Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweet Memories

Ahhhh, looks whose feeling a bit nostalgic tonight... I can't believe this was already 4 1/2 years ago. My sweet baby girl.

I've been looking through some older photos, for yet another project I have in mind. [I should make 2010 the year of 'catching up'. But let's face it, that's just not me. I always have half a dozen things on the go!]
Any way, I always wanted to do this layout, it's scrap lifted from this amazing scrapbooker. She has all sorts of layouts posted on the 2peas website. (Hours at a time can be spent there, I'm speaking from experience)
I just knew I wanted to lift this layout when I saw it, which was months ago, maybe even years ago. I've looked and looked through old pics of both kids, and then suddenly, this afternoon, this picture of me and Mad popped up and I thought "That's it!" I got right to work. Have I mentioned I'm LOVING the digital thing? And who says you can't go back and scrap older pictures? Of course you can!
Switching gears, I'm trying to pin down my 'word' for 2010. Remember, my word for 2009 was choice? I can't say all the choices I made were terrific ones, but at least I made them! I think the year of choice went a lot better that 2008's word, discipline... Eeks, that one didn't fare too well. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.
Any way, I've got it narrowed down to a few... I have another day to ponder... I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We Made it Once Again

It's over for another year.

We made it.

I am breathing a sigh of relief. Christmas day came and went as it always does (whether you're prepared or not). Ironically, this year I was both prepared and not prepared. I actually shopped throughout November, and I don't mean to brag or anything, but was mostly done by December 1st. (It was an incredible feeling, I do highly recommend it, and will do my best to do that every year). We were free to enjoy the kids Christmas performances. We were able to enjoy outings. We were able to enjoy the advent calendar... (**Note to self, next year, don't make the advent calendar more work than it needs to be, throw in a few more things like "hug someone you love today" Or "Get an extra cookie for lunch today") The kids still love to open it each morning, and I don't have to be fretting about what's going to happen. I'd have to say, we followed through with about half the things that we were supposed to do.

A few of the most popular were [Pop some corn and watch a movie together as a family]; [Camp out under the Christmas tree tonight] - too bad that one ended quite violently with a certain 4 1/2 year old FREAKING OUT... [Eat dinner by candlelight] - to celebrate winter solstice. [Make Christmas flavored milkshakes after supper] - which ended up being the flavor vanilla, but they were indeed dandy. [Watch the Polar Express] - first time I'd seen this movie, it was fantastic even though we did need to keep retrieving Madelyn from the steps because she was scared. [Have a drive and check out Christmas Lights and displays] - Mason saw a house in our neighborhood that the lights were set up to music. You drove up, tuned into the radio station and the lights went on and off to music... It was awesome.

Those were some of the favs, that I racked my brain to come up with over 24 days. Hindsight is 20/20. I know for next year. A few "smarties" and a few "take care of each others" can certainly fill in the void.

What I was unprepared for was the oven incident, but even that worked out in the end. I just have to do some baking now, to keep Gigi equipped in the treats she's become accustomed to. ;-)

Here is a look at some of the things we've been up to the last month.

Isn't the montage AWESOME? You can find out how to make one for yourself here. This is called a Mosaic. Love it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Year Barry Saved Christmas...

Thanks for the treats Carrie. How did you know we love candy so much?

Let me let you in on a little tid-bit. The excitement at my house the last 24 hours.

We had friends over last night. We were having my favorite thing, appetizers. And I have to say I was PRETTY DARN excited (as I so often am when it comes to food). I was in the process of making my second batch of Nuts 'n Bolts, (because the first batch disappeared so darn fast). I realized that I was out of Worcestershire sauce, as the butter was melting in the oven. So I turned the oven off, thinking, "I'll finish that off tomorrow". About a half hour later, I turned the oven back on to preheat (back to appie-ville) and after it was preheating at 375° for about 1/2 an hour, I kind of thought 'weird'. But when I went to put my beloved snack in... the oven was stone cold. That's right. The light was on, but it wasn't working. The two guys, Barry and Murray worked at it like crazy, removed panels (that I had NO idea even existed). Found fuses and buttons... Nothing they monkeyed with helped. Murray finally shook his head sadly and said, "I think you need a new oven." (Oh - and a quick side note, phyllo pastry on the BBQ is a bit touchy) I can't say that I'd recommend it, but if you have no other options, it did work, and the charred pieces we could pull off.

Now take a moment to put yourself in my shoes... I'm hosting Christmas dinner here in 2 days. That's right. An oven is a somewhat crucial element when it comes to COOKING things. Things like CHRISTMAS dinner!

So after a sleepless night of fretting and worry, Barry went out to buy fuses. Nope. The fuses apparently were fine. A waste of money to buy new ones.

Can you imagine needing to go and buy a new oven the day before Christmas? I mean let's talk delivery here... I was pretty sure we were up the creek if you will.

