Scrapbook Embellishments - Tag ideas and Pictures

Tags always make a perfect addition to scrapbook pages. They are easy to make and keep on hand for future pages and use up some of those extra supplies we haven't found a home for yet. I usually sit and make a variety of tags to file away. The trick to tags is to layer, start with the first layer and keep adding layers until you like the end result. Most of the supplies used here will be discontinued, but don't let that stop you from using what you have on hand. Simply sketch out the layout and fill in with supplies from your collection.

Organize Toys - Where to Put All the Christmas Gifts?

We got home late last night and now I have a pile of toys and stuff to find homes for. Not an easy task at the best of times but since we are in a temporary smaller home it is even harder. We got rid off all the old toys that were too young for the kids before the move so there isn't much more to pass off to the Salvation Army. Most are still in boxes in the attic waiting for our new home... whenever we finally can get a deal to stick.... presently we are on deal number 5.

I asked the kids to get going on putting toys away but that has gotten no where as they don't know where to start. If I don't know where to start how can I expect them to know where?

They are about to set off on their paper route so while they're gone I'll be rummaging through stuff, seeing what I can do.....

I ended up completely re organizing their small playroom. I put another box of toys into the attic for storage and tightened up the storage solutions in the room. I took out larger toy bins that were half full and made sure all the toys were put away where they were suppose to be.

I brought out different bins of toys - the new toys and their favorites and put the other bins into the closet for easy access. Each drawer was labelled and toys that didn't make the bins or the attic are going to the Salvation Army with the load of clothes that no longer fit. I am surprised at how many toys I did remove from the playroom, everytime I go through their toys I find more to give away. What a waste of money.

I got to become smarter about what toys I buy in the future, the longer they play with them the better the value. By buying toys that add to the favorite bins instead of creating all new bins keeps things organized better and ensures better bang for my buck.

Any and all ideas for organizing toys are welcome in the comments section.

Some Websites you may find useful when organizing your home and the kids toys:

Easy 2 Organize - everything you need to know about organizing your home and life.

The Survival Guide - a great article that gets the whole family involved in the task.

Best House Cleaning Tips - One room at a time is this mother's advice

Parentree - Ideas on Organizing a Playroom

Christmas - Time for Family

My mom went all out this year and gave us a traditional family Christmas. The last time we all got together at mom's place for Christmas was so long ago I can't remember. We cut back on presents and yet had one of the best Christmas' ever.

My mom loves to cook and with our family growing she never runs out of mouths to feed. One of these years she'll have to compile all her favorite recipes into one book to pass down to my daughter who loves to help her in the kitchen. By the time mom is too old to cook for all the family my daughter will have a family of her own and can take up the torch. Whenever I hosted the family Christmas dinner, mom would take over the kitchen and cook up a storm.

What makes Christmas at mom's extra special is their home. It was built by my great grand father in 1906, so its always like we are having an old fashion Christmas, with some technology thrown in for good measure. My dad renovated it himself and he did a fantastic job of balancing the old with the new.

This year my brother brought his better half with him and our uncle showed up to surprise everyone. There has been no shortage of people to challenge for a game of golf, bowling, or guitar hero on the kids wii. (not a new gift). The wii has brought all generations together to play a game - my grandmother is the wii bowling champion and my kids are the guitar hero champions although my husband keeps trying to kick my son's but.

My kids love my brother and he makes a real cool uncle, his personality, interests, hobbies, and career are all pretty phenom in my kids eyes, actually in most peoples eyes. His better half is just as impressive so the kids are pretty lucky. It's too bad they don't get to see them more often, my brother is makes a really great uncle... hopefully one day soon a great dad too.

My mom is the hub that keeps us all together, without her we'd be scattered and rarely see each other let alone know what each of us was up to. Christmas wouldn't happen if my dad was in charge, he is the quiet rock that we can all count on but my mom is the one who puts in the work, the effort, and makes it all work. Dad knows how lucky he is to have her, we all do.

Christmas - Ready or Not it's Here

Time passes so fast, Christmas 2009 is already here. Whatever happened to the last 1o years? It seems like yesterday that the world was obsessed with the anti-climatic Y2K farce and my son was just an infant. Ten years sure past away fast.

Today I have to pack up kids, presents, clothes, and snowboards to transport to my parents place 5 hours away for a traditional Christmas celebration. I just don't feel like getting ready to go to Christmas.

I pass my time today in leisure instead of getting the work of cleaning and laundry done. It is no secret that when it comes to housework I'll put any other work in front of it as a more pressing priority. Today it is online research of current economic conditions, not a pressing task, just one of interest.

I have to push myself to do the mundane unchallenging work of the house. The kids are excited with the prospect of Christmas being just around the corner, this excitement swoops by me and does not effect me. I do not understand why. I should be filled with Christmas spirit but being stuck at home has removed all spirit. My car's starter has stopped working and stranded me at home - bored.

Christmas time - how many are filled with excitement, how many are tired from the preparation, how many are stressed from the draining of their bank accounts? Are there mothers so filled with the Christmas spirit their excitement exceeds that of their children? I know women so filled with the spirit that they are happy and vibrating with energy during this time of year. How can I be one of them?

Why Time Outs Don't Work

Time Outs are the main form of discipline for many families. Parents use time outs to help shape their child's behavior, yet time outs don't work - here's why:


Little Johnny hits Little Mary:

Resolution 1:

Mommy grabs little Johnny and puts him on a time out hoping he will learn that hitting results in time outs for him. She then comforts Little Mary.

