for him and figuring him to be dead, reluctantly joins the crew and leaves the planet.
    While the team mourns the loss of their crewmate – Watney wakes up on Mars.  Alone.  Abandoned.  Injured but saved by pure dumb luck.  And he has no way to contact anyone.
    Another mission isn’t expected to land on Mars for several more years.  Mark has enough supplies to last him part of that time but he faces starving to death before any rescue could happen.  Luckily he is a resourceful guy – an engineer and a botanist – and he puts those smarts to work to help him quickly make a survival plan using what he has on hand.
    When the NASA teams back on earth stumble on mars satellite imagery that shows proof beyond a doubt that Watney is still alive – they put all of the most brilliant minds they have to work at trying to save him.   
    Ok – I am not going to give anything away.  I haven’t seen the movie yet and I do hope people will read the book before they see it.   
    I loved this book.  It was the perfect mix of funny, science geek, humanity, survival, adventure, and smarts.  It worked “science speak” into the text in a way that made it super digestible and really interesting.   I felt like I was a fly on the wall in every scene as this book drew me in deeper and deeper to the story.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a book do that.  Sure, I’ve been reading alot lately but this story captured me, heart and soul.   I think even someone who doesn’t think they like science fiction, would really enjoy this book.  It was a story with heart, brilliantly written and masterfully painted.    The only thing I didn’t care for was how abruptly it ended.  I wanted to keep going and see how the rest would play out after the crew returned to Earth.
    Ok – I think I kept it pretty spoiler free.   I loved the book. Everyone I know who has read it – loved the book.  YOU will love the book.  Go read it.  Read it before you head to the theatre.
    Now, for fun, here’s the movie trailer.

  • Friday Funnies: If Moms Talked to Each Other the Way They Talk to Their Children 16 October 2015

  • Race Report: Harvest Half Marathon 2015 4 October 2015 SO yesterday…I did a thing.  You know…nothing much.  I just ran a freaking half marathon.  My first since the epic terribleness of my stress fracture of 2014.

    Running has not been an easy journey for me this past year.  More like hill training where there is only uphill.  It’s been a battle.  It’s been hell.  I cannot find the run love.  But I’m working on it.  I know it’s there – it’s just covered by 30 some extra pounds and a whole lot of solo time.   But it’s there.

    I first registered for Harvest Half Marathon for a number of reasons.   I wanted to force myself back into a training pattern and build some consistency with my running.  I figured if I paid the money and knew the distance was coming, I could make myself run regularly.  It pretty much worked…for weekends anyway.  I’ve run this race twice before: here and here.  I knew what to expect.  I knew it would be pretty.  And cooler than summer.  But probably still pretty nice.

    But training didn’t come without challenges.  I was wearing the shoes Dr. Dale told me to…and I was running 9 min/km and not improving.   I missed my Kinvaras.  Finally, Tina and I figured out a shoe that would be more like my Kinvaras but with the cush I needed now.  I bought myself some Saucony Triumphs and suddenly sped up…a bit.  It was like the Wave Riders just didn’t have enough room in the toe box for me to spread out my toes and really run.  Unfortunately, this was only a month ago.

    And then I got a cold a couple of weeks ago and ended up not running for two of the three weeks before my race.

    But still…I was ok.  I was ready.  I didn’t have a goal.  I knew I could be looking at a time of up to 3:30 and I was ok with it.  I just wanted to finish.

    After all – this little thing I found on Instagram says it best…

    There would be no cactus sitting in this race.

    Even with the weather…no cactus sitting.  Pretty sure cacti don’t grow in these conditions anyway.

    Yeah – those blurry swirls in front of the light…that’s snow.

    Friday it was warm and 20*C.  Saturday it was 2*C and snow.  And rain. And holy hella wind.    It’s ok.  No cactus sitting.

    I got to the mall at just after 7 and popped into McDonalds to use the bathroom before heading over to Mid-Sun Community Centre and the race start.

    Boy was I ever happy I grabbed my winter running coat and hand warmers on the way out of the house!

    I quickly located on of my Best Running Bitches, Tina, in the gym of the community centre.

    Everyone was packed inside to stay warm as long as possible.