I suggested that perhaps we could get a new element, and try that out. What did we have to lose? So Bar bucketed off to buy a new element, and then, as I stood in a line up of 23 at Superstore, I got the call.... "IT WORKED! The oven is heating up!" Ahhhhhhh, I could calm down and life will return to normal.
Now, having said that life returns to normal, what I mean by that is, dinner on Christmas day will be fine. But the baking I had planned to do for Gigi (the kids great-grandmother) NOT looking very promising... So though I was prepared for the season, there are a number of things that I did indeed wait to do at the last minute. And these things, are the baking for Gigi. I will be hard pressed to get it done tomorrow, in my 4 hour window, but I'll indeed having something to present her with Christmas Day.

So now, 2009 has officialy become known as the year Barry saved Christmas! [He puffed up so nice when I told him he saved Christmas].Thanks honey! Glad you're so handy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ahhhhhh....School is Over...

I rushed around for the last time Friday afternoon.

Both kids are finished school (Mason was done Thursday, and Madelyn had her last day of preschool Friday). We have 2 days short of 3 weeks of 'family time'. All I know, is that NO ONE had better call my house before 9 am, for the next 3 wks. [Yes, I KNOW how lucky I am, to have kids that either a) sleep in, or b) are too scared to wake me up :-)]

The kids and I concocted a special little treat to take to the kids at school. We sent these little gems in on the kids last days.

I found the idea in this fantastic little Christmas book. I've renewed it 3 times so far. Sorry to anyone out there hoping to get a hold of it before Christmas. The saddest thing is, I saw it at Winner's in November, and walked by it without purchasing it. Silly monkey.

We've been carrying on w/the advent calendar, and Thursday nights message was to "have a sleep out under the tree and share your favorite Christmas memories..."

Seriously... what was I thinking? I obviously forgot I have a 4 and 7 year old (who don't go to bed very well in the first place) Or perhaps I was thinking, this is something that is so special, that they'll remember forever... [I do remember BEGGING my Mum to let my brother and I sleep under the Christmas Tree. I remember lying under it and looking up at those sparkling lights, and it was so... so perfect.]
Last night might look perfect in pictures, and indeed I did take pictures. (I do scrapbook after all.) So here, this is how it looked. The twinkling lights, the kids all a snooze in their beds... But what the picture DOESN'T show, is me hauling Madelyn up to bed at 10:30 pm, kicking and screaming because she just wouldn't settle down. I kid you not. These kids could outlast the energizer bunny. I could bet money on it and I'm confident I would win...

And while I'm reminiscing a bit... This year, I actually won a designer digital card, from the write click scrap website. Can you believe it! I won! And I won the year I designed my own Christmas cards. What a bummer! So here's the image I chose, that the Marnie Flores designed. I did NOT send these images out, as cute as they are. For those of you on my mailing list, keep watch, your cards shall be arriving soon. And yes, I did indeed design them on my own.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Concerts are Over for Another Year

We watched my favorite show today, for the umpteenth time... I love that you can get it on dvd now, and watch it commercial free. Sheesh, as a kid, we had to find out what night it was on, and watch it, WITH commercials! Kids these days don't know how lucky they have it!

Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more...

We had our second concert this week, at Mad's preschool. It was SO cute, and so very reminiscent of Mason's concert. (He was a wiseman 3 years ago) This year Madelyn was an angel. She sang so great, and did wonderful in front of everyone that came to watch.

She certainly looked angelic... Check these pictures out.

Mason has his last day of school tomorrow, and these kids are getting wound up. Getting Madelyn into bed every night is a challenge, to say the least. With a week before Christmas, I'll have to wear these two out every day, or we may never get a break from them.

On a positive note... The weather has warmed up. It went from -30° on Monday morning (not including the windchill) to a balmy 3° today. The roads are a soupy mess. If you don't have windshield washer fluid, you're in for a problem... Only in Calgary can the temperature be that extreme and then change so drastically. The bright sunny day was a blessing today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 Days 'Til Christmas

Wow... Today is the 13th of December, that means there are only 12 days left. Crikey. And the funny thing is, I'm prepared, and I'm still shocked that it's going by so quickly!

Thursday night, we had Mason's school concert, it was fabulous. He had a narrator role, and was thrilled beyond belief. He did great! Our hearts soared as the microphone got passed to him, and he perfectly said his line... On our way to the school, he said "Mummy, I feel nervous, I have butterflies in my tummy". To which we responded, well, you should! Everyone there feels the exact same as you do. Once we explained that to him, and that all the people in the audience were there to see their own kid, it was fine.

We came back to our house, had a little celebration (the first of many late nights) Why does that get so out of control at this time of year?

