Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toothpaste Antics

We seem to have a budding artist in our house...one whom likes to use toothpaste as her paint and the bathroom mirror as her canvas. I have a hard time reprimanding her about it, when the artwork is so creative. She makes up songs in front of the mirror while drawing pictures to go along with it. I figure I'll just have to teach her how to clean a mirror.

But the other day, her toothpaste antics travelled outside the bathroom.

Around lunch time, a coworker told me I had something white all over my vest. I took my vest off to look and found big white splotches all over the back of my black vest. As I fingered it, I realized it was toothpaste. I had been walking around work for half the day with toothpaste all over my back. Eek!

That night at supper, I told Hubby and C that I had found toothpaste on my vest. C hung her head and told us that she had been swinging the toothpaste around when a glob went flying...she didn't know where it landed. Now she knew it landed on my vest that had been hanging in the bathroom. This meant...I smeared the toothpaste when I put my jacket on, and sure enough...I have toothpaste all over the inside of my jacket too.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Stitch

I have always wondered what my first experience with stitches (on my child) would be like. I know there are lots of moms out there whom are pros at this, but I'm sure there are also lots of others that have never had to experience this and wonder, as I have done, how bad will it be?

I have now been initiated into the first group of moms.

On Sunday night, I was visiting with friends when C hit her head on the corner of a bed. All the kids came racing downstairs with C crying and yelling..."My head is bleeding! My head is bleeding!" It took a few seconds for it to register that it was my kid yelling.

I have never seen a cut before that required stitches...so when we found the small gash on the back of her head, I wasn't sure what to do. One friend thought we could just put a band aid on it, the other was certain she needed a couple of stitches. I really didn't want to wait in ER for a band aid, so I took C to see my friend (a nurse) whom lived only a few minutes away (and where Hubby was watching football). She took one look at the gash and said C would need stitches.

I thought for sure we would be in ER for half the night, so I was quite pleased when we only had to wait a little over an hour. The doctor said she would put a single stitch in it, and when C started to get upset, the doctor said..."It's only a little needle. Do you want me to show her?". I took one look at the fish hook shaped needle and declined the offer thinking..."If you show her that...she'll bolt for the door.".

I was quite proud of C. She was very distraught when she first cut her head and had been adamant from the start that she did not want to go to the hospital. She does not like talking about any type of ailment...let alone blood (Not sure if some of this stems from all the time we spent with my mom at the hospital before she passed away). When it came time for the stitch, she wrapped her arms around me, buried her face in my shoulder and persevered through even though she said it hurt and she could feel it.

When it was all over, C was looking forward to school the next day to show off her hospital wrist band and tell her friends about her stitch. She also repeated back to me something I've told her in regards to other situations..."It might be the first time (for stitches)...but not the last."...I don't find that logic very comforting.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Snow

O the excitement of the first snow fall. C had to go outside and play in it even though very little had fallen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grandpa's Retirement

Last Saturday night, we went to visit my dad. As we sat around the table doing a puzzle, the conversation turned to retirement...

"I don't want grandpa to retire!"


"Because he would run out of money."

"No he won't. He'll go live with Aunt B." (my sis has an in law setup that we hint about)

"That's not fair! Aunt B gets all the good people!" (...not sure who the other good people are...)

Under my breath..."She's making my dad's day"

"What does that mean? Grandpa doesn't want to live with Aunt B?"...turning to my dad..."You can live with us. We have a spare room...and it would be a lot less noisy." (my sis has 4 kids)

I couldn't help but notice the smile on my dad's face which warmed my heart...seeing my daughter fill my dad's love tank.

Friday, November 5, 2010

C's Treasure Box

A couple of weeks ago, C was given a treasure box assignment at school. She had to decorate a shoe box, place 5 special-to-her items in the box along with her published autobiography, and then give a 5 minute speech about her box, and its contents, on presentation day.

C and I brainstormed about ideas for decorating the box...paint it, wrap it...but the idea she liked best was to cover the box with pictures of herself. We went through photo albums, and digital pictures to find her favourites. It was an interesting task as she often rejected my favourites because she deemed the photo was too embarrassing to show her class mates. I couldn't convince her that at 18 months, diaper photos are not embarrassing. In the end, I was only able to convince her to allow me to OK any pictures she put of me on the box.

C picked out 6 things to put into the box: T-shirt from Old Navy with the words Break Dance on it (reminds her of her favourite hip hop band Manafest); her very first Webkinz; a picture of Georgina, her guinea pig; her softball medal; her Build-a-Bear (named after our last Irish homestay); and her lullaby (which we have to wind up every night when we tuck her in).

I think the best part of the project was her published autobiography.