But does Little Johnny learn that hitting results in time outs for him? While he's sitting on time out is he really thinking about what he did to Little Mary or how unfair it is that he's sitting on time out while Little Mary gets cuddles. Does he feel empathy or concern for Little Mary while he watches mommy take care of her or does he resent her more?

Let's think about it from a Little Johnny viewpoint. We all know children are selfish little creatures who want what they want when they want it.... right! After all that's probably why Johnny hit Mary in the first place. It isn't automatically in them to feel sorry for what they've done because it hurt someone else or to be concerned for someone else. They may be sorry for hitting but mainly because it put them on time out and they didn't want to be there.

By putting Little Johnny on time out mommy has done two things. 1. Saved Little Johnny from getting hit by Little Mary. 2. Made a victim out of Little Mary by not allowing her to stand up for herself.

Resolution 2:

Why did Little Johnny hit Little Mary? Is Johnny a mean spirited little boy that did it just to get Little Mary to cry? Most likely NO - Little Mary probably had something he wanted or did something that upset little Johnny and the only way he knew how to deal with the feeling was to hit her. Little Mary probably has learned what buttons to push to get what she wants and to get rid of Little Johnny for a little while.... Mommy will step in and save me!!!!

By putting Little Johnny on time out the mommy has done two things.... One made Little Johnny resent Little Mary and feel sorry for himself - in his mind he's the victim in all this. Two - Little Mary is being rewarded for being a victim and displaying victim behavior. She's getting cuddles for making Johnny mad and getting hit.

If mommy had talked to Little Johnny and found out why he hit her she may discover that Little Mary did something to upset him. At this point mommy could help Little Johnny figure out a different way of reacting by asking him - "Johnny what should you have done?" or "Hitting isn't the way to get what you want - What could you say or do to get what you want?" "How do you think Mary feels when you want something she's playing with?" "What could you have played with until Mary was finished playing with that toy?" Mommy can take the time to help Little Johnny through the thought process she is hoping he is doing on his own while on time out. It is not good enough to say -"Sit there and think about what you've done." They don't know how to think about it outside of themselves.

If Little Mary has indeed done something to push Little Johnny's buttons then mommy can deal directly with Little Mary to help her learn to get what she wants without being a victim. "Mary did you want Little Johnny to hit you?" "Did you want Little Johnny to get into trouble?" "Why did you say such and such or do that then?" "If you wanted the toy Little Johnny was playing with what else could you do to get it?" "How do you think Little Johnny feels when you .....?"

By taking the extra time to find out the reason behind the action and teaching them to think better conflict resolution techniques a parent can foster a closer relationship between the children. Instead of resenting Mary Little Johnny would learn how to play better with Little Mary. Instead of learning victim behavior Little Mary would learn how to stick up for herself and how to play better with Little Johnny.

What I Love about being a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)

Now that I've listed all the things I hate about staying home, I thought I'd balance it out with all the things I love about staying home. For all its frustrations and lack of appreciation staying home and taking care of my kids has been a blessing. Yes, one I'll choose to cut short and go back to work outside the home in the New Year.

What I Love about being a stay at home mom:

1. Focusing on the Kids

All my focus is on my kids and what they need to be happy. I'm not thinking about work or deadlines. I'm not stressed out and exhausted every night. I get to wake my kids up, get them to school, pick them up from school, take them to all their activities, and still have energy for them in the evening.

2. Volunteering at their School

In 6 years I haven't been able to volunteer in my kids class and I missed out on a large chunk of their lives. Now I'm making up for it by being in the school 2-3 mornings a week. I'm getting to know their school friends and be part of their education. My daughter is so proud that I'm there so much. It has really enabled me to be part of their lives on a level I wasn't before.

3. Time for ME

It's a different type of me time, because my focus is on health and getting in shape. When I work I have me time every lunch hour and coffee break, but its tampered with what I got to get done for work, grabbing a quick bite to eat, and some peaceful time shopping, browsing, or going for a walk. I do have more time without the kids when I work. This time round my kids are older and in school so I have more ME time and can focus more on me and getting in shape.

4. Healthy Dinners & Lunches

I have time to bake and make dinners every night. I add healthy ingredients to cookies and make sure that each dinner is balanced well. As much as I hate cooking and enjoy eating out, not having the money to eat out and having the time to cook has been good for the family as a whole.

5. Cleaner House & Laundry Done

I clean and do laundry everyday so it's not such a huge job on the weekends. This gives us more family time. We don't have a lot of cash to go do stuff so we are home more, which results in more housework but its spread out over the whole week. I may not be organized, I may not have the perfect Martha house, but its manageable.

6. Hobbies

I have time for hobbies like card making and scrapbooking. I can spend time preserving memories again and enjoying my time. When I work my hobbies are put in a box in storage because I don't have any time to do them, also my focus is on work so I don't think to do them.

7. Friends

I have time for coffee with friends on a regular basis. I end up with stronger friendships, work friendships are rarely as strong or as good. It enables me to build a support group that I can lean on when I'm back at work.

As I think of more I'll add to both lists..... sometimes a thought will pop into my head while I'm mopping the floor or baking cookies.

What are some of the things you love about being a stay at home mom?

Why I Hate Being a Stay at Home Mom .... (SAHM)

Being a stay at home mom has its moments, but for the most part it sucks. Since staying home life has been good because I get to focus on the kids, their school, activities and needs. I also have time for me - going to yoga and crafting. So if life is so good, why do I hate being a stay at home mom?

