Family Gatherings - Adult Siblings Can we Just Get Along?

My brother and his partner came to visit the cabin and as usual things revert back to childhood. Why does unresolved childhood conflict rear its ugly head and is there anyway to overcome it? Do we have to always act like we are 7 years old around our parents?

Personally I have lots of unresolved issues with my brother, he's great at everything he does and has the same tastes, humour and opinions as my parents. I on the other hand do not. It pains me that we can't sit and talk to each other like friends or want to get together to hang out.

It is what it is and to force it into something else just won't happen. Is it environmental or is it genetic? Looking back through the family tree I find that my father isn't close with his sister, my grandfather didn't talk to his sisters (and one lived just behind them), my great grandfather moved across the country from his siblings. Is it genetic?

Personality has a lot to do with whether or not you will get along, my brother and I just happen to have different personalities - he has one. He loves small town living and knows what is going on in our home town where I love the city. We are both outgoing but in different ways, he is always surrounded by friends and yet has a career where he doesn't work around people. I enjoy my solitude at home yet have a career that involves meeting new people and building relationships with them on a daily basis. He's athletic and healthy, I'm not. I read, he doesn't. I like to discuss politics and philosophy he jokes about political issues and is not philosophical. I have kids, he doesn't. The list goes on and on. Although we had the same upbringing, the same environment, the same opportunities we are as different as night and day.

My brother has lots of friends for a reason he's a fun guy to be around. He is in no hurry to be a responsible husband or parent because he enjoys his outdoor recreational activities. He keeps in touch with friends he's met all over the world and is always the life of the party. He has a great career that suits him to a T and he's really great at. He has a beautiful woman to share his life with and a wonderful life in the Coastal Mountains of BC. What skiier wouldn't want to live just minutes from Whistler?

I admire him and think he's got a great life, just wish we could get past all the childhood crap and be friends.

Okanagan Vacation - The Kid is Finally Swimming!!!

I am thrilled my son who hates water and doesn't like to swim is finally swimming - without the aid of a life jacket. He's 9 and the fact that he is not a fish when it comes to water is a huge contention with me and my family because we are lake people. I lived in the lake growing up and my dad did before me and his mom before him so how could my child not like to swim?

I had put him swimming lessons but after the 4th time with no improvement at $35 a session I finally said enough is enough. I have tried to force him to swim and throwing him in to get him used to the water... I know it has the opposite effect but sometimes I just get so frustrated that I throw him in with his life jacket on. OK it's not a life jacket ... his personal flotation device which everyone calls a life jacket due to it's common use as a life jacket.

My first day visiting him at the cabin we took the boat across the lake to swim and I started to swim back to the cabin to see how far I'd get ... I'm extremely out of shape and the thought of exercise makes me tired. My son (in his pdf life jacket) started swimming with me after 2 hours we had made it over half way before a strong current in the water impeded our progress. I was extremely proud of him because he did so well in really deep black water without freaking out.

Today he was aloud to go into the lake without his life jacket as long as he didn't go out over his waist. The next thing I know he's swimming without any aid of a life jacket and not just for a few strokes but for a decent length of time. I was so thrilled, this was big for him and such a relief to me.

Now if I could just get him to put his head under the water we might have another fish in the family.

Okanagan Vacation Going Well - Local Charity Event

Visiting the kids has been wonderful. We seem to arrive in my hometown, Endery, to visit at the same time every year -- For Endery's Mardi Gras and Legion Days. The kids love Mardi Gras and look forward to it every year. Last night they attended the charity Mardi Gras carnival that raises money for the local organizations.

They love to play all the carnival games and the charities in the area need the support from outside families like ours. They had dinner, ice cream and won some prizes that would have been cheaper to buy at the dollar store. They even won a dance competition with Gramma. Last year was busier then this year, they had shut down main street last year and this year it was off to the side. The event was still lots of fun for the kids even with the heat.

Enderby is a small town with limited resources so to most city people it won't be as flashy as they are used to. The Mardi Gras is a symbol of a community coming together and supporting itself best it can.

For more information on the North Okanagan Community of Enderby.

Okanagan Vacation Tips

So you are going to the Okanagan for a vacation, I grew up there and go there on a regular basis so I know what the traffic can be like. We are going to go and visit the kids at Mabel Lake tomorrow which got me thinking about Okanagan vacations.