    And then we were found by Leana

    Leana was dedicating her miles to a local blogger, Jen, who recently lost her life far too soon in a hiking accident. I think in our own ways, whether stated aloud or not, most of us local bloggers have probably been doing the same lately.  I never met her in person, but I was one of the first bloggers she had contacted when moving to Calgary and always felt a kinship with her.  I’m sad I was out of the running community for so much of her time here.  She was one of my favourite local bloggy “friends”.   If anyone would like to contribute to the memorial fund set up in Jen’s Memory, click here.

    Ok – sadness aside, back to the race…

    Soon it was time to leave the nice warm gym and head to the start line.

    Here was my race plan.

    • Run alone
    • Ignore the world
    • Be invisible
    • One foot in front of the other
    • Finish before the course closed
    There were some other group pictures taken before we headed out, but I somehow got cut out of them.  My invisibility goal was working out already.   I put in my earbuds and started to move with the crowd as we poured onto the street.   Sophia had paced herself with me and said she’d like to start with me so she could hold herself in check pace wise…since we all knew I was going to be slow.  So, I removed my earbuds (and lost a Yurbud cover) and resolved to be sociable…something I haven’t had to be all training cycle.  I’m afraid I’m not very good at the “talk and run” thing anymore.  I’m much better at the “head down, git ‘er done” thing.  Talking takes a lot more air from my lungs.
    But we chatted away.  I had never really run with Sophia before and we both have 6 year old kids so no shortage of topics to talk about.   
    Down the big hill at the start…before the 5k of climbing….

    And so we plodded on.  Slow and steady.  Sophia is nursing a bout of Plantar Fascitis so needed to keep her pace in check.   I, well I was just slow.  It was cold.  We kept going. At least the wind was somewhat shut out.  That 5k of climbing at the start is hard.  And I have no hills to train on during the week so I was walking a bit more than running…just trying to power up until I could run down into the valley again.
    Finally, it was time to leave the streets and enter Fish Creek Park.
    Check out the snow on the bridge…
    and don’t we look cold (and blurry)?

    As we approached 7k, I saw a trio of people at the bottom of the hill…one of them in an obnoxious yellow puffy coat.  I quickly said to Sophia “Is that Keith?”  and sure enough it was…along with Michelle and Amy.  Nothing quite as happy-making as seeing friends come out in miserable conditions to cheer you on!
    and here’s a shot I stole from Keith’s blog
    We only stayed long enough for a hug and a laugh and then we carried on.   Hopefully they went home shortly after to get warm again.   it was really cold down there in the park!
    Even in the cold – Fish Creek Provincial Park is always so pretty, with it’s valleys and bridges and forests and grasslands.
    If it had been a nicer day – this post would be major pretty picture spam.  As it was, though, my hands froze each time I stopped to take a picture so it was just better to keep moving.
    At an hour, I took a gel.  I was determined to stay fueled for this whole thing.
    At 10k, we took a pit stop in a lovely heated washroom.  Thank you fish creek for your heated washrooms and flush toilets!
    And then – it wasn’t long before we could happily announce we had passed the half way point!
    As we passed Macleod Trail, I started to regale Sophia with tales of my time working in the memorial Forest and gave her the tour from the pathway.   My trees looked amazing out there.  So tall and grand.  Hard to believe I cared for them when they were only a foot high!  And sorry, no photos…too cold.
    Once we were past Glennfield, the land flattened out and became a bit drabber.  It’s still pretty, but more grassland pretty…and not as pretty when everything is wet and frozen.
    But we were hanging in there.  At that point, we were pretty much on track for a 3 hour finish…which wasn’t half bad.
    At the Ranch, we made another pitstop…unfortunately, this stop was a bit further off the path than we thought so our time suffered.
    My phone was so fogged up in the heated room.
    Once we were back on the path again – it wasn’t too much further…only 6k left to go and we were practically at the hell hill at Sikome.  Right before we hit it, my lungs seized up and I started to cough.  First cold-induced asthma attack in years.
    We power walked the hill and, as soon as we were ejected onto Sun Valley Blvd – the wind that had been so much in check through the shelter of the park, hit us full force.   It was unbelievably cold.  So, no more photos until the end.  We were in official “plod and get it done” mode.  I was still having trouble breathing so I wasn’t particularly talkative.  
    I did start to joke with the course marshalls that I didn’t see anyone in front of us so we must still be in the lead.  If nothing else, I made myself giggle with that one.
    As we wound through the pathway of Midnapore, I amazed Sophia by pointing out all of the sunken trampolines (we counted at least 5) and soon, we were in the homestretch…one more curve and we’d round a hill and it’d be right there…the FINISH LINE!
    Of course – we were so long in getting there that they had packed it up…at least the timing mats were still in place.
    Official time: 3:12:20
    Beat that 3:15 I had been expecting!
    They gave us our medals and we rushed to the warmth of the gym and post-race snackies.
    I immediately grabbed a chocolate milk, granola bar, yogurt tube and hightailed it to the middle of the gym to stretch and eat while Sophia socialized.
    I was soon shivering uncontrollably and knew I needed to get out of my wet clothes.  So we headed out and walked the block and a bit to our cars at the mall.  
    I seriously had to wrap myself in my chawel and sit on my heated seats for half an hour until my fingers moved well enough to get changed.  I did make getting my Lily Trotters compression socks on a priority…it wasn’t easy to do with frozen hands but I think my legs appreciated it.
    So, in retrospect…am I glad I ran it?   Sure.  I needed to get back out there.  I didn’t break.  It will build confidence.   Would I have been faster if I’d been alone?  I can’t say either way.  I’m sure the talking made this much harder than it had to be but it was nice to have company along those miles.   
    Did I sit on any cacti?  Silly goose – we don’t have cacti in Calgary…well, only in potted plants.   I wasn’t negative.   I just kind of feel dead inside about the whole experience.  No good feelings.  No bad feelings. Half mara #14 was just 13.1miles done.   It has helped me define what i want in the future, though.  I want to speed up and I want to build more confidence.  The pains under my knees as I write this are far worse than any muscle aches.   I know I need to drop about 30-40lbs before I run another half…so a year of 10k races is probably in my cards while I do that.   I want to take the weight off of my knees, get faster at the shorter distances and enjoy the half marathon experience a bit more when I get back to it.   

