Another New Year, Another List

Whew, am I glad the holidays are almost over.  Yes, I said it out loud.  Don’t get me wrong, our family had a great time, but I personally am feeling socially fatigued.  My palate is also fatigued and I don’t even feel like having a glass of wine!

Although I am not a big supporter of making resolutions only at the New Year, our family did decide to make some new house rules and a list of what we would like to do this year.  Our house rules have to do with behaviour, electronic time, and being kind to others.  I am hoping that by writing it down, the kids will accept and embrace the rules.  They are only seven and four, so wish us luck!

My own personal to do list is never ending (like everyone else’s) and includes:

  • making progress on some house projects
  • clothing I need want to buy
  • continuing to de-crapify my house
  • try new things
  • to simplify

It’s just that simple.  Or is it?

I am enjoying the weekend before school starts, but I am sure looking forward to getting back into routine.  I bet I’m not the only one 🙂

Top 10 Christmas

The Monday Listicles would like to know ten of our Christmas memories.   I am thinking this will be a pretty easy post, or will it?

  • In 2006, my son was 6 weeks old and he celebrated his first Christmas with us and a few days later I turned 40.  Having all those great events just a few weeks apart was a fantastic, yet sleep deprived way to end the year.MyPicture
  • My husband and I went to Maui together on Christmas Eve in 2005.  It was weird arriving at the airport and being the only couple not to have someone picking them up.  But we somehow managed to enjoy the sunshine and have a fun trip. 🙂
  • Way, way back in the late 70s, my sister and I dressed up like elves and did a little Christmas skit for our parents and grandparents on Christmas Eve.  Although I’m sure it was cute at the time, I don’t really want to see the photos of it anymore.
  • At about the same time as the Christmas skit, we lived in a small farming community for 3 years.  On every Christmas Eve, we would go the resort hotel in the neighbouring town for dinner.  My sister and I thought it was so cool to have a fancy dinner and listen to the big band.
  • Last year we took our family to stay with my sister and her family south of the border for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  It was our first Christmas away as a family and the kids liked loved it!
  • My late Grandfather used to give us the best gifts as kids. Sometimes it was crumpled up one dollar bills in an egg carton and other times it was a Barbie doll.  That man loved the holidays and I am so sorry my kids didn’t get to meet him.
  • Pat Benatar would release an album (yes, I’m dating myself) every year just before Christmas and I would always get that new album as a present.
  • In 2001, just a week before Christmas we moved into our house. It was pretty exciting to decorate and enjoy the house after weeks and weeks of painting, ripping up carpet and cleaning.
  • Our first dog was so tolerant.  She allowed us to constantly put reindeer antlers on her and we have too many photos to prove it.  We miss her.

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  • Going to the Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Gardens is one our family traditions and we are going in just a few days.

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So many great memories and so many more to come!

Hockey Gift Idea

If you have hockey players in your life, you know all the usual gift ideas.  Jerseys, sticks, new socks, hockey books, etc.  But if you need a little stocking stuffer or a diy homemade gift, then I have an idea for you!

Earlier this year, my husband and I (yes, together) made personalized hockey pucks for all the kids on our team.  I am not sure where I got the idea from (I can’t give Pinterest credit this time), but it was so simple and the kids loved their pucks.

Here’s what you need:

  • plain black hockey pucks (about $1 at Canadian Tire)
  • a jar of Modge Podge (available at craft stores
  • image to place on top of puck

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Give your hockey pucks a quick wipe down to take off any dust or dirt and let it dry.  Find your image online or make a monogram, whatever you want to put on the puck.  We chose to make pucks with the initials of each player and printed them off in the shape of a circle as we found this covered the puck the best.

Cut out your image to be just slightly smaller than the face of the hockey puck.  Using a small wide paint or foam brush (I like using foam brushes), spread some Modge Podge onto the face of the puck.  While it is still wet, carefully place your image on top.  After it has set (a few minutes), paint some Modge Podge on top of the image.

You may notice it start to buckle a little if you use too much. Don’t worry, you can try and spread it out now, or use a tiny pin to poke a hole and let the air out later.

Once it has dried, feel free to give it another coat of Modge Podge.  It just helps to harden the image on the puck surface.

And then you are done!  It is really such a simple gift to make and who wouldn’t love a personalized hockey puck?

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linking up with:  The Jenny Evolution

He’s Back…!!!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  It’s the time when our little Elf on the Shelf returns and boy, could I use his help.  Our little elf came into our lives two years ago, and the kids named him Rex (not sure how that came about).  Since then, they talk about Rex during the year and anxiously await his arrival on December 1st.

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So, in just 3 short sleeps, Rex will be once again here to make life at our house a little easier for the next month.  Or will he make things easier?  I know a lot of families don’t want to resort to using this type of help.  They feel it’s a little sneaky and isn’t in the true spirit of Christmas.  That said, everyone is entitled to their opinion and each family has to do what  is right for them.

