Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
We made it.
I am breathing a sigh of relief. Christmas day came and went as it always does (whether you're prepared or not). Ironically, this year I was both prepared and not prepared. I actually shopped throughout November, and I don't mean to brag or anything, but was mostly done by December 1st. (It was an incredible feeling, I do highly recommend it, and will do my best to do that every year). We were free to enjoy the kids Christmas performances. We were able to enjoy outings. We were able to enjoy the advent calendar... (**Note to self, next year, don't make the advent calendar more work than it needs to be, throw in a few more things like "hug someone you love today" Or "Get an extra cookie for lunch today") The kids still love to open it each morning, and I don't have to be fretting about what's going to happen. I'd have to say, we followed through with about half the things that we were supposed to do.
A few of the most popular were [Pop some corn and watch a movie together as a family]; [Camp out under the Christmas tree tonight] - too bad that one ended quite violently with a certain 4 1/2 year old FREAKING OUT... [Eat dinner by candlelight] - to celebrate winter solstice. [Make Christmas flavored milkshakes after supper] - which ended up being the flavor vanilla, but they were indeed dandy. [Watch the Polar Express] - first time I'd seen this movie, it was fantastic even though we did need to keep retrieving Madelyn from the steps because she was scared. [Have a drive and check out Christmas Lights and displays] - Mason saw a house in our neighborhood that the lights were set up to music. You drove up, tuned into the radio station and the lights went on and off to music... It was awesome.
Those were some of the favs, that I racked my brain to come up with over 24 days. Hindsight is 20/20. I know for next year. A few "smarties" and a few "take care of each others" can certainly fill in the void.
What I was unprepared for was the oven incident, but even that worked out in the end. I just have to do some baking now, to keep Gigi equipped in the treats she's become accustomed to. ;-)
Here is a look at some of the things we've been up to the last month.
Isn't the montage AWESOME? You can find out how to make one for yourself here. This is called a Mosaic. Love it!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Both kids are finished school (Mason was done Thursday, and Madelyn had her last day of preschool Friday). We have 2 days short of 3 weeks of 'family time'. All I know, is that NO ONE had better call my house before 9 am, for the next 3 wks. [Yes, I KNOW how lucky I am, to have kids that either a) sleep in, or b) are too scared to wake me up :-)]
The kids and I concocted a special little treat to take to the kids at school. We sent these little gems in on the kids last days.
We've been carrying on w/the advent calendar, and Thursday nights message was to "have a sleep out under the tree and share your favorite Christmas memories..."
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more...
We had our second concert this week, at Mad's preschool. It was SO cute, and so very reminiscent of Mason's concert. (He was a wiseman 3 years ago) This year Madelyn was an angel. She sang so great, and did wonderful in front of everyone that came to watch.
She certainly looked angelic... Check these pictures out.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday night, we had Mason's school concert, it was fabulous. He had a narrator role, and was thrilled beyond belief. He did great! Our hearts soared as the microphone got passed to him, and he perfectly said his line... On our way to the school, he said "Mummy, I feel nervous, I have butterflies in my tummy". To which we responded, well, you should! Everyone there feels the exact same as you do. Once we explained that to him, and that all the people in the audience were there to see their own kid, it was fine.
We came back to our house, had a little celebration (the first of many late nights) Why does that get so out of control at this time of year?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The only reason it wasn't considered a blizzard, was because it wasn't quite cold enough. But it was dreadful enough.
While it blew and raged and stormed outside, we stayed warmly inside, listening to Christmas carols, building a gingerbread house and watching Charlie Brown's Christmas.
On Saturday, it quickly became clear that I had 2 of the happiest kids this side of the equator...
I don't know how they can stand to spend as long as they do outside. [Though come to think of it, I think I loved that as a kid too]
We just have to ensure everyone hits the bathroom before they head out!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I began working on my December daily book. It's so great that it was finished long in advance. Even though documenting something each day doesn't seem like a lot, as those of you who document things know, it IS a lot. But I'm forcing myself to sit down w/a pen and paper each day, and follow along w/Jessica's Holiday in Hand worksheets. I'm adapting her stuff, for the little album I already created.
