Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Contest announcement tomorrow!

Super cool contest announcement tomorrow!  There is a fantastic prize, provided by a fantastic lady, find out more tomorrow morning.

Join us in the 25 days of Christmas!

I'm not doing very well at posting daily, am I?  Thats alright, I suppose.  I'm about to fix that!  Anyway, today's post is just a quick one.

I just wanted to let you know that tomorrow is the first day of "The 25 days of Christmas" for our family.  If you would like to join in feel free.  I'm sure we'll be opening our envelopes each morning, before school since some of the activities are intended to be all day activities.  I'll be posting each day to let you know what we're doing.  Sometimes it will be a craft, and I will let you know all the materials you'll need, and usually it will be things that most people with kids have on hand, but if you would like to check out my last post, you'll see each activity I have planned, and email me if you would like instructions, or want to know what supplies you'll need, or ask for a recipe.  Some days it will be baking or cooking something Christmas-y.  Ill include the recipe and ingredients, of course.  Other days I have activities planned, like building a snow man, delivering cookies to an older neighbour who lives alone, learning about another countries Christmas traditions, and things like that.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading about our newfound family (hopefully) tradition.  :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Would you like to do reviews for Harlequin Romance Novels?

Just a quick post to let you know about something cool I just found in one of my many google journeys. 

If you enjoy reading romance novels, you can actually do reviews for Harlequin romance novels.  They send out free books, ask you to read them, and then you answer questions for them.  You get to keep the book, free of charge! This has been confirmed by quite a few people, and some have even won prizes for participating.  Heres the link if you would like to take part, I know I am!


The 25 days of Christmas!

This year we are doing the 25 days of Christmas, as a family.  We will begin December 1st, and count down until December 25th.  Each day we will do some sort of Christmas activity, such as a Christmas craft, watch a christmas movie, decorate the Christmas tree, read a Christmas story...things like that.  

So for the past week I've been working on the plan.  I've got a list made, and I know how I'm going to construct the calendar itself, so today is the day I put it all together.  I've got some red sparkly burlap-ish material, on that I'm going to add the actual calendar grid.  It will be made out of sparkly white organza, which will be made in to small compartments, for each day, complete with a little flap and a clip to keep it closed until the day of.  I've got some fabric that I will cut out to spell "The 25 days of Christmas" at the top, and a bunch of small decorations to fancy it up a little bit. 

So the three girls will each take turns opening the days compartment, and reading it out loud...well, Annie won't of course.  

I really wish I had a working camera to take pictures of all of this, while I make it so you all could see, but somehow it got broken.  So, when it's all done, I will take one picture with my webcam, and post it here.  :)

If anyone else would like to do this with their family, here are a few links to inspire you\

Or you could just google like crazy (which is what I did) and combine all the ideas you find in to one project.

Also, here is my list of 25 activities (not in order yet)  for my calendar:

1)    Good Elf Day (We do as many good deeds as we can fit in to one day)
2)    String popcorn for tree
3)    Penguin or snowman recycled lightbulb tree decoration
4)    Decorate the Christmas Tree
5)    Bake sugar cookies & decorate them
6)    Write letter to santa & mail it
7)    Listen to Christmas music and colour a Christmas picture
8)    Read a Christmas story
9)    Write Christmas cards
10)                       Make paper snowflakes
11)                       Go and see Santa
12)                       Salt dough Christmas tree decorations
13)                       Make chocolates
14)                       Make Teacher gifts & wrap them up
15)                       Bake Christmas Pies
16)                       Snowman window cling craft
17)                       Watch a Christmas special/movie on TV
18)                       Go for a drive and look at Christmas lights, with popcorn & blankets.
19)                       Pajama movie night with popcorn
20)                       Learn about another countries Christmas traditions
21)                       Play in the snow & have hot chocolate (first day of winter – 22)
22)                       Toilet paper roll snowmen craft
23)                       Take the cookies we have made to our neighbour
24)                       Hang up stockings, leave out milk & cookies, and put out carrots for the reindeer

Aand I've been struggling for a new tradition for our family to start for Christmas day.  traditions keep a family close, and we need our own, so, I've come up with one idea, and it may change, but I think Im going to stick with it.  On christmas morning, after all the presents are opened, and everyone has had a chance to check out their new stuff, we'll all get dressed up, and Ill serve everyone a fancy brunch.  COmplete with orange juice in wine glasses, candles, a nice tablecloth on the table, and some music playing.  I know the kids will FLIP out for that, and I love to see them smile, so, we'll go with this idea.  

If you decide to do this with your family, let me know, I would love to hear about it! 


