Saturday, September 7, 2013

Monkey Business

It was my nephew William's second birthday today. Here is the birthday boy at the party with his lovely mother Andrea.

I can't help but be the gushing aunt today. William brings so much joy to my life. From the day he was born and I held him at three and a half hours old till this week when we crawled around my apartment pretending to be horses. I love this boy so much. Here are some of my favorite pictures of him.

It was monkey business today at the VanDerHerberg residence. The theme was monkeys!

Here are William's cousins, Desmond, Ivy and Anika dressed as monkeys!

I made felt monkeys to decorate the house with. They had bow ties and hair bows. The kids had to count how many there were all over the house.

My brother Michael reading a story called George shrinks.

A monkey cake for the birthday boy.

Happy Birthday William!
You bring such joy to my heart from the day you were born.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bicycle card

I raised over $500 dollars for Africycle through my bike trip! I am super excited. I decided to make a bicycle card for my sponsors. I love making cards and I love bicycles, so why not. Also I wanted to express my thanks to those who sponsored me. 

The card says, "Life is like a bicycle. To stay balanced you have to keep moving." Albert Einstein. I love quotes. I have a huge collection of them but I had to go searching for a bicycle quote. I am glad Einstein likes bicycles, or I assume he does. 

A big thank you to my sponsors and for all of you who encouraged me with kind words. You guys are the best. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ride for Africycle 7.0

I got back yesterday from an epic bike trip, Ride for Africycle 7.0. We biked down to Prince Edward county over the long weekend. We were raising money for Africycle which sends bikes to Malawi, Africa. If you still want to sponsor me go here. The first day was 138.9 km, the second day was 50 km and the third day was 92 km. I didn't think I could take on a physical challenge of this magnitude but I did it anyways. I still don't know how I did it, I guess I just did it. It took a lot of perseverance and determination.

The first day we biked from Peterborough to Norman Hardie's vineyard in Prince Edward County. It was a hard and very long day. But it was worth it. The vineyard was gorgeous. They made a big meal for us of potato pasta called gnocchi. They made it by hand and everyone was getting involved. The meal was heavenly after such a long bike ride. They had a lovely patio overlooking rolling hills and a lovely sunset. It was by far my favorite night of the trip. Norman Hardie is from South Africa so I told him of my travels there. He told us lots of interesting things about his vineyard and his travels.

The next day we toured around Prince Edward county. In the morning we went to the Bloomfield Bicycle company. I got a sticker for my bike which says "TV sucks, ride your bike." Then we went to a vineyard called La Grange, it was beautiful. We had lunch there and that is when I crashed. I got super tired and out of it. I decided to break for the rest of the day and go with support vehicle to the camp site. It was a good decision because the rest of the trip that day was against a strong head wind. I am glad I rested because I was ready to go for the next day.

We camped at Presquile that night on Lake Ontario. It was lots of fun. I sat by the lake and watched the sun go down. My nephew William was with us on the trip and we went for a walk. I made up a song for us. "William and Auntie going for a walk. William likes his rocks and Auntie likes to talk. Rocks, rocks, rocks, talk, talk, talk. William and Auntie going for a walk." It was fun to have him along.

The next morning we made our way back to Peterborough. The morning was through Northumberland county and lots of big hills. I made it up all of them but had to take a break half way up some of them. We stopped in Warkworth for coffee and butter tarts at a place called Jeanine's back talk cafe. One thing about the trip I really enjoyed was the camaraderie. I biked with my brother, and two other guys named Kris and Steve. Andrea my sister-in-law rode the second day with us. It was just fun to ride with these guys. They were super patient with me and didn't complain one bit that I was slower than them.

The afternoon of the third day we took the new rail trail from Hastings to Peterborough. It was a gravel trail so that was a bit tough but it shaved off lots of kilometers and hills. It was flat which was great. At one point we found two Muskoka chairs along the path and I took a much needed break. The funny thing about the trail was that it ended just before we got to Peterborough, we figured that they ran out of funding.

When we arrived back at my brother's house we were greeted by my sister in law Jenn and the twin girls as well as Andrea, William and Brianna. It was great to finish, a great sense of accomplishment. I learned something on this trip about myself. I can accomplish hard things as long as I take breaks and pace myself. I think it is a good lesson to learn.

