Friday, January 28, 2011

My only Pet is a Peeve

Sometimes I wonder how I make it through the day. I have a LOT of pet peeves. They range from everything from driving (People who park in such a way that they take up more than one space, people driving 20 under the speed limit, those who can't seem to follow basic rules such as merging) to little things around the house (empty containers put back on the shelf) to how people communicate (saying words incorrectly like "Libary" instead of "library" or "fustrated" instead of "frustrated").

But then I realized that most of my pet peeves fall into a couple of general categories.

-I get annoyed at things that are rude and inconsiderate (bad drivers, people who don't RSVP)

-And I get annoyed at ignorant speech (bad spelling, grammar, overuse of punctuation, text-speak). And I think these ones drive me most crazy because it communicates that a person is less intelligent and most people who do these aren't, but they sound like it. Do people not realize how much we are judged on this stuff??


So really, if everyone just follows miss manners and thinks about how their actions affect the other person there would be less pet peeves happening (or at least mine!). And of course, if everyone learns how to communicate. I read a survey the other day that asked what most people listed as their favourite subject in school. By FAR English won out. So why can't anyone speak it??

Perhaps this is all judgemental of me. No, not perhaps, it is. But this is my blog and I'm talking pet peeves, so I'm allowed.

What are YOUR pet peeves?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The easiest punch in the world.

I like to entertain and host parties. I've also hosted and co-hosted many events off site. So what do you do when you need a simple, fast punch that tastes great and/or one that is portable?

Pull out two simple ingredients.

Summer Berry Tea


And a two litre bottle of Sprite

(I know this is 7up in the picture. It works too, though I prefer Sprite. My husband drank my Sprite when he was sick last week (not knowing I had ginger ale down in the pantry) and then my grocery store had some crazy sale on it the day I went back for more so all that was left was 7up.)

Here's what you do:

Open the Sprite and insert 2 tea bags inside the bottle (be careful, this often causes some fizzing).
Close the Sprite and put in the fridge for a few hours (I usually do it in the morning if I'm serving it that night, but even 30 minutes will give it flavour if you're desperate).


Pour into a pitcher and serve.
(Sorry for the night-time-flash picture, but remember how I make it in the morning to serve at night? Ya, that's why. And I live way up north in Canada where the sun goes down really early this time of year. So though I took this picture at 5:30, it was well on it's way to being dark and non-flash pictures just weren't working.)

That's it. Really. I like it because it's not overly sweet as some juice/pop mixed punches can be and it's easy to take somewhere if you need to travel with it. No punch bowl required. Also
it can easily be doubled/tripled or halved. And it's a pretty colour (am I the only one who likes to drink pretty looking punch?)

Try it next time you need punch. You may never go back.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Wreaths for the Girls' Room


Back in the fall my sister made a fabulous wreath for her daughters room. It was one of those projects that made me whine, "I want one!" Except I wanted two. (Jen, I don't have the link, so if you do, can you put it in the comments??)

I bought the supplies and even got one half finished, but then Christmas happened and I got a little busy with other projects and never finished the wreaths.

Then this week I was walking through Michaels and saw cute Monogram hangers that would be perfect for hanging these wreaths and they had the initials for both my girls. I pretty much took that as a sign that I had to have them. And I love them.

That was enough to kick me in the pants encourage me to finish.

Their room is light green on the walls and my plan is to decorate with white furniture (that means some paint will be coming out soon. Ha!) and pink (for Mady) and purple (for Kate) accents. I don't want them to be stuck to "their" colour, but for the most part they will each have their colour with little bits of the other one.

So, Mady's wreath has more pink in it and her framed birth info is done in pinks. Kaitlyn's wreath has more purple and her framed birth info is done in purples.

Oh ya, in the frames under the wreaths is all their birth info. I didn't want to forget it. Which I didn't think was possible, except it is. I almost printed both of them with a detail wrong. Thank goodness for baby books.

These are hung on either side of the window. I didn't take a picture where you can see both because their room gets amazing amounts of light and I'm not that at all talented with a camera. In fact I couldn't get a good one of Mady's without flash. Sorry.

Here they are!







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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Prepping for The List

I didn't realize when I made my 30 before 30 list that some of the things on the list would require some prep. For instance, if I'm going to make handmade cards to send to my family, I have to design them. Or if I'm going to memorize 30 Bible verses, I actually have to find 30 verses I want to memorize that I don't already know. In Jr. High and High school I memorized 1 & 2 Peter, James and 1 & 2 Timothy, and I grew up in Sunday school so I already know all the "typical" verses (I know there is a lot more to learn, but I don't want to just memorize verses for the sake of it and end up with thirty "begat" style verses.) And if I'm going to cook through a cookbook I have to pick one.

So this week I have been preparing.

