Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Backsplash!


Will wonders never cease!  Today the guy that was supposed to show up to install our kitchen backsplash actually arrived!  I was mighty surprised.  The local flooring and tile company started working on our house in November... of 2008.  Yes, 2008.  Tomorrow he will return to complete the grout.  There is still some tile odds and ends that need to be finished, so hopefully he will also return for that... but dare I get excited?  Maybe one day it will really be complete?
Hurray!




My boys and I also had a very successful day of schooling.  They finished a math unit, did a science lab on electricity (it was pretty fun) and then worked on their speeches for 4H.  We didn't get the piano practice done, but overall I was quite satisfied.

I was disappointed that I didn't get my swimming done today... and I'm really excited about it too!  My husband bought me an adorable little ipod shuffle and waterproof case for it!  It is a H20 Audio Interval for the 3G shuffle.  I was actually really disappointed with the player at first.  No matter what configuration of ear buds (they include many options with the device) I tried, I just couldn't get a good seal.  Luckily my husband is kind of a genius and he modified my ear plugs that I use when swimming to work with the earbuds provided... works like a charm!  Oh, and the best part?!  On my shuffle, my husband had it engraved... "Action Girl!"  He even added the exclamation point!  You gotta love it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chocolate Making Birthday Party

Today we had some friends over to celebrate Joe's 11th birthday. We had a lady come to lead the kids through their chocolate making, cookie decorating and cupcake decorating.  All of the kids got to make lots of yummy goodies to take home in their goodie bag.  Best part?  It was so easy for me!  The lady brought everything.  All I had to do was provide a space and some drinks... she took care of the activities, cake and treats!  Yeah!





Joe makes his chocolates.




Ryan makes some chocolates too.


The tray of cookies the kids made.  Some of the cookies are decorated with more cookies!
 

Joe poses with his decorated cake.  All of the kids made a cake, and had their own candle to blow out with Joe after singing "Happy Birthday".





Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today was my aunt's birthday.  She is over in India right now, so sending a gift is a bit complicated... so this is what we did!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

India?!!

My cousin and I have decided that we would like to go to India.  Next month. To visit her parents who are there right now.  It turns out that there are a LOT of things to do before travelling to India.  Big surprise, right?  Yesterday I travelled to the city so I could file my tourist visa papers.  They should be in next week. I still have to book our tickets.  I need to have some vaccinations... OUCH!  My husband and children will not be coming, so I'll have to make a few arrangements for them too.  I need to pack.  I need to make sure all of our office work is caught up before I leave... and probably the laundry too.  Hmm... I suppose there are a few more things that I'm forgetting!

I must confess that India was never really on my MUST SEE list of places I would like to visit.  I'd never really given it much thought.  Until my aunt and uncle started talking about their upcoming trip,  then I knew I could not pass up this opportunity.  It would be one of those things you look back on in ten years and say, "I should have...".

Places/things on my MUST SEE travel list:
(in no particular order)

Paris
Egypt
Japan
Rome
Greece
Stonehenge
A volcano... maybe big island of Hawaii.  (I love Hawaii... have seriously considered moving there!)
Bahamas
Galapagos Islands
Niagra Falls
I'd love to go back to Australia... to see the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Wall of China
Monet's "Water Lilies"
New York
Easter Island
Moscow
Sistine Chapel
Taj Mahal

These are only the things I can come up with quickly... I'm sure there are so many more things that I can add to the list!  I don't think that I'll have the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal while in India... it is not near my destination, so I'll have to leave it on the list for the future!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beauty of a Pantry

I'd never really thought about it before.  A pantry is a beautiful thing.  It has been nearly 3 years since I have had a pantry.  After awhile you forget how much you miss it.  Since we moved into our house our pantry was just a little closet full of miscellaneous junk.  I realized recently that that pile of junk was now waist high!  It happened piece by piece, a little bit at a time.  One more thing added to the heap.  Now that heap was up to my waist... YIKES!!  Fortunately the carpenter who has been doing amazing work in our house... did you see my office?... was bringing my pantry shelves, TODAY!

That's why I know that a pantry is a beautiful thing!  Staring into the lovely shelving I could hardly wait to fill the shelves with all the the items in my kitchen that have been surviving in a half-way house.
I will let the pantry exist for awhile with our kitchen.  I will make modifications to the organization system.  Then I will pull out the LABEL MAKER!  I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tobogganing!



Yesterday we took our boys to the toboggan hill in town and we had a great time.  I only did one run down the hill... I was very busy snapping some awesome photos!

I read the next Magic Tree House book to my boys too.

And I've been eating GREAT!  Very clean.

Today I went swimming... yay me!  And then I had the bookkeeper come over and we did some office work.