Hi, my name is C. I live in Ontario. I live with my mom and dad. I also have a pet guinea pig. My dad's name is G. He was born and raised in S-town. My mom's name is Cheri. She was born and raised in B-town.

I like a lot of colours. They are pink, blue and lime green. I like to make crafts for my friends and other things too. My favourite holidays are Christmas and Easter. I like my birthday too. My birthday is July 5th.

My family likes to do stuff together. We like to watch movies and my mom reads me bedtime stories. We also have a Bible time. We like to go to my grandma and grandpa's trailer.

My family is special because my parents know what is best for me.

I read it and then had to ask her if she really wrote the last line as I wondered if it had been prompted by the teacher...but no, that was her idea. I think I might have to frame it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Family Zoo

Family gatherings on my side usually seem like a visit to the zoo. I have 3 siblings and between the 4 of us, there are 10 kids. The oldest is 9 and the youngest 3. Seven girls and 3 boys...and all of them have lots of energy.

The minute we arrive at any family event, my sisters 4 kids race from the house squealing "C is here, C is here!" and surround her with a giggling group hug. It's not always well received (sometimes she locks herself in the car), but it always makes me smile to see it happen EVERY time.

The kids don't always get along as the older ones have to work out who's the boss, but it's always interesting to see and hear them play.

This year I asked my sister in law (who I think is a pretty good photographer) if she'd be willing to take some family photos of Hubby, C and I. We have very few family photos and I thought it would be fun to get some outdoor shots. Fun...it was more like crazy. Some of the other kids came along too and having just had dessert...they were pretty pumped full of sugar...including C. My sister in law still managed to get some good photos including one of my favourites below which really captures C's personality.

After the annual group family shot, my dad got a ladder and climbed the tree in the backyard. The girls then climbed the tree too to get some unique pictures with grandpa. I wonder how many of the neighbours were watching and wondering if we were crazy. We can be...

My sister shared with us how her 3 year old kept putting his fingers in her home made pumpkin pies that were meant for other people. So, as soon as she left the kitchen my dad turned to me and said..."You should put your finger in her pies." That was all the arm twisting I needed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Won Coffee

Back in June I won a cool Gevalia coffee lovin' gift pack over at Crumbs in the Minivan. The gift pack included two boxes of Gevalia coffee (one was decafe), 2 coffee mugs, a travel mug, a stainless steel scoop, filters and cleaner. Yeah! I love coffee and could not wait for it to arrive in the mail. Unfortunately I had to wait a little longer because the first package never arrived (I wonder if the postal workers enjoyed it). Gevalia mailed another package which arrived mid September and I have to say the wait was worth it. The coffee was amazing...very smooth...probably the best coffee I have tasted. It was so good that Hubby looked at the grinds in the coffee maker and said..."I wonder what the coffee would taste like if I ran water through the coffee maker again." He wanted to make the grinds last as long as possible.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Newest Member of the Family

We caved and got a pet...a guinea pig named Georgina.

C loves animals and has been pleading with us for a few years now to get a pet. I know her first choice would probably have been either a cat, dog or horse, but hubby and I felt we would start small and let her have a guinea pig. Neither of us are pet people and would be quite happy to never have one, but we see the deep desire and love our daughter has for animals and felt we needed to fill it.

One of the first things that C wanted to purchase for Georgina was a leash. Her cousin has a leash for her rabbits, and C wanted one too. We went to 3 stores to find the identical leash, and spent about 20 minutes getting the harness on Georgina only to discover that guinea pigs are not really walkable.

C tried to coax her with food...or tug on the leash, but Georgina was not going to move. People would walk by and say..."Such a small dog"..."or I didn't know you could walk guinea pigs". Eventually C accepted that the only way Georgina was going to make it around the block was if she was carried.

C loves to wrap her up and carry her around the house or let her sit in her lap while watching TV. We really hoped that the guinea pig would fill her desire for a pet, but she is already asking for a dog. If only the guinea pig would walk around the block on a leash.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to School - Grade 3

Yesterday was C's first day of grade 3. She was so excited to find out she was in a portable and that some of her friends were in her class. I'm sure the portable novelty will wear off once the colder weather is here and she has to go outside just to get to the washroom or library.

As we walked to school she wanted to hold my hand but when we got on the playground...she let go. Then she grabbed it again for a few seconds and let go again. It was like there was this internal dilemma being played out in her mind...she wanted to hold my hand but wanted to look mature also.

C wanted to look pretty on her first day and asked me the night before to put her hair in rollers. She created an outfit from her favourite pieces and presented it to me about 20 minutes before we were to leave for school...brown leopard print skirt, flowered top, socks and her new black Barbie runners.