If you are driving there the cheapest gas can be found in Enderby where the Indian Band's Super Save keeps the prices a few cents lower than anywhere else. There is a Shell station and an Esso station which match Super Save's prices.

If you are driving from Vernon to Kelowna or the other way around traffic can get backed up pretty bad between Oyama and Winfield where Hwy 97 goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. To avoid the backlog of traffic and for a scenic route take a backroad along Okanagan Lake instead of Kal Lake. The turn offs are at Predetor Ridge and the North most light in Winfield. The road is gravel for a short period of time but mostly paved. It is a beautiful view especially in early evening. Check out maps for the backroads at google maps to help you navigate around traffic lights and narrow sections of highway 97.

Are you a photographer? There are lots of really scenic beautiful areas in the Okanagan back roads. Ellison Park at the end of Okanagan Landing Road is a fabulous provincial park with camping. Rattlesnake point on Kal Lake is another gorgeous spot for swimming in the jade water of Kal Lake. Just keep an eye open for rattle snakes.

The trip is more than just the destination when you are in the Okanagan Valley. There are so many wonderful nooks and crannies that you would never know about if you didn't take the time to stop. For example at the one traffic light in Enderby there is an antique store that looks like it would be full of junk from the outside, once you go in, you find treasures.

Kelowna is the main destination for most people, those that stop in the smaller towns are amazed to find special gems. You can get lost in the backroads but you will find so much beauty it will be worth the extra time.

Got kids? There are so many stops that are fun for them along the way. The Enchanted Forest between Sicamous and Revelstoke has a new attraction that will have the whole family burning energy. Little kids love the fairy tale figures hidden throughout the trails and the older kids will have a blast swinging and climbing through the forest's obstical course.

The Okanagan is filled with special attractions and scenery, too many to mention in one post. Keep an eye open here for future tips and places to see.

North Okanagan Real Estate!

Go Green Baby Shower Theme for the Environmentally Friendly Mother

Are you planning a baby shower for an environmentally friendly new mom? Plan a go green baby shower. Invite guests using either email or recycled material invitations, ask the guests to wear green or environmentally friendly clothing and bring a "go green" gift wrapped in baby blankets, towels, gift bags, or recycled material. Details on the Recycle it's my future you're messing with baby onsie


Bring in flowers and reusable decorations avoid balloons and streamers. Use regular plates and dishes to ensure less garbage at the end of the party.


White cake with no food color dye. Or utilize the go green theme by using lots of green food coloring to ice the mothers favorite type of cake.

Green Tea both hot and cold.... to make cold green tea boil hot water, brew green tea add frozen lemonade and put into fridge until cold. Garnish with mint leaves.

Seasonal fruits and veggies with dips made with epicure or watkins dip mixes. Use yogurt instead of sour cream.

Have some ideas of your own? Share them in the comments section.


The Recycle Game: Have everyone take turns naming a recyclable material or a go green idea, each answer gets a point and if they name something that is also baby related they get two points. Go around the room a few times, the person with the most points wins.

Make it harder by insisting that the item start with a certain letter - start with a and go all the way to z, or starts with a letter in the mother's name.

Have a green game idea? add it in the comments.

Include the sibling:

The Siblings Role:

Have any older siblings take part by creating a gift for the new baby, decorating, and helping bake the cake. Have them help mom unwrap gifts and maybe have a few for them as well. Shirts and Gifts for Siblings


Take pictures and ask each guest to write a go green tip and a parenting tip. Create a scrapbook with the pictures and tips for the new mom.

Links to Baby Shower Green Gift sites:

Go Green Message Baby and Sibling Gifts

Have a baby shower idea? leave it in the comments area.

Include Siblings in the Baby Shower

70's Theme or Groovy Girls Theme Birthday Party Invitations Print Out

I've been working on a birthday card for a groovy girls party and so far I've come up with a card shaped as a pair of bell bottoms. Here are the images of a template I put together. Which do you like best?

Bell Bottom Pants Card #1

Bell Bottom Pants Card #2

The inside of the card

I could use patterned paper and cut out the shape for each card. Then each card could have it's own pattern making each invitation unique.

Purse Birthday Party Invitation Cards
Organizing Scrapbook Supplies

A Summery 6x6 Scrapbook Album - A Year in the Life of Your Family

At Time Out ezine the project of the month is a 6x6 scrapbook album - a year in the life of your family. I put together this scrapbook a couple years ago as Christmas presents for the grandparents who live in another province and don't get to see the kids regularly. It's a great scrapbook album for a few reasons:

1. Makes a great Christmas present for family
2. Uses up scrapbook paper and scrapbook embellishments you have had and haven't used for a while.
3. The 6x6 scrapbook album size is perfect for a quick look at your family's life
4. It's a real easy and quick scrapbook to make
5. There are some cool 6x6 scrapbook album or accordion albums available.