     Until next time….

  • I don’t do Wordless – Terry Fox Run 30 September 2015 …but I thought I’d share some pics of what happens when a mom dresses silly and signs up to volunteer for the school’s Terry Fox run!

    Like I did last Friday….yes, the other volunteers were too intimidated to stand next to me.

    Yes – I totally sparkled it up.

    My trusty cheer kit in tow.

    But the kids loved it…especially mine.   And I don’t care if the other parent and grandparent volunteers were too embarrassed to work with me.  They could have been shaking their pompoms, cheering at the top of their lungs and BEING THERE FOR THE KIDS not for their vanity.   Kids love colour and I am one hell of a colourful person.  I’d rather not stand next to someone who is only volunteering for the sake of volunteering and not actually giving their heart to be there.

    and fourth grade boys are ROUGH.  I ended up with bruises on the palm of my hand from high fiving.

    I loved it and I’ll do it again and again and again.  and if it embarrasses my teenage kids to have me do it – I’ll go volunteer with the littles.  But, knowing my girls, they’ll be the teens in the sparkle skirts having a ball out there.

  • Countdown to Half 30 September 2015 Harvest Half is this weekend.

    WHAT?  I know what your thinking “oh – the long run reports stopped so she must have given up.” haha.  Nope.  Just too busy to write them.  I mean there was the run in the torrential downpour.

    Then there was the run where 3k in, this happened…

    You know you’re getting tired of running alone when at 3k you finally order yourself an iPod from Amazon.

    — Cori Nicholls (@khourianya) September 13, 2015

    but at least it wasn’t in the rain…

    and Tina met up with me for the last 5k or so…so that was awesome.

    Then, of course, I got incredibly sick so ended up skipping my longest long run.  If I hadn’t gotten in nearly 19k the weekend before, I would have felt worse about skipping it…instead, it meant I got a longer taper…

    This past weekend, finally sickness-free, I headed out and did a final 11k around Chestermere Lake and hopefully shook out all of the bad run demons.   Heck – my sunglasses even broke so surely that won’t happen to me again this Saturday!