1. Housework

There is always housework, but as a stay at home mom I am expected to do it all by myself and have it all done everyday. I am not a perfect home maker, especially when it comes to house work. I overlook dust and small amounts of clutter. I put off cleaning as long as possible and by the end of the day my kitchen has a pile of dishes.

Every time I clean up the kitchen and get it perfect, its time to make a meal and the kitchen is a disaster once again. I feel like I'm getting nothing accomplished and going nowhere.

2. Laundry

I'm knee deep in it.... whether I work outside the home or not, I'm knee deep in laundry. I'm just not very good at getting it done and put away so I have no sense of pride in doing it.

3. Alone all day

Being new to the city means I'm a little more isolated then when I was a stay at home mom in Calgary. I've met some women here but it will take time to make good friends to meet for coffee on a regular basis.

4. Everyone thinks I have time

I like to volunteer but because I'm not working those that do work think I have all this extra time to help them out. Well, I do and I don't. I get so busy volunteering at the school I get behind at home, and the further behind I get the worse I feel.

5. No money

I have time to shop but no money to spend.

6. Pride and Accomplishment

I know, in my head I know, that being a stay at home mom is an honest hard job. Still I don't feel the same sense of pride or accomplishment that I do when I am working. I don't have the same level of confidence. Working provides me with self worth and validation, staying at home does not.

7. Boredom

I have a lot to do, I stay very very busy but its boring. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and chauffeuring the kids around is boring boring boring. I'm not challenged or energized by my daily tasks and it wears on me. My kids are interesting to talk to, especially my son, but these conversations have a short time span and then its, "mom, I need.........." Sometimes they can be real demanding little pukes.

8. No TGIF (Thank God it's Friday)

Everyday is the same for the most part, weekends bring more work because the kids and hubby are home. Cooking, Cleaning, and Laundry don't take a holiday, in fact holidays bring more work. There is no weekend to look forward to.

As a stay at home mom I get to focus on my kids and their lives, which as a working mom I don't have the time or energy to do. When I work my focus is on work and doing my best there for 40 plus hours a week. This leaves me drained and strapped for time. When I work I still have to cook, clean, do laundry, and chauffeur the kids - I just have less time to do it in. As a stay at home mom I get to show my kids how important their education is to me and share in their daily lives, more then when I work.

I am grateful for this short period that I've had staying home and helping my kids with the transition of moving from one province to another. However, I am looking forward to going back to work in the near future. I know that being home for my kids is important and valuable for them in the long run, I truly believe that children do benefit from mothers who can focus on them when they are young. However, in my heart I want to work... problem solve ... use my skills ... become something more then this.

Spending Time with the Kids - Remember What's Important in Life

My husband was fortunate enough to get some time off at work to make it to our daughter's Christmas performance and then go skating with her at her skating lesson Christmas party. My husband isn't the overly happy type, life is always bearing down on him and he sometimes gets so bogged down he forgets to stop and spend time with the kids. Recently he took the time to build snowmen and have a snowball fight with the kids and soon 15 minutes turned into the whole afternoon. It had been a long time since I'd seen him so happy and relaxed, he finally realized that life would always be there, but the kids wouldn't.

We are fortunate to live in Canada, but we don't always feel that way. When you have everything and nothing but time on your hands its so easy to look around for things to complain about. We don't appreciate the little things because the little things are common place for us. We are so focused on what we don't have, we have forgotten to appreciate what we do have. We are so obsessed with what we perceive others have, we forget that they have problems too.

We get so busy trying to maintain our lifestyle, or make our way up the social ladder we forget that what we have is most precious. Ever look at a family or a couple and think, 'wow they sure have it all figured out, life has sure been good to them.' 'Why aren't we like them? Why does life dump on us and shine so bright on others?'

Sometimes I think we should be happy and content with our lot in life. After all, we have it better then 90% of the world. My husband is employable, our kids are amazing, we are healthy, and have money in the bank just waiting to buy a house. What more could we want? Why do we allow things to pull us down into a mental rut? Can we find joy in paying bills? Can we enjoy housework? My husband can get so focused on everything that needs to be done, those things that weigh on his mind, he misses out on so much joy. Specifically, he misses out on spending fun time with the kids. Sometimes they are the only thing that can bring us joy when the tedious parts of life are getting too much.

Can we ever get off the hamster wheel? Everyday he heads out to work doing the same thing he hates to do day in and day out. Everyday I clean the house, do laundry, do stuff for the kids, and my to do list continues to grow. There is always something to do, bills always come in the mail, work is always there, kids always need to be fed. However, life is what we choose it to be, it can be the dreary drudgery of the day to day rut we find ourselves in or it can be joyous, it all depends on what we focus on. Making time with the kids a daily event will help keep us happy and remind us why we work so hard the rest of the time.

Christmas (or end of school year) Present Ideas for Teacher's Gifts

Always one of the hardest to buy for on my christmas list is teachers. I don't want to get them something corny or a trinket that will only clutter up their house. I want to get them something that will be useful to them but at the same time won't cost an arm and leg.

Buying gifts for people you barely know and yet deserve your thanks, like teachers, too often is done without thought. How many boxes of chocolate or coffee mugs are unwrapped with a grimacing thought of, "great another one to add to the collection.'?