This scrapbook is so easy to put together and takes little thought.

Step One:

Collect some of your favorite pictures from the year. If digital, crop them and print out the pictures in a 4x6 size. You only need one or two pictures from each event ie birthdays, vacations, sport activities.

Step Two:

Choose similar 12x12 scrapbook papers and cut them into 6x6 sheets.

Step Three:

Gather up scrapbook embellishments and a couple quote stacks or similar quote scrapbook products.

Step Four:

Add one picture to each 6x6 scrapbook sheet and then embellish the 2x6 space beside the picture with a quote or a journal comment and some embellishments.

Step Five:

Put the completed pages into the 6x6 scrapbook album and you've now completed a year in the life of your family, a visual summary.

More examples at the Time Out E-Zine Gallery. Submit your 6x6 project pages to the Time Out E-Zine Gallery detail there.

E-Zine For Mothers - Time Out - Projects, links, craft gallery, and more to come.

I just started an e-zine for mothers. Something to do with my spare time. It's quite simple right now but as time goes on there will be more picutures and how to for crafts, scrapbooking, and card making. I have also started a list of links to sites that are created and maintained by moms for moms. IF you have a site that fits this criteria let me know and I'll add you to the link list. As well, don't forget about the WAHM and Small business Directory.

Kids are Having Fun at Mabel Lake and I Miss Them!!! Empowering them to be Independent.

It's only been a week and a half and I miss the kids so much I want to jump in the car and drive the 6 hours just for a hug and kiss. It's been so long since they were even away from me a day that I don't know what to do with myself now that I have time for me.

I have been busy looking for work but it hasn't taken up all my time. There's work like going through all their toys and sending the bulk of them to goodwill. I can only do chores for so long though.

My husband and I are having a good time and things are getting done around the house but it is so quiet. I now know what retirement will be like -- I better get some more hobbies.

You know that list that most mothers have put together in their mind. You know the one, the list of everything you'd do if you had a moment to yourself. I get to live the dream and all I can think of is what are my kids doing and I wish had some money to go shopping.

My son (he's 9) misses me and my daughter (she's 6) is just fine, loves me but will see me when she comes home. I want them both to have her attitude but at the same time I'm selfish - I want them to have a miserable time because they miss me so much.

My daughter says she's OK because she has her brother. Gramo loves having them at the cabin and because they pretty much take care of each other she finds it really easy. This morning she was sleeping when I called and the kids had gotten up, my son got them breakfast and they were out playing. I've always encouraged them to do things for themselves, right from when they were little. Now they do things for each other and it make parenting so much easier.

Kids can do more than parents give them credit for. 3 year olds can put on their own coats and shoes, they just need to know how. Put the coat on the floor with the inside facing up. Have your child stand at the neck of the coat, bend down put their arms in the arm holes and flip the coat over their head -- VOILA coat is on.

Shoe's on the wrong feet? So what -- will it really damage them? Help them put their shoes on the right feet by getting shoes with images on each side of the shoe. Explain which image looks at the world and which ones talk to each other. If they put the shoes on the wrong feet just ask "Are (the inside image) talking to each other?" Don't tell them they have them on the wrong feet, just ask them questions that will enable them to figure out how to tell which shoe goes on which foot themselves.

I'm fortunate my son teaches my daughter how to do stuff all the time. I was shocked when I discovered she could read Little Critter stories before she left Kindergarten -- my son read to her almost every night and taught her how.

By empowering them to figure out how to do stuff for themselves they have developed the skills of teaching each other.

Family Time Activities - What to do in Calgary Alberta

I am always looking for something to do as a family in Calgary. When you live somewhere it isn't always easy to make time to enjoy what the city has to offer. It is important This weekend I'm planning on a hike up Johnson Canyon. If you are looking for family activities in Calgary check out the To do in Calgary website. This site is filled with information on Calgary, what to do, community center, and events.

Check out what your city has to offer tourists and locals. Plan out your month, make one day a week a family day and take advantage of of what Calgary (or your city) has to offer.

What is your favorite family activity? What does your family love to do in your city?