Saturday, November 20, 2010

These are a few of my favourite things,,,,

Well, really, these are things I pretty much can't live without. Ten material objects, in no particular order.  (This means my children, boyfriend, parents and other family members are not on here, because they mean more to me than any material object ever could)

  1. Coffee.  I prefer Tim Hortons, dislike Starbucks, and usually drink Maxwell House.  
  2. Tea.  I'm beginning to take more than a liking to this stuff.  I used to drink it once in awhile, now it's a daily thing, and the more I drink, the more I want to try new flavours. 
  3. Urban Decay Primer Potion.  I don't wear make-up every day, but when I do, I use this, and I don't think I'll go back to not using it.  
  4. My laptop.  Yes, I realize how that sounds.  I cannot live without my laptop.  It's just that it's so darn handy.  I use it to plan the monthly budget, meal plans, and it is currently holding over 200 recipes.  When I cook, it goes in the kitchen with me so I can follow recipes, and listen to music.  When I'm tired, I can lay in bed and watch a movie.
  5. My minivan.  Yes, I realize some of you think mini vans suck; but guess what?  YOU'RE WRONG.  I put my kids in the back seat, turn up the music, and I don't head a damn thing!  You car drivers can't do that now, can you?  I'm only slightly joking. 
  6. Bounty Paper Towels.  Yes, paper towel.  I prefer select-a-size, but really, as long as it's Bounty, I'm good.  
  7. Books. I love to read.  I have always loved to read, ever since I was a kid.  I like all types of books, and I'm always in the middle of reading at least 3 different books. 
  8. Ebay.  I guess this is sort of a material object.  You get the idea, eh?  I ♥ Ebay!  I buy so many things, and for such a cheap price.  I see something I like on TV, and I go right to Ebay to see what kind of deal I can get.  I once bought a $27 book on there for $4 because the pages were dog eared. 
  9. My bread maker.  My mom gave it to me about two weeks ago, and I've made a loaf (or 2) of bread every single day, since then.  This thing is great.  I don't buy bread or buns any more.  Thank you mom!
  10. My "lambie jammies."  I've had these since I don't know when.  Years and years and years, and it shows.  I've worn them through all three pregnancies, literally. (No, really) They're threadbare, torn to crap, and probably have a stain or two - but I love them, and whats even better?  My boyfriend loves it when I wear them!  They're his favourite.  Sometimes when he notices them in the laundry, he'll wash them, just so I can wear them that night.  He always snuggles up to me because he loves how soft they are.  I'm either going to have to sew them up, or say RIP "Lambie jammies" pretty soon.  I wonder how he'll take it?

So, this list was originally supposed to be 25 items, but I struggled coming up with ten.  Do you have a list of 10, 25....50?  Tell me!  I love hearing these types of things.  :) 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Decorating for Christmas in November; yay or nay?

Today feels like the perfect day to pull the Christmas decorations out of the basement storage, but alas, it is only November 19th.  For some reason it seems wrong to me.  I've got my wreath up on my front door, and a snowman window clingy thing, but thats the extent of my decor.

On Sunday we're taking the kids to the city to see the Santa Claus parade which should prove interesting.  The forcast is saying -11°C, which isn't too bad...but thats the estimated high, the estimated low is looking to be about -22°C. Not fun.  I know after seeing all the Christmas-y stuff, and the big guy himself, I will REALLY want to decorate...and the kids will too.

This year we're doing "The 25 days of Christmas."  I'm (slowly) creating a 3'x3' advent calendar, each day will hold a note with a Christmas activity on it, and each of my girls will take turns each day reading the note.  December 1st is going to be to Decorate the Christmas tree.  So... 11 more days!  We'll see who has more patience, the kids...or mom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Green Works products...actually WORK!

I've tried some environmentally friendly products in the past with not so great results, but in my first order from www.save.ca I received a bunch of coupons for Clorox's GREEN WORKS products.  One was a "buy 3 & save $5" deal.  Woohoo!  I needed some cleaning products at the time, so I decided to try those ones.  Am I ever glad I did!  I chose the dishsoap, the multi-purpose spray cleaner and the wipes, since I go through those like crazy. 

I got home, and lo and behold, I had dishes to do!  (Family of five with no dishwasher...wait, I AM the dishwasher)  So I filled the sink up with hot water and some of the Green Works soap, and I was amazed.  It smelled amazing, the bubbles lasted longer than any soap I have ever used, and my hands never feel like they've been soaked in bleach after doing dishes 3 times per day.  

The all-purpose spray cleaner is just as awesome as the dish soap.  It smells amazing, it cleans just as well as any other product containing all the harsh chemicals, and it's main ingredients are derived from coconut, corn, lemons, and water, which I think is probably safer in the kitchen.  It just makes me wonder; how much bacteria is it killing?

Last on the list is the wipes.  I haven't really had a chance to use them yet, I just opened them this morning.  Again, they're just made with natural lemon & wood fibres, with no chemicals, so I'm not sure how well they will disinfect.  They smell good, and the coolest thing about them, is they're compostable...which would be great...if I composted. 