The advent calendar is going smoothly. They're both so excited each morning to read what's in store for the day ahead. It's great for Mason this year because he's reading so well.
It was bitterly cold this weekend. The kids were still bound and determined to get outside, which they did. Those little cheeks just flaming upon coming back into the house. A good time had by all. Friday night we decorated gingerbread cookies. The cookies did get decorated, and oddly enough, we didn't run out of decorations. One for the cookie, one for me, one for the cookie, one for me...

We visited Santa today, at Golden Acres. Wow. It's decorated so beautifully in there for Christmas. If you have nothing to do, you should stop by there simply for a field trip. And the Santa in there was so good. We got a picture and went on our merry way.

Tomorrow we're going to Madelyn's Christmas concert at school. She's so excited that it's her turn. The kids finish school this week. We're all looking forward to a break in routine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holy SNOW Batman!

Well, we had another storm on Friday.


The only reason it wasn't considered a blizzard, was because it wasn't quite cold enough. But it was dreadful enough.

While it blew and raged and stormed outside, we stayed warmly inside, listening to Christmas carols, building a gingerbread house and watching Charlie Brown's Christmas.

On Saturday, it quickly became clear that I had 2 of the happiest kids this side of the equator...

I don't know how they can stand to spend as long as they do outside. [Though come to think of it, I think I loved that as a kid too]

We just have to ensure everyone hits the bathroom before they head out!

Here's a few pictures, that don't do the amount of snow that fell, justice.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Has Arrived

Yup, it's here. I feel good about it. Our tree, as you know, has already been up for 3 wks. I finally put the remainder of the Christmas decorations out and the boxes sitting in our dining room disappeared, finally. Mason is a bit skeptical... He KNOWS not all the decorations are out, and keeps calling me on it, and I keep saying "Yes they are!" I just can't be bothered with all that crap this year... Do you know how that is? So I'm dubbing this year a Simple Christmas.

I began working on my December daily book. It's so great that it was finished long in advance. Even though documenting something each day doesn't seem like a lot, as those of you who document things know, it IS a lot. But I'm forcing myself to sit down w/a pen and paper each day, and follow along w/Jessica's Holiday in Hand worksheets. I'm adapting her stuff, for the little album I already created.

Dec 1st we wrote our letters to Santa. The kids sat at the kitchen table, pens and paper at the ready, looking through the Sears Wishbook. That thing is absolutely invaluable. Mason has decided on more Lego... We have enough lego, that we could re-create our house. I'm sure of it. I don't know when to say 'enough is enough'. I do know the right time is NOT while we're in the process of writing our letter to Santa.

Madelyn has requested 2 things: a Jack-in-the-Box (?) and a Venus Fly Trap... Good grief, Santa has his work cut out for him this year...

I was web-surfing and came across a neat layout on the Write. Click. Scrapbook. website, that I scrap-lifted and made my own. Reading it over, no WONDER people get completely stressed out this time of year! [And I've already got decorated house, put up Christmas tree, and buy Christmas presents, scratched off!]

I finished my week 9 layout for Yesterday & Today. It was documenting a day in my life. I've done this several times before. I've documented a week (big commitment) and a month (even bigger commitment) but I'm always so glad to look back when it's done. I suppose that is what I'm doing w/my December daily, is keeping track of the month of December. I know the initial keeping track and jotting things down, taking pictures, will require some discipline, but having that later on, is where we'll benefit from it as a family.

Looking forward to embracing and enjoying the holiday season this year. I'm thinking really hard about what gives me Joy. I certainly know what doesn't. But what makes me most joyful... Hmmm. I'd better go get a cup of coffee and ponder that one awhile.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent is Ready to Go!

I've got my advent calendar done, and ready to roll. I think I posted that already didn't I? In any event, this is what it looks like.

I've included nothing but a few m&m's in each muffin holder (I made this from a muffin tin, did I mention that?) This year, I focused on creating a prompt of things to do, see, make, watch, go to, read, etc. each day. I know the kids are going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I'm looking forward to watching the reactions each morning, I know Mason will run downstairs to retrieve "today's message", excited about what he'll find. I've included things like: write your letter to Santa!; Watch the Grinch who Stole Christmas; decorate a gingerbread house, bake sugar cookies together; make our own ornaments; sleep out under the Christmas tree; have a family candlelight dinner. It's going to be so fun. It is something though, that requires a lot of preparation on this end, if you can do that, by December 1st, you're laughing.

We've had some interesting weather in the past few days. Friday got UGLY out. Suddenly it went from Normal to sheer ice. It took some people hours to get home from downtown. Thankfully we only had to pick kids up from school. We were celebrating my brother's birthday on Friday, and we opted to choose a restaurant much closer to our homes. That way, we didn't need to get caught up in the mess.

