Friday, 19 December 2014

6 week work out update

I can't believe I'm coming to the end of my six weeks!! It's been great and though I've just been working out and not focusing on diet at all, I've made some significant ground work!!

Now I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be, I do get lazy from time to time, but I do push through and get the exercises done, I just have to set a time in my day and always work out at that time, and if I go to work out class then I need to adjust my schedule accordingly.  And that's exactly what I'm going to do, because I need to be in shape for my kids and for running this half Marathon in August.  August will be here before I know it!! No More Excuses!!

I did say that there has been significant ground work done and that is the truth. I have not stepped on a scale (ok I didn't step on a scale at the beginning but I have since I just don't know if I've lost any weight and I don't actually care) but I have been measuring 10 areas on my body weekly.  I don't have any expectations to see changes, if I do GREAT, if I don't Great, it's just something I can use to see how my progress is coming, without having to focus on the mirror.

Now with those measurements I have lost a total of 23 inches.  I think that's HUGE!! HUGE!!! I mean it would be nice if all those inches were in my chest, waist and thigh areas but they aren't. And because I don't measure against the first week, I haven't actually calculated how much I've lost in each area.  However, we can say I've lost an average of 1.77 inches in all areas (some areas have two parts ie. thighs, calves, biceps).  I am so fricken proud of myself, because I do feel stronger, I know I can do this and I know I will do this and I know it will be nothing but positive for my family!!

So I have a two week hiatus from a regiment routine because of Christmas and travelling for Christmas, but starting the New Year I'll be back at it!! And I honestly can't wait!!! But while on vacation I'll be out running, and during my runs I'll do some other workouts as I find places to do them it's going to be fabulous, now just to conquer the cold!!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Prince T is 7 months

Every month is a new adventure with Prince T!! He's a very happy baby, who loves to explore his environment, but he's taking after his brothers, he's a momma's boy!! It's amazing the advances he's making, he's becoming more engaged each day and trying new things.

His current likes are:
crawling, his brothers, the jolly jumper, playing soccer with Lil man, bananas, raspberries and tuna.

His current dislikes are:
having mom out of his sight, sleeping unswaddled, drinking from a bottle, mushy food.

In this past month he's brought so much joy to our family. He's brought inadvertent laughs,(a full out explosion on his big brother, which his brother called an infestation).  He's started crawling, first is was an army crawl and man could he move, now it's the regular crawl, he's not a fast but he's moving throughout the front room.
He's started to pull himself up on things, trying to stand.  He's started playing with others, which may sound like a strange statement so I'll explain. Babies, for the first part of their life, don't necessarily play back when the bigger humans in their life play with them and at some point they start to play back, so if you pass a ball at them they'll pass it back, or you cover your face and say peek a boo they copy, or two babies sit on the floor and follow each other around as they play where before it was the older baby interacting with the younger one and the younger one sitting there like a stuffed toy.

Prince T met Santa and had a picture taken with him, maybe he'll be my one son that isn't terrified of mascots!

Prince T has been the perfect addition to our little family, I guess it's not really a little family any more.  He's a good mix of his brothers personalities, not as active as Lil Man, but more active than Chandler was at that age.  He is a mover and a shaker but he loves to cuddle like Chandler did.  I look forward to each day, week, month and year to see him grow into a wonderfully caring young man!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Easy at Home Centers

I always had a love for school, even when it irritated me I loved school. I loved learning new things, I loved finding new books, I loved hanging out with my friends, all in all I loved school. Sure there were times when I didn't like a teacher, or I didn't like a subject we were taking, but in the grand scheme of things I enjoyed school.  So it would not surprise anyone that one of my favourite rainy, non school day activity was playing school.  I would set up my sister and our stuffed animals in a classroom area of our basement.  I would then set up colouring or writing or story activities to do with them. Sometimes I even let my sister be the teacher, but she was younger and did not know as much as me, so that was only sporadically.

It's ironic right, kids complain about school, yet when they are left to do free play they play school.  I find it funny, but I think it's one of the best games or activities that I as a parent can foster.  Do I want to guide the school play, no, do I expect my kids to not need any help, no, but I need to do something so that it can be an independent activity and not an activity I have to over see.