I've been conversing with one of the Green Works reps on the company's Facebook fan page, and I've been told there is a money back guarantee with all of the Green Works products, so I think the next bottle of laundy soap I buy is going to be Green Works.  I'm still a bit sceptical, as we have horrible water in this town, and I usually don't use anything but Tide.  Tide rocks our mismatched holy socks.  :)

All in all, the best thing about the Green Works products I have tried is the scents they offer.  The dish soap is the best product over all with it's water lily scent.  We'll have to wait and see how that laundry soap turns out.

Heres a link to the website, if you're interested.  http://www.greenworkscleaners.com/

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Robin Hood Flour; Love of Baking - Free download

Just thought I would share this with you all.  I love to bake, and Christmas is coming, so, I'll be doing a ton of it, I'm sure.  I was just googling some recipes, and came across this download, it's a pdf file, and it's completely safe to download, I did a scan to make sure.  Enjoy!


Do you stand behind, beside or in front of your partner?

This is sparked from the episode of Dr. Phil, yesterday.  To begin with, there were two guests, both women.  They were each on opposite sides of the fence when it came to standing behind your partner or in front. 

One woman said that the man should be king.  He should be in control, he should not be expected to contribute in any way, domestically.  She went as far as to say that it's a turn off to see a man do the dishes.  If a man is going to do anything around the house, it should be done with a hammer, or something comparable.  She failed to mention that her and her husband had just split up after 15 years.

The other woman was on the other side of the fence, she straight out told Dr. Phil that she was the captain.  She was in charge, she ran the show.   She chooses her husbands friends, she tells him what too wear, what to eat, and it seemed like she even maybe even told him when he could and could not breathe.  She was asked if her husband did much to help her around the house, and I think he expected her to say that he does most of it, which is what I expected her to say; but she said no!  He does absolutely nothing around the house, and thats how she likes it, because he would probably do it wrong anyway...WOW!  When asked how long they had been married, she replied with a slight smile "One year"  Someone kindly informed her to wait a few years and she would be asking for his help.  I agree 100%.  No doubt!

So heres my own opinion on that topic.  It might be a little wish washy, and a little confusing, but thats because I'm not quite sure I know, myself.

I am a stay at home mom.  I have two girls in school all day, and I have a two year old at home.  I have a partner who works hard long hours, to support our family, I feel like I should be the one to keep everything running smoothly.  To do that, in this house anyway - that means the cleaning, the cooking, the laundry, the kids homework, the meal planning, the bill paying, the appointments, the budget and pretty much anything else that goes on in the house.  He's always there if I need his help, he's always there to offer support, or to put his two cents in. (sometimes thats not a good thing, just let me cook, please.)  So, I guess some people would look at that as me standing behind him, but in my eyes, Im standing beside him, because we're each contributing to this family, equally.  I don't know if I could stand myself if he left for work in the morning and came home at supper time and the house looked the same as when he left it, and he had to cook for us, and clean, and do laundry.  There was a time when I was feeling a little - out of sorts, we'll just say, and he would do those things.  Once I saw how unfair that was, I had to snap myself out of it, and shape up. 

I know what I need to to for my family, I know that even though they don't show the type of appreciation that I want, it doesnt mean they don't appreciate me at all.  After all, they're kids...and a man.  They have their own way of doing things.  You know the saying, if you want something done right (in other word, your way...which doesn't always = right), you may as well do it yourself; so I do!  I appreciate myself, I tell myself Im doing a great job, and I reward myself with small things.  The rest comes from seeing their smiles when they walk through the door to a clean home, or when I hear a chorus of "Mmmmmmm this is yummmy!" when they take their first bite of supper.

A lot of women seem to struggle with this.  I'm not sure what it is, but I believe it has something to do with the way the society has embraced the whole "woman power" thing.  Women nowadays want to be so strong, and so empowered that they resist anything that *gasp* Im going to say it "traditional women roles" entail.  No one can deny that women have always been the ones to clean the house, cook the meals, and take care of the children.  It's been that way since the beginning of time.  It's only just begun changing in the last little while, and it's been shoved in to the face of our generation of girls that men are less than women.  I am all for equality; men and woman should be 100% equal...or wait...is it 50%? 

That being said; when I finally finish school, and can go out and get a job, I can expect to have 50% of the work load taken off.  I don't think we'll sit down and right a list and make sure it's 50/50, but I know my partner will help out.

Im not sure if I've clarified my view, or if this is a big long rambling post with a bunch of random points mentioned.  Either way, it's fine, this is "Ramblings of a Manic Mommy" after all.  Feel free to comment and add your two cents. 

I'm off to bake some cookies and do some dishes.  ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yesterday was a food-ish kind of day.

Singer Sewing Machine Model 319W - Causes me much stress, but I won't give up....yet.