So Friday, we went for dinner, then back to Ama & Baba's for b-day cake and presents. Madelyn was so funny on Friday, she was more smitten than usual with her Uncle Chris. Hugging him, snuggling him, loving him up. You've got to take it when you can from her, it doesn't happen too often. Any way, back at my Mum's house, she was crawling all over him on the couch and suddenly said "I don't know why I'm so attracted to you..." It was hilarious to say the least. Kids say the darnedest things.

This is what I LOVE about being a stay at home Mum, you get a little girl her breakfast, and the fact that she is able to come to the table and eat, with last years spider hat on... How lucky we are, truly... [sigh]

I put the rest of our Christmas stuff up this wknd. I really didn't put out all my stuff this year. It looks nice. There's just enough stuff. I love how the lights twinkle, and everything is so sparkly at this time of year. I wish it lasted longer. The sparkle and joy of Christmas need to pull us through to March, rather than be over at the end of December... The kids are interested in listening to Christmas Carols now, that is my favorite. We've been enjoying ourselves so far.

And tomorrow, we start a new month. I feel like I can really sit back and enjoy it. I've got the majority of my shopping done. I've got Christmas cards ready to go. I've got recipes dog-eared. I've got crafts ready for the days they'll be done on. (I do have to p/u some felt though, better not forget that, but it doesn't come into play until the 12th). We can just enjoy the magic of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Hustle is on the Rise

Everywhere you go, evidence of Christmas. People are beginning to turn on their outdoor lights (of course we were the trend in our neighborhood, with the tree up so early and all) Malls are full, the drugstores, the supermarkets starting to send out their fliers. Everyone has the next best thing. Everyone has the best idea. No wonder Christmas turns into this romantic, unattainable thing... It's just not realistic.

I am excited though, because I think I'm 85% finished. Seriously folks, I'm on top of it. It's a wonderful feeling. I need to sit down now, and figure out what I'd like to bake. Not that I do much of it. I remember as a kid, my Mum and her Mum getting together and bake, bake, bake. There were melting moments, snowballs, fruit bars, butter tarts... I'm starting to salivate, just thinking of it. Then they would put trays of baking together, and set it out when people came over. I remember fondly sneaking into the freezer and sneaking some of those oh-so-yummy Christmas cookies. I'm sure no one ever noticed, right Mum? 'Cause I kinda jiggled the tin around, to disperse the cookies evenly...

Now... We don't do that the same. Of course I don't speak for everyone, just myself. Am I glad that I'm living right now? You bet. What with the computer, the Internet, digital cameras, altering photographs, scrap booking, caller id, cellphones, satellite radio, jeans to church.... Sheesh, things are as good as can can be. (That doesn't even take into consideration texting, the iphone, or itouch, because that stuff scares the crap out of me.)
[My 7 year old, is using lingo that I don't understand. In fact the other day, he asked his Dad and I, "When do I get my own itouch?"

Yikes is all I can say. I don't even know how to send a text, or upload a video to the Internet. It seems I'm nearly 'out with the old'. I remember 'booting up' my computer, and having to type in a command in DOS... Does anyone remember DOS? We've come a long way in 15 years people]

Man I tend to get off topic.

My point was, back in the day, people got dressed up for church. Remember the old saying "Wearing your Sunday best?". People had guests over, and served them proper things (at least my Mum and Grama did, so that was my experience) We answered the phone, because it was ringing, not because we knew WHO WAS CALLING. And when we went out, we went out, and we were not reachable until we got home. Cell phone? What was that? So though I'm thrilled to be exactly where I am right now, I do miss the calm of the days gone by.

I've got my advent calendar ready to go. It's been a bit of work preparing, but I'm prepared. We've got Christmas concerts and parties filling up the calendar. My shopping is done. I'm going to start to wrap some gifts this week. I intend to send a few through the mail by the end of next week. [I thought I'd try that out rather than waiting until Dec 23rd this year ;-)]

I've got my digital Xmas cards created, and I'm simply waiting for the disc of pictures. All is good. Life is good.

I've also worked on these layouts for my Yesterday & Today class. I came to the horrifying realization, that I am behind the camera most of the time. I need to get into more pictures. Looking for pictures of myself made that very clear. It should be a goal for 2010. (which seems really odd to type) 2010 that is... Wow. Who would have thought it?

That's whats new here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good Grief...

Wow. A week can certainly get away from you if you're not careful.

We've had some computer technical difficulties around here of late. I hate technical difficulties. If it's beyond pressing [ctrl-alt-del] well then 'Houston, we have a problem...' I guess our fiasco of '08 taught me nothing. [Such as, you should really have everyone you knows email addy on paper, because when you lose MS Outlook, you're hooped if you need to send an email.] We did have had a 'techie guy' come check things out, but weird things are still happening, and every so often I see a message that says something about "getting ready to do a physical data dump"... [I also lovingly refer to that as the 'blue screen of death' because you want to power that sucker off, before a physical data dump starts...] Yikes.

