Happy Holiday season everyone! I am counting down the days until my final exam and work commitments before I can head home and take time to love and be with my family for a couple of weeks! Gift giving is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and so I thought this blog could be about eco-friendly ways to do so. No matter what you celebrate this season, there are ways to do so while treating our environment in the best way possible. Here are some things to think about while you take in the holiday:
CHOOSING A GOOD GIFT
PACKING THE GIFTS
Some other things to think about:
In the same Stanford University study, they found that in the US alone, waste production increased by 25% between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Just because it’s a season of giving we can’t forget about the planet and how all of our actions have an impact. If you get invited to a holiday party this year, bring your own mugs and plates so that the host doesn’t have to buy single-use plastics to feed everyone. If you go to an outdoor ceremony where they might have refreshments, bring your own reusable mug (you might even get more hot chocolate or apple cider that way!). Only cook as much food for what you need and if you have leftovers, do something with them! Vegetable and meat scraps can turn into a yummy broth or soup, sandwiches for the next few days, and so much more! Don’t just throw them out!
Be conscious this holiday season and enjoy the festivities all around!!
Lots of love, kind krafters!
North Mountain Animal Sanctuary was the dream of co-founders Amanda Dainow and Leif Vernest. It was clear that the Annapolis Valley, and indeed, the province of Nova Scotia, an agricultural centre, was lacking a sanctuary for farm animals in need. Land was purchased on North Mountain in the Annapolis Valley in August 2008, and by January 2010, North Mountain Animal Sanctuary received status as a registered charity.
Over the last 7 1/2 years, we have taken in dozens of farm animals whose lives were threatened. At the time of writing we currently have close to fifty animals in care including pigs, turkeys, chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Among those there are battery hens from a laying facility which planned to grind them alive. We rescued a pygmy goat scheduled to be shot in two days. We have rescued domestic rabbits who were let loose and would have died of exposure, starvation or from vehicles or predation. We rescued a rabbit who was left outside and hit by a car, whose leg was broken and had to be removed and paid for the surgery and care. Among our pigs there is Charley who was in an area exposed to the elements and alone, living in absolute filth. His leg had been broken and was fusing back together in the incorrect position. Fortunately, like most of the animals at North Mountain Animal Sanctuary, Charley made a full recovery and has become a very gregarious pigs!
As a farm sanctuary we recognize that each animal is an individual and spokesanimal for others who have the same physical and social needs. We do our utmost to respect each animal's species-specific and personal, individual needs to allow them to live out a peaceful, natural, comfortable, healthy and happy life.
In addition to direct support of the sanctuary, we recognize that one can make a significant difference for farm animals is by adopting a plant based diet. Our dietary choices are able to directly reduce the number of animals in our factory farming systems (there are many documentaries depicting the inherent suffering within). Animal agriculture is also a contributing factor to climate change. The health benefits are remarkable and again, are well documented in films such as 'What the Health'.
In 2019 we will begin construction on our ninth building allowing us to more than double our capacity to assist rescued chickens. We are more dedicated than ever.
To learn more about North Mountain Animal Sanctuary and how you can help please visit our website at www.nmas.ca.
We can be found on social media:
Hello kind krafters!! I hope that you’re all doing well and are preparing to brave/enjoy the winter months. Similar to my last blog, I will be sharing a self-reflection with you this week and I hope that some of it might resonate with you!
Recently, I have found myself doing a lot of learning about myself as a person. I have been struggling with old ways of digesting information and have been working out a new set of tools to aid my learning process. It’s been a lot of fun but extremely frustrating at the same time because I have had to take a large step back because of the amount of time it took me to absorb the information. Because of this sudden change in my learning, I have been struggling with a lot of self-doubt. I doubt myself in many ways and that is constantly something I deal with, but I am really trying to rework that personality trait.