    New iPod FTW!

    2k in on the brightest day ever…thank goodness it was just a screw.

    Um yeah…no ice around here…

    Am I ready?  Oh gawd, who knows.  I have my race kit so I guess I’ve told them I’ll be there.

    I’ve been good at my long runs on the weekends. Weekday runs? Not so much.   But I’m okay.  I’ll go out there and do the best I can for right now.  I won’t be breaking land speed records, but I’ll git er done…and then I can move on from there.  And it will be a pretty race…one of my favourite races.  I’ll just plug in my headphones, ignore the world and run to the finish.

  • Norwex – Venturing into Direct Sales 30 September 2015 Even though my hubby tells me that we are fine and I don’t need to stress about adding more to my plate to earn extra income – my brain is still wired on “I’m not working full time so I have to earn my keep!”  I’ve been doing contract social media work, building and managing Jot, and now I’ve added one more thing to my plate…and become a sales rep for Norwex!

    I’ve thought about joining the Norwex team in the past and just never pulled the trigger.  When I saw they had a promotion to join for free in September – I figured “Why not!”  I love Norwex.  I’ve used it for years and really love the product.  At the very least, I can be a “Norwex lady” for family and friends across Canada.

    What is Norwex?  It’s a new way to think about cleaning your house.  In this time of fear of supergerms, traditional cleansers are becoming more and more harsh and that is what we are wiping the tables that our kids eat off of and the floors our pets walk across.   Norwex turns that thinking on its head by providing a way to clean with microfibre and water…that effectively cleans better than most products AND kills germs using the natural power of silver.

    Pretty cool, right?

    So, if you want to try it out…you can consider me your Norwex lady.  I have a website that you can order from easy as can be.

    And, if you already love the products and want to join the team – there is a great promo for the month of September where you can join for free with no sales commitments…it ends tonight but getting signed up is easy and you can do it online.

    Ok – soapbox done…haha.  I won’t spam you all on my blog with this but I wanted to make an announcement.  A link to my Norwex shop will always be on the sidebar- ready when you need it.

  • MOMday: (Product Review) Nitview LED Lice comb and Nyda Head Lice Treatment 28 September 2015 School has been back in for almost a month now and, with it, the scourge of every parent…fear of lice outbreaks.   Seriously – this is my second biggest fear.  That my girls will come home with lice.   So, when the generous folks at London Drugs offered to send me a toolkit to help me out – I was quick to accept.

    What is Head Lice?

    Printable: Alberta Health Services Head Lice Fact Sheet

    Lice are tiny insects that live on humans and feed on blood. When a large number of lice live and multiply on a person, it is called an infestation.

    Scientists have found that head lice are becoming immune to the most common treatments used by parents.  In a report presented at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, researchers revealed that lice populations throughout the US have developed resistance to over-the-counter treatments still widely recommended by schools. That means many parents and teachers will be fighting a losing battle when it comes to lice outbreaks unless they are properly prepared.
    “There are prescription drugs available, such as Spinosad (Natroba) and ivermectin (Sklice) to treat lice. But prevention, early detection and immediate action are your best bets to fight lice,” says Jason Chan-Remillard, Pharmacist at London Drugs.
    It has been estimated that over than two million Canadians experience head lice per year, and the Lice fact sheet from Alberta Health Services states that at any one time, 10 per cent of elementary school children can have head lice. Throughout the year, many schools report head lice cases to parents so they can take preventative measures at home.
    “If a note gets sent home that another child has it, parents should immediately inspect their children’s clothing – especially hats and scarves – sporting equipment like helmets, and pillows. They should look for eggs.”
    Eggs are yellow, brown or tan objects that look like tiny seeds. And They can be difficult to spot. However, a new medical device launched in Canada this year, helps parents easily spot lice and remove them without the use of chemical based products. The Nitview LED Lice Detection Device incorporates ultraviolet light and a detachable comb with micro channelled teeth for removal of both lice and nits. The lice and their eggs grow under the UV light making them very easy to find amongst the hairs and remove them with a comb. The device can also be used to check clothing, towels and bed linen.
    “It’s important to remember that head lice are more of a nuisance than a serious health risk. They don’t carry disease. Chemicals and antibiotics should be considered a second line treatment,” says Chan-Remillard.
    Common signs of head lice are an itching or tickling feeling on the scalp, as well as visible small white objects in the hair. If you notice any of these signs, Chan-Remillard says, “manual removal using a tool like Nitview is preferred. If lice are noticed before they multiply exponentially, the removal process will be far less tedious.” 

