Saying Goodbye to our Sweet PatchyCat

My eyes are a mess, my heart hurts, and I am struggling to do pretty much anything today. Last night we had to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to one of the sweetest gentlest cats that I have ever known, PatchyCat.

PatchyCat

He may have only moved in just over a year ago, but the loss is unbelievable. He was very much a family cat. He wanted nothing more than to be with his people and enjoy a nice dish of gravy-ish cat food each day. The second that one of my girls sat on the floor or in one of their saucer chairs, immediately, he was beside them, even though he may have been “sawing logs” by the heater just seconds before. He just knew. They were besties.

And I texted my BF this morning that it’s the little things that hurt the worst…like the clinking when you’re stirring your coffee, and you turn around carefully to not trip on him because he would think that was you preparing his dish of food, but he’s not there.

Or seeing the confusion in your other cat, as he gingerly walks around, searching for his friend. And that visible almost sigh when he gives up and goes to curl up in the cat-tree they shared.

And my mind constantly goes to how devastating it will be when my girls come home from their dads tomorrow, and I need to break the news. No, they don’t even know yet, it was that sudden. They knew that he was going to vet, as we had concerns about his growing belly, but the x-ray found him full of cancer. Only 13 years old, he was still eating and drinking and snuggling up with us every chance he got..he was hiding incredibly well just how sick he was.

And now because I am crying yet again, I’m going to just stop.

RIP dear sweet PatchyCat, there will never be another as amazing as you!

Picking up the Pieces…

It’s been almost 2 months since I last even looked at my blog.

I wasn’t going to even write this post, I was just going to jump back in, but I felt that there should be some explanation of where I’ve been.

And to sum it up; I fell apart in a BIG way right before Christmas.

I was being pulled in about 5 million directions and I SNAPPED. Everything was suffering, and I found myself having some pretty severe panic/anxiety attacks. I was crying at home, I was crying at work, I wasn’t sleeping, etc etc.

One morning I was planning on walking into work and quitting, effective immediately…and as I was putting on my jacket and grabbing my keys I had a moment of clarity and was like “Woah wait, what am I doing?! This is CRAZY..I love my job..maybe not today..but I LOVE my job..CALL THE DR instead!”. So I did, and by the afternoon, I was ready to start picking up the pieces.

It’s been about a month and a half since that visit, and I wish that I could say that I feel better..but I know that I am getting there. I look back at how it took a lot of help and medication to get through a visit to the passport office, or how it took TWO doses of anxiety meds just to get through a 5-hour shift at work, and then another to sleep through the night. It felt like every time I turned around something was triggering panic. But in the last week, I have only needed one! So I can see the progress and it makes me feel good! I managed to have 2 really strong days in a row where I kicked some serious butt cleaning and cooking and just being present. I felt human again.

So now, here I am…slowly getting back into the swing of things..to my ohmmade kinda life!

Still with me?

~ Christy

 

A Peek at our Christmas Ornaments

As much as I ogle, adore or get wistful about those gorgeous colour-coordinated Christmas trees that you see in magazines or stores I love that the good ol’ pencil tree that I have in my home contains a wide variety of….

christmas ornaments

…fun and colourful ornaments that mean so much to my family, from those handmade-by-us, the fun and noisy Hallmark ones(hoops & yoyo!), sentimental family keepsakes, ones from a church bazaar etc (santa egg), those gifted from friends or family, or collected from Starbucks over the years..

It may not be a beautiful show tree, but each ornament has a story and brings a smile when we take them out of their box each year to find just the right spot for it to be displayed. My tree is family and home, and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way!

What’s YOUR tree style?

(and oopsie, I originally intended this post for Wordless Wednesday, but then it became not-so-wordless!)

Creating Holiday Magic – Kellogg’s #TreatsForToys

I’m glad that I went through and organized the calendar this morning, as it brought to my attention that between custody-sharing and extracurriculars, I only have about 9-10 evenings left until Christmas Day to create those all important holiday memories with my daughters. So this evening we tore into our big box of Kellogg’s goodies so that we could get a bit festive! and sticky! lol.