I'm quite pleased at how well I'm doing on my resolutions... I will keep at it!

I hope you all have a wonderfully whimsical day!




My youngest loves the extreme part of tobogganing!


My oldest is usually a bit more cautious... but not always!
My husband gets in on the extreme action.


I take a leisurely trip down the hill.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Better Photos Courtesy of Canadian Scrapbooker

As a scrapbooker I am always looking for advice on how to improve my pictures!  I haven't figured out all the wonderful ways my camera (a Canon digital Rebel) can be amazing... mostly I just click and hope.  Canadian Scrapbooker magazine has a new blog and it is dedicated to helping people like me... and you... figure out how to take better photos.  Hurray!  The blog is called Hands On Photography.  Check it out!  You can also click on the camera blinkie on the sidebar!  Here's to better photos!

Happy Scrappin!


Today we had very nice winter weather, so we spent some time outside. My husband pulled the boys behind the quad on their GT racer and my youngest son did some skating on our pond. I took photos.






My 9 year old thought it was great fun to skate at me and then dive through my legs at the last second while I took action shots of him! Do you like my beaver cap?

Tonight I went to a friends and we scrapbooked until the wee hours of the morning! Yeah!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Moose, Omelette and More Settlers!

My husband found three moose in our yard when he went to leave for work today. It was a cow and two calves. They were behind our house just after dark tonight, so we may be seeing more of them!




I was a bit disappointed this morning to have my brother-in-law show up to claim back his Settlers of Catan game. Not that I wasn't expecting it, but I'm sad to see it go! I'm thrilled that he let us borrow it though!!

I did get motivated today and I SWAM!! Finally back in the pool and it felt great! I love the feel of the water as I slice through it. Finishing my half hour was easy today. I followed up with a few free weights to further develop my swimming muscles in my arms. Added bonus: the more muscle I have, the more fat I can burn!

I also started keeping a food journal again. I have found this to be extremely rewarding for me in the past, so I am happily recording all the things I eat and calculating calories, carbs, protein and fats. I made the most delicious omelette today:
I fried the mushrooms with a Tbsp. of olive oil and some pepper. Then removed them from the pan. Added 1 whole egg, and 3 egg whites, 60g of ham, 30g cheddar cheese, mushrooms. Cooked on low heat. Served with a slice of whole wheat toast and a glass of unsweetened apple juice.
Omelette: 417 calories, 30g fat, 6g carb, 34g protein. With toast and juice: 665 calories, 32g fat, 60g carb, 38g protein.
Breakdown % calories from fat:carb:protein = 43:35:22 . The ratio I want my meals to be in is 20-30% fat, 40-50% carb, 25-35% protein.
Analysis: This omelette needs to be lower in fat! The best options to reduce fat are to use lower fat cheese... not an option for me (yuck!) or less cheese. Also I probably could have used less olive oil when preparing the mushrooms. In one tablespoon of olive oil there are 14g of fat! If that doesn't make you think twice about salad dressing I don't know what does!

Tonight we were back at my mom and dads. Both of my brothers were there and guess what?! One of them brought his Settlers game! Yeah! So we had a fun night playing my favourite board game of the moment! We even got to try the fishing add-on... extra fun! I ordered my game from Chapters online and it should be arriving on the 20th... I can't wait!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Visiting Day!

Visiting Day!

Today I had a friend and her two children come over for a visit, then we went to my brother in law's for dinner. Finally we finished the day at my parents! I took our borrowed Settlers of Catan, and my mom played with me, my husband and our youngest son.

I have reviewed my resolutions and noticed that I have not been keeping up with some things as well as I should, so I'll be working harder on that for tomorrow! Noticeably, I haven't read to the boys for two nights now, and I STILL have not been swimming... I think we could do with a bit more organization too!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Finally Scrapbooking, and Our Puppy!


Finally scrapbooking!

Today was a slow but good day. We had our puppy groomed. The boys did their music practice and went to indoor soccer. I got to play with my new rice cooker again. And now I'm scrappin'!! It might be a late night! I'll add some pics of my results later, and maybe a picture of our super cute puppy!

Boy do kids grow up fast! I was reminded of this today as my almost 11 year old made waffles for us. I tried to be useful, but he didn't need my help. I have always encouraged my boys to be independent and I guess it is working out great, but it can still catch you off guard!



We saw the windmills on our trip near Lethbridge, AB last summer. This page is part of a series.
I love this picture of my boys from last Christmas. They were all dressed up for my cousin's wedding.
This is our Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Cookie! She is 14 weeks old now.
This is her when we got her at 8 weeks.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Won!!

