Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Little Word for 2012

I have spent a lot of time, thinking about my word for the next year. It's not something I've ever decided on a whim, a lot of thinking goes behind it. Having said that, I came into December not really sure what my word would be. There are a few words that have made themselves known to me, but nothing seemed to really stick.

Until last night.

I was laying in bed, listening to my ipod, and suddenly the word Renew popped into my head. The next song that played, opened up with this verse:

the mist is lifting slowly, i can see the way ahead

And I thought, of course.... Renew...

For some reason this word resonates with me. Deeply. And so without a shadow of a doubt, I have chosen my word for 2012.

I plan to follow along with Ali Edwards, One Little Word class, through BPS. [I'm planning on following last years prompts, I'm not purchasing the new class for 2012] I started out strong with the class last year, with my word, faith, but for a lot of reasons, didn't keep it up. I hope to do a better job for 2012.

Happy New Year! All the best for 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Last Few Days...

Here is what we've been doing the last few days:

Our annual Morning of Christmas Eve, Family Skate:

Miss Madelyn can smell out a timbit donut from miles away

Mason playing hockey with the guys.

The whole clan. [well sorta, most of us gals sat and drank coffee/hot chocolate]

Christmas Eve:

Christmas Eve -the kids waiting so patiently to open presents.

Outside to build a snowfort, Madelyn & Siera.

Christmas Morning:

Coming down the stairs Christmas Morning.

Milk and cookies are gone, off the plate Mason made.

A big hug for favourite brother, after opening a book all about the Beebs.

A big hug for favourite sister, after opening a Lego creation book.

Special hand-made gifts for Mummy & Daddy, from Madelyn.

Christmas Day, after supper:

Showing a card to Gigi, you kids were both so good with her this year.

Baba getting some special love from Mason after he opened the wii Skylander game.

Something special, for you both to read...

What? Can this be true?

Some special love for Ama, after learning about upcoming ski lessons.

2 new helmets and upcoming ski lessons, so exciting!

And now, it's a few days after Christmas. This is what my family room looks like... I couldn't bear to show the whole room, because it makes my heart quicken. Every piece of Lego has been built. All the dolls, treehouse, squinkies and video games are being well used. It's a chore to get these darn kids out of jammies... I guess that's what the holidays are all about.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Keeping UP - December Daily 2011

I have been doing my best, to keep up to date with the December Daily book I'm working on. It's time consuming. So many things at this time of year are time consuming. This year, I thought I would try a mostly digital format, but it's still time consuming. I know that once I get it all put together, I'll be glad I did it. I know it's a fantastic keepsake to look back at each year. All four of us have enjoyed looking at the previous years books [I've done the past two years] When you're in the every day of life, it's hard to sometimes see how your life is changing, but to look back at a 4 year old girl and a 7 year old boy, the changes are obvious. For that very reason, I'm glad I decided to do it again this year. I'm going to wait to print the pages, after I'm finished them all. I was going to send it off to be printed in 2 batches, but decided to just wait. After all, then I'd have to pay for shipping twice. I have been sending things to be printed at here at Persnickety and I can't say good enough things about the results. I'm very pleased with the quality of their work.

I have the last of my Christmas cards ready to be dropped off at the post office. Do I have stamps yet? Of course not, I like to wait until the last week before Christmas, it would seem, so myself and 45 other snarly people can stand in line in winter coats/mitts at the post office.

Now having said that, I haven't even pulled out my Columbia down-filled jacket intended for grisly cold temperatures yet. It's been so mild! Last year it was SO cold... The poor kids couldn't be out at recess or lunch because of the windchill. We've got a month of nicer weather under our belts, and we're well past half way into December, how lucky! When winter lasts for what seems like 6 months, we feel pretty lucky to get break.

Our crazy elf Calvin, has been up to his mischievous antics also. Never a dull moment around our house in the morning.

Calvin will only be with us until Christmas Eve... He's been so much fun this year, and little bit of trickster. I'm going to miss him when he goes.

This is the kind of thing, that makes my heart warm, and what makes the Christmas season most special, in my mind. People coming together. Tell me if you can watch it, without crying... Because for some reason, I can't...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

11 on the 11th of December, 2011

This is my last 11 on the 11th entry of the year!