Quick Meal Ideas -- Dinner using Left Overs in less than 30 Minutes.

I don't like to cook yet I still have to cook healthy dinners on a real tight budget. One of my favorite meals to make uses Lipton Sides pasta n sauce. I add left over meat or a can of tuna, with frozen veggies. Simple and done in less than 30 minutes.

What is your quick, easy, and cheap dinner idea?

These books are filled with quick and easy ideas. Great meal planning tips and shopping lists to keep you organized and save you money.

A Couple Hours on the Bow River

My husband and I floated down the bow river for a couple hours today. We started at Bowness Park and got out at Eau Claire. It was so nice to just float and enjoy the scenery of the Bow. It brought back a childhood memory of going down the Shuswap River with my family as a child.

When we go to pick up the kids in a couple of weeks we'll probably take a trip down the Shuswap River from below the Eddies/Chucks up at Kingfisher to Enderby. This is a full day trip and I haven't done it since I was a kid. I still remember how much fun we had as a family that day. We only did it once the rest of my childhood summers were at Mabel Lake.

The Shuswap River from Mabel Lake to Enderby is beautiful and full of wildlife. It is a part of the Okanagan that is green, quiet and rural. To go down the Shuswap river at that area you have to go in down of the eddies and chucks because they are class 5 rapids where people have died. The rest of the trip is tamer with mild rapids and then slow moving waters. The river is warm and on a hot day you can jump in and ride the river in a personal floatation device.

The Bow river is not as pretty and does not offer the variety of water speeds that the Shuswap does but when your in Calgary it is something to do in a dingy. The kids will love it and it will be a cheap family activity.

Left the Kids Behind in Vancouver - Break from the Kids is Great but I Miss Them.

We left the kids with my mother in law in Vancouver for a week. She commented that the kids are so close that they needed to stay together. She is so right, they protect each other and more importantly they entertain each other. While we were there my son taught my daughter how to play 'What Time is it Mr. Wolf.' He loves to teach her how to do stuff, it's so cute and makes my life so much easier.

My husband and I have taken full advantage of the time we have together. Going to dinner, watching movies and going out on dates. Since we don't have family in Calgary and don't have a babysitter we don't go out much so this time together is extra special.

Date nights are important because a family needs parents that are close and happy to be close and happy. When you don't have much money though what can you do? I'm always a fan of bike rides and walks. However there are other free events going on in Calgary that are fun, for example, Shakespeare in the Park at Prince's Island Park. Lots of things going on downtown Calgary and Stampede always has something going on for both adults and families. I am looking forward to spending time with my husband enjoying Calgary until the kids come home.

After spending a week in Vancouver at Nanna's house they are off to Grammo's house in the Okanagan for 3 weeks. They will live at the Cabin swimming and boating, they'll have a great time. I grew up at the Lake and I know they'll make some wonderful memories there with Grammo and Grandpa. I miss them but it is very important that they create strong bonds with their grandparents and they live 6-12 hours away from Calgary.

Since they go there together and spend time away from us together they develop a closer bond. They gain independence and confidence by going to their grandparents without us and have been doing so for a long time. As a stay at home mom I get lots of time with them, the grandparents don't get enough time so these visits are important to the whole family.

Impromptu Family Vacation to Vancouver - Bowen Island

On Friday my husband decided that we needed to go to the ocean for the weekend. It was a wonderful family trip, especially the day we spent on Bowen Island. We wanted to take the kids on a ferry ride but to go to Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands was too expensive. The trip to Bowen Island cost the family $50 total and we spent a great day exploring and splashing around in the Pacific Ocean.

We spent time at Kitsalano Beach and Boundary Bay Beach both nice but the time on Bowen Island was best. Kitsalano was busy with lots of different type of people and the water was full of all sorts of boats. Right near Stanley Island parking is really hard to find and although the city was nice to look at the scenery couldn't compare to Bowen Island.

Boundary Bay is more of a family beach then Kitsalano and has a little playground. Bowen Island is intimate and quaint whereas Boundary Bay is large and open. Kitsalano is filled with the image concious, young Paris Hilton Wannabees and homosexuals whereas Boundary Bay is filled with families.

If you are going to go to Bowen Island take your car it only costs $26 and parking will cost you $50. You also need the car once there to go to the beaches and visit the artisan retail spots. If you are going to walk or bike instead be prepared for long hills and lots of curves.

For other wonderful ideas about how to spend time in Vancouver as a family check out this great website.


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