Luckily, I have MANY supportive friends, family, teachers, and mentors that are always willing to give advice and help me to work on my confidence. A friend of mine showed me a quote from Weston Sprott that explains the difference between confidence vs. ego. In the quote he states that ego is “an inflated sense of self-importance or superiority” and that confidence is actually “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing”. This really struck me as I often find myself beating any confidence out of myself because I don’t want to be labeled as cocky. I think that the line between ego and confidence is very blurred in my head and so it is definitely something for me to work on. I’m not sure why I associate confidence as a negative feeling for myself and not for other people. When I see other people with confidence I feel nothing but pride, but for me, I often feel the exact opposite.
Yesterday, someone with a bit more life experience than myself told me a quote from the book Tales from Barra: Told By the Coddie. In the introduction, he tells a story of when he finally realized that he could sell fish just as well as anyone else despite their differences. I don’t sell fish but obviously this lesson can be applied to any scenario. It is going to take a while to realize that I can do things just as well as anyone else and have that belief in myself but I know that I am now on the right track.
One of my resolutions for this year was to become more at peace with myself and learn to accept that I (and everything that I do) is a work in progress. In my musical and everyday worlds, I am an extreme perfectionist and I am constantly adjusting my expectations. As someone else mentioned to me the other day, when we start off learning an instrument we are never upset that we aren’t able to play a full piece after one hour of working with the instrument. Once we get to a certain level, we don’t allow ourselves to have these realistic readjustments and understand that we can always be improving and that we can’t always be perfect. I find this really hard to swallow sometimes and I think a large part of that is because in music there is little room for error as a performer. We can’t rewrite a test or hand in a better paper next time because a lot of what we are judged on is a five minute performance where if we make a wrong move we could ruin our chances for a high grade, a paying role, or a reputation in front of many people that we respect.
Rewriting this for myself will take a while and will definitely be full of ups and downs but I am so along for the ride and feel refreshed with this new mindset. Thank you for reading my thoughts kind krafters and maybe some of you might be able to take away a little part of what I have written about!
Lots of love,
Hey kind krafters! School has been oh so busy and midterms and papers and concert season are in full swing. Keeping yourself calm and organized during these times can feel impossible but here are some tips I hope you find helpful through these stressful weeks!
1. Start to prepare in advance - Even if it feels like you have so much time for some of these things but starting your preparation early will make the world of a difference. You are only as stressed as you are unprepared.
2. Do not be afraid to ask for help - Asking your professors, classmates, parents or anyone in your life for a shoulder to lean on or even some extra help can be super beneficial to relax some stress you have. Everyone wants you to succeed, don't be afraid to ask for help!
3. Go to class!!!! - I know, this sounds like the obvious BUT going to class and staying engaged will really help you understand the material and hopefully drop some hints for your upcoming midterm. The more familiar you are, the less stressed you will feel
4. Stay organized - Keeping notes, workspaces and your scheduling organized will help keep your mind clear and be able to accomplish much more
5. Rest! - Getting much needed rest is so important during this busy time! A rested mind is a better mind. Get some sleep!!
6. Take breaks - allow yourself short study breaks to relax, refresh, and regroup. It may be hard to convince yourself you deserve it, but the break will be worth it.
7. Eat Healthy - it’s important to make sure you’re eating healthy and on a schedule. Doing so will provide you with energy and brainpower! (study snacks are a exception, of course)
8. Study Efficiently - It can be hard to REALLY focus. Getting a quiet room where you won't be distracted and using beneficial study habits that work for you are the best ways to ensure you aren't wasting time.
9. Practice Positive Thinking - “I am doing my best”, “This is going to be okay” “I am prepared” “I got this”. Thinking like this can really change your mood, energy and outcome of your midterms, be your own biggest fan! You got this!
10. Treat yourself! - Take a break, hang out with friends, watch netflix …… you deserve it. :)
Thanks kind krafters, hope you are all having a busy and great study season :)
Hey kind krafters!
On October 13th I flew to Ontario with Xara Choral Theatre to tour the show Fatty Legs. I have mentioned the show in a previous blogpost and will talk about the tour in greater detail at a later date but if you want to do individual research please look at this link http://www.xara.ca/fatty-legs-ed-guide. I have only been away for less than a week but I am already learning so much about the show, our history in Canada, and myself as a musician, ally, friend, and member of society. This group is full of badass people with so much knowledge, respect, and resilience and after listening to them over the last few days, I have been able to do some major reflecting.