Lil Man's favourite activity at school is Centres.  This is when the kids are divided into small groups and they get to different activities around the room.  These activities can be music, reading, games, blocks, worksheets, anything really.  The kids will go through the 4 or 5 centres in a day, some could be teacher led and some are independent after the Teacher explains how the centre works.  It's great because it gives them some guided instruction, but it also gives them time to play independently of which I personally feel kids need more.

So after a week of Lil Man being home for three days and always wanting to play school I decided I need to create some centres I could direct him back to at that time and he could do them independently.  Some of them I will of course help him set up, but some he can just be directed to and I can let him play alone and I can do the stuff I need to do around the house.  So that's what I did one weekend, I bought supplies for centres.

I went to the Dollarama and purchased little baskets that fit on my shelves, bought some craft supplies, and some notebooks.

We now have eight centres in our house. We have a puzzle centre, a math centre, a writing centre, a workbook centre, a colouring centre, a painting centre, a play dough centre, and a games centre.  These were simple to set up once I got around to organizing them.  And now Little man can pick the centre he wants to do and we set it up and he plays for different lengths of time depending on the centre.

The puzzle and colouring centre are the easiest for Lil Man to do on his own. He simply grabs to box then puts the puzzles together or colours in one of the many colouring books we have.  I put the board the puzzles in the puzzle centre and a few smaller puzzles.  The colouring centre has his crayons and markers so that's easy for him as well. He definitely spends more time with the colouring centre than the puzzle centre.

Painting and Play dough take a little extra set up for me because we have to put the table clothe and newspaper down so he doesn't make a mess every where. But once that little set up occurs Lil Man is good to play for a long time on his own. Sometimes when he's in the play dough centre I have him make different shapes or letters as he plays.  It's easy to direct from where ever I am in the house especially if I'm cooking or feeding the baby.

The math, writing, and workbook centres are much more guided by myself. These are centres that I have to be more actively involved in throughout.  I help Lil Man write words, count his numbers or start different workbook pages.  He finishes the small tasks but then I have to go back and start a new task or re-explain what he is supposed to be doing.  He really enjoys these centres because he can practice what he is learning at school.  He's very smart and he really likes to learn!!

The game centre is where Lil man picks out a game to play, this can be candy lane, pictopia, sorry or trouble.  And sometimes he plays alone but most of the time we play together while his brother is sleeping.

My next task is to break up our day so that it is in a routine for Lil Man and he knows when he and I are doing things together and when he will need to do things independently.  I am going to work on a ninth and tenth centre.  The ninth being music and the tenth being reading centre.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

a change in the schedule

So I had my whole month of blogs planned out, I wrote what I could ahead of time and agreed to work on the rest as time permitted. Then, Life happened.  One boy needed to go to soccer, one needed to go to soccer and hockey, the flu invaded our house, another boy is teething.  So all that adds up to very little sleep for mommy+no spare minutes in the day = no writing completed. Plus hubby should have been home yesterday but now he's extended another week so what I thought I'd get done by having him home to help out is not getting done, so what does that mean for my poor little blog?

Essentially it means my Christmas holidays will start after this week.  I have three more scheduled blogs ready to go and then that's it until the New Year.  I'll post a couple more blogs in the next two weeks but they won't be daily as I'm going to go on holidays.  I'm going to enjoy the time with my boys, and file away blog entries for the New Year!!

I wish all you my readers a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to interacting with you in the New Year!!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

Did you know I love Breakfast?? I am seriously in love with all breakfast meals, and if I can eat them all day long I totally would.

So I found this recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes on, you guessed it, Pinterest and I decided to try them one morning.

I used a box mix to make my pancake batter, I can make them from scratch, but Lil Man and Prince T were hungry and I didn't want to prolong this, especially if they didn't turn out, so quickly mixing up a batch of "just add water" pancakes I then started with the other parts of this recipe.

Making the Cinnamon swirl stuff was just yummy!! Butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, yup nothing wrong there  (4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon) Mix them all together then put them in a ziploc sandwich bag. making a small cut in one of the corners.

