Ten Reasons to Feel Great at 38

I turned thirty-eight on the weekend and I have to say that for the artist, aging doesn’t have to be a threatening concept. After all, for the artist, one’s art can only get better with age and experience. My paintings are the sum of my experiences in life and my skill with my chosen medium, so the passing of time is a good thing!

A few more reasons turning 38 is just fine:

  1. Mind-blowing fundraiser. My “Hope for Women” birthday campaign has raised over $1300 for women in Asia and with just a few days left, I think we might just triple my original goal of $500. Thank you!
  2. Fabulous cake. I try to make the fanciest cake I can think of for my birthday as an excuse to really indulge, and this year’s triple chocolate mousse cake was seriously over the top! So good.
  3. Health. This year I’ve seen a few nagging things pop up (just ask me about my bunions, I dare you!) but overall I’m so thankful to be healthy and strong. No one should ever take this for granted.
  4. People. The longer I live, the more amazing people I get to meet. I’ve got an incredible family (more on that later) and I love encountering new and interesting people, making friends and seeing relationships evolve and mature.
  5. Experiences. Getting older means more opportunities to experience new things. This year that means travel, but some years it’s just little things. Trying a new food, learning a new skill, hearing a new song or reading a special book.
  6. Perspective. Age and maturity have helped me to realize that 1. I can’t always trust my emotions and 2. I will survive whatever difficulty I am enduring. My children are 8, 10 and 12, and when they are going through a frustrating time, there is no convincing them that they will get through it and it’s not as big a deal as it seems. I am encouraged when I remember how past troubles have shaped me into a stronger person and I can trust God to help me with whatever is next.
  7. Family. For many years my parents lived on the other side of the world. I am so thankful they live nearby now and we can share so many memories.
  8. Family. My husband and I have been married for seventeen years and I can’t take for granted the joy of sharing life with a best friend and partner who is so worthy of my respect. I look forward to growing old with this guy. And my kids; as they get older I look forward more and more to all the experiences we will share and enjoy who they are becoming.
  9. My painting career. I love that I can do what I love AND view it as a career that is growing and moving ahead. It can be a frustrating, slow-moving journey, but it is always richly rewarding and exciting to imagine what lies ahead and what doors art will open to me, as it has already.
  10. I’m not 40 yet! Okay, this is silly, because I resolved long ago to embrace whatever age I’ve attained as a sign I’m still alive. And that’s a good thing!

Happy birthday to me!

A Pirate Ship Birthday Cake

My boy is turning six this weekend! Today we are having a few family members over to celebrate with cake. I used Pinterest to help me find a cake design I could make. I chose five or six different cake ideas, and had my boy pick the one he wanted, and this morning it only took about half an hour to assemble his pirate ship cake.

Not spectacular, but at least it didn’t explode. I have one winter-born child, and two summer birthdays and the winter girl gets short-changed nearly every year. It is just so much easier to have a party in the summer. This year we won’t be having a big party for my boy – six is a big milestone, but it will be good for him to have a quieter celebration. He’s started thinking big parties are the norm, but I know he’ll enjoy today.

Since I took a break from teaching classes, things have been a lot more laid back around here. I’m loving it! Yesterday the kids and I filled in delivering newspapers for friends who are out of town. We haven’t helped them out this way for at least a year, and it was a disaster. Their current route is in a fairly steadily trafficked area, and my country kids have no clue as to when it is and isn’t safe to cross the street. My nine-year-old was the worst – she was so conscious of oncoming traffic that she wouldn’t cross if she could see a car coming two blocks away. And then when it got to her, it would stop and allow her to pass! And then the kids would all decide to cross, while the car waited, one at a time; dashing out; hesitating, then finally crossing, while I’m beating my head on the steering wheel. And their hesitation in navigation did not extend to their volume. Each with a fat, flyer-filled paper in hand, they’d head to their respective houses, and invariably one would end up hollering at top volume to another (usually on the opposite side of the street), “STOP! WE ALREADY DID THAT HOUSE!” or “THE MAILBOX! PUT IT IN THE MAILBOX! NO, NOT THAT WAY!” And yet despite all that vocality, my girls were still too self-conscious to approach a house if there were people on the porch. It was ninety minutes of torture, I tell you. But we got it done, and they each will earn about eight dollars, and we had a good discussion about what crosswalks are and when it is safe to cross the street. I think they’ll get it by the time they head to university. (Realizing that I opened this paragraph with the words “laid back” and then gave a description of a rather tense afternoon!)