Some ideas for Teacher's Christmas Gifts:

Christmas plate filled with cookies, chocolates, & candies
Christmas tin filled with cookies, chocolates, & candies
Christmas ornament
1 lb of quality coffee beans
Gift Cards to Starbucks or Tim Hortons
A bottle of wine - or maybe something harder to drink
A good book
A gift certificate to the local teacher supply store
A book for the classroom library
A box of Chocolates
A gift certificate to the movies
A Nice Christmas Bouquet of Flowers (not just a pointsetta)
A quality journal
Unique Stationary - trendy pins, magnets, paperclips, funny post its and notepads

Organize a collection for all the families and get:

A spa certificate
A gift certificate to the local teacher supply store
A gift certificate to a good restaurant
A year of "fun lunch" day hot lunches
A gift basket of things for the classroom

If you are creative and have the time:

If you are really ambitious then you could put together a scrapbook album from all the kids in the class.
A box of handmade cards (all seasons, reasons, and events)
A unique clip board or binder

Whatever you give add a letter of gratitude with it. Share a story your child has told you about the teacher or a special thing the teacher has done to create pride and esteem in your child.

What not to buy a teacher:

As I read other blogs on this topic I was reminded about how the usual teacher gifts for teachers can be a real waste of money.

Here's a Blog Posting on what not to buy teachers and why.

If you want to buy a "teacher" themed gift and have time to shop online:

Make a personalized gift at Zazzle.

Do you have any ideas of the best gift to get a teacher at Christmas?

Christmas - Past and Present

The Christmas season is going by so fast and I still have so much to do. When you're a stay at home mom you can do so much more to make the season special for the kids. I'm in overdrive to get everything done because I started so late this year. I didn't even get advent gifts this year because by the time I realized it was Christmas - it was well into December. It finally snowed this weekend and we finally put up the tree.... weeks later then past years.

The difference between Christmas spirit in Calgary and here in the Lower Mainland is huge. In Calgary almost every house has lights on it by early November, here only a few houses have lights and it's mid December. In Calgary it feels like Christmas in November because of the winter weather, here winter finally came knocking and then rapidly left.

This week I've been knocking myself out baking cookies and fudge for gifts. I've been making Christmas cards and gift boxes for Christmas treats. I finished up the shopping and wrapping last week - only a few gifts left that I want the kids to go shopping for.

They went to see Santa but the pictures didn't turn out, so we'll be off to find another Santa at a mall downtown. In past years I'd take the kids to see Santa at the Chinook Mall in Calgary, I've put out these pictures of them growing with the same Santa, year after year, and am sad that this year there will be a different Santa and a different background.

I miss Christmas in Calgary with my friends and all the lights everywhere. I miss our home and all its nooks and crannies that I'd decorate. I miss my kitchen and its newer appliances for baking. I miss the community we lived in and all the people that made it special.

Christmas Shopping - Just doing my part to help the economy

I can't believe I just dropped $600.00 today! Add that to the $190.00 for grandparents gifts, the $170.00 from yesterday, ooops I almost forgot the money spent at Chapters - $100.00. All I have left is my brother and my dad - the two hardest to buy for on my list.

This is the cheapest year so far, usually I'm well over a grand for the kids alone. I know my mom cut back big time because the year was slow for business and they are retiring in January. We had no choice but to cut back because I'm not working yet and with rent being $700.00 a month more then our mortgage was a month we are a little shorter on cash then in the past.

The kids really don't need more then we got them, they'll be finished unwrapping in record time, but they still don't need anything else.

I know that Christmas has gotten too commercial and too expensive for families trying to keep up to the Joneses, whoever they are, but I still shop. I know that there are families who need money just to survive, but I still shop. I hate how much stuff we have, since we've moved it twice this year and we have another move yet to come, but I still shop. I know Christmas is suppose to be about love and Jesus not presents, but I still shop.

We run ourselves ragged preparing for the season, baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, mailing, and for what? Do we really appreciate what we get? Do we really need what we receive? Do we really want what we unwrap? What do we really get anyway? Broke! I feel like a just took 3 large steps backwards financially today, but I'm not about to take any of it back.

I'm off to get started on the Christmas baking and getting my Christmas cards in the mail. Cards that I know will get set aside or thrown out, and yet I still make them. It's Christmas after - 'tis the season of added stress!

Some People's Kids -- I'd Be Pissed at Mine if They Posted Like These

The kids and I went to check out their great aunt's myspace page to listen to some of her music and were surprised to find some music videos. One of their favorite songs from last night's August performance was "Mad at Myself." We've watched it a few times now.

Mad at Myself

Linda Kidder MySpace Music Videos

After watching the video I thought I'd read some of the comments that people have left. Some teeny bopper's thought it was 'gay.' - OK, I can see that, after all, they have yet to experience the things that happen during this song. Other teens though were outright rude and mean. Thing is - kids, don't forget your parents can see what you write! If I catch my kids swearing off and being rude and mean online they will loose more then Internet privileges.

The biggest problem with children, teenagers in particular, and the Internet is the parents lack of interest in how they talk to others online. Perhaps how they talk to others offline too. I am sick of listening to adults complain about how today's teenagers have 'no respect,' talk back, are rude, violent, or whatever negative complaint they have. The issue is deeper then that, it starts at the home and goes out into the community from there.

We could blame working mothers for not having enough time or energy for their children. We could blame stay at home mothers for smoothering and indulging their children. We could blame TV shows, video games, liberal laws, friends, and too much money. Pointing and placing blame isn't going to solve the issue. Solutions, we are in need of solutions to help straighten out some of the delinquents that are coming out of high school and into the real world.