1. You know you're old when you have the following conversation with your six year old...
mg - "Mummy, what year were you born in? Did it start with a 2?
me - "No, it started with a 1 9..."
mg - "Wow... Did you have tv when you were a kid?
me - "Of course I had tv when I was a kid.
mg - "I bet your tv had those metal sticks on the top [antenna]

2. Pinterest has ruined me. I have so many great ideas, and there are not enough hours in the day to do them all...

3. There's no denying the magic that happens at this time of year... I particularly love this photo I found on, where else, Pinterest.

4. Even though it's cold here, and it gets dark early here. I'm thankful that I don't live closer to the North Pole, where we'd be lucky to see the sun for an hour a day.

5. Got my Christmas cards ready to send out. Now I just have to send them out.

6. I had my very first Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte, but that's the last time I spend $5 on a coffee... It's not that good... but I get so sucked into Starbucks, cause I love their Christmas campaigns every year.

7. Going to the malls right now, is beginning to become like an Olympic Event... Do you have the stamina and patience it takes, to wait in line longer than the person in front of you? I am about 90% finished my shopping... Maybe I'll do the last 10% on-line...

8. It came without ribbons, it came with out tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags. - Grinch. Madelyn keeps walking around the house saying this...

9. Can't wait to watch Polar Express with the kids... [Madelyn also promised she'd watch Elf this year, after last years disastrous attempt to have family movie night]

Source: via Nikole on Pinterest

10. The other day, I thanked Mason for being such a big helper lately, and for making his bed. He looked at me for a few moments, without saying anything... And finally I said "what?" He said, "You're not doing that sarcastic thing are you?" Of course I wasn't, I really meant it! But perhaps I ought to rein in the sarcastic comments a bit...

11. I want this little guy under my Christmas tree this year...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elf Mischief

After we got over the shock of having our family pictures vandalized by Calvin, he's behaved himself. Here are a few places we've found him...

Every morning it's so much fun, to see where he is! It makes getting out of bed a little bit easier these dark and dreary mornings.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Elf Arrives

We got home yesterday morning, from parent/teacher interviews and imagine our surprise when we discovered this little guy sitting on our advent calendars.

We're not exactly sure how he got into the house, but we'll just chalk it up to Santa's magic, like we did last year, with Elvin Elf. The thing is, this is not Elvin... This elf came equipped with a note, it would seem that Elvin hurt himself in Santa's workshop last week. He's unable to come to our home. This little guy, has come as his replacement.

Right away the kids were excited. They left him some food [orange and almonds] Madelyn gave him Jack to keep him company. She put a bed out for him, a blanket. This little elf also changed her attitude on taking her medicine [which has been a motion picture drama 3x a day, since we picked it up from the pharmacy Thursday morning] However, when the elf appeared, she said "I'd better take my medicine" and she did. Just like that. The kids named this elf Calvin. It seems quite fitting, because both kids love Calvin and Hobbes comics and we woke up this morning to this...

In Mason's words, "I think Calvin is going to be a bit troublesome"...

Me too buddy, me too..

Both kids came into our room this morning, so upset about him writing on the pictures. We both thought it was actually kind of clever and funny. You best behave Calvin, we live with rule followers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Diagnosis is in

Yesterday I'd sent Barry to the pharmacy with a picture of Madelyn, and hope... The pharmacist took one look at the picture and told Barry: "Get her to a doctor". My Mum called and said "Maybe she has Impetigo, you should see a doctor". My friend emailed and said "Looks viral, perhaps you should see a doctor..." It was only me, that thought what we were looking at was a severely chapped mouth. My worst night mare was she had cold sores. [something I deal with on occasion, and truly wouldn't wish on my worst enemy]

This morning I got her to the doctor, who took one look at her and said, "She has Impetigo" I have never heard of this before, it's from a strain of Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes , also known to cause strep throat. It's highly contagious, and spreads like wild-fire... It happens when an area of skin has been irritated [such as severely chapped lips] and then aggravated by little hands that won't leave the area alone. The good news is, once diagnosed, the antibiotic should begin to work within the first few days.