    NitView LED Lice Detection Device

    The NitView LED Comb is fairly compact.  It fits within the palm of my hand.

    The device takes 3 AAA batteries (not included) and turns on and off with the press of a button.  Couldn’t be simpler.  The comb has two “blacklight” LEDs on either side of the comb.  The idea being that the exoskeleton of the Lice will glow in the light.

    My daughters, while lice free, were excited to help me try it out.   And I was excited to have some peace of mind in my hand.

    First up, Buggie.

    The comb ran easily through her hair.  We dimmed the lights in room to make the light even more noticeable.

    Oh crap – something glowed on the third section of her hair.  Do you see it?

    It’s not lice, though.  Just a little fluff.  But it makes it pretty easy to see how the lice would light up with this device.  And the comb made quick work of the fluff.

    Then on to Doodle, who has longer hair.

    No lice.  No fluff.

    Both of my girls are honey blond, so I wanted to see how it might be on a darker hair colour.   So enter me. Just to give you a visual of the light against dark hair.

    So – even with the lack of lice on us, I find just having this little device on hand is bringing me some peace of mind in knowing I am now prepared to diagnose at the first sign of itching so I can take care of the little buggers before they can creep us out more than they have to.

    I also like the fact that you can also use the light to check bedding and furniture.

    The device retails for $44.99 on the London Drugs website.

    NYDA Head Lice Treatment

    Also in my package, was a bottle of NYDA Head Lice Treatment.

    From the London Drugs website: NYDA® does not contain any neurotoxic chemicals. NYDA® has a UNIQUE dual action dimeticone 100 cSt allowing it to penetrate deeply into the tiniest parts of the lice, larvae and also the egg’s breathing system, replacing the air. This prevents the exchange of gases, provoking death of head lice and its eggs in a physical fashion within 58 seconds.

    I could not test this product and I want to keep it read and waiting in case I do need it, but I love the fact that this stuff doesn’t contain any neurotoxins.  Instead, it is a silicone product that basically suffocates the nits and lice.  And, because of how it is formulated, the lice will not become resistant to the formula.

    A 50ml bottle of NYDA retails for $33.49 on the London Drugs website.

    Please note:  All prices are as of the time of publication and may increase or decrease over time.  I was provided with these products for review, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Child Abduction – a Social Experiment 23 September 2015 A mom from my girls school recently told me about this video.  I think every mom should watch it.  It’ll change the way you talk to your kids about strangers.

    Child Abduction Social Experiment (One Share Can Save a Life)Like my page Joeysalads for more shocking experiments.
    Posted by Joeysalads on Saturday, May 2, 2015

  • Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! 7 September 2015 I had 88 entries to the Coffee Rant Giveaway and the winner is…SARAH!!!!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    I have emailed her to tell her the good news in case she doesn’t see it here first.   Thank you so much to everyone who entered and took the time to enjoy my bloggy coffee rant!

    Now, for the rest of you – the coupon code to my shop is still good for another week or so (until Sept 15.  So COFFEETIME will save you 25% at checkout.

  • First Day of School 3 September 2015 I am officially a mom of first graders.  Yesterday marked the first day of school – something that is insane for me.  How did my kids get so old already?

    And HUGE!  Look at how big they are now!

    Abner HAD to be in the verandah photo.  He insisted.

    How identical do they look here?  It’s a little freaky.  I mean – I don’t see them looking at all alike to me, but comparing features in these shots – there is no doubt about why other people have trouble.

    Ugliest backpacks ever…but they love them.  First broken strap and we are heading to MEC.

    Ok – so you can’t see it.  Well, here is compared to first day of Kindergarten last year.

    Now do you see it?