I am not looking forward to my children's teen years. I will be monitoring their online lives, and those of their friends to use what I find to open communication about what their actions could mean in the future.

For those children in our socio-economic circle I'd say "Consequences people", that's one part of the solution, consequences, there has to be consequences and we have to love our children enough to let them feel the full force of those consequences. It's easy when they are young, hard when they are older and the consequences are life altering. So start young, let your young children make decisions for themselves and experience the consequences of those decisions, it will teach them in baby steps how to make better decisions when it matters.

Communication is the key to shaping our children to be quality community minded people. Helping them think for themselves by asking open ended questions and listening to what they come up with as solutions. Asking questions that place them in others shoes and understanding how their behavior effects other people. Talking to kids about their day, their friends, and the challenges they face. Taking time to have one on one time to get to know your child is part of the solution.

I can't change the world, I can't make disrespectful teenagers be respectful, I can't stop adults that do nothing but complain and condemn others. What I can do is change the way I act and ensure my children become healthy contributors to society. I do this through communication, consequences, by example, and most importantly love.

Christmas Performances Keeping us Busy.

It's that time of year - Christmas performances! In Calgary we didn't have too much of a time commitment for performances because the kids schools didn't do anything overly involved during this time of year. My daughter's school had too many kids to do a play so they just stood up and sang songs. My son's school had a major production in the spring so Christmas was quiet. In BC their school is smaller and as a result they are putting on some major productions, add that to my husband's professional performing family we have lots to go and see.

I wasn't looking forward to my son's performance, 3 schools singing environmental songs with some musicians for a benefit. The marketing for the benefit was pure genius - include kids and their parents will buy the tickets, no further advertising necessary. How good could this be with a marketing plan like that? I didn't think it would be anything too special, just another evening watching my child amongst hundreds of others singing songs - bin there done that. I was surprised to find out that my assumption was completely wrong! It was a wonderful and amazing experience, the venue was top notch, the musicians were world class and the show they put on with the kids was professional and full of energy. My son was very fortunate to be able to work with these professional musicians and be part of such a large professional production.

Two nights later we found ourselves at another Christmas production listening to my husband's aunt belt out original songs and traditional Christmas favorites while his grandmother played the piano. They were performing with his aunt's musical group, August. The evening was a real treat, filled with amazing original songs and humour. We watched his aunt perform in Calgary when she was touring as the bass player for other musicians, however, this was the first time we saw her sing her own songs and they were all absolutely wonderful. Living here has its benefits!

The next production is a little more labour intensive for me. My daughter is performing in her school's play, The Grinch. She auditioned for a part but didn't get it, I was so proud of how she handled the disappointment and is stepping into her role as a 'who.' I now have to make her costume, which I have no idea how to do. This should be fun!

What I've come to realize these last few days is that we don't take in enough of local cultural productions and events. The kids get more out of watching performances and taking in art then they do watching a movie at the cineplex. It's time we got them out more to the theater and other quality shows that leave us feeling like we actually got value for our money, unlike most movies at the local cineplex.

Smoothy of the day

I bought a bunch of fruit to make smoothies with - my usual blueberry / banana concoction is getting a bit boring. I am trying to eat highly nutrient foods that help me feel better and energetic.

Today for an anti-oxidant smoothy I tried:

1/2 mango
Pomegranate seeds - 1/2 the pomegranate
ice cubes
1 scoop GNC vanilla powdered vitamin

The taste was OK but it was a bit difficult to drink the pomegranate seeds - a bit of a different texture. I like pomegranate seeds but not to drink. Don't think this one will be on my favorites list. I'll use the mango again as the flavor was good but I'm gonna drop the pomegranate seeds.

Nutrients from food:

Beta Carotene

Hot Yoga - It's been 5 weeks and ????

OK so it's been 5 weeks of going 3-4 times a week and I'm seeing more flexibility, the heat isn't so debilitating, and I've lost 1 lbs. Yep, 1 lbs. Now before you start saying it's muscle, except for the initial loss of water and getting into my next size down, I've seen no further slimming benefits. I've been eating less and healthier, but I could probably look to improve more in that department, especially since last night I ate mashed potatoes and a second helping of them - it'd eaten very little the rest of the day, and I didn't eat the meat on my plate - but still 2 helpings of 'mashed potatoes??' oh ya, did I mention I'd smoothered it with the mushroom soup gravy from the pork chops?

I've got to improve my eating habits every day - all day...... then maybe? hopefully?

The only thing I've proved so far is that hot yoga is not the only thing to do, I need to do more!

Christmas Gifts for Little Kids - The Top Picks

Christmas always comes with the question, "What am I going to get the kids?" My kids have a short list, and it is filled with Wii games. I really want to find something that they would just love but would keep them off the video game console.

Any suggestions for a 10 year old boy? and a 7 year old tom-boy? No princesses allowed according to my little girl.

Check out this news article on the Best Toys for the little rock stars, artists, and performers.

Stampin Up Dasher Stamp - Pictures of Handmade Christmas Cards

I just got the Stampin Up Dasher Stamp so I sat down and got to work on some cards for the Christmas season. I love this stamp, its so elegant.

With this series of Christmas cards I used nearly navy and white Stampin Up cardstock, Silver cardstock I bought from Micheals, Encore Silver ink.

I used nearly navy stampin up cardstock and a silver cardstock I picked up at Michaels. Dasher and the snowflakes were stamped using Encore Silver ink.