Dec 1st we wrote our letters to Santa. The kids sat at the kitchen table, pens and paper at the ready, looking through the Sears Wishbook. That thing is absolutely invaluable. Mason has decided on more Lego... We have enough lego, that we could re-create our house. I'm sure of it. I don't know when to say 'enough is enough'. I do know the right time is NOT while we're in the process of writing our letter to Santa.
Madelyn has requested 2 things: a Jack-in-the-Box (?) and a Venus Fly Trap... Good grief, Santa has his work cut out for him this year...
I was web-surfing and came across a neat layout on the Write. Click. Scrapbook. website, that I scrap-lifted and made my own. Reading it over, no WONDER people get completely stressed out this time of year! [And I've already got decorated house, put up Christmas tree, and buy Christmas presents, scratched off!]
I finished my week 9 layout for Yesterday & Today. It was documenting a day in my life. I've done this several times before. I've documented a week (big commitment) and a month (even bigger commitment) but I'm always so glad to look back when it's done. I suppose that is what I'm doing w/my December daily, is keeping track of the month of December. I know the initial keeping track and jotting things down, taking pictures, will require some discipline, but having that later on, is where we'll benefit from it as a family.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I've included nothing but a few m&m's in each muffin holder (I made this from a muffin tin, did I mention that?) This year, I focused on creating a prompt of things to do, see, make, watch, go to, read, etc. each day. I know the kids are going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I'm looking forward to watching the reactions each morning, I know Mason will run downstairs to retrieve "today's message", excited about what he'll find. I've included things like: write your letter to Santa!; Watch the Grinch who Stole Christmas; decorate a gingerbread house, bake sugar cookies together; make our own ornaments; sleep out under the Christmas tree; have a family candlelight dinner. It's going to be so fun. It is something though, that requires a lot of preparation on this end, if you can do that, by December 1st, you're laughing.
We've had some interesting weather in the past few days. Friday got UGLY out. Suddenly it went from Normal to sheer ice. It took some people hours to get home from downtown. Thankfully we only had to pick kids up from school. We were celebrating my brother's birthday on Friday, and we opted to choose a restaurant much closer to our homes. That way, we didn't need to get caught up in the mess.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I am excited though, because I think I'm 85% finished. Seriously folks, I'm on top of it. It's a wonderful feeling. I need to sit down now, and figure out what I'd like to bake. Not that I do much of it. I remember as a kid, my Mum and her Mum getting together and bake, bake, bake. There were melting moments, snowballs, fruit bars, butter tarts... I'm starting to salivate, just thinking of it. Then they would put trays of baking together, and set it out when people came over. I remember fondly sneaking into the freezer and sneaking some of those oh-so-yummy Christmas cookies. I'm sure no one ever noticed, right Mum? 'Cause I kinda jiggled the tin around, to disperse the cookies evenly...
Now... We don't do that the same. Of course I don't speak for everyone, just myself. Am I glad that I'm living right now? You bet. What with the computer, the Internet, digital cameras, altering photographs, scrap booking, caller id, cellphones, satellite radio, jeans to church.... Sheesh, things are as good as can can be. (That doesn't even take into consideration texting, the iphone, or itouch, because that stuff scares the crap out of me.)
[My 7 year old, is using lingo that I don't understand. In fact the other day, he asked his Dad and I, "When do I get my own itouch?"
Yikes is all I can say. I don't even know how to send a text, or upload a video to the Internet. It seems I'm nearly 'out with the old'. I remember 'booting up' my computer, and having to type in a command in DOS... Does anyone remember DOS? We've come a long way in 15 years people]
Man I tend to get off topic.
My point was, back in the day, people got dressed up for church. Remember the old saying "Wearing your Sunday best?". People had guests over, and served them proper things (at least my Mum and Grama did, so that was my experience) We answered the phone, because it was ringing, not because we knew WHO WAS CALLING. And when we went out, we went out, and we were not reachable until we got home. Cell phone? What was that? So though I'm thrilled to be exactly where I am right now, I do miss the calm of the days gone by.