    I must admit – I was a little misty at school drop off.  These little missies are my best friends and we are pretty close.  Being home full time has been so good for us all.   So, the house was a little too quiet and I was at loose ends on my first full day alone.   Luckily I have more than enough work to keep me busy that those hours they are away will speed by.  Especially now that I have some big things happening with my shop and more contract work coming in.  I think I may be working more now than when I had a full time job!

    Ok – back to work with me.  I just wanted to share my cuties on their first day of grade school.  I’m so proud of them.

  • Where’s My Runventure? 30 August 2015 This week has been a bad one for breathing.  The smoke has been freaking insane up here in Alberta from those wildfires in Washington.   I questioned after Friday left me wheezing whether running on Saturday would be such a great plan.  But then I woke up on Saturday to seeing specks of actual sky and clouds…I couldn’t taste the smoke in the air anymore.

    Things were looking up.  The Air Quality Statement was still up on the Weather Network

    But I decided to try it anyway.   14.5K is tough to do in Langdon and even tougher to do on a treadmill.  My plan was to run around Glenmore Reservoir since thats normally what I do at this point in my training plan…and I hadn’t run there in two years.  I missed it.

    So I got myself ready and scribbled a note to hubby so they’d know where to look for my body…

    and to the city I went.

    It was a gorgeous morning.  The sky was blue instead of grey, though the smoke still hung low over the water.  I had come prepared with my inhaler and took a couple of precautionary puffs before I headed out.

    I had a couple of goals heading out.  1) To run more than I walked…maintain a steady pace even if it was slower than a slug.  2) To finish the 14.5k in 2:30.  

    The lower path looked irresistable to me…so I headed that way.  I love to run close to the water whenever I can.  There were a few walkers on the path but ridiculously few runners.  I think the smoke potential had alot of people delaying their long runs.

    I made a quick pitstop at the sailing club and made a new friend who was eating a pinecone that was bigger than he was.

    and then I carried on my way.   Honestly – things were pretty uneventful but I was doing well.  I was running far more than walking and, while I was slower than shit, I was still moving forward. It was starting warm up out there so I was happy to enter the shade at the entrance to Weaselhead.

    Oh – new signs to read!  I am so excited about the Greenway.

    More sun dappled path.

    Yep – the bomb warning signs are still there. Cracks me up everytime.

    Now someone is just taunting me.

    Down the big hill.

    And into the flats.  All was calm round these parts.

    Obligatory 1/3 done selfie

    I heard the clatter of a woodpecker and there he was…he refused to pose for me.

    And so I carried on.  The path was so quiet that I really found myself wishing I had music.  I don’t usually wish for my earbuds but things would have been much more exciting with dancing.  

    The path was strewn with fallen leaves.  Signs that fall is almost here.

    At the blue bridge a canoeist (canoer?) sailed by across the glass like water.  I think she was having more fun than me.   I wasn’t having a bad run.  I was just really bored.   This is the kind of run you need a friend on…

    I promised myself I could walk up the 37th street hill.

    Then it was on to the Canoe club for another pitstop.  Things I saw along the way.

    I didn’t try to jump aboard the S.S. Moyie.  Signs it was a good run.

    After a quick pitstop at the club – I padded on.  My ass was starting to feel like lead dragging me down.  Like I was trying with all my effort to keep going but couldn’t gain momentum.  I decided to cut down a back alley once I was back in residential to cut off a bit of distance.

    Yep – that was my biggest adventure of the whole run.

    and then it hit me.  My ass was dragging because I was not nutritioning properly.   Stupid me.  I was supposed to take a gel an hour earlier….mmmm cawfeee.  This one is much better than the old espresso one was.

    Dum dee dum.  My energy picked up a bit after this and I ran past the hospital and down into Eagle Ridge.

    hmm…that wasn’t there last time I ran.  Guess two years is plenty of time to build a mansion.

    As I passed Heritage park, I hit the 14.5k mark.  Somehow my 14.5k route was now a kilometre longer than I remembered.  This run was about to come in closer to 16k…

    But I did the whole loop in 2:33 so well within my goal of 14.5k in 2:30.  Something to be proud of, even if it wasn’t the most exhilarating run.  And I ran far more than I walked which is progress.

    I ended up with 6 little blisters on my feet, though.  I’ll spare you the pictures.  They didn’t hurt.  I won’t be whining.  Ha.

