The Good Human Experiment

 

Can simple acts of goodness everyday for 30 days, make you a happier person?

This is the question Mum and I have been asking since we started…

The Good Human Experiment!

The Good Human Experiment is a 30 day pledge, to do good deed each and every day.

This is an online community that offers encouragements, prompts and ideas to practice goodness everyday! They have a great presence on facebook, email and instagram, where all the pics are from.  This community is a wonderful supportive group that reminds you of the simple pleasures in life and the importance of sharing that with our neighbours.

It seems  a simple enough quest yet sometimes it can be difficult some days, especially when it is rainy or you haven’t gone out and seen anyone.

The GHE is such a wonderful reminder to engage in the world around us, be kind and empathetic.

The GHE team offers a list of ideas, which I know my Mum likes, especially coming up to the 30 days.

Well, I am coming up to my 30 days of the GHE and I must, it was tough some days, to think of new ideas, to put myself out there, to be conscious of my good deeds. However, with that in mind I am so unbelievably happy that I engaged in this online pledge. Early enough in the pledge, I started to get a little addicted to my  good deeds and I was constantly thinking about my next good deed!

It has been such a fun and beautiful experience, that has opened up my eyes to those around me and as well as my inner eye. It has reminded me to look inward to see how  I am navigating the world.

Encouraging time for inner reflection so that we can better offer our gifts to others.

We all know that doing good things will make us feel good, but the GHE was a reminder and offered a boost when needed. I believe that even after I finish this month’s pledge I will continue on.

As GHE says…

Do good stuff. Feel all the feels.

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkinferno

My sisters and I have some mad skills when it comes to pumpkin carving. People come far and wide to be able to check out our creations.

We are the talk of the town!

The modern day Michelangelo  if you will.

We have an annual pumpkin carving ‘competition’  at mum and dads every year…. We give ourselves 30 minutes to clean and carve the pumpkin. Then we have the non bias judges (our parents) come and choose their favourite.

I’m just going to throw it out there that I am the 2 year running champ ( prove me wrong sisters)

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okay okay , maybe I hyped up our skillz a bit BUT what I’m not hyping is the true talent and skill from the amazing carvers of Pumpkinferno.

My mouth was catching mosquitos all night. My chin was on the ground, I was amazed by the talent. My amazing little gang took a tiny roadie up to Upper Canada Village to bask in the awesomness of Halloween and take in all these pumpkins!

For those readers who aren’t aware of what this is, its a kilometre walk along a beautiful path lit by over 7000 glowing pumpkins carved into amazing pieces of art.

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Each section had a different theme whether it be music, nature, emotions or Halloween, sports, art and so much more.

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I still can’t believe how realistic some of these pumpkins are!

 

They all range from small intricate designs to life sized  pieces!

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I loved this tunnel because it gave me ideas for my own ‘creations’!

Although my favourite of the entire night were the bewitching witches who were chanting and giggling …

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
– William Shakespeare

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Sisters, I challenge you both to a pumpkin carving competition.

Rules are as follows:

  • 30 minutes
  • No stencils or templates
  • No peeking
  • No help from additional people
  • Non winners ( losers) have to treat winner to Le Nordik within 31 ( get it?! –  Halloween !) days of losing.

BRING ON THE COMPETITION

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My sister is going to be so Angry at me…

My sister is going to hate this post, but I have to be honest. As much as I like a Pumkin Spice Latte and a nice walk to look at the fall leaves… 

what I LOVE is:

Christmas!

Give me all the Christmas decorations, festive big, craft fairs, shopping malls filled with Christmas shoppers and 24/7 Christmas filled radio tunes. I LOVE it. 

So here is my confession: I have skipped past pinning fall and Halloween ideas and gone straight to the festive good cheer. And Aisling is NOT going to like it! 

Sorry! #notsorry

Here’s just a few things I’m looking forward to. 