1. when we're hiding under a blanket, it doesn't look too bad actually. 2. we just can't leave those poor little lips alone. 3. i can't watch her... i can barely be in the same room... i'm doing the best i can, to try and get her over the hump. 4. she laughs...[at something on tv mind you, but it certainly makes me feel better] I'm trying to keep her in gum, to keep her mind off things...

Right now I'm washing down everything she's had contact with [which I began doing last night, once I self-diagnosed her on the internet] The poor washing machine is humming away...

Happy December 1st. We start our December daily today, guess what the first story of the month will be...

Looking forward to a healthy month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tomorrow...It's nearly here...

Tomorrow is December 1st... It comes every year, and each year I seem to be taken by surprise by it. Once again, I'm home with a couple of sick kids. I certainly hope that history does not repeat itself, December of 2010 is something I care not to re-live.

The past couple of years I've driven myself crazy, with trying to do a home made advent calendar for the month of December. [Believe me, I know I have an entire year to prepare for this, but it still always seems to suddenly be here, so unexpectedly] The first time I did the advent, each day was filled with a little treat and something to do such as bake cookies, go look at lights, visit Santa, etc. It was overwhelming, I hadn't planned it out that well, and I tried to cram in WAY TOO MUCH. Last year I simplified it quite a bit, by saying things like: tell a friend at school you think they're awesome, or wish someone a Merry Christmas today, read a book to your sister after school. It made it much less stressful, but it was still a lot of work.

This year, I've tried something new yet again. On top of the bought advent calendars, which this year there is one for each [Star Wars Lego Advent for him, and Playmobile advent for her] I wrapped up all Christmas books individually, a book for each day. I had seen this idea on Pinterest [of course] as well as on other people's blogs. Imagine my delight when I counted our books [which are put away the rest of the year] and found that I had more than enough to keep us going for the next 24 days. [Thank heaven's for 5 years of scholastic book orders]

The kids don't know about this yet. I guess they'll find out about it tomorrow.

What's neat about this idea, is now they'll for sure read every Christmas book. In the past, when you have a pile of books sitting there, some of them might get overlooked. This year I think they'll be excited about the prospect of opening and reading a new Christmas book each day. Both kids are avid readers, so I think this will go over really well.

I also have my December daily book ready to go... Well, for tomorrow I guess. It's ready to go for tomorrow... See? How does it creep up on me like this every single year? And look at this, my sewing machine and I are friends after all, as long as I don't move it off the zig zag setting...

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm loving turquoise right now for Christmas colours. It doesn't seem feasible to throw away everything I have and start over, with all new decor, so I'm going another route. I'm focusing on turquoise in my December daily album for 2011.

My colours this year are turquoise and red, with green for good measure. I'm using an 8x8 Red American Crafts binder I picked up on clearance at Winner's/Homesense. This year the book will be put together throughout the month, but I'm planning on doing it partially digital, so I'll send all the pages away at once when I finish the last day. We won't be able to look through it quite the same as we have in the past, when I've done my best to keep up with it daily. I'll try it this way this year, and see if it's easier or not in the long run.

Now, back to the sad story of my sick kiddies... It's just a mess around here. It seems to be one thing after another. November has not been a good month for us health-wise. All 4 of us have been sick. Miss Madelyn seems to be getting the worst of it however... The last 2 weekends she's been sick 2 weeks ago she had a flu bug. Last weekend she seemed be be getting better, then by Sunday night had gone in the complete opposite direction. She's now laying on the couch with her croup-like cough and a face only a mother can love...

This child will NOT leave her poor mouth alone... It absolutely breaks my heart to look at her right now... I have been diligent about putting stuff on her lips, but she keeps licking them [and yes, I've even tried to scare her into stopping] but she just won't quit. She's either rubbing them, or licking them every time I look at her. So put in a prayer or two for us... Or our family picture for Christmas of 2011 is going to be a doozy... I've even looked up severe chapped lips on the internet. Barry has gone off to the pharmacy equipped with this picture and a plea of help. I hope we can get this under control. My poor little baby girl...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Coming Along

I had second thoughts this year, about doing a December daily. I'll keep it simple, I thought. I won't get stressed out about it, I thought. It'll only take a couple of days to put together, I thought. I'll only use what I have on hand, I thought. My sewing machine and I are friends now, I thought...