I used Stampin Up red and nearly navy cardstock and a silver cardstock I bought at Micheals. I used Encore silver ink to stamp Dasher, Merry Christmas, and snowflakes and Stampin Up nearly navy to stamp Deck the Halls. I used the Encore Silver ink to ink the edges of the oval that I cut using the Creative Memories cutting system. I added 2 small red plastic jewels that I got a Wal Mart to the silver cardstock. I attached the Merry Christmas oval to the silver cardstock strip with extra thick foam dots. I used a silver making memories stamp to attach the nearly navy cardstock with dasher stamped on it to a small silver piece to add visual balance.

I like the simplisity of this card. I used red, teal, and white Stampin Up cardstock. Dasher and 'tis the season was stamped using Encore gold ink.

For this card I used red and a teal with white Stampin Up card stock and then heat embossed snowflakes with gold Stampin Up embossing powder for the background. Dasher was stamped with Encore gold ink.

I used red, chocolate, and carmel Stampin Up cardstock, a yellow printed paper and 3 Making Memories antiqued brass snaps. The ribbon is a cheap gift wrap ribbon with Merry Christmas printed in gold. Dasher was stamped using Encore gold ink.

More Ideas to stamp with Dasher...

Angelina Jolie - Hello Magazine's Celebrity of the Decade

Watch out at the supermarket for the next issue of 'Hello' Canada Magazine. They have named Angelina Jolie the Celebrity of the decade and the article will reveal more about her REAL life with Brad Pitt.

I like the Hello Magazine, not just because its a Canadian publication, but because its not a rag filled with sensational lies and half truths.

Either way if any celebrity deserves the title of celebrity of the decade, it would be Angelina. She's been in the headlines helping people, adopting 3 children, getting married and divorced, involved in a highly visual marital break up and then going on to be 1/2 of the most powerful couple in Hollywood. Not to mention giving birth to 3 beautiful children. Then careerwise she's won an oscar, played the leading lady in a vast number of blockbusters, and has emerged an icon of action and drama. Is there any other celebrity that has done so much in 10 years?

November in Vancouver is a Real Downer

OK enough of the rain already. I knew it was going to be wet and rainy here, afterall that's winter in Vancouver - right?! A month of solid rain and dreary skies, I miss the Calgary sunshine and big sky. I am sitting here looking out at the fabulous view from my bedroom of the Pacific Ocean and all the Islands and all I can think of is where is the sun already.

I am truly getting the blues, I don't want to do much of anything and I am exhausted all the time, even after lots of sleep. Next year I want a vacation to sunnier spots - I don't care if it's minus 40, just as long as there is sunshine!

Oh well, I'll just use the rainy day blues as my latest excuse not to do more than absolutely necessary around the house. I think it's time to go shopping - spending money always improves my mood.

Now I can't even see the ocean for the low fog..... great where's the benefit of living here?

New Bill Introduced to Help Catch Internet Child Pornography Offenders

I can't believe the government actually has to pass legislation that would compel ISP companies to report child pornography websites using their services and keep copies of any evidence uploaded to their sites. Failure to do so will result in Fines up to $100,000.00. Shouldn't this just be a given?

Why would any self respecting ISP owners who receive tips about child porn sites using their services not report it to police or save any and all evidence?

Is business really more important than children? Or is this law necessary to help collect evidence due to the privacy act that hinders the police? Since when is posting something online considered protected under the privacy act anyway?

Email your MPs and ask for tougher legislation to help close down these sites in Canada. In no way should any child pornography website be able to operate out of Canada.

Check out these sites that are helping to combat Child Pornography Online and Keep our Children safe on the web.

Cyber Angels CyberAngels is one of the oldest and most respected online safety education programs in the world.

CPAC - Childrens Protection Advocacy Coalition - Not the best site but their are links to other world wide organizations that are trying to stop child porn.

Websites against Child Porn - Lots of good information and links to more information.

If you know of any site or how to help stop Child Pornography online or off line for that matter please add it in the comments and lets work together to protect our children.

A Good Dishwasher is More Important then a Good Man

I don't hand wash anything, if it can't go into the dishwasher I don't want it. As 'The Lazy Housewife,' hand washing is too much work for me. In our former residence, which we built, I made sure I purchased the best dishwasher available in 2000. I didn't want to wash my dishes before the dishwasher did and I certainly wanted to be able to pile as many dishes as possible into the machine. You never really appreciate what you've got 'til its gone.

We are currently renting a house where the appliances were the best offered in the early 80s and the dishwasher has seen better days. I am so frustrated because I have to not only rinse my dishes before they go into the dishwasher, but I have to soak them in soapy water. I can't pile dishes into it, only a few at a time making sure nothing is covering any other item. I might as well hand wash ... heaven forbid!

When we finally do obtain the purchase of that perfect house it has to have a state of the art dishwasher and if it doesn't - one will have to be put in before I move in. Although anything newer then what I have now has got to better. I have to empty it 3 times a day ... last time I ran a dishwasher that much I had 6 kids for breakfast lunch and snack time on top of the usual family of 4 mess.

The next dishwasher must be able to create enough water pressure to blast any stuck on mess off any dish or pot. It must have enough space to hold almost all my dishes at once. It should come with an extra boost of heating the water to ensure all bacteria is annihilated and if it was able to empty and fill itself it would forever be in my kitchen.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt - Coolest Parents

Come on how cool is it when parents dress up on Halloween to go trick or treating with their kids? I don't - but I never claimed to be cool..... I love it when I see dads dress up to go door to door.