The Cream cheese frosting was also very delicious!!! Butter, Cream cheese and icing sugar, yes please!! oh and some vanilla!! (4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, ¾ cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract) Mix these all together and put them in a bowl and set aside.

So now to make the swirly pancakes!! Pour a little batter onto your heated griddle, I had mine between 275-300 degrees, let the pancake cook a bit, then take the cinnamon swirl and spread it around the pancake.  I did swirls but you could literally do any design you wanted to.  Let cook  a bit more then flip.  The griddle is going to get messy, you can wipe it after each round, or you can leave it. It just depends on how you want the pancakes to be presented.


Put Pancakes on a plate, drizzle or coat with the cream cheese frosting then serve!!

I got two thumbs up for these delightful treats from all the boys, so they are now part of our breakfast pancake rotation!!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Yoga with Nicole

About a month ago my friend Marriann posted that she had just finished a 4 week session of private Yoga lessons with Nicole Schulz.  I really like yoga, but I'm not a yogi and I wasn't clear on my body positions so I didn't know if I was actually doing things correctly or just standing awkwardly in weird positions.  So I thought having some private lessons would be amazing. I emailed Nicole and we got started on our lessons in November.

I loved the lessons!! They were amazing and I felt great after each lesson.  I now have a routine to do that helps strengthen and stretch my body so that I can enhance my training for the half marathon in August.  I'm so excited to have this routine and I love practicing it, I've just have to get more consistent in my practice.

After the first lesson I felt taller, and I just felt more grounded in my life.  I felt a different relaxation take over me but it was very similar to how I feel after I go for a run, I think that's why I like Yoga so much.  It allows you to become very connected with what is happening in yourself.

So here are some of the yoga poses I did with Nicole.

The Pigeon, which is great for stretching your hamstrings, glutes, and quads.

Downward facing Dog, great stretch for the legs again but a great workout for the shoulders.

Forward Lunge, stretches out the hip flexor and quad

Downward facing dog to high plank, works the shoulders and arms

Spinal Twist in forward lunge.

Child's pose (one of my favourites)

Corpse Pose (love ending with this one)

Now I need to find some yoga music to help me do my routines and I'll slowly build my routine so that it last for 30-45 minutes at a time.

I've definitely decided that I'm going to set up a work out area in my basement, with those interlocking matts and stuff, things are going to be great in 2015!!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Teaching the Christmas Spirit Our Advent Calendar

I really love Christmas Time, it truly is the most wonderful time of  the year!! I appreciate the giving and kindness that exudes from people during this season, I think people truly are at their best.  And it doesn't matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the winter solstice, all have this time as a time of giving, a time of celebrating life and all the good things that surround us.  But I fear my kids are not being exposed to enough of the good things about Christmas and soon they will be xmas-ers.

For me an xmas-er is someone who is only worried about the gifts they receive.  And they only give gifts to receive a gift and they judge the gifts they get in comparison to what they give.  They don't feel grateful for receiving a well thought out gift, they only care that the gift was the same or of more monetary value then the one they gave to that person.  To become this way at is not something I want my kids to become and in order to stop that I have to really work on teaching them the reason for the season.

We are a Catholic family, and I use the term loosely, we are baptized Catholic but we aren't avid practicers. We don't attend church regularly (I know you are scandalized), we don't say grace before meal very often(if ever).  But we do live by Jesus' messages, we try to be kind to one another, we do talk about the Beatitudes and we read stories that talk about God and Jesus and if the kids I ask I explain as best I can.

I believe that Christmas is a time to celebrate.  A time to celebrate humanity, a time to celebrate family, a time to celebrate friends. It's a time when you give to others things they wouldn't necessarily do for themselves, whether that's a hot meal from a soup kitchen, a grocery bag of food to the food bank, shovelling a neighbours walk, buying the person behind you coffee just because, or buying your friend a coffee cup because it reminded you of her.  Christmas is about celebrating the miracle of Jesus' life and his life message.  For us, it's about taking the message of Jesus and making it part of your life (I would speak to other religions but I don't know enough about them so I won't make any ignorant claims)

I love so many things about Christmas including the gift giving and receiving gifts is great too, but giving to others is what I LOVE about Christmas!! I don't do it so people will feel indebted to me, I do it because it makes me feel good inside, giving gifts is definitely an intrinsic motivator for me.  I model this behaviour for my kids but I've never thought about how I would share this with them.  How do I teach my kids that the idea of Santa, a person who only gives  and expects nothing is something that is inside us all?  How do I teach my kids about the spirit of giving?  How do I get them to understand that this is the most important part of Christmas it's not about what they get, but what they give?