After the triathlon I took two days off exercise but am back on the go again. I went biking with the bike club again yesterday. I’m realizing that I have spent a lot more time enjoying the outdoors since I started pursuing athletic ventures, and that I love. Today my legs are so tired, but I need to get my energy back because I have soccer tonight. I play on a co-ed team that includes my dad, brother, sister-in-law and one of my best friends, and the way the league is set up, we need two girls on the field at all times. Since one of our three female players is away, I’ll be on the field for the full 90 minutes. I usually play defense, and I like to think that while I’m not a good player, I’m a smart player and am usually in the right place at (almost) the right time. I love watching my brother and sister-in-law play. They both play for two soccer teams (they drive nearly 1 1/2 hours to come play on our team) and they are so good, they make it look easy.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Birthday Blowout

Something you may not know about me is that I love to bake. I am always trying new recipes and for my birthday I love making an elaborate cake that’s really decadent. And it was my birthday yesterday!

I couldn’t decide on the right fancy cake recipe to try, nothing really seemed right, until I happened upon a recipe for deep fried ice cream. I LOVE ice cream and have always wanted to try it (it’s on my so-called bucket list!) so I downloaded the recipe, prepped the ingredients and invited a few friends to join us for an ice cream party on Sunday after church.

I still got it! (The ability to blow out all my candles, that is.)

Thirty-five candles will not fit on a deep fried ice cream ball, but otherwise, the dessert was fantastic! I am definitely making them again, despite the haze of oil that lingers in the air after deep frying in my kitchen. What a fun day we had! And when eleven kids are a part of the festivities, you can be sure you’ll be getting the LOUDEST birthday serenade you’ve ever had. And just because they had so much fun the first time, they’ll sing it again. Louder.

On Monday, my actual birthday, my mom, sister and I had a girls’ day out, shopping and eating more ice cream. I scored two new tops and a new dress, and boy, does it help to have two other experienced shoppers along to critique in the fitting room! I really miss shopping without kids.

I came home to my new Keurig coffee maker (a gift from my wonderful husband who hates coffee and is scornful of my mocha habit – such an unselfish gift on his part!) and to three happy kids who were excited to tell me about their adventures in spending the day with their dad. Five-year-old Wecco piped up, “Dad was acting a lot like you today, Mom!”

And the birthday party isn’t over yet. Tonight I’m hosting a “charity crop,” selling off a huge pile of paper and stamps I’m purging from my scrap room, with all the funds raised going to buy sewing machines for women in India. I love that it’s going to a crafty cause, and that I can open up my studio again to my friends and neighbours. My birthdays keep getting better, and I’m so thankful for all I’ve been given.

Beautiful January

It’s always good to be home. We left last Sunday for a quick trip to Saskatchewan – drove there in under twelve hours which is a record for us. It was a good trip: we spent lots of time with family, celebrating the life of Wade’s grandpa on Monday, and our oldest girl’s birthday on Tuesday.

Can’t believe she’s nine! Isn’t she lovely?

We drove home on Wednesday and first thing Thursday it was back into life – dentist appointments and then a trip to check out my brother’s new house. He and his wife bought a fixer-upper and we helped them a bit with some flooring removal, and then drove back home again to celebrate my grandma’s 92nd birthday. And this morning I got up early to meet Sassy’s ride – she’s going downhill skiing for the first time today! So it begins – the journey to independence which I hope will include lots of adventures like this for her.

Consolation for the other two kiddos is my job today. Scooter and I are making a mini album, and soon we’ll have to run to town to pick up the photos we ordered for the album. And I’ve a bag of watercolour supplies for my upcoming class (space still available!) which starts Tuesday, and a brand new video camera which I’m hoping will enable me to post some watercolour tutorials for you all!

And I’ve a card on the Scrapbooker’s Paradise challenge blog today – while I was away I missed telling you about a two-day sale they ran earlier in the week – you really should subscribe to their blog and then you wouldn’t be dependent on me for this stuff! Anyhow, the challenge is “Clean & Simple using hearts” and so I did clean and simple – for me, which means there’s still a lot of detail.

The stamps I used are from Stampin’ Up! and the paper is My Mind’s Eye Stella & Rose. And the marbled hearts were punched out using my cardstock from my alcohol ink marbling technique.

You have until noon on Thursday, February 1 to participate in the challenge and I would love to see what you come up with! Enter here.