I tried to convince her that her skirt and top would not go...but she argued saying that all the colours matched. Normally I would just let her wear it...not a battle I need to win...but on the first day I wanted to take pictures and the photographer in me did not want a clashing outfit. I knew the only way to win was to present her with a new favourite skirt that would match her top....and I had just the item in my bought-ahead clothes bin...an orange skort. I also told her she could wear her good sandals for the first day...which she gladly traded her running shoes in for since the good shoes had little heels on them.

Then there was the second day of school....the first day of many days to come where I don't say anything. She put together a new shirt with black ratty pants that are way too short. She thought it was OK if her socks made up the rest of the distance. When I asked her if she really wanted to wear those pants (in a tone that suggested I didn't approve) she responded with "Yes...and it's not about what other people think." I hate when they give you a taste of your own medicine.
In keeping with my trend from previous years (grade 1, grade 2), here is my grade 3 picture. Grade 3 was the last year for my trade mark ringlet pig tails. I cut my hair short in grade 4...and even shorter in grade 5. I asked C what she thought of my grade 4/5 pictures....she said "Ahh...you look OK...but you look a lot better now." I'd have to agree...I look at those pictures and wonder "Why did I do that?".

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Camera

I got a new camera...a Canon Rebel XSi.

This is my first time shooting with a DSLR and I love it. My previous digital camera was a little Kodak EasyShare point and shoot that has done me well for over 5 years...but it was time for an upgrade.

I spent a long time deciding on which camera I wanted to buy. Nikon or Canon? A higher end Point and Shoot or SLR? Video? What model? I read review after review, and asked people lots of questions (so many I'm sure some were tired of me asking). I've never spent more than $200 on a camera and I wanted to make sure I made the right decision for me. In the end, I went with my heart's desire...an SLR...and a Canon. Nikon has a superior warranty compared to Canon, but in the reviews I'd read and photo comparisons I'd seen, Canon had better image clarity. (I can already hear protests from all the die hard Nikon users...but that's ok, we can have different opinions and still be blog friends...right?)

C has been looking forward to the day I purchased a new camera so that she could claim my old camera. I purchased my new camera just before leaving on our 18 day vacation out west (stories to come soon), so C was able to use the old camera on our vacation. It was pretty entertaining to see what she chose to take pictures of....close up of toys, candid photos of me (need to be promptly deleted), dogs (whether on magazines or lease when the owners aren't looking). Our plans are to eventually print and frame some of her better pictures and hang them in her room.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Conquering the Jungle

The previous owner of our home was an avid gardener...we are not. We had no clue when we purchased our home the amount of effort and time it would require to maintain the gardens. We put little energy into them in the first couple of years, so it didn't take long for the backyard to turn into a jungle.

Weeds and plants were growing into the lawn, the Black Eyed Susans were crowding out all the other plants, and we discovered that we had a few rather large ant nests in the garden.

This is our rock garden, except you can't see it because of all the weeds.

After 5 years of letting the gardens go wild, I'd had enough. I was determined this year to get them under control. I spent hours and hours digging out all the weeds and unwanted plants from the gardens around the perimeter of the yard. Then we laid down 7 yards of mulch.

We are done for now, but not finished. We plan to rip out the middle garden and re-sod. We would like more grass area for kids to run around in. The rock garden needs a little more attention...we might actually take it out completely and put a shed there.

One of my goals this year too was to plant a vegetable garden. So I ripped everything out along the left side of the yard and planted corn, zucchini, peas and lettuce. Everything is growing really well...except the lettuce did not sprout at all.

I'm quite pleased with how the yard looks and I love looking out the window at it or checking in on the vegetable garden. I used to hate every second I was out in the garden, but now I enjoy it as I see the fruit of my labour. Next year we hope to take on the front yard where an evil plant we tried to dig out of the garden has decided to grow in the lawn instead and is creeping closer to our neighbours perfectly manicured/weedless lawn.

Monday, July 19, 2010

C's Softball Season

Back in the winter, C requested that we sign her up for baseball. She had been reading the junior Nancy Drew books and discovered that Nancy Drew played baseball, so she wanted to also. I was a little hesitant as soccer last year wasn't a big hit. But she was adamant that she wanted to play baseball, so we signed her up for a girls minor softball team.

C has never played baseball before, so we were quite thrilled when after a few team practices...she hit her first ball and made it to first base. C liked softball because of the variety (catching, batting, running bases) it offered compared to soccer...and she improved each week.

