Friday, December 31, 2010

Lessons Learned as a Child

To prepare for the New Year I wanted to have a look back at some of the lessons I learned as a child.

If there is a job to do, just slap on a hard hat and get 'er done.

Know that sometimes you have to get a little dirty.

Allow yourself to view things from a different perspective once in awhile.

Don't be scared to climb to new heights.

Cooking is important.

So is cleaning, try to enjoy it as much as possible! haha!

Get your regular check ups.

It's okay to be unhappy once in awhile.

Find something that comforts you.

If the shoe fits, wear it!  If it doesn't... then it's time to go Shopping!

Don't be scared to try something new...

or difficult.

If at first you don't succeed try, try again.

Its nice to have a bit of support!

Always make time for a good book!

Don't be afraid of creating your own sense of style.

Keep in touch with your friends.

Surround yourself with people that love you and everything will be okay!

And don't forget to smile!
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! Here's a Christmas Cookie for you!

I just wanted to send some Merry Christmas greetings out for everyone!  I will share with you a Christmas Cookie.  A photo of my sweet little Yorkshire Terrier, Cookie, dressed up with her Christmas bow!

  I hope you have a whimsically wonderful holiday season! Laugh, smile and share the good times with your family and friends.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice

Tonight there was a total eclipse of the moon.  This was amazing timing as it follows so closely after the unit we studied about the planets, the sun and the moon.  The eclipse was particularly special tonight at it coincided with the shortest day of the year.  In my excitement I decided I should take my camera outside and attempt to get some photos of the eclipse.  The boys were more than happy to observe through the window! 

I used a tripod and a remote control to try and reduce camera shake.  I'm not that thrilled with the outcome, I would have loved a nice clear red photo, but I found that with a long exposure the sky was moving too fast!  Here are a few of my best photos of the evening.  I guess they are not too bad, especially considering I was outside trying to take the photos in the dark at -20°C!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baking- Cherry Coffeecake

The first time I was offered coffeecake I politely declined as I am not keen on coffee-flavoured treats.  Fortunately I now understand that a coffeecake is simply a cake that you would serve with coffee... it usually is not coffee-flavoured!  I saw a delicious looking recipe on The Frugal Girl yesterday for Cherry Coffeecake.  I love the recipes that she features, and I love all of the step by step directions with photos so you can see exactly what it should look like as you go.  Today I made this cake with my boys and it truly is delicious!  It turned out exactly the way it was supposed to, so I can highly recommend it!  If you want the recipe it is on the Frugal Girl site, so just click the link above!

Friday, December 10, 2010

So Funny!

So I was wasting time spelunking on the internet today and came across this website:  Hyperbole and a Half.   I read a couple posts.  Then I read a couple more, and soon I was in a time warp, where a couple of hours of my life had somehow disappeared, I was in pain... my ribs were hurting from all the laughing I had been doing and I was starving because I'd been too distracted to eat. (Perhaps this is a viable weight loss method?) If you are in need of a good laugh, or would like to waste some valuable time, or procrastinate from doing something important, I would highly encourage you to check out the following posts:

The God of Cake
The Party
This is Why I'll Never be an Adult 

or just visit the homepage:

Happy reading!  But please don't try blaming me when you don't get your work done, find your ribs sore from laughing and realize you are starving.  I warned you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Always Sunny in Here!

This video put a huge smile on my face!  I hope you love it as much as I do!  Make sure you watch the ending.  Have a Merry Scrapbooking Christmas!  (and if you are looking for scrapbooking supplies I'd love to help you out!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Alice's Attic - October and November Classes

I have 3 monthly clubs up in the Attic each month.  At each club meeting we make a project (FREE!!) and each person places an order for $25 (or more!) from Close to my Heart.  Each club member will be the hostess once and they will bring a light snack, a friend, and receive the Hostess Rewards! (More FREE stuff!)  Clubs run from October to May, with no club in December.  Take a look at the projects we have made so far.  If you are interested there is still a space available in each of the clubs!

The third Tuesday of the month is the Kids Scrapbook Club.

October Project:

November Project:

The third Thursday of the month is the Adult Scrapbook Club.

October Project:

November Project:

The fourth Thursday of the month is the mixed ages Card Club.

October Project:

November Project:

The Most Beautiful Fairytale Dress!