I would think being who they are, the Pitt-Jolie family would have a very hard time going trick or treating. These pictures of the Pitt-Jolie family are great and show just how cool it would be to have these two as parents. Normalcy isn't an option for this famous family, but they try to give their kids what they had growing up as much as safely possible. Its good to see the take a drink with you tradition is alive and well. Just what is Brad and Angelina dressed up as? I don't get it.

It's nice to see that like our home there are no princesses in their house. Shilo continues to be influenced by her big brothers and remains the consummate tom boy.

Trick or treat anyone?

More Photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

How to make a 3D Finger Jello Pumpkin Cake for Halloween

The Many Ways to Cook a Turkey for the Holidays

It's that time of year again, Christmas. With Christmas comes the Christmas dinner and Turkey is the staple for North American Families. There is more than one way to cook a Turkey, just how much work you want to put into making the perfect bird?

I'm not the most educated when it comes to picking out the best turkey, but if you want the best turkey buying tips the internet is full of them.


I'd never heard of a Turducken before and I won't be making one anytime soon. This is definetly for the most adventurous of cooks. If you want to make a turkey everyone in your extended family will be talking about for years - this might just be the one! A Turducken, for those uneducated in the gormet turkey world -like me, is a Turkey stuffed with a duck, which is stuffed with a chicken and includes stuffing. Like I said, its for the most adventurist of cooks.

How to make a turducken.

Brine your Turkey for the Juciest Turkey around.

I brined a turkey a few years back, when I was more ambitious in the kitchen, and it was the juciest bird I'd ever cooked. It is really simple to do all you need is a cooler, cold water, brown sugar and kosher salt. There are lots of different variations for those who want to be adventerous and have more ambition in the kitchen then I ever had.

How to Brine a Turkey.

Simple How to Brine Recipe from Food network

Feeling more adventerous, add Aromatics and other flavourful items to the Brine.

The Martha Stewart Way to brine a turkey.

I was never so ambitious to go beyond water, salt, and brown sugar. However, these other brine receipes sound so good I wouldn't mind trying the results. Maybe I can get my mom to brine the turkey this year, I've got the cooler.

Deep Fry your Turkey

I've never deep fried a turkey, the first time I heard about it I thought it was a lie. I was manning a booth at a trade show and in conversation with some Texans across the lane the topic of deep fried turkey came up. When they mentioned this method of cooking a turkey I didn't believe them - I thought it was a joke at a Canadian's expense. However with the advent of the internet, I have discovered that a deep fried turkey is a real popular way of cooking turkey south of the 49th parrellel.

Deep frying a turkey may be tasty but it is dangerous if done carelessly. So if you are going to try this method of cooking your bird this year be careful.... I think I'll leave it to the professionals for now.

The Lazy Housewife Method

As the Lazy Housewife, I feel all the above turkey cooking methods are way too much work. My favorite method of cooking a turkey, by far, is purchasing a pre stuffed frozen butterball turkey. It goes directly from the freezer to the oven and after 6-8 hours your table. Cook at 450 for 1/2 hour and then turn the heat down to 300 for the rest of the cooking process. Don't forget to insert the themometer, I like the digital type.

Photo originates from

What's your favorite way to prepare your holiday turkey?

Handmade Cards - Love

I have a hard time making the same card over and over so I make sets instead. With this set I choose a couple of patterned papers, a main stamp, a background stamp, and an ink color. I use up as much of the supplies as possible making different looks.

The Butterfly Love stamp is made by Stampology and I picked it up at WalMart recently. The flower background stamp is a bitty background stamp set from Stampin' Up, which is a discontinued set I bought 4 years ago. The ink is Stampin' Up Baroque Burgandy, another discontinued item I bought about 4 years back.

Oooooops I did it again....

I suck, I wanted to make sugar cookies for the kids to decorate tonight. I was lazy enough to get the Pilsbury Cookie Dough, all I had to do was cut out shapes and bake.... Easy enough. Well, I got busy with other stuff and burnt them, now the house smells like burnt cookies.

Why do I keep trying to do more then one thing and end up not doing anything right? I can multi task at the best of times, except when I'm baking or cooking, I burn something everytime!!!

A month and a bit 'til Christmas.... maybe I should just buy the cookies.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt - Always Doing Something to Benefit Those Less Fortunate

The if it's Hip It's Here blog has posted a full photo spread of the new Asprey Jewelry line designed by Pitt and Jolie. The proceeds from the Protector line of jewelry will go to the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict Organization. Personally, I don't like the snake themed jewelry or the idea of a snake as a protector - but that's my Judeo-Christian upbringing talking. However, I can see how this cultural icon has made its way into the hearts of this family and now will come to protect other Western families, thanks to these designs.

Click to view pictures of the jewelry pieces designed by Jolie and Pitt Takes awhile to load so be patient.

Asprey Jewelry Official Images and information on the Jolie - Pitt Protection Collection. Not all pieces shown.

Angelina Jolie is an amazing woman, an inspiration to many in this world to do what they can to help others. She could have been like other celebrities and only thought of herself but she has chosen to be more than that. She has shown the world what celebrity can do to help change the world. She not only brings awareness but also gives millions from her own pocket through the Joile-Pitt Foundation.

Since Brad Pitt has the same heart it is no wonder he fell in love with her and choose to leave Jennifer Aniston. It is tragic that Jennifer had to be hurt in this but the world has benefited from his contribution of time and money. He became a better person as a result of Angelina's example.