1. Santa!


2. Decorating the House


3. Gingerbread Houses


4. Christmas Lights


5. Christmas dress-up


So, sorry sister, but I’ve got dreams of sugar plums dancing in my head. 

So, Christmas, here I come. 

S. 

Twist the bones and bend the back

820x421-2-2spell.jpgSeeing as j’adore Halloween I figured I would post about some of my favourite sisters….. no, not my sisters but the SANDERSON SISTERS!

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Not only do I love how they are all about eternal life, they’re all about their sisters!

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Winifred

 

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Sarah

…. and boys

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Mary

They sing, they dance, they go on an ‘adventure’ to get Book and  look fabulous doing it!

 

 

These sisters ARE Halloween for me, I can’t wait for this weekend so I can decorate my house and watch Hocus Pocus and channel my inner witch-y sister!

I did a quiz on Buzzfeed to find out which sister I would be… I got Winnifred!

Which sister did you get?

 

Ais xo

Teach me how to Hygge: Take 3 Tuesdays

Hygge

This week’s Take 3 topic is: Hygge.

As we understand it, Hygge is the art of creating sanctuary and community.  It creates well being, warmth and closeness and celebrates the everyday.

All three of us try to apply hygge to all aspects of our life. Our homes, our work, our play.

So here are some tips on how to create Hygge in the everyday.

S.

My first tip is creating a comforting ritual and one of my favourites is a good coffee ritual.  To me, its not totally about the coffee, but about meeting a good friend (or a sister), watching the barrista make the expresso, froth the milk and put a flourish on the latte. The calmness of the coffee shop, the process or preparing the coffee, and the company create calm, peaceful and contentment for me = Hygge.

Quitters Coffee is Stittesville, Ottawa, is an excellent place to practice Hygge.IMG_0899

My second tip is furry friends.  Furry friends can be great for Hygge.

At home, we live out in the country, so I try to embrace our surroundings, switch off and follow one of the central Hygge essentials, which is pets/furry friends.

Here was a visitor to our front yard this Winter.

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And here is my best furry friend.

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She is central to almost all my Hygge at home.

My final Hygge tip: create a comfortable spot and read.  Reading on our porch is that spot for me. I just need some tea, a blanket and my bookclub book and I’m ready to Hygge.

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Wishing you warmth and hygge.

 

Ais’ Hygge Life

When S first explained to me what Hygge “hoo-gah” was I instantly knew that this was something I could get down with. One way I have a Hygge lifestyle is by making sure I find some time for self care and unwinding. I rarely have trouble celebrating life and others achievements but I do tend to forget about relaxing and recharging.  I love being comfy and find I achieve better things and more things when I take some ‘me time’.

I try setting the mood by doing several different things.

I lower all my lights and light my candles. I find that candles can transform the room from bright and busy to warm and calm in mere moments. Whether they are scented or not it will calm your space and allow for a flickering break in the busy days. It is so calming. I have been using drip candles so that they also make pretty cool bottles with all the different colours!

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Once the mood has been set I like to continue by making myself a fancy hocho.  I make it slowly by boiling milk on the stove so that I can slowly smell it floating in the air. I always put it into a special mug to add that Hygge life into each choice. I top it with ‘Ais’ Special Whipped Cream ‘ which has a drop of doTerra Peppermint essential oil to add a minty taste that slowly releases its flavour into the hocho! It is brilliant if I do say so myself.

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As a side note, I have recently added essential oils into several parts of my day to day life and have noticed a big difference! I will be sure to tell you more about the ones I use and the oils I want next in another post soon.

Once my treat is made, my candles are lit I curl up on the couch and pick a movie that I have seen 100 times. I love rewatching movies and finding new reasons to love them. Whether it’s a missed joke or remembering a favourite line.

Today the movie I’m watching is one of my favourites.