    Another long run in the books.  But I need more adventure.  #alltherunventuresplease

  • Let’s Sketch it – September 2015 Prompts 28 August 2015 Voila – September will be here in just a few short days!  So, here is the printable prompt list for the #letssketchit challenge in September.  Hope you’ll join us over on instagram

  • Cori’s Coffee Rant 24 August 2015

    Anyone who follows me on Instagram, knows I have a little thing for coffee memes.   So this week, I am linking up with Train With Bain and her wonderful bloggy tribute to the amazing elixir that keeps me functioning day after day in this crazy life!

    Welcome to anyone who has found their way here from Tina’s coffee post!   Love that girl! She supports my coffee habit.  Whether it be after a run….

    …or visiting me at home while I’m injured…

    Since I was 16 and The Black Rose Bistro opened in Lacombe (it’s not there anymore – don’t bother looking…but it was awesome), I have been in love with coffee.  I remember walking downtown on my spares with Neeners to drink coffee and act older than we were.   It started my huge fascination with the cafe culture of the 90s that persists to this day.  If it’s shaped like a cappucino cup – I need it.   I can’t even resist.   It’s like my love of the colour turquoise.  It just automatically makes it into my cart…

    I have Coffee tchotchkes.  Coffee art.  Coffee socks.  Coffee notebooks.  Coffee scented ink.  A Coffee plant.  Coffee bookmarks.  You get the idea!

    When I am out an about – I take pictures of coffee things.

    Friends send me coffee things to decorate my life…like my little charm on my ClassicJot

    In short…

    My latte love started when I was 18 on my first solo vacation to visit my best friend in Vancouver.  She was working at the Coffee Cafe in Tsawwassen and presented me with an Almond Latte.  Oh. My. Gawd.  My world was forever changed.  While I had liked coffee before because of how it made my 16 year old self so much more worldly and sophisticated…I was completely converted.  Coffee became my life.

    Why I don’t own my own coffee house yet is beyond me…perhaps I should turn my little Jot into a bricks and mortar paper and pen Coffee House…hmmmm.

    Before I left my full time job, I had a coworker ask me if he should host an intervention for me before my last day.  He said he was afraid that without work to interrupt me, I might turn into a quivering, caffeine soaked mess.  Haha.  6 months later – it has yet to happen.  Glad I declined the intervention.

    Ok – so I love coffee…you get the idea.  Rather than have you all sit around listening to me rant and rave about my love of the bean…here are some of my favourite coffee memes for you!  If you want more – follow me on Instagram and you’ll get to enjoy my coffee rants regularly on your feed!

    And for all of you coffee lovers out there…I am hosting a little giveaway.  Okay – a BIG giveaway!

    The star of the show is going to be a CoffeeJot Travellers Notebook from my shop in the ClassicJot size with a latte coloured tassel charm.  This print is something that I never have and never will be offering in my shop in this size (ok – never say never but it’s pretty unlikely).  Inside will be a handmade blank notebook and a coffee-themed dashboard.

    I’ve also scoured through my studio to see what coffee things I can part with and have come up with tons of other goodies to throw in…

    …including 3 TomBow markers (two brown coffeeish shades and a colourless blender), a Pilot Petit fountain pen, two coffee themed notebooks, a framed coffee print, a notepad and some treats not pictured.  Also – a couple of coffeeshop themed washi tape rolls and whatever else I happen to throw in before the giveaway closes in 2 weeks time! I seem to like to do that.

    This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!  I do have some mandatory requirements, but there is a chance to gain bonus entries too.  For example – if you place an order in my shop and say “I’m entering the coffee giveaway” in the comments – you get 5 bonus entries!  Just like that!   Purchase not necessary to enter the giveaway – it just gets you extra entries.

    Giveaway closes September 6, 2015 at 11:59pm.  I’ll announce the winner before September 8.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    I am also going to offer you all a discount code to my shop here.  Enter COFFEETIME at checkout to save 25% until September 15, 2015.  No minimum purchase required.

    and now, it’s time for you to carry on and visit the next blogger in the link up…head on over to Jindy’s blog and see the 5 Starbucks Customers Who Give Her Faith in Humanity!

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