With a tween and a teen, there were quite a few interesting ideas thrown around for what we would try to make for our “toy”. It all came down to NyanCat or a unicorn…

2015 kelloggs treatsfortoys unicorn

And WOW, isn’t that a hilariously festive unicorn?! lol.

Holidays are about spending time with loved ones, but it’s also a time for giving back and helping those in need.

The Kellogg’s Rice Krispies #TreatsForToys program helps create holiday magic for children in need by encouraging Canadians to make a toy shaped Rice Krispies treat and share a picture of it on TreatsforToys.ca, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the #TreatsForToys hashtag. For every image uploaded, before December 21st, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies will donate $20 to The Salvation Army to buy and give a toy to a child during the festive season.

It’s really that easy, fun and delicious to turn treats into toys and help make holiday magic happen for less fortunate kids in our communities!

What are you waiting for? Get involved today!

and be sure to stop in and show me what you made!

 

FLASH GIVEAWAYWant to WIN a #treatsfortoys kit?

Leave a comment telling me how you give back over the holidays! I am always looking for ideas!

1x bonus entry – tweet about the contest, link to my blog post, and tag me @orangeheromama in it please! (and be sure to leave me the link in a comment to confirm your bonus entry!)

(open to CANADA, ends Tues Dec 8th at NOON EST. Winner needs to reply within 2 hours so please leave me multiple ways to contact you!)

GIVEAWAY IS OVER — Congrats Nicolthepickle! and I certainly appreciate all of you who entered as I know my blog is still squeaky with newness and it was such a flash giveaway!

 

Light yet Hearty Potato Leek Chowder

Oh, the weather outside is…actually, it’s pretty fantastic for early December in Canada! It’s still above zero, and no snow?! I’m loving it! But regardless, it’s still time for coziness and hearty foods. Last week I made a big ol’ pot of Potato Leek Chowder, and it needs to be shared. It’s a thick hearty version, like a thinned mashed potato, but with ZERO cream! I like to keep my food as light and healthy as I can without sacrificing flavour!

Potato Leek Chowder

(Adapted from Dilled Potato Leek Chowder)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

3 leeks – white part only, peel off outer layer, chop

3 cups veggie broth

5 large potatoes – peeled and chopped

1/2 tsp dill

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

1 tbsp flour

making potato leek chowder

Directions:

  1. Heat butter and oil in pot over medium heat. Cook leeks in butter/oil until softened. Approx 5-10 mins.
  2. Add broth, potatoes, dill, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk milk with flour in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  4. Mash about half of the potatoes against the side of the pot using a fork for a creamy, chunky soup.
  5. Stir flour mixture into the soup. Continue simmering until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

 

* Everyone here LOVES this recipe, including the kids! Especially if it involves a side of a nice thick slice of french bread with butter! Mmm!

Hope you enjoy!

What’s your favourite winter soup/stew/chowder?

Dear Customer… (retail at Christmas)

a_harsh_word_image

Writing about things that hurt my heart are really hard for me. I don’t find words easily to begin with so sharing pain is infinitely harder.

I wasn’t going to even share this post to begin with because I have one of those “it was likely my fault anyways” souls..

So I’ll start by saying that I generally LOVE my job. I know the store like the back of my hand. I love talking with people about what they’re making, which many times involves how to get their idea from the pretty picture on pinterest into what they actually need, and then to what next. I LOVE to talk creative.

So yesterday, this customer was like every other “can you tell me where ____ is?” and I think of the different options that we may have and ask more questions so I can take her to just the right spot. Only, in this case, I was pretty sure that we didn’t have it…when you spend a full year doing this job, in a place where you and your kids LOVE to shop, there really isn’t much that stumps you! So I quickly asked on my walkie if anyone else had ideas..I had a manager quickly reply to me with the different options that were already in my head.