But I know that it’s fun for my family.  The kids are excited to wake up each morning and search for which spot Rex has landed in overnight.  I have used Pinterest in the past for ideas on what to do with Rex. There are so many fun and cheeky ideas, like these:

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(pinterest images)

If it makes it easier for me to get them to think about their manners, sharing, not yelling, getting along, et cetera then I am going to take the help.  It takes a village to raise a child and I am going to use the village of the North Pole to help me in December.

Besides, I think this little elf idea is fun. Who wouldn’t want to wake up and find an elf in the sugar bowl, or the bathroom, or swinging from a light? 😊

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A pinteresting birthday

I am the first to admit that I am slightly greatly addicted to Pinterest. A while back, I mentioned in this post how I tend to pin more than I execute. But I am trying to change that…

So when planning my son’s recent 7th birthday, I decided to use some of those pins I had tucked away under “Birthdays”.

Let me start by saying that I am not a super crafty person, so I kept to the more simpler ideas and I think they turned out pretty well.

Below you will find the inspiration pin and then a picture of my interpretation of it.

  • First up, wrapping his lunch in gift wrap. Easy peasy. There is not a lot of skill involved, just a wee bit of planning to make sure you have wrapping paper and the kid doesn’t see you do it.

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  • Next, the number of his age built out in Lego. Again, low on the skill level but makes for a great photo opportunity. The hard part was sneaking into his room while he was sleeping to get the Lego I needed without making too much noise.

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  • Lastly, I did his age in sprinkles on the cake. I had already iced 24 cupcakes for his class, so I was a little low on icing. Please don’t judge my icing skills, it’s the number on top that counts. This pin involved a little bit of effort as you had to cut out the number, strategically place it on the cake and then sprinkle.

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All in all, they were easy ways to make my son’s day fun and it made for some great pictures.  I can now file these under “Pinned and Tried”.

linking up with The Jenny Evolution

All in the Family

Over the weekend, we became a Blundstone family.  Ever since then, I have been humming the theme song to the Flinstones, but substituting the word Blundstones.    Try it, it’s quite catchy…

I didn’t know this, but Blundstone is a Tasmanian company that was founded in 1870 and they have been making these boots ever since.  The store in Vancouver is only about 500 square feet at the most and apparently, they sell more boots there than any where else in the world!!

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This is the boot style that started it all for our family.  About 2 years ago, I convinced my husband to try these boots.  I didn’t really know anyone that wore them, but I seen them around town and thought they would suit him.  And they did.  He wears them faithfully all year, with the exception of summer.

A few weeks ago, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that my son should also have a pair.  He only wears runners (tennis shoes) to school and on the wet days, he ends up with wet feet.  Although, Blundstones are much pricer than his runners, I thought it would be a good investment.

So, on Saturday, we headed to the store on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver.   We were lucky to have the manager help us and she was great.  My son was measured and tried on a few boots before settling on a pair similar to his Dad’s.  While my husband and son were trying boots, I decided that my daughter should also have a pair.  A few minutes later, she was hopping around the store in a pair of dark brown smooth leather Blunnies.  All eyes were then on me.  Did I need a pair?  Did I want a pair?  Hmm….  Well, I tried on the round toe and the chisel toe.  Both looked and felt great.  The staff were divided and liked both styles.  After much humming and hawing, I bought the round toe chestnut brown.

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After an hour in the store, and we all went home with Blundstones and I am so happy. The kids are totally rocking the Blundstone style with skinny jeans (my son) and leggings (my daughter).

I have been scouring Pinterest, Polyvore and the internet to find examples of how I should wear Blundstones in style.  But I can’t find many fashion type images!  A family member wears hers with boyfriend jeans and layers long tops.  I am thinking skinny jeans and leggings, but need to try a few outfits before I step out of the house.

So, the fun is just beginning for the Flinstones Blunstones.

Blundstones.  Meet the Blundstones.  They’re the modern boot wearing family!

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linking up with: The Pleated PoppyGet Your Pretty OnVodka Infused Lemonade

I love…

I haven’t posted in a long time and have just spent the past 30 minutes reading all the good stuff my sister in Canada has been blogging about.

It’s Veteran’s Day here in the U.S. and Thanksgiving is just two weeks away. I have yet to embrace that holiday with same fervent passion my American friends do (I really just love the extra long weekend) but I came across something the other day that made me smile and be thankful.

My youngest brought a journal home from school that they are allowed to just write in whenever they have extra time. Sometimes the teacher will give them a topic. It isn’t marked or recorded. Just for extra writing practice.

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The first two made me love that kid even more. The 4th item is abbreviated. It stands for American Girl (the dolls, the store, the works). I love that she added family and some people that will soon be family. I love that she added music singers. She loves to sing and listen to music of all genres.