No scrapbooking tonight either! That's because when the boys were done 4H we had another game of Settlers of Catan! We'll have to give the game back soon, so I couldn't resist getting in another round. Once again my husband, the ultimate schemer won... and my 9 year old son had another meltdown. I guess he really should be going to bed before 11:15pm, right? On the plus side, I did read to the boys tonight, (Dr. Suess, What Was I Scared Of) and I prepped the pool for my swim in the morning.
Guess what?!! I won a prize! Just before Christmas I entered the 12 Days of Christmas draw at my hairdressers, and I won! I won the twelfth day of Christmas!

The card read: On the 12th day of Christmas 12 drummers drum, because they are too loud, we got you just one.

Check out my nutcracker drummer! It winds up on the bottom, his arms move to beat the drum, and his mouth opens and closes, all while playing "The Little Drummer Boy". Sweet!




I Haven't Scrapbooked ALL YEAR!

I haven't scrapbooked ALL year! Well, I guess I don't need to panic yet, it is only the 5th! I did find some awesome inspiration today!

On the Tattered Angels site they have a new Educators Blog
leave them a comment and you can win:
Both winners will receive their choice of one of our brand new Spring 2010 or Summer 2010 Glimmer Mist color collections (each collection consists of (6) 2 oz. bottles of Glimmer Mist).
I've entered!

Also I love the layouts Vicki Boutin did with the My Minds Eye product on her blog.
Vicki is the January Guest Designer for MME and they will be giving stuff away too!

Now that I'm inspired, I will be scrappin' tonight!

A busy day for me! Happy birthday to my wonderful husband! My boys helped me bake the coolest cake! A rainbow cake! Check out the photos below! Sorry I don't have a better one of the inside of the cake, but you'll get the idea. For dinner I used my new rice cooker (yeah Christmas!) and made rice to go with my sweet and sour meatballs and a salad. We had lots of family over for dinner, so that was awesome!

The Best Board Game!
Have you discovered The Settlers of CATAN? It is a super-fun board game! We played this just after Christmas and I can't get enough! We don't have our own board yet... but we will soon! We almost discovered this game with my brother right before Christmas but we didn't get a chance to play it! By the way, it's his birthday too... happy birthday!

And to finish off the night I read "London Bridge" to my boys. It is an old book that I read as a kid. Actually I followed along in my storybook, and when I heard the chime, I'd turn the page... yes, it is an old book with a record that I used to love listening to on my own personal record player!

This is what the dough stage looked like. Simply mix up a batch of white cake. Separate the batter. Add liberal amounts of food colour and plop by the spoonful into the greased and floured pan. Bake as normal.
This is how it looked when it came out of the oven.

Now it is iced. I used a can of frosting.
Here I am dishing out some rainbow cake!

Mmmm! The cake was delicious! And rainbow! How great is that!!







Monday, January 4, 2010

Still sick! But not letting it get me down! Today was the day to move into our new office! Fortunately my husband and children feel a lot better than I did, because they did most of the physical moving of furniture! Check one more thing off on my list of things to finish in our house! Then I spent all day sorting out piles of paper and paying bills. Ugh! I'm going to start this year right!

Check out the photos of our awesome new office! We had open shelving installed in the closet. The large drawers hold hanging files. I can't wait to get a new desk, but I guess I'll have to for now!




Sunday, January 3, 2010

Today was going to be a great day. I was going to feel better. Although I spent ALL of New Year's Day in bed with a flu I knew that the next day would be so much better. Or so I hoped. It turns out that I spent all of today in bed also. Not the way to start a new year. I did manage to read to my children. Tonight was the first of the Magic Tree House series.

As for the rest of my resolutions I am off to a poor start. Today should have been a swimming day... well... that didn't happen. Also I didn't get anything organized or de-cluttered. And no scrapbooking. On the brighter side of things, tomorrow is a brand new day! I can catch up on the things that I have fallen behind on, and continue on. That is how to deal with a little blip in the road, right?

So, here's to tomorrow!

Now a couple of reflections:

I am thrilled that my husband and I were able to help my cousin's daughter purchase her plane ticket to come visit us this summer! We collect a lot of travel reward points and she will be coming over to spend the month of July with us! Yay! It will be interesting to have a 15 year old girl in the house! One of the things I treasure most in life is spending time with family, so I'm thrilled that she wanted to come stay with us. I'm already planning tons of activities!

I have also been reading a lot about the Compact. If you are unfamiliar with this, it is a "buy nothing new" movement that seems to be quite popular with many bloggers right now. I first read about this in a magazine article at the hair salon, and I was fascinated with the idea of not spending! Such a foreign concept! It is definitely making me re-evaluate the purchases I make!

I am also inspired by the frugal people I am finding online! There are a lot of bloggers that are living well while spending less. An excellent reality check of our needs and wants. And a great demonstration that brand new is not always the best. A hard lesson for me!