Partway through the season she had an amazing game...playing first base she got 2 players out, and then playing the pitcher position, she caught a line drive off the bat. She didn't mean to catch it...she was standing in the ready position and the ball slammed into her mitt...she didn't more her arm or drop the ball. She then threw to first (which I didn't see because my jaw was still on the ground) and got the player at first out. Four outs in one game...who's kid is this? Funny thing is, it was this game that she finally started to understand the game as she said to me..."I didn't know you could get people out. I thought it was just a bunch of standing around. I want to do that again."

And then...the very next game she got hit hard in the cheek with the ball. It was all I could do to get her back out on the field. And if that wasn't enough...she kept getting hit at the following practices. She was now very nervous of the ball...no longer wanted to play bases, catch balls in the air...or get anywhere near the girl who accidentally drilled her with the first ball.

As a parent, it was very frustrating to sit and watch the downward spiral...to see little to no effort put into the game...to listen to her say how she disliked baseball so much and couldn't wait for it to be over...to hear the coach say that she thought C was just batting to get out.

It was time for a talk.

We sat down with C and explained to her how we understood that she didn't want to play baseball next year, but she needed to fulfill her commitment this year and not let her team down. We couldn't go out and celebrate a successful season if she refused to participate on the team. We also gave her a little example of what it would look like if other kids were letting her down and how would that make her feel?

C seemed to understand...and made a great comeback...even the coaches were surprised. Part of it could be the "incentive" I implemented for the last week of practices and tournament games...gumballs for getting on first, bottle cap candy when you cross home plate, and gum to chew on the way home if you've participated well. Some people would call it a bribe, but I call it an incentive...I knew she was really nervous of being hit and I was hoping the candy fun would help her to push past her fear of the ball. And it did work...by the last few games, she was back to trying to catch the ball in the air as opposed to only wanting to catch grounders.

C had a couple of really great moments in the end of season tournament too. Playing catcher, she caught a foul ball to get the batter out. I asked her if she had planned to catch the ball, she said..."Not really, I just put my glove out and it dropped in". Then in the semi-finals, she was up to bat with the bases loaded and 2 outs. It was a tie game and the bottom of the last inning. She made the hit that got the winning run home.

C's team won second place in the end of season tournament. She loves her medal and thinks 2nd place is pretty good since she "only got 4th place in soccer last year and 2nd is better than 4th."

Will C do softball next year? She has said "maybe". I'm kind of hoping she does.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

C's 8th Birthday Party

Last weekend, we celebrated Chloe's 8th birthday with some friends from school and church. Her birthday is not until next month, but we have found that celebrating it mid June prevents it from conflicting with family vacations.

We decided to do something a little special and different this year. Normally we just do a house party (I'm all about being cost efficient), and we had already planned well ahead that this year we would do tye-dyed shirts at her party. But a friend of mine told me about another great idea that I knew would be really special for C. So we went for it. Horse riding at a local Stable...Tye-dying can wait until next year.

C was very excited. The day of the party she followed me around with a clipboard. She was making a list of things we needed to take (with little check boxes beside them to mark off), as well as a list of what we would be doing there.

C invited 8 friends, and for the first hour, they took turns riding ponies around the arena, and down and back a path outside. They all loved it. They even allowed Hubby to lead C around on her pony, which I know she was thrilled about.

After the rides, there were snacks, cake, ice-cream, presents and a few games too. To go along with the horse/pony theme, I made C cakes in the shape of a horses head. I found the idea on the Kraft website here. It was really easy to do and turned out looking great. I did however modify the recipe and use my own icing instead of the suggested one.

C loved the cake, and so did her friends.

All in all, it was a great success. It was a beautiful place and I know some of the parents were thinking of doing their next party there too. C loved the day, except for one small part...I had been telling her it was horse rides, but it was actually pony rides. She had been hoping to ride big horses and not ponies. I told C that the ponies were safer for the kids and that maybe when she turns 12, she could pick a few friends and come back and do a real horseback riding party. She was quite pleased about that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lots of Lego

Like most kids (and adults too), C loves Lego. I have been looking for more Lego to add to her small collection, but Lego is so expensive and paying an arm and a leg for it was not in our budget. I figured I would bide my time and hope that something would come up on Kijiji or at a garage sale.

And it did.

Our neighbourhood recently had their community garage sale and I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to find more Lego for C. I was a little anxious before leaving as I knew Lego was a hot item so taking the correct path through the neighbourhood was very important. Before leaving, I thought..."God, it would be nice if you could direct my path...tell me where I should go to find Lego".

And he did.