I have to tell you, I rely on technology more than I’d like to admit. I LOVE checking my emails. I love looking up stuff on the internet at a moments notice, or web surfing, and I love working with PSE, and doing stuff with my pictures digitally. Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it quickly. Barry mentioned he'd like to install Windows 7 on the 'puter... That makes me a bit squeamish, I have to admit. I'm not huge on change. At least everything I love and cherish is saved to an external hard drive. [Which proves that the fiasco of '08 did have SOME impact]

This past weekend we put up our.... Christmas tree. [gasp] I know, I know, it's terribly early. And to be honest, I might not have felt as good doing it, it if it hadn't been for her post. She made it OK.

Last year I seemed to be a bit caught-off-guard by the holiday season. And yes I do realize that it does come at the same time every year... But there was a lot of things that happened last year, and when you're a bit behind the ball to start off, then add shopping, tree erecting, baking, gift getting, Christmas parties and school concerts into the mix, it just got hectic. Last year we 'had to get the tree up'. It got to the point that we kind of said, ‘If we don't do it tonight, we might as well not do it at all’. Now that might be ok for some, and who knows, maybe there will some Christmas in our future when we elect not to put up a tree. But right now, with little people living in our house, and that just isn’t an option. This year, I feel pretty strongly about NOT BEING STRESSED. Ideally, I’d like to see December calm, quiet and fun. I want to enjoy the parties I go to. I want to enjoy the baking I decide to do. (Last year I frantically tried to get things done the night before they were supposed to be due) I hate that under-the-gun feeling. I actually have a handle on this years Christmas shopping too. I know! Me! So that's what we've been up to, in a nutshell. Along with the ongoing class I'm doing with Ali Edwards called Yesterday & Today, I've also finished my December Daily binder (to keep track of Dec 1 - 25th on a daily basis) and I've registered for a free on-line class w/Jessica Sprague called Holidays in Hand.

Wow... Re-reading that, is it any wonder why I continue to have sleepless nights. Sheesh, maybe I set myself up for failure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Layout from my On-Line Class

I'm still taking Ali's Yesterday and Today class. It's been quite different from what I expected. For one thing, I've really enjoyed the pictures of 'yester-year' a lot more than I thought I would have. A few of the assignments have been a bit personal, and therefore I haven't shared them on my blog. This latest assignment was so much fun. I had to scrounge up pictures of long ago, and once I got scrounging, I couldn't stop. On top of collecting images of my young family, when MY kids were born (because Mason was born before our digital era). I've been collecting images of my parents young family (when my brother and I were born) Then pictures of both my Mum's and my Dad's young families. In essence, where I came from. And to think that this is all part or half of my kids past, because now half comes from Barry's side too.

In school, many moons ago I recall having to gather information for a family tree. Now, with the digital age on our side, we can scan, and print, and collect these images, and it's so cool to have them at our disposal. Our kids don't know how lucky they are... (I laugh when I say that, because I wonder how many times our parents must have said that about us as kids) But they really are lucky, we have so many conveniences that were never around when I was a kid. I could start to name them all, but it's mind-boggling, believe me.

I LOVE pictures, and when it's people that are part of the reason I'm here today, that just makes it even more interesting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

For a Limited Time Only...

Thanksgiving weekend, we had family pictures done, by a photographer, Rachel Ludwig, who is based in Abbottsford, BC. I have been watched her work for a few years now, first as a scrapbooker, and now as a photographer. I was tickled pink to find out she was heading to Calgary and booking a few sessions during her stay. Even more pleased when I found out, she was able to accommodate our family.

Here is a look at some of the pictures of our session on her blog.

For a very limited time (a week I think) you can view a slide show of our pictures here...

I'm really pleased with how they turned out, and I have a tough decision to make as to which pictures I want. [Obviously, I want them all, much to Barry's horror...]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Phew...It's over

Ok - I made it through the weekend. What a load off. We had dressing up at school, dressing up at preshool, a sleep over, an adult Halloween Party and a kids Halloween Party. And now, I'm sipping on a red wine spritzer thankful to have the day to myself.

And a lazy day it has been. Madelyn is still in her jammies, and Mason made the switch to LAST years Halloween costume, he's zooming around the house as red Spiderman, as opposed to 'black Spiderman'. I thought the black Spiderman was venom, but apparently it's not. I got heck for telling people he was venom. "I am NOT Venom Mum, I'm just BLACK Spiderman". Who he keeps reassuring me, is normal-old Spiderman. So how come we needed to purchase a new costume? Beats me too.

A recap of the weekend. Mason come home for lunch on Friday, and this is what we had.