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She’s The Man.  It’s a 2006 teen rom-com with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum about a girl who pretends she is her brother in college to be able to play soccer. Niamho and I have watched it more times than I care to admit and I think I laugh harder each time. I quote it on the regular and love how that when  I watch it I laugh real belly laughs every time so that I can fully encompass a Hygge lifestyle by celebrating the small and happy things in life!

How do you hygge?

-Ais


Niamho’s Hyggely Afternoon

Hearing the word Hygge for the first time brought visions of Hermione Granger correcting Ron “it’s Leviosa, not Leviosaaaaa!” I just couldn’t get it.

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Hygee or Hoo-gah or Heu-guh?  

Meik Wiking, writer of The Little Book of Hygge recalls the time when Winnie the Pooh is asked how to spell love and he responds “you don’t spell it, you feel”,  so is the same with Hygge. However someone chooses to pronounce Hygge is unimportant, but rather the feeling it creates is where the importance lies. It has been described as the coziness of the soul, togetherness, comfortable mindfulness or even cocoa by candlelight.

Hygge definition

Here are my three Hygge prompts

 

  1. Engage the Senses.

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For my hygge time, I had ready to bake warm White Chocolate Cranberry Scones from Thyme and Again, topped with butter, honey and cream  and a homemade a latte. I then found the perfect place on the porch at the cottage, from where I was sitting I could see the lake and three bird feeders. I was lucky to be surrounded by nature’s beautiful music today, when I get back to the city I will be sure to use calm.com to fully get into the hygge mood.

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  1. Cozy and Comfortable.

This summer has been frightfully cold, which also makes it perfect hygge weather. My cozy look today came from a big woolen blanket, my uncle’s old sweater(shhh he doesn’t know I have it) and the perfect cottage socks!

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  1. Mindful Moments and Memories

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A great way to Hygge is by writing in a journal. This is a great way to remember past hygge moments and to be mindful of the present moment. I have been making my way through the Happiness Planner, which S gifted me a while ago. It offers wonderful prompts and advice that fit the hygge feeling, it is great planner especially for those who are new to journaling.

Turns out, hygge is definitely my cup of tea!

Ps. here was my view. Can you see the loon? Très hygge!

Hygge lake

 

My Ottawa

Who else is loving all this Canadian 150! This year has been such a blast with all the celebrations, including KontinuumInspiration Village, and Red Bull Crashed Ice!

One of my favorite events this year though was MosaiCanada 150.  The Jacques-Cartier Park hosted a horticulture triumphant event for 107 days. The exhibit reflected Canadian history, values and arts.

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It just ended this past weekend and I hope that it returns next year!

What a cool expression Canadian art!

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I have a feeling this was my Mum’s fav!

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Here is one for S!

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I love all things Anne!

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Here is one for Dad.

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Thanks MosaiCanada for a special afternoon!

 

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th! ahh!

I love everything fall and that includes halloween and all things scary!

but be sure to be follow the rules below to have a successful Friday 13th!

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Some of my favourite things about this month are the smells and these are my favourite smells this season!

Starting off the week was my mums AMAZING thanksgiving turkey… smell this cook through out the day was heavenly

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Thanksgiving 2017

well… the dessert was fantastic too; pumpkin pie and apple crumble made by Niamho mmmm..

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Nights in wouldn’t be complete without creating a hygge room with my fall candles especially my Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin from Bath and Body Works… ( which is on sale right now! )

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I also found my new fall scent which I am totally stoked about and have actually been complimented on several times already! Oakwood Vanilla  Bourbon Tuberose- ya all of that in one beautiful smell!

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Elizabeth and James-Nirvana

 

Ais xo

 

Women Crush Wednesday: Louise Penny

This week’s WCW is the author Louise Penny.  

 I’ve mentioned before that I spent the summer reading her Inspector Gamache mystery series. As luck has it, my book club chose the newest Louise Penny book for our November book. So I’m back at it with Inspector Gamache and loving it. 

Thank you Ms. Penny!