Teacup candle. My Granny gave me the cup, and it sat in a cupboard, wrapped in newspaper forever, until I decided to fill it with wax and a wick, and BAM!  Pretty Candle. My girlies were impressed.  :)

So, this is my lemon sauce/marinade for my chicken.  I was going to let it sit all day, but I thought ahead to how busy the ktichen usually is at supper time, and I threw it all in to the crock pot.  ♥ that thing.  Its just a bunch of lemon juice, like 1/2 a cup, equal amount of water, 1/4 cup olive oil, a buttload of spices, and seasoning and lemons, of course.  T'was alright.


My mom gave me her bread maker, the first day, I used the regular 4 hour setting, getting really puffy, bubbly, soft bread.  The next day, I used the rapid 1 hour setting, and got this...it doesn't look like much, but it was DEEELISH! 

First time EVER making cinnamon buns.  I didn't know what to bake them in/on, so I used a pizza pan...weird, I know. 

This is from supper time tonight.  I was preparing beef stir fry.  the recipe called for cornstarch, so I took off the lid, to find this label/seal.  Notice it says NO MESS!

They LIE!  It went EVERYWHERE!!!
I also baked four dozen peanut butter free monster cookies for my kids' school lunches, and Annie's snack attacks.  I did this all while preparing the cinnamon bun dough, and doing the dishes after supper, so taking pictures was the last thing on my mind.  Sorry guys!  They're super yummy though.  Smarties, raisins, chocolate chips & butterscotch chips. Ill include the recipe in tomorrows post.

Sooo many ideas!

I've been spending less time online, and more time DOING stuff.  The time spent online is usually spent googling craft ideas.  I have 4 full post it notes on my laptop, of things I want to make.  If I do one per day, I should finish up by February...that is - if I don't add any more ideas to the list.  My big project that I am verrrrrry excited for, is a no sew knot fleece blanket or 2 - or 5...we'll see.  I found a woman online selling 7 feet of brand new polar fleece for $10.  WOW!  I'll buy that! 

Something else I want to try is a poinsettia centrepiece for the Christmas season.  I might have to switch each week, as I plan on making a few different styles.  I plan on making one for my mom, one for my neighbour, and one for the staff room at the kids' school.

Then there are the little purses I'm almost finished with.  Im excited for those ones!  I started a few weeks ago, they're made from old worn out jeans.  I cut the pockets out, decorated them, one for each kid, and then hot glued them on to a little denim bag I made from the pant leg...the hem being the bag opening.  Super easy.  I just need to come up with a strap/handle.  I think I might braid some strips of denim, and then sew them on.  The girls are gonna flip!

Anyway, while I was making the purse, I was sure to document the whole process with my camera, so I am hopefully *crosses fingers* make my very first video tutorial! :)

Of course I'll post it when it's ready!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I've come across a craft I want to share.  Its from the Martha Stewart website.  I subscribed to the daily craft suggestion emails, and I now get a daily email with a (most days) awesome craft suggestion.  Here is the link if you would like to subscribe.  http://www.marthastewart.com/craft-of-the-day  She also has other daily subscriptions, such as daily organizing tips, and lets face it, we can all benefit from some organizing advice, right? 

Anyway, here is the link to todays craft if you would like to try it out.    .http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/fall-decor-crafts?xsc=eml_crd_2010_11_09&lpgStart=1&currentslide=30&currentChapter=1   I just happen to have a box of 28 glass hurricanes sitting in my basement, waiting to be used.  We purchased them on our local classified website while making wedding plans, they were to be used as centrepieces....somehow.  Well, wedding plans are postponed for a year or so, and their burning a hole in my creative pocket.  I'm going to go out with the kids and a basket this afternoon, and see if we can't track down some pine cones.  I know a house on the next block that has an abundance of these things on the ground.  I might add some "snow" to the edges, and maybe some Christmas decor.

The directions on the website seem a little....off, to me, so I think I'll just improvise with my own creativity, and see how things go.  Ill post pictures when I'm done. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A few of my favorite quotes...

I love quotes.  I google quotes all the time, and my favourite quote site is http://www.thinkexist.com/

Quotes inspire me, they get the message across, and they always sound smarter than anything I could come up with.  Here are some of my favourites...
"At the minimum, a child needs at least one adult in their life who is irrationally crazy about them"  Unknown

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do."  Helen Keller

"When you teach your son, you teach your son's son." The Talmud

"Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it." Rosemary Brown

"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." ~Phyllis Diller

"When you heal a child, you heal a family. When you heal a family, you heal a community. When you heal a community, you heal a nation.| ~Ovide Mecredi

"We're just two lost souls swimmin' in a fish bowl, year after year" Pink Floyd.

Feel free to message me any of your favourite quotes, or your own quotes, and Ill feature them on the page.