Then off to school, and preschool wearing costumes of course. Friday night, we had a costume party (adult) So much fun. Everyone participates, and it's always so great to see some of the creativity. Great snacks, and visiting, and laughs. Fun was had by all.
The next morning, we got up bright and early, to get ready for the kids party. The kids came, and had a great time. I know they had fun, but as they get older I have to pick it up a notch.

Creepy fun snacks! Mason was so pleased that the vampire teeth were one of the most popular choices. I wouldn't have thought so... We did a craft, that the boys weren't all that into... We did cookie decorating, which is always a big hit. And coloring pages, and a game. We watched a Halloween movie. I think it was fun.
Here are my two costume-clad kids:

After everyone left, we had supper, and there was the excitement of going out to collect candy. We bundled the kids up, and out they went.

This is how our pumpykins looked outside. Quite inviting I'd say...

And finally, this is what I'm enjoying, a red wine spritzer... Another successful year of parties!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the NIGHT Before Halloween...

You should know, these two are bouncing off the walls. Both are allowed to wear their costumes to school today. And are SO excited to do so. Mason instructed me, that he'd like to do what he did last year. I asked him "So, you want to come home for lunch, and get your costume on?" To which he said "Correct". That answer just makes me laugh. It's sometimes hard to believe the kid is only 7 years old.

I mentioned in my last post, we had family pumpkin carving night, here are the before pumpkins:

And here is after. Each person came up with their own design. Madelyn actually drew hers out on paper. The rest of us, kind of altered what we'd seen, different templates etc. The pumpkin order is: Madelyn - Barry - Mason - Candy. I think they turned out awesome.

These are the little treats Mad and I made to hand out to her class. She actually helped by taping a sucker to the back of each piece of paper. She did grow weary of writing her name though.

These are the little treat bags for Mason's class. He was a great helper. We stuffed the bags with paper, gum, rockets and an eyeball each. He was pretty excited to take these to school this morning.

This was dinner on Wednesday night. "Monster Dogs" on a bed of curly noodles. It's true, if you boil wieners in water, after cutting them, they do curl up.

Last night, I made tomato soup, with grilled cheese sandwiches (which is usually our Halloween night fare) But Thursday nights at our house are soup and sammy night. Check out the ice cube in the soup bowl.

And when I brought these to the table, Madelyn actually said "ahhhhh". Did she eat it? Not a chance, but she thought they were cute. Then she said "Mummy, did you forget I don't like anything roasted, or toasted or oven-ed?" I guess I did. I thought the jack-o-lantern face would trump that, but apparently it did not. She won't eat grilled cheese any way, so hers ALWAYS has be be peanut butter. Oh the trials of having picky eaters...

Today I'm doing last minute preparations for our Halloween Party tonight (the adult one) and tomorrow I'll be doing another kids version. I anticipate sitting on the couch on Saturday night, with a glass of wine, handing out treats. Grateful to be finished with prep mode.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween is Almost Here and I can Hardly Wait!

Call me crazy, but this year, I'm going to try and do this. Will I be biting off more than I can chew? Indeed I will. But this is the second year I've seen Ali do this, and I'd really like to document our December, the days that lead up to Christmas. Mason is 7 this year, really, how much longer am I going to be able to document the innocence and magic? So, I'm going to attempt to gather my supplies, and create the book before hand... Then during the month of December, I'll focus on printing off my daily pictures and journaling. Wish me luck...

***Ladybug update: I'm pleased to report that Sunday was a sunny day and it ended up being warm enough to release the ladybugs! The jar got put outside, and the lid was unscrewed. And all the ladybugs flew away home. That relieved a LOT of pressure.

I spooked up our house this year. I put out my decorations, though not as many as I usually do. I am trying to eliminate some of the 'cute' stuff. Last year Mason informed me that he wanted things to be 'more spooky'. It's kind of a tough transition to go from cutesy to spooky... So it will take me a couple of years to gather adequate scary stuff. I've been giving the kids the occasional 'spooky' treat. Here are a couple I've done so far.

Mummy's in a blanket. Cute, but they look SO much better in the magazines don't they?

Monster's Mouths. These one's were a huge hit, the kids LOVED them. I thought they'd be mortified by the whole apple and peanut butter thing, but they weren't. These little gems have been requested a number of times since. Too bad I can't send them to school...
Which has me thinking, why don't I just make the entire month of October spooky, rather than try to cram it all in the last week of the month? I'll do a better job next year. I've got great recipes, and I should try to do one every few nights. I love it just as much as the kids do. That will be my goal next year. Someone might have to remind me about that!