Till next time,
Keep smiling!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reading list!



So I went to the internet for a list of the best books... this is one list that came up from November of 2007. I am pleased to say that I have read some of these books already! I will chose titles from the list at random, in a whimsical way, and I'll get started on my "required" reading!

P.S. I read to my boys tonight: Crunch the Crocodile by Josephine Croser.


The Top 100 books nominated by Canadian readers in an online poll conducted by Indigo Books in which they were asked to name their favourite books of all time:

I will mark all the ones I have read previously with (») symbol. If I haven't read the book, but seen a film it will have this (±) symbol.

»1 The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
»2 Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3 To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
±4 Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
±5 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
±6 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
±7 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien
»8 Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
9 Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
10 A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
»11 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
»12 Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
»13 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
14 A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
»15 Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
»16 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
17 Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald
18 The Stand, Stephen King
»19 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
20 Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
±21 The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
22 The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
»23 Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
24 The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
25 Life of Pi, Yann Martel
26 The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
27 Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
28 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
29 East of Eden, John Steinbeck
30 Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
31 Dune, Frank Herbert
32 The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks
33 Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
34 1984, George Orwell
35 The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
36 The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
37 The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay
38 I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb
39 The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
40 The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
41 The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
»42 The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
»43 Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella
44 The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
45 The Bible
46 Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
±47 The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
48 Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
»49 The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
50 She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb
51 The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
52 A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
53 Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
54 Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
55 The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
»56 The Stone Angel, Margaret Laurence
»57 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling
58 The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough
59 The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
60 The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
61 Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
62 The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
63 War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
±64 Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
65 Fifth Business, Robertson Davies
66 One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
67 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares
68 Catch-22, Joseph Heller
±69 Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
70 The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
±71 Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding
72 Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
73 Shogun, James Clavell
±74 The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
75 The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
76 Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay
77 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
78 The World According to Garp, John Irving
»79 The Diviners, Margaret Laurence
»80 Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
81 Not Wanted on the Voyage, Timothy Findley
82 Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
83 Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
84 Wizard’s First Rule, Terry Goodkind
85 Emma, Jane Austen
86 Watership Down, Richard Adams
87 Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88 The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
»89 Blindness, Jose Saramago
90 Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer
91 In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje
92 Lord of The Flies, William Golding
93 The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
94 The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
±95 The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum
96 The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
97 White Oleander, Janet Fitch
98 A Woman of Substance, Barbara Taylor Bradford
99 The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield
100 Ulysses, James Joyce
CanWest News Service


A New Beginning!

A new year, a new decade and a new blog! I have so many things I would like to start off with but I think it has to be this:

Some of the words that come up in the thesaurus for WHIMSICAL: fanciful, playful, mischievous,quaint, quizzical, curious, droll; eccentric, quirky, idiosyncratic,unconventional, outlandish

I think that at some point every one of these words can define me... but perhaps even better is this:

Some of the words that come up in the thesaurus for HAPPY: cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial,jolly, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling,beaming, grinning, in good spirits, in a good mood, lighthearted,pleased, contented, content, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant,sunny, blithe, joyous, beatific; thrilled, elated, exhilarated, ecstatic,blissful, euphoric, overjoyed, exultant, rapturous, in,on cloud nine, walking on air, jumping for joy, jubilant; over the moon, on top of the world, tickled pink,

There. That's me.

But that's not the end...

I have decided that this year I should make some Resolutions... a novel concept, I know! And what better way is there than publishing my resolutions to help me stick to my goals?

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS 2010

1. Reading: I want to read to my children every day... or at least 5 times a week!
I will also make a list of books for my own personal reading, and I would like to tackle one each month.

2. Scrapbooking: I will scrapbook 8 layouts per month! That is 2 per week. Basically I just want to scrapbook on a regular basis.

3. Financial: I will get caught up on all of our office work! (Fortunately the bookkeeper will help with this one!)

4. Homeschool: I will help the boys do their schoolwork on a regular basis... dare I say : SCHEDULE!!

5. Fitness: I will continue to swim every other day.

6. House: I will be persistent in getting our house finished this year! Lighting, backsplash and guest rooms here we come!

7. Organization: I want to get rid of clutter in my life! To help with this I will accept the 365 Days of De-Cluttering Challenge!

8. Relationship: I will make dates... with husband and with friends! Once a week with my husband and once a month with my girlfriends.

9. Cooking: I will attempt to become a better cook! Learn to do by doing... so I will try my hand at cooking or baking once a week!

10. I will find ways to show the important people in my life how precious they are... even ME!

Well, that should give me a lot to work on, but I have the satisfaction that whatever I do will be a benefit to myself and to my family! Never stop trying!