C and I set out on bikes...headed in the direction of a street I thought we were to go to. This was the street where I had missed out on Lego the year before. But for some reason, we turned away from that direction. Within a few minutes we stopped our bikes in front of a garage sale with a teen (the age I figured would be selling Lego). I asked if they had Lego for sale. To my surprise, the teen said Yes...that he had not brought it out yet. He returned in a few minutes with a large Rubbermaid bin filled with Lego. When I asked him "How much?"...he said..."I don't know...$10?"...TEN DOLLARS? I thought ...the stuff is worth WAY more than that...so I took it all.

C is ecstatic about all her Lego, and so are her friends when they come over.

Me...I think it's pretty cool that God directed me within minutes to such a great deal. But I'm also wondering if maybe she now has TOO much Lego...especially when I see all the pieces on the floor that seemed to have wondered away from the main pile.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wedding Dress Blog Tour - My Dress

This coming August, it will be 11 years since I wore this dress on my wedding day in 1999. Hubby and I were engaged for less than 5 months, so I didn't have a long time to look for dresses, especially if the dress had to be ordered in. I went to every bridal shop in the city and tried on lots of dresses. My hearts desire was to have a dress with a crinoline skirt, so I was quite happy when I found this dress in one of the local shops. They even had the dress in my size so I did not have to worry about time lines for ordering one in.

My favourite memory of that day...my dad singing me down the isle. My dad used to travel in a gospel singing group, so he can sing. Being the proud daughter I am, I still love telling people what he did that day.

Funniest thing from that day...probably the "instructions" the groomsmen wrote in marker all over my hubby's chest and back the morning of our wedding. Nothing really bad...hand outlines, arrows and some words. Fortunately it didn't bleed through his shirt that day.

Worst thing from that day...actually it would be the day before and that would be my car breaking down. I was 45 minutes from my parents house and the city I was getting married in. By the time I got a hold of Hubby (who would now have to be my ride home) and got the car towed, I was 4 hours behind on a day that was filled with appointments, decorating, last minute details and rehearsal. I had amazing bridesmaids who helped out and it all worked out in the end.

Have or would I sell my dress? No. I loved it too much to sell it. I also knew that I would only get a fraction of what I had paid for it. My daughter loves my dress and has told me she wants to wear it on her wedding day. She's not even 8 yet, so I have a feeling she will change her mind before that day comes.

Here is one of my favourite pictures of Hubby and I.

If you want to take part in the Wedding Dress Blog Tour, post a picture of your wedding dress (then and now if you still have it) , tell about a favourite memory and/or funniest/worst thing that happened that day, and whether or not you have or would sell your dress and why...then link your post up on my friend Shash's blog (who is hosting the tour).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Name that Plant

We have been in our current home for almost five years, and this is the first year I've noticed this plant growing in our garden. You might wonder how I could possibly miss it. Well...our garden/yard normally turns into a jungle of weeds and plants that reproduce like rabbits each year. This year I'm determined to get our gardens under control and these pictures were taken after I had dug up a ton of plants that would eventually hide it from view. The leaves that grow out of each bulb/root are in a straight line (giving it a flat look), so each plant looks like a sailboat with green sails. Does anyone know what this plant is called?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was special.

This is the first year that C did not hand me her Mother's Day gift as soon as she got home from school. Instead, she hid the present under her bed and told me she had a lot of work to do. She then spent part of the afternoon preparing other Mother's Day items.

On Saturday night before she went to bed, she said she had to give me part of my gift. I was handed a large home made card that said....

Happy Mothrs Day
I love you. you are the Best MOM I evre HaD.

I turned the page to see...

Breckfist in BeD and we are goning...

That was all I got to read. As soon as I read the last line, she took the card away and said the rest was for tomorrow. She just wanted me to know that I needed to stay in bed.

Sunday morning, I was served heart-shaped peanut butter and jam sandwiches, toast and coffee along with fresh cut flowers (that she ran outside and cut from our garden) and presents.

I was then able to read the remainder of the card...

and we are goning to eat at a restront. you will get a bocay of flawrs. you will asow get presints and I will red a Bed time story to you.
Love C

A bedtime story...that made me smile.

My presents were a a home-made jewellery box and newspaper bead necklace that she had made at school, along with two of her paintings.

Before she went to bed, we had to crawl into my bed where she read me Max Lucado's You are Mine and Dora's Happy Mother's Day.

It was so special for me to see C make all these plans on her own, and watch her carry them out with such love and excitement. A child's joy is so sweet to see and I felt very honoured and blessed to have such a caring child. Partway through the day C said...I can't wait until Father's Day when I can do this all over again.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who's the Boss?

The other night when I came home from band practice, I found a rather large message written in sidewalk chalk across the entire driveway. It made me laugh at first, then curious as to why it was there..and then a little nervous about what possibly could have transpired between Hubby and C while I was gone.