Oooh!  I just saw this dress in West Edmonton Mall the other day!  It is a total Fairytale Dress!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Card Workshop

It has been a busy time up in Alice's Attic!  I just remembered that I had not posted a photo from the Christmas Card Workshop!  Each person made 10 cards.  2 each of 5 designs.  The cost for the workshop was $20, and we held the class on November the 6th.  All of the supplies are from Close to my Heart.  This was my first "big" workshop (5 projects at once!), so I have plenty of ideas on how to improve for next year!  Thanks to all who were able to attend!  Here's a photo of the cards!  (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

The 5 Christmas Card Designs
 Fancy Fold Card
Paper: Aspen
Stamp Set: New Fallen Snow
 Ornament Card
Paper: Mistletoe
Stamp Set: Ornate Ornaments
 Holiday Cheer Card
Paper: Boom-Di-Ada
Stamp Set: Ms. Holiday Cheer
 Joy Card
Paper: Jingle
Stamp Sets: Holiday Jingle and Feathery Flakes
Stocking Card
Paper: Jingle
Stamp Sets: Stocking Style and Wonderful Season

Almost Finshed! - Homeschooling Update

I'm so excited!  We are almost finished our Math program!  Hooray!  But wait... done Math already???  That is really impressive, right?


Not really.  You see, we are almost finished Last Year's math program.  Sigh.  I felt that it was important to finish the program we were working on, as the math program we use does not keep repeating itself.  Of course there is some review, but it doesn't keep re-teaching the same thing over and over.  This is why I LOVE it!  (When I was a kid I absolutely hated the way the teacher would keep repeating something over and over when I already understood it.)  

Now I must confess.  In my effort at being a thorough parent/teacher I was making my boys do EVERY page in the book.  So I was doing exactly what I hate.  

So, after realizing what I was doing, I decided that we would just do a minimum amount of the last few lessons, unless the boys struggled with a concept.  We will be finished tomorrow!   Then we will move onto our next level, and we will NOT being doing every page, unless it is required of course!

(P.S.  In case you were wondering we use Math U See, which I think is wonderful!  The program includes workbooks, test sheets, teacher manual, manipulatives and a helpful DVD to explain the lesson.)

Last week we had our Fall Homeschool Visit.  It is a very relaxed meeting with my school board facilitator.   Basically we meet and discuss what has been accomplished in our learning program so far this year. 
I was very pleased to show off the Space Lapbook the boys have made.  They studied the planets, the moon and the sun and we combined all of the information into a tri-fold lapbook.  The boys had started studying Space last year, but it got set aside and forgotten.  Or so I thought.  When we started studying it again I was amazed by how much they had retained about the planets we had studied.  We simply continued where we had left off!  The boys set up the camera on the tripod to take photos of objects in space.  They may have even taken a photo of Saturn!
We also did a Canadian Government study, complete with a trip to the Alberta Legislature.  This was perfect timing as my brother was running for Council in a neighbouring town!  We had plenty of opportunity for learning about elections and we were very pleased when my brother's campaign was successful!  We have also discussed the World Wars quite a bit and read related books such as Camp X by Eric Walters (a fictional novel set during WW2) and The Unknown Soldier by Linda Granfield (about the way several countries recognize their lost soldiers).
Joe is currently writing a book, called Mission to Mars, so hopefully he will keep up with that.  We discussed activities we have done in language arts, including BananaGrams, Creative Writing class and some workbooks.  Reading has been a tough thing with my boys, they don't seem to be very interested, however there has been progress.  Joe likes to read when he is supposed to be sleeping, and Ryan is improving in leaps and bounds!  As I love to read, it can be very difficult to accept that anyone could not want to read!
We discussed the Art classes the boys have taken featuring many great artists, their involvement in indoor soccer and 4H - Outdoor Adventure, raising chickens and hatching eggs.

So, that's where Homeschooling has taken us so far this fall.  Some of these things were included in my original Learning Program for this year, and some were unexpected surprises that I'm thrilled we were able to include.  I love to see the boys interested in something and be able to "strike while the iron is hot".   For the next few months we may head back to our original objectives, or we may just see where our interests lead us!

 Joe at the Alberta Legislature
 Ryan at the Alberta Legislature

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Question

My 10 year old son asked a question.  "What would you do if you could choose between having a billion dollars, but you will die at age 60, or you can keep your regular income, and live out your normal lifespan?"

What a tough question!