The Importance of Asking Questions
The Importance of Dialogue
The Importance of Self Reflection
I know that this has not been my typical blogpost this week so thank you for reading!
Lots of love,
Hi kind krafters! As we are heading toward our long Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate the harvest season and any other blessings that we have received this year, I hope you are all looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I am currently sitting in one of Acadia’s most beautiful buildings, listening to Dan Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living”, and enjoying overlooking a fountain in our university gardens. I can’t help but realize how lucky I am in my life to have all the opportunities and experience available to me. I think it would be very fitting to list a very small amount of things and people that I am thankful for in this week’s blog.
Family – I am constantly overwhelmed by my family and our constant support for each other. We are always messaging back and forth in our groupchat, driving to see each other, or calling to see how our days are going. Whenever I need help or a positive chat to brighten my day, I know I can call home and feel better right away.
Friends – I have always been surrounded by a large group of people that I can easily call friends and am so lucky to have had that ability. However, since going to university I have made a solid group of friends that I can always rely on and trust. While being at Acadia, I have been able to find people that I really connect with and have similar views as me. I am able to talk to my friends about anything and everything, and have in-depth conversations about subjects that mean a lot to us. I love my pals so much and I’m very thankful for them!
University/Acadia – Like most students I often doubt myself, which can often get turned into me doubting my institution. When I start to have these ideas creep into my head, it doesn’t take long for them to get kicked back out again. At Acadia (especially the School of Music) the profs really care about your success and are always offering any and all help to make sure that you are doing the best possible. Being at a smaller university allows me to have more one on one time with my amazingly talented teachers and fellow students and I am constantly shaping who I am as a person and a musician
Market - Every Saturday, I get to submerge myself in the loving community that is Wolfville. I love working and volunteering at the market, and getting to know more people from my small university town. I have now got a group of locals that expect me to remember their orders, and vendors that chat with me as we unload at 7am. I love the facilitators and how conscious they are with making people feel welcome no matter how long their stay in the town. I am so so so lucky to be able to get fresh produce that’s locally grown and at affordable prices for a student like myself. Going to the market every Saturday is definitely my favourite part of the week.
Canada – Having moved to Canada ten years ago, I have now spent half of my life in England and the other half here. I love Canada more and more everyday, especially living somewhere as beautiful as the valley. I have got to explore eight provinces since moving here, but I have to say that Nova Scotia is definitely the prettiest. No matter where you are in the province you’re never more than 67km from the coast! I love the ocean and the gorgeous fall colours that are covering the province.
Thanks for reading my blog this week everyone! I hope that you have a lovely weekend reflecting and relaxing!
Lots of love, Rhi xoxo
Hello kind krafters! I hope everything is great with everyone. Today I want to talk to you about a program here at Acadia that I volunteer with every Saturday for the last two years, that program is S.M.I.L.E!
“The Acadia S.M.I.L.E. (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience) Program is an innovative, academic-based, yet volunteer-driven program that provides persons with varying disabilities a unique physical activity experience in order to improve their total development as individuals.”
At S.M.I.L.E every week students volunteer and get matched with a buddy who could have a variety of disabilities and get to work on cognitive, motor and social skills. S.M.I.L.E has so many days offered for volunteering as they run Tuesday and Thursday morning as well as Friday night and Saturday morning. Having this one on one volunteer experience at S.M.I.L.E is the highlight of my week.
A typical day at S.M.I.L.E starts off by our buddies arriving at the athletic complex and we continue on by working on individual skills based on the participant including activities in the gym including trampolines, building blocks, matt activities and swings. Participants also love the music therapy room, walks around the track, skating and we finish off our days by heading to the pool for more activities.