I've got a busy weekend ahead, with our annual adult and kids halloween parties. I've been getting things done BEFORE hand, rather than running around like a mad-woman the day of.
To date, I've baked pumpkin cookies for Mad's preschool [and put them in the freezer] I put together goodie bags for the kids party on Saturday. I made lollipop treats for Mad's school. Mace and I put together treat bags for his class. (I'll post pictures of them soon)
Tonight we had family pumpkin carving night and the pumpy-kins turned out FANTASTIC. Since Mason came along, we've always picked out a pumpkin each, and designed our own. This year was no different, and they turned out great. I'll post pics of these later as well.
Wouldn't it be great if I were this organized for Christmas too? Having said that, I haven't even thought about that yet. I can look at that one starting next week. I've got my gigantic on-going list of things to do. The thing I like MOST about lists, is crossing items off. Today I crossed off 'clean oven'. Yay for me!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We have a Winner

I have been searching for a very long time for the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe. I can't tell you, over the years, how many different recipes I've tried. I've gotten recipes from friends, from the backs of the chocolate chip bags, from cook books, from the internet, from blogs, I've pretty much tried them all.

A few weeks ago, I was reading through hand-me-down Chatelaine magazine, and turned to page 43 of the September 2009 issue, and delightfully came across a recipe called "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie". (I linked the recipe above, and if you're looking for a goody, then I suggest you give it a try). Our family for one, was NOT disappointed. In fact, I think we just may have actually broke a record for how quickly 4 dozen cookies can disappear. They might have even done so, while they were still warm from the oven. That ALONE might tell you something. The first time I made them, I bought some fancy-schmancy chocolate, a little something we call Bernard Callebaut chocolate chunks. (Now THAT is some good chocolate) So the cookies were fantastic. And I thought, hmmmmm, what about regular chocolate chips, Would the cookies still be as good if I used chipits? So I tried that yesterday afternoon, and the answer is YES, the cookies are still good. When a girl comes across a chocolate chip cookie recipe that tastes as good as these ones do, she has to share it with others!

So bake and enjoy!

Another significant thing to note. Thursday we had a nice day. It was sunny. The sky was clear. We saw the sun. I say this, because for most of the month of October, we HAVEN'T seen the sun. It's been grey, dreary, dull and depressing. If I wanted to live like that, I'd move to the west coast. At least I would EXPECT that there. But here in Calgary, I expect to see the sun. We got totally ripped off this year. It froze AND snowed the beginning of October, so all the leaves died. And now, the dead leaves are clinging to all the trees. And of course, being dead now, flash-frozen I suspect, they're all a dreadful dying brown color... That's right folks, we didn't get fall here this year. We're moving from summer (if you can even call it that this year) to winter.

So back to Thursday... Yes, delightful Thursday, when the sun came out warming and delighting us. Madelyn spent the day with Ama on Thursday, and in the back yard, they happened to come across ladybugs. (No doubt they too, where shocked to see the sun) I suppose, not really knowing what goes on in a ladybugs mind, they were rooting around looking for places to hibernate. All I can say is this... "Oh you poor, poor little ladybugs, I'm sorry you will not be living out your ladybug destiny..." Because here you are...

Yes, you might see a few around the lid in this picture:

And a few more here:

And my GOODNESS, here is quite a cluster in this picture:

I kid you not. There has to be at LEAST 50 lady bugs in this jar... The jar of ladybugs came home from Ama's house. Delightful little holes poked into the lid, and it's alive with movement. Yesterday I said Madelyn we have to let them go, so they can hibernate. [Though yesterday was GREY, dull and dreary, it was not cold] To which she responded, "One more day! I'll let them go tomorrow".
But, now we have a problem, because this morning we woke up to snow again... And what do you do with 50+ ladybugs in a jar, when it's snowing outside? Perhaps we'll move them to a cold part of the garage, and they can happily hibernate in the jar, and we'll bring them out in the spring again...
Wish us luck, because I HATE to be responsible for the mass death of all these lovely little lady bugs!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Note to Self

Last night I stayed up late. Way too late for a school night. The old me might have been up EASY-PEASY until the wee hours of the morning (back when Mason was in afternoon Kindergarten). In fact, from the time he was born, until he was in Grade One, it was a fairly regular occurrence for me to stumble up to bed between 2 – 3 am. I was indeed blessed with children that sleep in. That and creativity that always seems to step it up a notch if it’s past 11 pm.

But the new me, has come to her senses, and tries to make it to bed by 11 pm. I just don’t wake up very nice. No matter how hard I try, I can’t be jolly. I’m NOT a morning person. Enough said.
So last night, I stayed up way too late for a school night, because I got on a role. Remember a few months ago, I was on about ‘de-cluttering’? Last night I began to de-clutter my scrapbook room. And it REALLY needs to be done. I’m a dreadful hoarder… (I thought admitting that would make me feel better) Let me try this:

“My name is Candy, and I’m a dreadful hoarder…”

Nope. Still feel the same.