Chandler is pretty good at this, he doesn't have a job full time yet so we give him some money and he has to buy gifts for everyone with that money.  he does well with it, puts some thought into what he wants to give and then he buys and wraps the presents.  I think he's getting the idea too.

Lil Man is next on the reason for the season lessons, Prince T is much too young but we'll remember this for later for him.  I decided to incorporate my advent Calendar with my elf on a shelf.  So each day the elf comes he brings an advent activity for Lil Man to do.  (again we researched different ideas from Pinterest, and came up with a variety that would work best for us) Lil Man then has to complete the task on the card, it can be about giving up a spot in line, sharing a snack, giving cards to others (military/ hospital/ retirement homes) taking donations to the Women's shelter, Toys for Kids, things that Lil Man can be part of and do on his own, with minimal help from me.

So far he's loving this, he looks forward to the tasks as much as he does looking for the Elf each morning.  I love it because I see him getting to do good in this world, and maybe he won't make a huge impact this year, but he may make someone's day brighter and he may make someone smile and I think that's a win!! And hopefully, he will learn that Christmas is about and he won't become an x-maser, those that only worry about the gifts they can get from others.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Why Recess is the best part of school

I am feeling the need to stand on a soap box right now.  I've recently heard that some schools are considering doing away with recess (this is an older report)because they are unable to meet all the objectives of the curriculum in a school year.  I think this will only make the situation worse, it will not improve it!! Kids need unstructured time in their day, especially the 4 and 5 year olds in Kindergarten and grade one.  Kids are being pushed to hard to be academic, being pushed to hard to grow up and they are missing out on their childhood.  Ok that last statement may be a bit of an exaggeration, but come on, school is putting a lot of pressure on kids now a days.

Now it's been many years since I was a student in an elementary school, but I remember my school days very clearly.  School started at 9 am, but the buses started arriving at 8:30.  I was a town kid, so I walked to school, now because I liked to play before school I would get to school just after 8:30 so that I could play on the playground for half an hour with my friends before school started.  Teachers were out on supervision at that time, and some were inside as well so that us students didn't try to sneak in.  At 9 the bell rang, (it could have been a few minutes before like 8:50) and we all went inside, we took off our outerwear, shoes on the shoe shelves, jackets and book bags on our hooks (either in classroom or hallway depending on grade).  Once inside the classroom we sat in our desks, which were measured to our sizes, no one sat in a desk that was too big or too small (another important task of schools that you don't see often), the teacher took attendance, we said the Lord's Prayer and sang O' Canada EVERYDAY!  The kids that were not of a Christian religion just stood quietly in the classroom or hallway, it was their choice.  At around 10:15 or 10:30 we had a 15 minute recess.  We all got dressed and headed outside where we played on the deathtrap equipment that was deemed safe in our age.  We had a climbing apparatus for five tires up and four tires across, and we would climb up and over.  So dangerous but so MUCH FUN!!
After recess we were back inside for more learning and then we were dismissed for lunch at 11:45 or noon.  I can't remember which time I just know I walked home and watched the Flintstones while I ate lunch at home. I was back at school by 12:30 because Flintstones were over and the other kids were playing outside.  Then we went in for school and by around 2:15 we were back outside for another 15 minute recess.  Finally at 3:30 we were dismissed for the day and even though I lived 5 minutes from the school, I could take up to 20 minutes before I got home because I would play on the way home.  But we played outside a lot during school, and I'm sure we ate up a lot of instruction time getting into and out of our winter gear and settling down after recesses, but I also know that we were more focused in class after a recess.  Recess helped us burn off some energy that was building up as we sat still in class learning what the teacher needed us to learn.  It allowed us breaks in the day so that we could be kids, we could play!!  I learned so much by playing at recess!