An individual education plan is developed for each of our buddies that includes: “water orientation; physical fitness activities to improve strength, endurance and flexibility; and perceptual motor programs to enhance development of body awareness, spatial awareness, temporal awareness and sport skills”. All of this is done in such a safe fun way and it is most definitely Acadia Universities biggest volunteering experience and it is such an awesome program that I am proud to be apart of.
Having the opportunity to volunteer every week and be able to expand my leadership skills, teaching skills and having an opportunity to make someone feel special for a few hours on Saturday is sincerely the best feeling. I have learned so much from these participants and they help discover things in myself that I never knew existed. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer with S.M.I.L.E.
Working with children with disabilities is most definitely a passion of mine and I am so excited to continue with S.M.I.L.E and see where these volunteer experiences take me! All of the S.M.I.L.E participants are truly the best.
All photos are from the Acadia S.M.I.L.E website which you should all check out!
Talk soon kind krafters!
Hey kind krafters!
It has been over a month since I made my pledge through Parley to give up plastic bags for 30 days. There were a few times where I forgot to bring my bags, but then I either bought enough to hold without a bag, or I just bought a new reusable one to add to my collection! I honestly found it super easy to do, and I know that by refusing plastic bags in front of my friends, I have been able to make an influence on how they shop now too! I was never pushy or told anyone to use reusable bags, but by just sharing this action with them, I have heard that several friends are now also refusing to use plastic and will bring their own bags to the store. I have also found through this last month that reusable bags hold SO MUCH MORE than your regular plastic bag!!! AND they don’t rip like plastic bags do! So many bonuses to shopping sustainably.
Because the last month went so incredibly easily, I am now going to try to eliminate another plastic item from my life. I have been doing pretty well so far with this, but I want to take it to the next step. I have been taking mason jars and other reusable containers to the grocery stores and using them to stock up on pasta, rice, oats, and nuts. But I recently found out that if you ask the store clerks to put other items in your reusable containers instead of the plastic containers that they provide, they will do it! I feel awkward asking to do this but ya gotta be the change to see the change!
Now on to some exciting news!! On September 8th the Ocean Cleanup was launched and set off to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The founder and creator of the Ocean Cleanup is Boyan Slat, a 24 year old college dropout from the Netherlands. There are over 70 members of staff that come from many occupational backgrounds like engineers, researchers, scientists, and computational modelers who all work together to get of the plastic pollution in our oceans. Over 5 years of researching, engineering, and testing, they have raised over thirty-million dollars to build the machine that will hopefully save our oceans. Despite not having much press time about this incredibly important experiment taking place right now, he was recognized by the United Nations and was awarded a top environment award for his invention.
I am not going to try and explain how this cleanup works when there is a perfectly clear video to show you ten times better than I ever could. Basically, there are 3 main factors to the cleanup:
The Ocean Cleanup has also taken preventative measure to ensure the safety of sea life, the machine during any storms, and to make sure that other vessels know where they are at all times so that they are not disturbed during their work. There has been both negative and positive feedback for Boyan Slat’s ideas, but many are hopeful that it will work! To find out more information about his invention and the cleanup, visit this website - https://www.theoceancleanup.com.
Best wishes kind krafters!! I hope your eco-journeys are going well!!
Lots of love,
Hey kind krafters!
Things have been so so busy! As I spoke about in my last blog I am back in wolfville attending Acadia University Bachelor of Music Education. I thought I would tell you guys a little about what exactly I do here!
I am in my 3rd year here at Acadia and hope to become a music educator in my future. In my third year here I really get to focus in on the education side of things within my courses. I am taking a intro to high school education course, conducting, jazz education and more! It feels really good to be able to focus my academic energies into something I am super passionate about!
Along with course work I am also a Saxophone major! I take principal applied saxophone here with my wonderful instructor Tristan De Borba. We work on all things technique to performance. This year I will be performing my very first recital (yikes). I am in the process right now of choosing my repertoire for my recital which will be in March. Another awesome thing about having the opportunity to do a recital is that I will be splitting it with my fellow saxophone major and great friend Abby! Lots off work to be done but I am extremely looking forward to it!