I've got my advent calendar ready to go. It's been a bit of work preparing, but I'm prepared. We've got Christmas concerts and parties filling up the calendar. My shopping is done. I'm going to start to wrap some gifts this week. I intend to send a few through the mail by the end of next week. [I thought I'd try that out rather than waiting until Dec 23rd this year ;-)]
I've got my digital Xmas cards created, and I'm simply waiting for the disc of pictures. All is good. Life is good.
I've also worked on these layouts for my Yesterday & Today class. I came to the horrifying realization, that I am behind the camera most of the time. I need to get into more pictures. Looking for pictures of myself made that very clear. It should be a goal for 2010. (which seems really odd to type) 2010 that is... Wow. Who would have thought it?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We've had some computer technical difficulties around here of late. I hate technical difficulties. If it's beyond pressing [ctrl-alt-del] well then 'Houston, we have a problem...' I guess our fiasco of '08 taught me nothing. [Such as, you should really have everyone you knows email addy on paper, because when you lose MS Outlook, you're hooped if you need to send an email.] We did have had a 'techie guy' come check things out, but weird things are still happening, and every so often I see a message that says something about "getting ready to do a physical data dump"... [I also lovingly refer to that as the 'blue screen of death' because you want to power that sucker off, before a physical data dump starts...] Yikes.
I have to tell you, I rely on technology more than I’d like to admit. I LOVE checking my emails. I love looking up stuff on the internet at a moments notice, or web surfing, and I love working with PSE, and doing stuff with my pictures digitally. Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it quickly. Barry mentioned he'd like to install Windows 7 on the 'puter... That makes me a bit squeamish, I have to admit. I'm not huge on change. At least everything I love and cherish is saved to an external hard drive. [Which proves that the fiasco of '08 did have SOME impact]
This past weekend we put up our.... Christmas tree. [gasp] I know, I know, it's terribly early. And to be honest, I might not have felt as good doing it, it if it hadn't been for her post. She made it OK.
Last year I seemed to be a bit caught-off-guard by the holiday season. And yes I do realize that it does come at the same time every year... But there was a lot of things that happened last year, and when you're a bit behind the ball to start off, then add shopping, tree erecting, baking, gift getting, Christmas parties and school concerts into the mix, it just got hectic. Last year we 'had to get the tree up'. It got to the point that we kind of said, ‘If we don't do it tonight, we might as well not do it at all’. Now that might be ok for some, and who knows, maybe there will some Christmas in our future when we elect not to put up a tree. But right now, with little people living in our house, and that just isn’t an option. This year, I feel pretty strongly about NOT BEING STRESSED. Ideally, I’d like to see December calm, quiet and fun. I want to enjoy the parties I go to. I want to enjoy the baking I decide to do. (Last year I frantically tried to get things done the night before they were supposed to be due) I hate that under-the-gun feeling. I actually have a handle on this years Christmas shopping too. I know! Me! So that's what we've been up to, in a nutshell. Along with the ongoing class I'm doing with Ali Edwards called Yesterday & Today, I've also finished my December Daily binder (to keep track of Dec 1 - 25th on a daily basis) and I've registered for a free on-line class w/Jessica Sprague called Holidays in Hand.
Wow... Re-reading that, is it any wonder why I continue to have sleepless nights. Sheesh, maybe I set myself up for failure.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Here is a look at some of the pictures of our session on her blog.
For a very limited time (a week I think) you can view a slide show of our pictures here...
I'm really pleased with how they turned out, and I have a tough decision to make as to which pictures I want. [Obviously, I want them all, much to Barry's horror...]
Sunday, November 1, 2009
And a lazy day it has been. Madelyn is still in her jammies, and Mason made the switch to LAST years Halloween costume, he's zooming around the house as red Spiderman, as opposed to 'black Spiderman'. I thought the black Spiderman was venom, but apparently it's not. I got heck for telling people he was venom. "I am NOT Venom Mum, I'm just BLACK Spiderman". Who he keeps reassuring me, is normal-old Spiderman. So how come we needed to purchase a new costume? Beats me too.
A recap of the weekend. Mason come home for lunch on Friday, and this is what we had.