It says..."I'm the Boss!"...and the big black rectangle...that's where she wrote her name. There would be no doubt in our neighbourhood as to who wrote the message.

I learned it was something minor that prompted her to write this message, something that did not go the way she wanted it to. I'm not completely sure why she chose to write this phrase, but I can tell you that she has learned that phrase from us. We have used it a few times on her when we want an argument to end...so I think she was just writing out what she had wanted to be.

We talked about it and the next day I found another message in our driveway.

I don't mind the messages in our driveway...it allows us to see what she is thinking/feeling so we can talk about it. I'm not so sure I'll use that phrase anymore on her...but I do know I'll be saving that picture for the day she gets married.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bean-It-Up Salsa Chicken Combo

The first time hubby cooked this recipe, I took one look at it and thought..."This is dinner?" Mixed beans, salsa, tomatoes...these are low on my list of tasty food and here they were all mixed into the same dish. It didn't look appealing to me at all, but I tried it and loved it. It has become one of my favourites dishes. C loves it too but we have to leave the peppers out or she complains its too spicy. We eat it wrapped in a soft tortilla with sour cream, but I sure it would be excellent with nachos.

1 lb ground chicken
1 can of chick peas
1 can of black beans
1 small can (14 oz) or 1.5 cups tomato sauce
1.5 cups salsa
1 tsp chili pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 clove garlic
Parmesan cheese

1. Cook chicken in skillet over medium heat until fully cooked.
2. In a large casserole dish, mix chicken with all ingredients except cheese.
3. Cover and bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's UBP 2010 Party Time!

The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 has officially started and I'm so excited that you decided to pop by. Let me tell you a little bit about myself and this blog.

I go by the name Cheri; a nickname I had growing up. I started this blog just over 3 years ago because I wanted a place to share our family tales with friends and family, as well as create a keepsake of the journey life had us on...the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we learned valuable lessons, and the times when God was so good (both recent and past). I wanted to share craft ideas (like this cool Webkinz shirt) and even share a few stories from my childhood too.

Who are the "and Family" part of my blog? For the most part, that would be Hubby and C. Hubby and I have been married for almost 11 years and we have one lively, bold, beautiful 7 year old daughter, who fills our life with many unexpected things, but at the same time brings us so much joy. We are also a homestay family, and have hosted numerous international students in our home. We often joke that we are practicing our parenting skills on other people's teens, so that we don't mess up our own.

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

This is my first time participating in the party, so I have no idea what to expect, but I'm looking forward to finding out. I'm really excited about the prizes too.

My top 3 picks from the 5 Minutes For Mom prize page are:

If these are gone, I'd love to win USC57, INTL9, USC23, USC37, USC56, USC53, USC36, USC44, USC43...or anything else because winning is fun.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blog Party Time

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Most of my blogging friends are going to the party this year...so I thought I'd check it out too. "What party?" you ask...it's The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 put on by the ladies at 5 Minutes for Mom. Head on over there to check out the prizes and see how you can participate too.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Adventure

Last Sunday, hubby and I drove to a funeral visitation in a city that was an hour and a half away. We left after church, and drove in separate vehicles because we had borrowed my in-laws truck and needed to return it to them. Hubby drove in front...and drove faster than me. I didn't want to go faster than 10ish km over the limit as it was raining and I didn't feel like being on the alert for police. I had a general idea of where we were going, and assumed that hubby would slow down once we neared our exit off the main highway.

So...I was quite shocked when 2 exits before the exit I assumed we were taking, I noticed the truck on the off ramp as I passed by. I tried not to panic as thoughts raced through my head...Where is he going? Does he know a short cut? What should I do? Turn around? Wait for him on the side of the road? What happens if he tries to find me while I'm trying to find him?...Neither of us has a cell phone.

I decided to pull off on the shoulder of the exit ramp I thought we were taking to wait for him. I figured he would come looking for me as he would have seen I missed the exit. After 20 minutes of waiting, I decided to turn around and go look for him, assuming he must be waiting for me back at the other exit.

I made my way back to the other exit (which took a lot of time because all the roads I was travelling on were highways and I had to rely on exits to turn around)...but he was not there either. It was now close to 45 minutes since I had lost him. I figured he must have continued on to our destination (which was about 25 minutes away) and I should just head there too and ask for directions to the funeral home once I got there.

Upon arriving at our destination, I pulled into the first gas station to ask directions. As soon as I got out of my car, a black vehicle pulled along side and the guy insided hollered..."Excuse Me." As I stepped towards him, I noticed the crest on his arm...a police officer. I was quite surprised when he asked me if I was looking for a funeral home...Hubby had phoned the police.