I spent a good portion of this week not feeling well and so I didn't do too much blog-worthy. Instead spent time designing cards on my Silhouette software. It's super fun (and super addicting!). I haven't cut them all out (children being awake too often without the husband around accounts for that!), but I will show some of them to you soon (after they have been sent to those receiving them. I don't want to ruin surprises!). I designed all but 5 of the 20 I need to send. So that's pretty good prep on the card-front.

I'm going to need suggestions for verses, so send me all the ones you like and hopefully I can find some good "fresh" ones for the list.

And then there was the cookbook. I thought about looking for a new one that would be all interesting and such, but the truth is I own a LOT of recipe books. And my online stash of recipes is huge too. I'm sure in my collection I have a recipe for pretty much everything. So I decided I should cook through what I have. I really love pouring over cookbooks, but sometimes if a picture is lacking or there is an odd ingredient I'll skip a recipe and end up not making anything out of the book. But, there is one in my collection that uses pretty normal ingredients, has plenty of pictures and is written by a very trusted source (And even Canadian, bonus points for me!). And yet, somehow I have only made 2 recipes out of it (both of which I enjoyed). Even better, they're all 30 minute recipes. Why have I not used this more?! Doesn't everyone need more of those in their collection? Well no more! I'm going to cook through the entirety of this baby:
I don't know that I'll post pictures of all the recipes (there are over 100), but if there is a super yummy one that you all need to have in your arsenal I'll make sure to highlight it. I'll be starting to add these into my February meal plans.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Giveaway you don't want to miss


So, I've mentioned before about one of my favourite bloggers, Little Pumpkin Grace. Today Jessica is hosting a giveaway from a super cute etsy shop, Nelle's. If you have any special little girls in your life you'll want to check this out.

How sweet are these dresses? And you can win one!


What are you waiting for? Go enter!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

30 Before 30

Have I mentioned that I'm TOTALLY looking forward to being 40? I know that may sound strange to some people, but I think it will be a fantastic age. I know some fabulous woman who are in their 40's and they have shown me how great it really is. I have nothing to fear.

But in order to get there I have to still live through my 30's. They don't seem all that bad either. But before any of that, I need to finish my 20's. They say 30 is the new 20, so that means I'm basically still a teenager. Hmm. That may explain a lot! Ha!

I like the idea of living a full life. Trying new things and pushing ones self. I love being home with my girls, but sometimes I forget to live outside of the feeding, changing, cleaning, laundry routine. Sometimes I need a purposeful motivation to remember to do other stuff. Fun stuff.

So I created a 30 Before 30 list. These are not resolutions but things that I want to do. Things that are fun, or a challenge, or just sound yummy (a lot of them are food related. You shouldn't be surprised). Some of them are to help me develop a skill, or prove something to myself. But all are things I WANT to do (so there is no marathon running or skydiving here!)

I was going to wait until the 26th to post this list, because then it would be exactly 28 months until my birthday, but then it feels like I have to wait to start on the list until its posted and I'm itching to start. I'll update you on where I'm at with the list as I go. I need to do about one thing a month so if you haven't seen a post about it in a while, kick my butt, okay?

So, here we go.

1 Sew something I can actually wear - Completed with my 50's Apron
2 finish all the Jane Austen books (0/8) (I've started a few times, need to finish!)
3 plant a vegetable garden that actually produces something (hopefully the squirrels and bunnies won't feast on it)
4 cook/bake through a cookbook (I haven't picked one yet. I'll take suggestions. Either all the recipes if it's small, or 3 from each section if its bigger)
5 Go on an overnight trip without my kids
6 Make a fondant-iced cake
7 make something successful with a candy thermometer
8 Learn Chopin's Minute Waltz on piano
9 Finish the Wilton classes (1/4 done)
10 eat something I've never tried before
11 Go a week without going on-line (0/7) Mark doesn't think I can. He obviously hasn't seen my determination out full force. Ha!
12 Make an entire meal using only food from the farmer's market Completed July 2, 2011, posted about here.
13 Go tobogganing, you know, like in the cold
14 Give blood (haven't been able to since my first donation because I keep having kids!)
15 Go to a spa and have a facial
16 Make ice cream
17 Host a girls dessert night
18 Go berry picking
19 Make care packages for unsuspecting people
20 Finish decorating 3 rooms in my house (help me! I'm decorating challenged)
21 memorize 30 Bible verses
22 Go door to door Christmas carolling (I need some friends to do this with, let me know if you want to!)
23 Take my kids to the Stampede Parade (where does one purchase tickets? I don't want to drag preschoolers downtown at 6am)
24 send homemade birthday cards to my family for a year (0/20)
25 Go see live local music
26 Eat dessert first
27 Build a snowman, you know, outside, in the cold
28 Make really awesome shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse
29 Do 30 random acts of kindness (big and small) and document them (0/30)
30 Throw myself a hardcore 30th Birthday party!