Then off to school, and preschool wearing costumes of course. Friday night, we had a costume party (adult) So much fun. Everyone participates, and it's always so great to see some of the creativity. Great snacks, and visiting, and laughs. Fun was had by all.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I mentioned in my last post, we had family pumpkin carving night, here are the before pumpkins:
Monday, October 26, 2009
***Ladybug update: I'm pleased to report that Sunday was a sunny day and it ended up being warm enough to release the ladybugs! The jar got put outside, and the lid was unscrewed. And all the ladybugs flew away home. That relieved a LOT of pressure.
I spooked up our house this year. I put out my decorations, though not as many as I usually do. I am trying to eliminate some of the 'cute' stuff. Last year Mason informed me that he wanted things to be 'more spooky'. It's kind of a tough transition to go from cutesy to spooky... So it will take me a couple of years to gather adequate scary stuff. I've been giving the kids the occasional 'spooky' treat. Here are a couple I've done so far.
Mummy's in a blanket. Cute, but they look SO much better in the magazines don't they?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
A few weeks ago, I was reading through hand-me-down Chatelaine magazine, and turned to page 43 of the September 2009 issue, and delightfully came across a recipe called "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie". (I linked the recipe above, and if you're looking for a goody, then I suggest you give it a try). Our family for one, was NOT disappointed. In fact, I think we just may have actually broke a record for how quickly 4 dozen cookies can disappear. They might have even done so, while they were still warm from the oven. That ALONE might tell you something. The first time I made them, I bought some fancy-schmancy chocolate, a little something we call Bernard Callebaut chocolate chunks. (Now THAT is some good chocolate) So the cookies were fantastic. And I thought, hmmmmm, what about regular chocolate chips, Would the cookies still be as good if I used chipits? So I tried that yesterday afternoon, and the answer is YES, the cookies are still good. When a girl comes across a chocolate chip cookie recipe that tastes as good as these ones do, she has to share it with others!
So bake and enjoy!
Another significant thing to note. Thursday we had a nice day. It was sunny. The sky was clear. We saw the sun. I say this, because for most of the month of October, we HAVEN'T seen the sun. It's been grey, dreary, dull and depressing. If I wanted to live like that, I'd move to the west coast. At least I would EXPECT that there. But here in Calgary, I expect to see the sun. We got totally ripped off this year. It froze AND snowed the beginning of October, so all the leaves died. And now, the dead leaves are clinging to all the trees. And of course, being dead now, flash-frozen I suspect, they're all a dreadful dying brown color... That's right folks, we didn't get fall here this year. We're moving from summer (if you can even call it that this year) to winter.
So back to Thursday... Yes, delightful Thursday, when the sun came out warming and delighting us. Madelyn spent the day with Ama on Thursday, and in the back yard, they happened to come across ladybugs. (No doubt they too, where shocked to see the sun) I suppose, not really knowing what goes on in a ladybugs mind, they were rooting around looking for places to hibernate. All I can say is this... "Oh you poor, poor little ladybugs, I'm sorry you will not be living out your ladybug destiny..." Because here you are...
Yes, you might see a few around the lid in this picture:
And a few more here:
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
But the new me, has come to her senses, and tries to make it to bed by 11 pm. I just don’t wake up very nice. No matter how hard I try, I can’t be jolly. I’m NOT a morning person. Enough said.
So last night, I stayed up way too late for a school night, because I got on a role. Remember a few months ago, I was on about ‘de-cluttering’? Last night I began to de-clutter my scrapbook room. And it REALLY needs to be done. I’m a dreadful hoarder… (I thought admitting that would make me feel better) Let me try this:
“My name is Candy, and I’m a dreadful hoarder…”
Nope. Still feel the same.
Once in awhile, I get into the ruthless ‘everything goes’ mode. I happened to be in that state last night. I lugged armfuls of old magazines such as: Parents, Ikea, Pottery Barn to the recycling bin. I’m talking circa 2006 and BEFORE…) I started a great big ‘donation bag’ and in it I tossed paper that I don’t like the look of any more. Markers and stickers I honestly know I'll never use. Cheap little albums I HAD TO HAVE, because when something is a good deal, I can justify anything. Crazy dollar store stuff I thought I needed to have, but in real life, don’t. It’s been nearly 24 hours and I haven’t rooted through the donation bag to retrieve anything. Yay for me.