Once in awhile, I get into the ruthless ‘everything goes’ mode. I happened to be in that state last night. I lugged armfuls of old magazines such as: Parents, Ikea, Pottery Barn to the recycling bin. I’m talking circa 2006 and BEFORE…) I started a great big ‘donation bag’ and in it I tossed paper that I don’t like the look of any more. Markers and stickers I honestly know I'll never use. Cheap little albums I HAD TO HAVE, because when something is a good deal, I can justify anything. Crazy dollar store stuff I thought I needed to have, but in real life, don’t. It’s been nearly 24 hours and I haven’t rooted through the donation bag to retrieve anything. Yay for me.

Having said that, especially about the magazines, there’s absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that a week from now, I’ll need to find something I’d purposefully dog-eared, in one of those magazines. But alas, it will be too late; they’ll be fulfilling their destiny at the recycle plant.

I guess, the point of my story is… And I actually had to think to myself, “Is there a point to your story?” And indeed, there is.

My scrap room (which I’m thinking of calling my ‘studio’ from now on) is currently in disarray, and I’m NO LONGER in my ruthless, everything must go phase.

It’s only 10 pm, and I’m tired and the very last thing I feel like doing is sorting and putting things away, you know, all the ‘stuff’ that got put aside last night at 1 am. The 'to be dealt with 'tomorrow' stuff.

Having said that, if I look at the bookshelf I was ruthless with, it does make me smile. So, I think I’ll got to bed now, get my 8 hours, and then work on it another time. So I guess this is just kind of a reminder to self, don't start some of these projects so late. Think the timing through a bit!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Capturing Moments

I signed up for another on-line class with Big Picture Scrapbooks.

As of now, I've done 12 classes/workshops. There were even a few freebies in there! What I like about taking an on-line class is that it forces me to ‘keep up’. There are usually a ‘suggested’ number of layouts to do, per week. I say ‘suggested’ because it’s not supposed to in any way, bring on guilt of any kind. It is stressed, that you can do everything at your own pace, choosing to do ONLY what you want to do, or doing nothing at all, if that’s what you want to do. In my case, I WANT to keep up. I like to post things into the gallery of the class I’m taking, and I LOVE the feedback I get from the other scrapbookers and occasionally by the teachers.

The class I’m currently taking is called Yesterday & Today, taught by Ali Edwards, whom I love. You can read her blog here. So far each class I’ve done has started its ‘new week’ on a Thursday. So each Thursday morning, I head downstairs with my piping hot coffee to receive my email, watch my video tutorial, and basically figure out what needs to be done for the next week.

I have to laugh at myself, because I get kind of ‘dog with a bone-ish’ when I’m taking a class. I want to watch my tutorial, work on my computer and basically not be interrupted for a few hours. (Which is hard, considering I’m here with Madelyn each day) and my job title is stay at home mom and NOT graphic designer…

Anyhoo, this class is about looking back at yesterday, and looking ahead to today. It’s about capturing the stories that I think others will want to know, if God forbid, I weren’t around to tell them to anyone. It plays on my guilt slightly, that perhaps I’m just not keeping good enough track of my life as a Mum. Perhaps I just strode through my younger years, taking everything for granted, and not detailing what was important…

I’ve created 2 layouts so far, one was simply to let me off the hook, for any guilt I might harbor over not doing enough/documenting enough/being good enough, etc. (I’m pretty sure I’ll need to come back to this one time and time again, constantly re-reading it to myself and convincing myself things are ok).

The next layout I did was for the title page of the album I’m creating. It’s using pictures that I’ve scanned in. And I have to tell you, I’m amazed at the quality. It makes me think I should be scanning in every picture I ever took BEFORE digital came along. And I’ve only been using digital since Madelyn came along. Crikey, that's A LOT of scanning...
I’m looking forward to completing this week’s assignment, which is documenting 6 random childhood memories. I went through some pictures, and as I did, I was amazed at how memories came flooding back. I looked through pictures of my childhood, not all of them, but a pretty good selection of them and it’s shocking the memories that begin to flood. Things you can suddenly remember JUST by studying a picture. Will it really matter if my kids don’t know how much their Uncle Chris and I fought as kids? Or that one year we went as Hobo’s for Halloween? Or that I was younger than Mason is now, when we got our first puppy (seriously Mum… were you THAT brave OR just plain crazy). I don’t know if it will matter to them or not. But it is a part of my life, and it matters to me. And if I’m not around to tell them, then I guess they just won’t get told.

I think it’s quite safe to say, that I’m coming around, ever so slightly to Ali’s way of thinking.

And look at that, almost an entire post without complaining about the weather. But I HAVE to. It's like a winter wonderland outside right now. And it's been cold. So very cold. And I'm not looking forward to another 6 L O N G months of it. Because the chinook might blow in like it's supposed to, and we might reach the 'supposed' high of 21° by Saturday, but WHO CARES, winter is a com'in.