Here are just a few of the reasons I find her mystery series so compelling. 

It’s set in Canada. And she really gets the Great White North. 


She describes the crisp white snow of the Quebec wilderness and I feel at home. 

She captures the creature comforts of the Canadian winter and has me looking forward to a crackling fire while a fresh snow fall decorated the yard. 


Coffee, French bread, cheese. 


The characters are just as rich. The mystery is compelling without being tense or gruesome. So, thank you Ms. Penny for the perfect sofa-in-front-of-crackling-fire book. 

Bliss. 

Enjoy,

S. 

Thankful: Take 3 Tuesday

 

T3Tuesday(this pic was taken Thanksgiving 2016 from the kayak)

Thanksgiving is such an amazing weekend and I think I can speak for both my sisters when I say we can be thankful for so many wonderful blessings!

I am grateful for new friends and my last kayak of the season

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S here. Im thankful for the time with family, delicious food and time to rest. 

Charles and I had Thanksgiving at my parents’ cottage and then Charles’ parents farm. We are well fed and well spoiled.

 

 

Ais here,

I truly can’t be thankful enough this season. I have an amazing family who are funny,giving and beautiful from the inside out.

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I have an amazing new job that I am totally loving, the team works together and manages to  laugh and bond while we work! What a great community to be part of.

I am thankful for my #squadIMG_1734

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I am thankful beautiful fall has arrived.

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and lastly we are thankful for all of you amazing readers!

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THROWBACK Take Three: What are You Afraid of?

THROWBACK THURSDAYYYYYY

Who doesn’t love a throwback? Today I’m tossing it back to not so long ago but to our very first posts!

Our biggest Scares….

 

 

Up first:

S.

I’m really tempted to be all super cool about this and say the most nerve wracking experience I had was speaking to the Canadian Senate to advocate in favour of amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include protections for the transgender community. (not even a #humblebrag)

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That was nerve wracking! And incredible!

But in truth, my biggest fright was far less suave.

I’m not great in the kitchen.  Don’t believe me? Read on.

It happened 5.5 years ago. I know because it was about 6 months before our wedding.  I was at my parents home on the weekend and decided to cook some lunch.  Only N was home with me.

I started getting my lunch ready. Which for me is almost always a boiled egg, cut fruit and peanut butter and some crackers and cheese.

The boiling of the egg ,while simple for some, eluded me for some time, and growing up, Christmas, Easter and birthdays  often meant another tool to help me in properly boiling my eggs solo: an egg thermometer, an egg holder, an egg topper and so on.

So on this day, 6 months before our wedding, I stood, before the stove, tools ready, in my pyjamas, fuzzy slippers and, having just finished showering, a towel around my shoulders to keep my wet hair off my nice pyjamas.

Brought the water to a boil. Full marks.

Placed the egg in the boiling water. No problem.

Waited about 4 minutes. Perfect.

Removed the egg. I’m on fire.

Literally! ON FIRE!

Flames were wrapping up the length of the towel on my head.

I threw the towel down. Breathed in, breathed out.

MORE FLAMES. My pyjamas were on fire!

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I yelled for my sister.

Then, stop drop and roll, and the fire was out.

I ran upstairs and jumped in the shower, tattered pyjamas and all.  Niamh took care of the fire downstairs and I eventually left the shower…eventually.

The burns weren’t permanent and there wasn’t even a scar on our wedding day.

But the soft boiled egg continues to be my Everest.

So, for those, who like me, are challenged by the soft boiled egg, a few words of advice: Don’t be fooled that the flat surface stoves are safe; don’t wear a towel around your shoulders in front of the stove; don’t cook on the back burner while wearing a towel around your shoulders; don’t reach across the stove with a towel on your shoulders; don’t think your little sister can save you from the flames – just immediately STOP DROP and ROLL.

s.

P.S. Niamho says always keep a big vase filled with water and flowers on the table to combat flames

Niamho’s Biggest Scare!