Having said that, especially about the magazines, there’s absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that a week from now, I’ll need to find something I’d purposefully dog-eared, in one of those magazines. But alas, it will be too late; they’ll be fulfilling their destiny at the recycle plant.
I guess, the point of my story is… And I actually had to think to myself, “Is there a point to your story?” And indeed, there is.
My scrap room (which I’m thinking of calling my ‘studio’ from now on) is currently in disarray, and I’m NO LONGER in my ruthless, everything must go phase.
It’s only 10 pm, and I’m tired and the very last thing I feel like doing is sorting and putting things away, you know, all the ‘stuff’ that got put aside last night at 1 am. The 'to be dealt with 'tomorrow' stuff.
Having said that, if I look at the bookshelf I was ruthless with, it does make me smile. So, I think I’ll got to bed now, get my 8 hours, and then work on it another time. So I guess this is just kind of a reminder to self, don't start some of these projects so late. Think the timing through a bit!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
As of now, I've done 12 classes/workshops. There were even a few freebies in there! What I like about taking an on-line class is that it forces me to ‘keep up’. There are usually a ‘suggested’ number of layouts to do, per week. I say ‘suggested’ because it’s not supposed to in any way, bring on guilt of any kind. It is stressed, that you can do everything at your own pace, choosing to do ONLY what you want to do, or doing nothing at all, if that’s what you want to do. In my case, I WANT to keep up. I like to post things into the gallery of the class I’m taking, and I LOVE the feedback I get from the other scrapbookers and occasionally by the teachers.
The class I’m currently taking is called Yesterday & Today, taught by Ali Edwards, whom I love. You can read her blog here. So far each class I’ve done has started its ‘new week’ on a Thursday. So each Thursday morning, I head downstairs with my piping hot coffee to receive my email, watch my video tutorial, and basically figure out what needs to be done for the next week.
I have to laugh at myself, because I get kind of ‘dog with a bone-ish’ when I’m taking a class. I want to watch my tutorial, work on my computer and basically not be interrupted for a few hours. (Which is hard, considering I’m here with Madelyn each day) and my job title is stay at home mom and NOT graphic designer…
Anyhoo, this class is about looking back at yesterday, and looking ahead to today. It’s about capturing the stories that I think others will want to know, if God forbid, I weren’t around to tell them to anyone. It plays on my guilt slightly, that perhaps I’m just not keeping good enough track of my life as a Mum. Perhaps I just strode through my younger years, taking everything for granted, and not detailing what was important…
I’ve created 2 layouts so far, one was simply to let me off the hook, for any guilt I might harbor over not doing enough/documenting enough/being good enough, etc. (I’m pretty sure I’ll need to come back to this one time and time again, constantly re-reading it to myself and convincing myself things are ok).
The next layout I did was for the title page of the album I’m creating. It’s using pictures that I’ve scanned in. And I have to tell you, I’m amazed at the quality. It makes me think I should be scanning in every picture I ever took BEFORE digital came along. And I’ve only been using digital since Madelyn came along. Crikey, that's A LOT of scanning...
I’m looking forward to completing this week’s assignment, which is documenting 6 random childhood memories. I went through some pictures, and as I did, I was amazed at how memories came flooding back. I looked through pictures of my childhood, not all of them, but a pretty good selection of them and it’s shocking the memories that begin to flood. Things you can suddenly remember JUST by studying a picture. Will it really matter if my kids don’t know how much their Uncle Chris and I fought as kids? Or that one year we went as Hobo’s for Halloween? Or that I was younger than Mason is now, when we got our first puppy (seriously Mum… were you THAT brave OR just plain crazy). I don’t know if it will matter to them or not. But it is a part of my life, and it matters to me. And if I’m not around to tell them, then I guess they just won’t get told.
I think it’s quite safe to say, that I’m coming around, ever so slightly to Ali’s way of thinking.
And look at that, almost an entire post without complaining about the weather. But I HAVE to. It's like a winter wonderland outside right now. And it's been cold. So very cold. And I'm not looking forward to another 6 L O N G months of it. Because the chinook might blow in like it's supposed to, and we might reach the 'supposed' high of 21° by Saturday, but WHO CARES, winter is a com'in.