When I got to the funeral home and chatted with hubby...we figured out what had happened. It wasn't his truck that had got off the highway early...but an identical truck. He was still in front of me the whole time. He had pulled off the highway just before our destination to wait for me and assumed that I had had to make an emergency washroom stop for C. But after too much time had elapsed, he became concerned that I had had car problems. He had gone back a bit to look for me, but when he didn't find me, had continued on to the funeral home. Here, he phoned the police to find out if they had come across my vehicle on the side of the road. They must have put a notice out for officers to look out for my car.

And what did C think of the whole ordeal? When I got back into the car at the gas station she said...

"That was nice of daddy. That just proves that he really cares for you."


"Because he sent the police to find you."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Under Construction

After 3 years of blogging, I've decided to jump on the blog redesign bandwagon. Some of my friends have been modifying their layouts...making some cool changes...and I want to do that too. I used to do web development at work, and I loved it. I'm not sure why I waited so long to give my blog a make-over.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be tryng some different looks out on my blog to see which one fits/suits me. I'm already on my second look. I first tried a green-themed background. It was nice and simple and matched my profile pic, but I soon realized it was too green and matching other colours to it was difficult.

So let me know what you think as you see the changes evolve.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Birthday / Blogiversary To Me

Today is my 37th birthday, and 3rd blogiversary. Yikes! I find it a little scary that I'm creeping closer and closer to 40. One thing I have noticed over the past year is that I have started to forget my age. I used to think it really strange when other people would do this...but now I realize why...once you reach a certain age...it becomes just a number and mentally you feel younger even though physically you may not be.

Yesterday, C and hubby went shopping. The minute she came in the door she shouted with excitement..."I got your birthday present! Do you want to open it now? Please!". Waiting another day would have been torture for her. Inside the bag was a small furry toy kitten with a button that made it purr. It was the perfect gift from her.

Today she told me on the way home from church..."Mommy, I took your advice when I picked out your present. I picked out something I would like." She is right. I have told her this, but it was in regards to picking out birthday presents for her friends.

Hubby told me that she spent all her money in her purse to buy it for me...and did not complain once. Parting with money is a big thing for her...and knowing that she did it so willingly made the gift even more special to me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fabric Painting

Over the last few weeks, C and I have been working on some fabric painting projects. The most recent being a Webkinz T-shirt which turned out really well and wasn't that difficult to do.

C picked out the Webkinz she wanted to paint from a website I found that had cartoon drawings of all the Webkinz. I copied the image to Paint, blew it up, and printed it out in Black and White. I then outlined the print in black marker so that I could easily see it through the shirt to trace it in pencil. C was then able to go over the pencil outline using fabric paint. Once it dried, the painted outline provided a nice border to help keep the paint inside the lines when we painted the inside.

I was really impressed with how well it turned out, as well as how well C did. We have not fabric painted for almost a year and she has improved so much since then. She did a good job at suggesting colours/ideas too...the neon pink nose and hearts were her idea, and blended so well with the neon green shirt. I have learned that the neon and glow-in-the-dark colours are her favourite paints to work with and have suggested that we paint a colourful Webkinz fish on her next shirt...instead of neon orange whiskers on the cat.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine Treats

This year for Valentines, I thought it would be fun for C and I to make chocolate suckers for C's class. They turned out really cute, and C really enjoyed making them. I used a stove top steamer egg poacher to melt the coloured chocolate, which made it really easy to keep it melted. Originally all the suckers were going to be heart shaped, but when I realized how long it was going to take to make 21 suckers using a single mold that made 4 suckers at a time, I decided to use the flower mold as well so that while one mold was setting in the freezer, C could be working on the next batch. We had one extra sucker left over at the end, which C decided to sneak into her daddy's lunch on Friday with a Valentine.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Tag Issue

A couple of months ago, C started complaining about her wardrobe...something she's never done before. She complained about pants being too loose (she's a lean kid), sweat shirts being too heavy and...tags being scratchy. The tag issue bugged me the most. It seemed absolutely ridiculous to me that clothing she had worn recently, was now a problem because there was a tag.

At first, I told her I wasn't cutting tags out. She would just have to get used to them. After all, lots of people get used to tags and she couldn't cut tags out of her clothing for the rest of her life. For some reason, she didn't understand my reasoning and getting her dressed in the morning often resulted in lots of conflict.

I asked a few friends about their experience with tags and was told that for some kids, it's a real thing...tags do irritate them. So I relaxed...a little, and said I would cut out the scratchy, stiff ones. Once she knew I was cutting tags out, she'd brought me any piece of clothing with a tag...regardless of whether it was scratchy or not. I still wasn't ready to cut tags out of all her clothing, so mornings still contained lots of conflict.