Having a billion dollars is very appealing.  There would be so many opportunities available to you with that money.  Perhaps you could live a "better" life, or a more joy-filled life.  One of the things I love when I go on holidays is the lack of pressure.  No bills to pay, or jobs to do, just fun and happiness each day.  With a billion dollars we could go on as many holidays as I like.  We could travel to all the places I dream of one day seeing.  We could literally make our dreams our reality.

On the other hand, my life right now is great.  I have a wonderful husband, and two great kids.  I spend time with my family and doing things that I love.  One day my kids will be grown, and possibly have their own kids.  I want to be a part of their adult life and involved in the lives of any future grandchildren.  Could I possibly throw that opportunity away for money?

I'm stuck... I don't really know what I would choose. I love the idea of the money, but I can only imagine myself on the eve of my 60th birthday begging for more time.  More time to be with those that I love.

This sounds like it would make a great movie!  If this gets made I hope my son is given credit for the interesting idea!

Any comments on your choice?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Favourite Inspirational Quote

Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it.

I LOVE this saying.  I can't remember where I first heard it, but I know that for quite some time I had it written on a ripped scrap of pink paper, clipped onto a board where I could see it everyday.   I didn't actually SEE it everyday of course.

Like a deer standing motionless in a field it began to blend into the background.  It joined the muzak of our regular belongings.  Every once in awhile my eye would catch on that little scrap of paper, and I would smile fondly, momentarily thinking, "Yeah, that's a great saying."

Then life would move on and the quote was forgotten again... for awhile.

I don't know what happened to that little ripped pink piece of paper.  It got lost in the shuffle.  You see, that paper was stuck on a board in our travel trailer, when we were living in it.  We had sold our house and were living in the travel trailer until our new home could be built.

We lived in that trailer for 17-1/2 months.

That is a very long time for a homeschooling family of 4, and a pet hamster, to live in a summer holiday trailer... in snowy Alberta.  There were times of great distress and frustration.  And my constant worry... that somehow our new home would NEVER be finished.

Fortunately our home did get finished.  We were able to, FINALLY, move out of the camper and into our dream home.

Living in a camper taught me a lot.

I can shower in less than two minutes.
Hamsters are very active nocturnal little critters.
If I haul my laundry around with me it can be done at parents, siblings and friends and not too often, the laundry mat.
A family of 4 creates a LOT of laundry.
A backed-up sewer may make me somewhat hysterical.
Scratch the "somewhat".
My children are amazingly adaptable.
Kids don't need so many toys to be happy.
Seeing the carpenters show up after 2 months of absolutely no progress may make me bawl with tears of  joy.
I don't need a fancy exercise room for a treadmill, it can be used in a heated garden shed.
My kids roll over a lot at night.
A little kid rolling over will shake the whole trailer.
I can live without a TV, but not without high speed internet, there are SOME limitations!
That when my furnace stops working because it is too cold for the propane, all I need is a trouble light, a tarp and my husband.
Living in a camper is easier when you have a hot tub.
Birthday presents don't require fancy wrapping paper, a bed sheet works just fine.
In the middle of winter cupboard doors must be left open to prevent frost build up inside.
Field trips rock!
Swim Club, Soccer, Art Classes, Music lessons, Science workshops and more, allow temporary escape from the camper.
It may be necessary to defrost the door latch with a hair dryer to make the latch work in winter.
I might not be a roofer but I can offer moral support and pass a shingle when required.
Kids can do music lessons while living in a camper.
Getting a whole house bricked takes a VERY LONG TIME.
My husband is an amazing man who makes my dreams become reality!

I hope you will live every moment of your life.  Even the ones you don't consider the "good" ones. Living in a camper may not have been easy, but we LIVED while we were in that camper.  We had fun and adventure.  We explored the world around us.  We did not put life on hold waiting for a "better" time.  Your time is right now, no matter what your situation is.

My life really is an occasion, and I'm thrilled to be rising to it!

 It gets mighty cold here in winter, but the hot tub is a great escape.
Gift wrap, the bed sheet method.
Hamsters truly are nocturnal creatures.
 Always on hand to help with a smile.
 The construction site, with campsite down at bottom left.
 Providing moral support while roofing.
 School time in the camper.
 The bricks begin!
 The space that will become Alice's Attic, my scrapbook workshop!
 Joe and Ryan pitch in with the dishes occasionally.
A good friend recognizes the significance of the move into the bonus room, and that it must be celebrated!
And those friends stick around to see the dream become reality!
Me and my husband, the man that makes my occasions sparkle!