I get spooked pretty easily! I nearly jump out of my skin if  someone walks into the room too quietly or if there’s an eerie sound of any kind! By being a huge scaredy cat I have many Big Scares, including a mistaken identity phone call about Ais…but that story is  for another day.

Haunted house

House on Haunted Hill, 1959.

                                                                 

 Today, I will tell you about the time my mother and I got hit by a monster storm at the cottage.  Mum and I were enjoying a beautiful day puttering around the cottage, at 4pm we quit working and went down to the beach to enjoy 4sies (mandatory lounging and indulging time).

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As I begin to relax into my chair, it became a little windier. I look up and can see black clouds in the distance, far enough away not to be worried. Thirty seconds later I could hear crashing thunder and raindrops pelting the lake as  the storms begins to race across the lake right towards us! 

Now, the sky is completely black, the chairs on the deck are blowing away. We are trying to pack up our stuff, as the trees are bending and making cracking sounds around us. As I am no Helen Hunt in Twister, I just begin to run, yelling to my mum ‘leave the sun umbrella!’ We both start running up the hill, but the wind is pushing us back. We try to pull each other along as we see lawn ornaments lift from the ground. We make it to the door, both of us pulling on it, we need all our strength to pull it open, we tumble in on top of each other and BAM! The storm hits the door behind us, it is on top of us now. We can feel the cottage quiver from trees landing on the roof and it sounds like the cottage is ripping apart, we see trees and chairs fly across the window in front of us. It felt like Wizard of Oz, when the cows and the Wicked Witch fly in front of Dorothy’s window.

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Wizard of Oz, 1939.

Still shaking, I look at Mum and think  if this is how we are going down, we might as well go in style! So I pour us some sangria.

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About 10 minutes later the storm was done, still alive and cottage intact.

 

Ais

It was a beautiful, sunny, summer day. The kind of day that is begging you to go outside and enjoy it. Big white fluffy clouds, warm sun and the slightest of breezes… I thought it would be a lovely day to go visit Niamho and hangout in our parents backyard.

I had just arrived and was sitting in the bright kitchen chatting and waiting for the tea to boil.

When all of a sudden right behind me there’s a BAM! Thump!

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Niamho’s eyes were bulging in shock.  I was terrified to turn around and see what could’ve made this sound.
— now, anyone who knows me knows I have an irrational fear of birds. Absolutely terrified of these beady-eyed, taloned feet, sharp beaked creatures–

So as I turn around on this beautiful sunny day to see what had hit our window I see the biggest Robin flapping back and forth with its massive wing stuck in our wooden deck.
I swear this feathered demon had to be the size of the hippogriff from Harry Potter.

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I’m sweating and before I even know what is happening I hear the words “Niamho, get the work gloves from the garage.”  I look around to see who the brave soul that is going to rescue us and then I come to the horrible realization that I was the insane person who had spoken up. Niamho  returns with the gloves and I’m sweating and shaking even more now, with tears in my eyes I approached the beast.  I go out the door and hear it quickly slam behind me with a quiet little click to know that I’m locked out.
I’ve been stranded.
Abandoned by my own sister.
I am face-to-face with the beast.
It vs me.

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So with my armour on I approach. My legs slowly give out underneath me. I dropped to one knee…then the other and I’m terrified. I am screaming, I am crying and I am way too close!!
Blinded from my tears; body quivering I go and PICK UP THE BIRD!!!!!!!
The beast is flapping it’s wings at me and squawking and quickly flies away totally unharmed. Leaving me on the porch still shaking and crying but now laughing in between sobs. I couldn’t believe I had done it.  To this day I still can’t believe I have done it.  Writing this I am still shaking a little thinking of my biggest scare but I also remember how empowered I felt. So just remember no matter how big or small your scare is at least you’ll have a good first blog post.


xoxo Ais

Tell us, what’s your biggest scare?