On one such morning a few weeks ago, I was really irritated about the tag issue (and the whining), and concerned about the amount of conflict that was occurring between C and I. As I went to get ready for work, I heard a little voice say to me..."Are you going to build a wall between you and your daughter over tags?" I paused...All of a sudden, the whole situation seem silly and I realized that I was the one that needed to change. It was wrong for me to jeopardize my relationship with C over tags.

So I apologized to C, and I have now become a parent that cuts tags out of their kids clothing. I still have a hard time believing tags bother her that much, but it's not a battle I need to win.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Look at 2009

Here it is already halfway through January and I'm just getting around to posting this now. Here are a few stories and pictures from 2009 that I never got around to blogging about.

C turned 7 this year. For her birthday, we made a Dive-On-In cake. In the months leading up to her birthday, C had poured over the Kraft website and watched lots of the cooking videos and looked at all the cakes to decide which cake she wanted. The Dive-On-In cake was her favourite. It was fun to decorate and yummy too.

I noticed early in the summer that wasps were getting into the brick wall on the front door side of the garage. There wasn't that many at first, but the activity gradually increased to the point that we knew we had a nest somewhere in the wall, or up in the soffits. Hubby called around for advice and was told that if there was only one entrance, we could block it and starve the wasps. That seemed easy enough, so one night after the wasp activity settled down, we blocked the entrance and figured the problem was solved.

The next day, there were a bunch of angry wasps flying around and pecking up and down the brick wall as they searched for an alternate entrance...we could no longer use our front door for fear of being stung. The wasps found what they were looking for and I watched in horror as I saw them getting in through many places under the soffits and front porch......we knew it was time for an exterminator. The exterminator told us that we should never block an entrance because they are determined critters and will find alternate entrances...even into your own home. Also it's much easier to deal with the problem when there is only one entrance. He laid the poison down and the wasp activity settled down very quickly. After many weeks of wasp activity by the front door, I was in awe of the silence that now greeted us when we opened the front door.

In the summer, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We had planned on taking a trip to Europe, but decided to put it off for another year. Instead we spent time at my in-laws trailer, as well as taking some day trips to a couple of Ontario attractions...Marineland and the Toronto zoo...both highlights of the summer for C as she loves animals and rides.

She wanted to go on all the rides at Marineland... starting with the Sky Screamer...the scariest ride in the entire park. I said we'd have to work our way up to that one. She and I rode most of the rides in the park, but never made it on the Sky Screamer as she changed her mind after riding a real roller coaster for the first time.

At the Toronto Zoo, C could barely contain her excitement about seeing so many different animals that she starting screaming, pointing and jumping up and down when we first arrived and she saw wild geese in the parking lot. She wanted to see every animal in the zoo, so we walked the entire 10+ km trail through the park in one day. However, C was really disappointed that she didn't get to see the lion very well. He spent the whole time we were in that section sleeping with his back to us.

In the fall, I started to teach C piano. She had been asking me for a while to teach her and I thought now would be a good time to start. She was keen and enthusiastic at first, but that soon wained as she realized that it was going to be work if she wanted to play like mommy. I'm trying to take it at her pace and use a little bribery, or rather rewards, too. I have purchased some special dollar store items that she can pick from once she obtains enough lesson points. Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to post a little video of her playing.

C's reading ability has skyrocketed over the last couple of months. She loves to read and will read multiple early chapter books (around 75 pages) in one day. We love it...C is a talker so the silence of reading is music to our ears.

We hosted another Irish homestay this year. And like usual, it didn't take long before C became very attached to her and we were soon joking that our Irish girl had a fan club. We didn't realize how attached C was to her until she left for home and we were left with a sobbing child who was inconsolable. It made me wonder if we should be putting C through this all the time. The morning she was to leave for Ireland, C wrote her the cutest letter and pushed it under her door with chocolate. It read...I miss you a lot. I hop you can come to canada again. you give me the best presits. rit to me soon ok. Frum your #1 fan. The best presits being a matching hat, mitts and scarf set in leopard print...it was the perfect gift for C as she loves leopard print.

My sister-in-law works for an organization that was looking for kid voices for their Christmas fundraising radio ads. She asked us if C would be interested in recording her voice for these ads. It was a neat experience for C, who did really well...so well that they want her to come back next year.

Two years ago, my sister and I started a new Christmas tradition for my dad...we fill a stocking for him and leave it out with the kids stockings so that it looks like Santa brought grandpa presents too. This year, my dad wanted to tease the grand kids so he went out and purchased the largest stocking he could find. When he showed his large stocking to the kids and told them that he was going to leave it out for Santa, C's responded with...That doesn't mean you are going to get more stuff.