Anonymous donations and quiet contributions by celebrities are beneficial as well, however they miss the opportunity to utilize their celebrity to bring global awareness and change through the media. I realize many celebrities hearts are just as big and their contributions to those less fortunate are no less valuable then those made by Jolie-Pitt. The only thing that is missing is the constant media coverage that inspires others to do something outside themselves.

The Jolie - Pitt family does not use charity opportunities to increase their fame but rather use their fame to increase the charity's opportunities. The way they live, how they constantly contribute and the way they are raising their children are proof that their hearts are in the right place.

Most celebrities inspire people to wear brand names, look a certain way, or be shallow. Paris Hilton's new reality show 'My New BFF' is a perfect example of celebrity used for selfish shallow reasons. The qualifications to be her new best friend are so shallow it is pathetic. I hope to raise my daughter to laugh at celebrities like Paris Hilton and Value celebrities like Angelina Jolie. Since most celebrities are like Paris Hilton it will be an uphill battle for sure.

Angelina is one of my few hero's, my mother and grandmother being the only other two. There is no other celebrity that inspires me to be better or to want to be like them as much as she does. I don't have the money, talent, or fame that she does but I am a mother, a woman, and I can see outside of myself to make a difference.

Unicef - Children's Lives Improving But Still a Long Way to Go

Ann Veneman, Chief of UNICEF, spoke to mark the Universal Children's Day and the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the UN headquarters in New York, about how far they have come to improve the lives of children in the world.

Although they have raised awareness, put a child's face on the AIDs/HIV epidemic and increased the amount of children being educated, there is still so much that needs to be done. In her report she stated:

"I have spoken to girls in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where sexual violence, pillaging, burning of homes and killing define their daily lives."

"I have met boys who were abducted from their families and forced to wage war in their own countries, sometimes even in their own communities," .

"The world must build on the progress achieved to ensure that stories such as theirs become part of the past,"

These stories always effect me but I don't know what I can do. Most people aren't heartless, they feel for those less fortunate then they are, they just don't know what to do. Giving money is easy and for most, who are just trying to get by, not always an option.

What can we do to make life better for those children around the world who's lives are living nightmares?

Handmade Blooming Gift Box for Christmas

I got this idea from Country Heart and Home, take a moment to check out her blooming gift box, its fabulous. you'll have to scroll down a bit as she talks about other things first, but it's worth it.

I didn't have a template so I used an hexagon shape from the Creative Memories Cutting System to measure out the base.

For the first inner most box I used the smallest hexagon shape and measured out 2" for each side and then connected each square to create triangles that connected the squares.

(this is the lid at 1" for the box use 2")

I cut out the whole shape and then cut each square on one side. I scored all the other lines so that the squares would bend up and the triangles would bend across to connect each square securely creating a box. I glued the triangles to the folded up squares creating a box.

I then took the next sized hexagon base and measured 2" sides to create squares across from each other. I did NOT create triangles this time. I cut out the shape and scored the lines that connected the squares to the octagon in order to bend the squares up.

I repeated this with the last sized hexagon. You could make as many layers as you wanted to by adding hexagon bases that are anywhere from 1/4" to 1/2" bigger then the last. I stayed with 3 shapes to make it easier.

I then decorated the squares with pictures and stamps from Stampin' Up.

To secure the whole thing together in a box I made the lid. The hexagon shape for the top was the same size as the largest base hexagon. I then measured 1" from the octagon base to make the sides of the top. As with the innermost box I connected the rectangles to make triangles and cut slit on one side of each rectangle. I scored all the lines and folded the shapes to connect to each other.

I then covered the top with Christmas patterned paper by cutting out the same shape minus the triangles. I glued it to the card stock lid and used a Christmas ribbon around the sides.

Stay at Home (SAHM) or Work Outside of the Home (WOHM) - Which is Best for Kids?

The stay at home vrs work outside of the home debate is always a "hot" one because it involves children. My husband wants me to go back to work, now, mostly because he wants to pay his mom to watch the kids. I'm not sure how I feel about that, or if it matters either way.

My children tell me they like having me home, but does it really matter in the long run? Money is tight, very tight and I am not sure if I can stay home much longer anyway.

Does it matter? Are children better off with mom at home or in daycare?

The Worst Part About Movingt

There are a lot of things I don't like about moving, the worst for me right now is that I can't find some of my books. I love books and I read them more then once. I can't find a few of them and it's driving me a little nuts.

Moving is stressful and hard work. I'll be very glad to see the end of this long drawn out process once we've bought a house and moved in. It will have to be The Perfect House because I don't want to move again anytime soon.

Careful What You Wish For

They were quietly playing in their bedroom, not a peep came out of their mouths. It was peaceful and all of a sudden I missed them and wanted them to come into the living room to spend time with me.... What was I thinking?

How can children at one moment be wonderful and at the next so annoying you want to throttle someone?

Don't get me wrong, they are great kids, but they love to repeat themselves over and over and over again. One minute they are quiet and the next its as if they are hyped up on halloween candy and everything is chaotic. I should have left good enough alone and enjoyed the quiet.

Stampin Up Handmade Cards - Pictures

I went to a Stampin up workshop and we made some easy and quick cards for the Holidays:

I always love the Stampin Up Handmade cards my friends give me - Here are two:

Click to See more pictures of Handmade Cards and Other Stamping Projects:


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