Do you have a similar list? If so, I want to see it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sleep Sacks

My baby doesn't sleep.

Yours does? Please offer advice.

With my first child, we had a hard time getting her to sleep (she would cry for HOURS), but once she was out, she was pretty good. By 6 months of age, when she woke up in the night we spent 1 week ignoring her and then she has slept pretty soundly ever since. And she now goes to bed like a dream. We put her in, say her prayers with her, walk away and rarely hear from her again.

I thought I knew all the tricks and all the rules. Kaitlyn has turned all the theories upside down. I have tried every sleep method (I think) except to cry it out. But that one is hard to do since the girls share a room and it doesn't seem fair to make Mady lose sleep while her sister figures it out.

One thing I have learned is that a baby needs to stay under their covers to stay sleeping. There's something about being cold that wakes them up. The only hiccup we had with Mady's sleeping patterns was when she started to crawl out of her covers. If I forgot to re-cover her before I went to bed she would wake up a couple hours later. I learned too late about the wonder that is the sleep sack.

I'm a minimalist when it comes to things that a person actually NEEDS for a baby. I don't see the point in spending a lot of money on items that serve one purpose and/or have a short life-span.

The sleep sack has made it on my list of items every new mother should have (someday I'll make a complete list and post it). You may not use the sleep sack for the first couple months when your baby likes to be swaddled, but let me tell you, in that window between swaddling and when they learn how to move, it's a great time to get them used to it. It has saved me already from getting up every hour, to only getting up every 3 (Ha! No, seriously, someone give me more pointers. There must be something I have missed!).

So, since Kaitlyn only had 1 sleep sack, and she is notorious for filling a diaper to the point that it overflows, and I can't seem to ever keep laundry completely up to date. I figured it was time to make a couple more sacks to add to the collection.

I took the pattern off the sack she already had (first time I did that. I was quite proud) and whipped each one up in an evening (there are 14 seams to sew, including the zipper, so they really are quite quick).

Wanna see? Here they are!





Cute, huh?

So that's how I spent my weekend.

And I took a nap on Sunday afternoon. Did I mention Kaitlyn is getting teeth? That probably adds to the whole not sleeping thing. She cut the second one through this morning. I'm REALLY hoping tonight she's kind and goes to bed without waking up 6 times.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A question I've wondered

I hope I don't make anyone mad with this post. This is something I actually wonder...

Okay, so I think I've mentioned that I'm slightly blog-addicted. My google reader is slightly ridiculously full. Some of my favourite blogs are mom blogs, just documenting what they're up to with their kids. I like to read what other moms do and get ideas, encouragement, entertainment etc. from them.

Here are a few of my favourites (in case you like mom blogs too):

Little Pumpkin Grace. Jessica has the cutest kids, who wear the sweetest clothes and I love her parties/gifts/treats and decor style. I wish she lived closer so we could be friends. Also, Grace goes to the best preschool ever!

Him and Her plus 4. Okay, Ashley has triplets (and a super sweet big sister to the trio) and never seems frazzled. Such a positive outlook on life. Did I mention the triplets? Ha, there is a reason God didn't give me multiples!

Just Because I am Me. Shaina is a mom to 5 great kids. Her youngest, Kimble, was born with both a cleft palette and a heart defect. They have spent way too much time in hospital this past year. I love how she documents the little every day type things.

From Passys to Parties. I found Katie's blog because of a party she did (wait, 3 out of 4 of these were found this way!). She's a mom to the CUTEST little boy and plans parties on the side. Love her creativity.


okay, so now that I've given you a mini blog-roll tour, what is my question?

So you know how people with pets refer to them as their fur-kids? And they talk about them like they're part of the family? Well I'm wondering, as a non-pet person (I had a dog growing up, but he was never a fur-kid), are there fur-mom blogs? If so, why have I never stumbled across them and if not, doesn't that kind of say something about animals being considered equal to kids? As in they're not? And no one wants to read about them and that's why there isn't an underground fur-mom community?

Someone tell me, is there a network of fur-mom's I just don't know about? Or do they not exists for a reason? I'm just wondering....



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Starting Solid Food

As I shared yesterday, we started Kaitlyn on solid foods. I hoped and prayed that this would be a vastly different experience from what we had with Mady. As I've mentioned before Mady was a premie, and as a result had an aversion to ANYTHING going into her mouth until she was about 11 months old. And that's how long it took to get her to eat. Every day (if I even bothered trying) was a struggle.

So lets go back in time with some photo memories, shall we??

Mady inspecting the goods with a disdainful eye:
not at all impressed
oh the drama!

So now we fast-forward to yesterday when I made up some rice cereal for Kate:

Before:
First bite:

Hmm, that's pretty good!

Still having excessive drool problems, but all the more fun for blowing bubbles!