So I reply “No I’m sorry…” and tell her some of the options. BUT that was not enough. She made it very clear that NO she had purchased them in our store before and that we DO have them and that our answers are just not good enough. So this is where you’re smiling and saying I’m sorry and break away. You let it go, and continue on helping customers.

But then about 15 minutes later I hear a loud “Oh, it’s YOU!!! come over here!!” directed my way. She found what she came looking for and made it VERY clear, and loudly too, how she knew that they were here, and that I was wrong wrong wrong. So again you apologize profusely and break away. What else can you do?

And here is where it DOESN’T end. I’m sure 2 minutes later she has shaken it off with her “HA! I sure told her!” attitude….but not for me. You managed to break me down. A sales associate, during the very busy and stressful holiday season, who has been told over and over that they’re wrong, or has never been good enough. I may have had 70 happy and truly thankful customers in my hours before that, but now you have stripped that all away and left me in tears. Embarrassed that you spoke to me in front of other customers that way, making me look silly and inept. My boss’s advice was next time just be sickeningly cheerful, that is what would hurt them..and just shake it off..hey, it’s retail at christmas! BUT it’s many hours later, the next day even, and I am left dreading the day ahead. Questioning if I have the skin to make it through the next month and a half of this insanity when I am so apparently fragile-souled..?

But you..hooray..you found your $6 item and you sure told me.

Any advice? other than shake it off? or chin up?

How do you deal with crappy people telling you what you’ve heard for 35 years now…?

 

~Christy

Be Still…

Be Still Photography Quote

I was just looking back through some photos that I took on our trip to British Columbia in August..and this photo just begged to have a quote added to it! Hope that you like it 🙂 My BF is much better at remembering where exactly shots were taken, but it’s either Ucluelet or Tofino!

Halloween Fun #wordlesswednesday

Working at Michaels sure made Halloween even better this year! I’ve always been a big fan of Halloween and dressing up, but when you’re told that you can dress in costume for work for almost an entire week…well, it sure made me put my thinking cap on! Here are my highlights for Halloween ’15!

halloween costume fun ohmmadelife

  1. Beanie Baby Giraffe! Bought the onesie, and made the TY tag
  2. Dr Who jack-o-lantern’s – adipose and cyberman
  3. Prancer – yes, I even had jingly bells on and pranced around!
  4. Cupcake – I crafted this one out of bristol board, a pool noodle, polyfill, pompoms, rick rack, elastic, and about 24 hot glue sticks! It even won the prize of the day!
  5. Formal Apology – this costume was meant to be. I pulled it together for $3.67, including the evening gown!! #thriftstorescore!
  6. Adventure Time Finn costume that I created for the teen! I knew that I had done a great job when she wore it to high school!

Tell me about your Halloween! or which costume you like best! and leave me a link so I can come and visit!

 

Getting Cozy for Fall – Simple Knit Cowl

simple knit cowlLeaves changing colour and falling, and the crisp fall air have me craving warm beverages and the coziness of knits. I’ve also been on my quest to get back to basics and finding time for ME again. So I started with something that I knew would be quick and would keep me wanting to do more and more and more. Once you find your mojo it tends to be easier to keep it going..right? Let’s hope so!

So I have a wee bit of a stash issue with wool…and I may be on a bit of a ban from buying more until I use up what I have..add in a move on the horizon, and that’s become even more apparent!

Loops & Threads Cozy Wool or Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick are my go-to’s for an inexpensive but yummy wool, and I had a skein of teal crying out to be used. When I found Manda Townsend’s pattern for the Easy Squishy Cowl using my teal ball for this cowl was a no-brainer (it was the same exact wool and colour she used for hers on the pattern!)

This cowl uses 1 skein of super bulky(ie cozy wool), sz 13 circular knitting needles, a tapestry/darning needle, and uses a simple K1 P1 pattern.

*Bonus! Need it done by tomorrow? No problem!

So tell me, what are YOUR favourite 1-2 skein projects? On Ravelry? Let me know!

 

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