I forgot my camera but I will get pictures from the other team members. I will post them on here when I get them. Thanks for all of you who sponsored me!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fabric box

I tried a little DIY ( Do it yourself) project today. I made a fabric box out of fabric and cardboard. The result was ok. It took me about three hours to make. I am not the most precise cutter so it turned out a bit lopsided. My friend Mary Austin and I used a tutorial for a sewing machine cover and then converted it into a box by putting cardboard in it. It wasn't an epic fail or a pintrosity but I don't know if I will do it again.

 I found a fabric box at Dollarama for a $1.25 so if I was making these to sell at Dollarama (which I wouldn't of course) I would have made .40 cents an hour today. I need twenty of these boxes for my IKEA shelving unit for storage. I don't know if I want to spend 60 hours making these or $25 bucks.

Most times I like to make things myself or repurpose things into something new. But this may be one of those times I head to the Dollar store. The Dollar store isn't my first choice because I don't know what I think about the ethics of it. But at the same time I have found some really cool things at the dollar store.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ombre dresser

I have seen lots of Ombre dressers on Pinterest and I wanted to try one. Check out my Pinterest board here. Ombre means shaded in French. The easiest way to paint it in different shades is to get a paint chip in a range of colors. I chose BEHR Embellished Blue, Surfer, Aquatic Green and Pacific Sea Teal. I like how they go well with my new paint color from BEHR which is Woodwind Spring.Check out my blog post about it here.

I had a bit of a dresser fiasco at first. I bought a dresser off of Kijiji but I didn't ask if it was from a smoke free home. I cleaned it and sprayed it down with Febreeze (mistake.) It smelt like smoky cranberries, it basically stinks. I am selling it to someone for ten bucks with a full warning about its stinkiness. Then I bought another dresser off of Kijiji and the top drawer fell apart. The guy wouldn't take it back but told me how to fix it so it ended up turning out ok.

Here is the second dresser before I painted it.

 This is a little more blue than it actually is.
This shows how it has a bit of turquoise in it.

Despite the fiasco it was a lot of fun and rewarding. I am going to use this as a TV table for my new apartment. The drawers will be great for storage. I think it will make my living room look really colorful. 

My sister-in-law Jen suggested that I go with a lighter color for the walls and paint furniture bolder colors. Thanks Jen for that great advice. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Windwood Spring and Provence Creme

I finally chose the colors for my new apartment. I went with my landlords to buy the paint at Home Depot. They are awesome, they bought the paint! I got lots of compliments from the paint lady at the counter about my color choices. So here they are......

Windwood Spring BEHR 510C-2

I am going to paint Windwood Spring in the living room and bedroom.

Provence Creme BEHR 320A-2

This color I will use in the kitchen and possibly the bathroom. 

Thanks for all the feedback readers. I was going to go with turquoise and purple but I think these are good choices. They are Laura and landlord approved. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stepping back, Moving forward

After two years of being on the board of the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network I have resigned. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this network but I feel it's time to move on to new things. I have rubbed shoulders with community leaders and poverty activists. I was able to go to conferences and take a course on Not for profit Leadership. I was involved in hiring staff and supervising staff. I chaired the Vision/ Governance committee for the Mount project.

My confidence from the day that I started in May of 2011 to when I resigned in May of 2013 was a significant difference. I was so nervous when I started in 2011. I had lost so much confidence after having gone through a difficult illness. My biggest fear was that I couldn't follow through. That I would be handed a project and I wouldn't be able to complete it. I prided myself in the past that I was the woman who could get stuff done. But after having gone through all that I have experienced my confidence was so low.

I started out small, taking on a little bit. Then I took on some more and I saw that I could complete what I started. When I took a course in Researching and Reporting and I got a 90 on the course it really boosted my confidence. Then I sat on some hiring committee's for new staff and I offered to supervise a staff. Little by little I walked a little taller.

I took a course called Not for Profit Leadership and after completing it a leadership position came up. I was scared stiff but I offered to chair the Vision/ Governance group for the Mount project. I was leading the leaders. But I surprised even myself with my ability to steer the group to accomplish our objectives.

So what's next? I participated in the Poverty Round-table Action Cafe put on by Church in City on Tuesday. I led a discussion at my table about having a skills fair (more on that to come). I was involved with Church in the City back in 2004 when the flood hit Peterborough. I was the flood relief coordinator, it was one of the most exciting times of my life. I was right in the middle of God's will and loving it. My heart is to see the church in the city and I want to be a part of that. I am jumping in with two feet and can't wait to see what happens.

I don't know where this new endeavor will take me just like I didn't know where my journey with the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network was going to take me. But what I do know is that I haven't felt this passionate in a long time. I left that meeting feeling energized and alive.