Most of all I love that she wrote this in her journal knowing that probably no one other than herself would read it. She didn’t know that I would browse through it and she certainly doesn’t know I’m behaving like one of those obnoxious FB moms who posts about how selfless and generous their kid is.

But I did and I am. Just not on FB.

linking up with The Jenny Evolution

Boo!

I might not have mentioned this before, but I really really like my son’s teacher.  He happened to have her last year as well (split class), and we feel lucky to have her again this year.   She gets his smart, fidgety, funny self and for that reason, I like her 🙂

Last Friday as I dropped him off, she came rushing towards me with a giant, ok large pumpkin in her hands.  Can you, would you…?   Take home this guy and carve him for the class ?   Well, of course we (the royal we) would love to.  Knowing all along that it would be my husband doing the carving with my son wielding his own knife somewhere in the process.

My son’s eyes were wide and he had a big smile.  He was thrilled.

The only stipulation was that it had to be back on Monday as there was going to be some type of competition between all the classes.  No problem, I responded.

Well, last night at 6pm, we (the royal we) are carving the pumpkin.  We wanted something scary, but not too scary.  Happy, but not too happy.  After a little research, my son and husband exactly what they were looking for.

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It is know as Jack Skellingtonfrom the Nightmare Before Christimas by the famous director, Tim Burton.

So, how did ours turn out?

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Pretty good, I think.  My son was thrilled to have his Dad take the pumpkin to class this morning.

And that is a great way to start a Monday!

 

linking up with Jenny Evolution

Fall for Soup

The days are shorter, the weather is cooler and the leaves are falling.

This is definitely the time of year where my cooking style changes.  I lean towards warmer lunches and more comfort food for dinner.   I like to try and make different soups as they are quick, easy and a good way to get extra veggies into my family.  My husband has fond memories of his Oma’s homemade pea soup, and he also loves the pea soup my mom makes.  I have never made it, so thought I would give it a try.  I was surprised how easy it was!

I scoured a few of my cookbooks and a couple online recipe sites I use, and ended up using a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

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I love Jamie Oliver, his cookbooks and what he has done for educating people about the food they eat.  So, I figured his Pea and Mint Soup would be a good one to try.  All except the fact, that I didn’t have mint, but then again I have never had mint in my pea soup, so I figured it would be ok.  I wanted ham in mine, so I chopped some of the pre-cooked hams you can easily buy at the grocery store.

It required just a few ingredients and was so easy to make.  I actually did it in my crock pot on low for about 4 hours instead of on the stove.   All the ingredients were thrown in at the same time, and I blended it towards the end leaving some of the peas whole for more texture.   I don’t think there was any difference in the taste, and it was delicious!  My husband liked it a lot and even my kids thought it was pretty good (in a very small dose).

I would definitely make it again, omitting the mint.  After eating a few bowls of the soup, my husband said to me, “I don’t like peas, but I like pea soup.”  We have been together almost 20 years and I never knew he didn’t like peas.  You learn something new everyday!

Here is Jamie’s recipe:

Pea and Mint Soup
By Jamie Oliver

Serves 6-8
Prep and cook time: 30 minutes

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ¾ quarts chicken or vegetable broth, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 ½ cups frozen peas
  • Fresh mint

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic.

Put broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients to the pan and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened up, but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden.

Add the boiling broth to the vegetables. Add your peas. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Pick your mint leaves off the stems. (I used about 10, but Jamie doesn’t give an amount.)

When the peas have softened, remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the mint leaves. Using an immersion blender pulse the soup until smooth.

Enjoy!

linking up with: The Jenny Evolution

Seriously?

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Rocker Gaming Chair
$99.97
SAVE $20
Valid October 04, 2013 — October 10, 2013

DESCRIPTION

• Equipped with Bluetooth and speakers system
• Folds for easy storage

This is an ad I copied from my local Toys R US flyer.  I saw this chair for sale  and I said, WTF ?   They are selling a “Gaming Chair” for kids?

I am not against video games.  I know they have a place in today’s world.  We have a Wii in our house and iPads.  The kids prefer the iPad to playing Wii, so it actually doesn’t get used that often.  But we don’t have a gaming chair, nor do we need one.

Over the past few years, reports have come out that, children are not playing and getting enough exercise.

Here’s what we know:

  • childhood obesity is on the rise
  • kids are more hooked on electronics than ever before
  • kids are not playing outside as much as they used to

And Toys R Us is selling a gaming chair?  Because the couch isn’t comfortable enough?

Seriously?

A local Vancouver company, Peekaboo Beans has started the Play Revolution. They are concerned that kids aren’t playing enough.  Just simply playing, with their imaginations, themselves and their friends.  For more about the Play Revolution, watch the video here.

We shouldn’t need reminders that kids should play.  And I don’t mean video games.

Seriously?  Toys R Us,  is a gaming chair really necessary in today’s world ?