This may be her favourite activity!
Okay, so of the 5 spoonfuls I gave her I'm sure only about half went down, but she didn't make a yucky face once. She was quite interested in the whole thing. I think we have an easy eater on our hands! Yeah!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kaitlyn's 6 month pictures

This photo shoot proved to be harder if for no other reason than this little girl just wants to play! Haha, I have no idea how I'll get her to sit next to Monkey next month!


This month I feel like my baby has all of a sudden given up so much of the infant boring stuff. Mady has also decided she is fun and has started to spend a lot of time playing with her (piling toys on her or at least entertaining her). She also bosses her around. When Kate is crying we often hear, "You're fine, Kaitlyn." Yesterday Mady was trying to get Kate to jump with her. Sadly it won't be long!

Kaitlyn finally figured out how to roll onto her tummy. And with this discovery she also figured out that she can use her two rolling techniques to get places. She has great fun figuring out how to reach toys that are a little out of reach.



This month Kaitlyn also sprouted her first tooth. She hardly made a fuss about it (at least after the 6 months of screaming we endured with Mady)! I was quite proud of her. Hopefully the rest all come in just as easily.

We started on solid foods as well. I'm hoping that this will help her sleep a little longer at night. Though we're trying to wean her off of middle of the night feeds and she is starting to do much better with the whole process and not wake up as often for no good reason.

While taking the pictures I was calling her name to get her attention and she would turn every time I said, "Kaitlyn." So then I wondered if she was responding to her name or to my voice. I tried calling her using other words and she didn't pay attention, so I think she is actually responding to her name. I'm going to test this theory over the next couple of days.

It's so hard to believe that she's already half a year old! Time goes by so much faster when you have two kids!

Today is a special day for a special person and so Kate has a little message:


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mady's Opera


This morning while I was getting ready, I got to be the audience while Mady simultaneously composed and performed a little opera for me.

I don't know if that's the correct term.

For a while it had a fusion of languages (English and preschooler babble) and it only included one person, but I think (if I interpreted it correctly) she was playing multiple characters. And for a while it was about a soccer ball. A cute performance none the less. This kid has a future career in performance arts.

Here is a snippet:
video

Monday, January 10, 2011

Help My House: The Mantel

(before I post, can I just say, that I hate how as soon as you put a label on a post and hit return blogger posts your post?! So, now I will repost this in its finished form with pictures...)

If you've been to my house, you will see that I have all of 4 pictures hanging on my walls. Yup, just 4. In my ENTIRE HOUSE. And I have one that is leaning against the wall in the guest room in the basement. So that sort of counts, right?

A couple of months ago I hung a clock. It took me 3 years because I wasn't sure of the correct placement.

To say that I'm a timid decorator is an understatement. I know when I see a finished room if I like it or not and I can tell you what I DON'T like (cluttered and kitschy!), but I have no idea how to make a room feel put together and finished.

So I'm going to ask for help.

I need suggestions, and lots of them. So, even if you've never commented before, I need you to comment now. Actually my blank walls need you to comment.

But I'm not going to start there, that's too daunting. We're going to start with my mantel.

I had it all decorated for Christmas, and this is what it looked like:



It was simple and I liked it. But today (yes, only finally today, I'm TOTALLY behind thanks to a teething 6 month old) I took down the Christmas and now I'm left with a blank mantel:

I have no idea what to do with it. Should I go for seasonal themes (so I don't get tired of it and can keep the room fresh?), or do I find something really great and get it set up perfect and leave it that way all the time?

So I need suggestions of what to place, where to place it, how much to put on, etc., etc.

Some things to keep in mind:
-We have a sunken living room which means we have a huge vaulted ceiling. Things tend to look dwarfed on the mantel.
-I don't want to spend a lot of money on this project, so cheap ideas (or even better, suggestions of how to use things I probably already have) is better.
-There is not a lot of colour in my living room (ha, or my whole house!). I love brown. Maybe too much, and put a lot of it in there. I do have some light green in my kitchen (that looks into the living room). I could kind of go anywhere with colour as long is it's not totally out there. But I need colour and probably anything that will lighten/brighten it up.
-My husband likes to use the mantel to "store" things. It drives me nuts, hence why I want it decorated. It discourages the habit a bit more.

So bring it on (please!!!). Help me help my house.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sing, Sing, Sing

Today I will be spending the day singing with a choir of about 200 voices at a choral workshop. Fun!

And then eating cake in honour of my sister-in-law's birthday. Mady has been practicing singing the birthday song all week for her.

Speaking of which, I need to finish making it.


I'll post pictures of it later. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Who needs toys?

I present:
Mady's Boat


I shouldn't be surprised as Madelyn has always had a fasination with the recycle bin and kitchen cupboards...








(she looks so tiny in these pictures! When did my baby get so BIG?)