I also play saxophone in the Acadia University Wind Ensemble lead by Dr. Hopkins. As well as being the Wind Ensemble assistant. I am super lucky to have the opportunity to have this position with the ensemble! The ensemble is one of the most established ensembles on campus and we play great music. Our first concert is Sunday October 21st at 3pm!
Aside from academics I am also part of the SAMS council here at Acadia School of music. SAMS is the Society of Acadia Music Students. The SAMS takes care of all things school of music events, fundraisers, and information from our faculty to the students. I am the Education Representative so my role is to communicate all education related events to the students. I really enjoy being on council and being involved with the music students at acadia.
Every Saturday I will be volunteering with Acadias SMILE program! SMILE stands for Sensory, Motor, Instructional, Leadership, Experience. SMILE is such an amazing program that uses the buddy system and offer opportunity to work with individuals with disabilities. It is one of my favorite things here at Acadia! I hope so speak more about SMILE in an upcoming blog :)
Myself and kind krafts other youth ambassador Rhian are also planning a open mic night for kind krafts here in Wolfville! This is an opportunity for music students to showcase talents, students to enjoy some live entertainment and most importantly to help with kind krafts most recent cause! We are both so excited for this and hope to see lots of faces!
SO thats what has been keeping me busy! Staying busy with volunteering and music are the best ways to keep busy (in my opinion)
Hey kind krafters,
Last weekend I made a last-minute decision to take a quick two-day camping trip before classes started to chill out and have some total relaxation time before starting my third year at Acadia. I forced my boyfriend, Ross, to come along and so on Monday we drove to Blomidon Provincial Park for a short vacation.
We arrived around 10am, bought some firewood, set up the tent, and then sat down with a nice book on our huge campsite. I am allergic to bug bites so after completely drowning myself in bug spray, I was ready to get in the camping zone. We read for about an hour and a bit before deciding it should be time to get a fire started and cook lunch. We had brought eggs, English muffins, and some yummy cheddar cheese from Cows to have breakfast sandwiches for lunch. Ross taught me how to stack the wood for the fire pit and the best way to get it started. The food cooked super quickly and so we soon started to chow down on lunch.
Then we relaxed some more and did some exploring of the campsite. We took in the view of the Fundy and then decided we should go and explore it ourselves. We went down to the beach and took a walk on the mud flats. My white vans got completely wrecked and we saw little areas of quick sand as we walked. Despite the steps to the beach having a “Danger! Use at own risk!” sign, there were plenty of folks down along the water. The tide was creeping in at an amazingly fast pace, so we didn’t stay for long. Once I tried to get the mud off of my feet we decided to grab an ice cream in Canning before heading back to the campsite. We stopped at i scream cool treats where I got a chocolate and vanilla soft serve, and Ross got a cone of Moon Mist. It was just what we needed to cool down in the hot afternoon heat!
We then went back to the site and chilled some more before making supper. It took us a while to start the fire as the weather had suddenly turned and fog was rolling through the trees at rocket speed. The bay that we had been able to see just five minutes ago was now completely gone and dark clouds were heading our way. The wind then decided to really kick in and our tent started to completely collapse under it as you can see in the picture below. With impending thunder storm warnings and high winds, we decided it might not be the best idea to try and stay the night in our small tent and packed up the car to head home.
Before leaving, we decided to have a quick snack on some s’mores – I’d never had them before!! We made use of the fire we had burning and ate too many treats to count. Once we were full, we hopped in the car and drove back to Wolfville.
Over the summer I had been working in an office every week and missed going away for a calm vacation where I could just enjoy the sun. Despite our trip being cut short by weather and us not being well enough equipped to handle it, I felt so much better by just having a day outside in the fresh air. It was a much needed day off where we were able to just lounge around before our lives got super intense with the start of the new school year. This trip definitely made me realize how little time I was allowing myself to have to just relax. I have made a promise to myself to give some time every couple weeks to do nothing and enjoy nature and my friend’s company. I hope that this has reminded you to be extra kind to yourself and to make sure you’re treating yourself well in this busy time of year that’s full of new changes.
Best wishes for September kind krafters!!