My thoughts were a bit off... I thought I was keeping it simple by using an 8x8 format, and creating my own digital template for the daily pages [that was the easiest part, it took no time at all to get that done] The daily pages happen daily... Once the template is ready to use, I don't need to look at them again, until the day I'm doing it. Easy-peasy. Then I started to get into the daily divider pages, and no, I don't need to do those. But it definitely looks nicer with them. Therefore I've spent way too much time, sketching and jotting, and figuring things out...

It's taken much longer than a couple of days, I'm hoping to be finished by December 1st! I have tried to just use what I have on hand, but have made trips to the scrapbook store [which seems to be the only time I enter a scrapbook store any more] And my sewing machine and I are absolutely NOT friends at the moment. I wouldn't even say we're on speaking terms for that matter. In fact, I might go so far as to say I hate her... [or him] I thought we were on the same page, but does this, for even a moment, look like we're on the same page? Nope. We are obviously not on the same page...

However, I go back to the previous years books... And I'm so glad I did them. They're full of great every day stuff from our past. Even now, it's hard to believe that Miss Madelyn was only in preschool the first time I kept up with a December Daily book, and Mason in Grade Two [with his first speaking part in the Christmas concert] The kids love looking through all the things I make and the scrapbooks I do, so that alone keeps me focused and looking forward.

So yes, the December daily book I'm creating for 2011 is much more work than I'd anticipated. But in the long run, I know it will be so worth it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Month in Photos - October

1. 3 cousins. 2. Halloween fun - made from crescent rolls. 3. Madelyn and Mummy playing Hi Ho! Cherry-O. 4. Decadent halloween s'mores. 5. Drawing pictures in the kitchen. 6. Outside pumpkin light. 7. Mason peering down at me. 8. Another cousin sighting. 9. Mason and baby Isabella. [who told me later, he connected with her] 10. Madelyn and Isabella [she so badly wants to be a big sister]. 11. Our front step full of pumpkins. 12. Little Red Riding Hood and Pirate Mason.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pie Party

I'm not a huge fan of pie. [Which maybe isn't the best way to start off my love the pie party blog entry...]

Don't be shocked, but I've never really cared for pastry... [You don't have to start paying super close attention to that I'll tell you right now, you will see me eat pie] It is after all, a dessert. For me, dessert is one of the food groups.

But one pie that I do love, was the Flapper Pie that my Grama used to make. It has a crumb crust, a creamy vanilla centre and a meringue top. I will never tire of this tasty treat.

She gave me a recipe binder for my 19th birthday [eeks, that was a long time ago] which had a number of hand written recipes in it, all being my favourite recipes of course. To make Flapper Pie with this particular recipe was time consuming. Plus it's very tricky not to scorch the filling, which would ruin it completely in a second flat. So imagine my delight when my Mum came across another quite simple recipe for the filling. I use the best of both recipes together and create this...

I don't know how people get the meringue so high, because mine has never been impressive looking, but it tastes just fine...

One bite of this pie, takes me back to my childhood. It's still my very favourite. Today for TidyMom's Love the Pie party was the perfect time to make a pie, for just because.

Flapper Pie

Crumb Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat over to 375°. Thoroughly mix graham crumbs and sugar, add the melted butter. Mix until well blended. [Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture for topping] Firmly press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool Completely.

Vanilla Cream Filling:

2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups milk

In a large glass mixing bowl, stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt to blend well. Add a small amount of milk to make a smooth thin paste, then gradually add rest of the milk. Stir until smooth. Microwave on high for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until smooth and thickened.

3 egg yolks, slightly beaten [use whites for meringue]

Stir half the hot milk mixture into egg yolks [being careful not to cook the egg... go back to high school home-ec] Then add yolk mixture back to the milk dish. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is thick and glossy.

1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour mixture into cooled crumb crust. Let cool.

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, beating until white and shiny. Spread meringue over cooled filling, to the edge of the crust. Sprinkle on reserved crumbs. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

This is the type of pie that is best enjoyed the day you make it. It starts to get a bit weepy and soft by the next day. However, I can assure you that although it might not be quite as impressive to look at, it is every bit as delicious to eat.

Enjoy! Click the link below to check out all the yummy pies!

Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom sponsored by Cherokee USA, Le Creuset, Wilton, Bags by Bloom and Harvard Common Press