So it drives me crazy when I hear that people want to get rid of recess.  Our kids are not machines, they can't sit in a classroom all day for 6 hours and be expected to learn.  I wish someone would have done a study to see if ADD/ADHD cases increased with the discontinuation of recesses (most school divisions are down to one/ two recesses a day if you count lunch recess, lunch is even down to 40 minutes not an hour)  I have no proof, but I truly believe that taking away recesses will be detrimental to our kids health, and sanity.  Kids not liking school now will be nothing if we send them off to a place where they no longer get unstructured play.

Unstructured play is so Important to children's development.  It helps them develop self esteem, self confidence, and helps them to figure out their social circle.  Kids make friends and relationships when the adults are not forcing them to do something.  For those learners who are kinaesthetic learners recess is a great time for them to move which helps their brains process what they've learned.  There is a lot of passive learning that happens when children play, and children remember their own discoveries far more than the "discoveries" from structured lessons.

Consider the first three years of your child's life.  There was no formal schooling you as a parent taught your child everything they know. But even that is an overstatement, babies learn to do things by watching and trying new things.  I didn't teach my baby to crawl, I did not move his legs and arms, yet somehow he figured it out.  I didn't teach him how to go from laying down to sitting up and yet he learned that too. I did work with him on how to talk, but again lot's of passive learning occurs when baby's learn to talk. They learn speech patterns from listening to adults and older children talk, from listening to stories, from listening to music, but lot's of their learning occurs as they try new things and we encourage them.  Lot's of the way your child learns is through play, you play peek a boo, patty cake, the near far game.  All those things are games you play with your child to make them smile, but at the same time they are learning many different things.  Play is so important, so very important!!!

I beg of you, if you hear that your school division wants to cut out recess, go to the school board and tell them you will not support that! Do it for your children!! Do it for the teachers!! And if they are saying they are struggling to meet all the learning objectives because of time constraint, have the re-evalute the curriculum, the curriculum is so much more in depth then it ever was when I was a kid.  (one of my learning objectives in kindergarten was to learn to tie my shoes, we practiced in kindergarten, they don't do that anymore, I was supposed to be able to recognize my name in kindergarten and know my alphabet, they learn to read in kindergarten now)  I'd as soon say we as parents come back to the school divisions and ask them to give our kids more recess.  I'd love for a school division to try it even for one year to see if there is a difference, I believe there would be and I believe it would be a positive difference because I think the kids would be more focused!!

Ok I'll get off my soap box for now, but this isn't a dead issue for me, this is something I'm very passionate about.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Decorating for Christmas

Decorating for Christmas is a huge family tradition in our family. We usually spend Grey Cup Sunday setting up all the decorations in the house and in the yard.  It's a fun time and Christmas Carols are pumping through the house as we set up the tree, the Christmas Village and the window decorations.  We've done Christmas Ice Balls (food colouring in water and put into balloons to freeze) and we've done snowflakes, and other purchased outside decorations plus hubby always hangs lights.

This year is a bit different, hubby is away working so it's just me and boys.  We started decorating on the Saturday prior to Grey Cup Sunday, I got my Christmas village set up and my partylite votive tree, and the Christmas tree was brought upstairs.  That was about all we did since Lil Man spent Grey Cup Sunday with his grandparents and Chandler had his girlfriend over.

So now we waited until the weekend after Grey Cup Sunday to finish decorating for Christmas. Hubby is still away but I took a bunch of pictures and sent them to him.  We will be doing outside decorations again this year but later on as our house has been hit with a flu bug.


Usually we have two trees, a real one upstairs and a fake one downstairs, but because hubby is out of town almost until Christmas we are opting for only one tree and we've set it up downstairs.  I realized as we were setting up the stockings that I don't have a stocking for Prince T, so now I have to go buy a new stocking, I think I may buy one (a girly, princess one) for me and let Prince T have one of the stockings we already own. I think that's a fair trade off!!

this is how lil man likes to decorate, all the decorations at the bottom together, in a cluster

This is where you will see the Oilers on top this year hahahaha, followed by the Roughriders and finally the Flames

With the help of Chandler the house is pretty much decorated for Christmas!! We have our window decorations up, our tree up, our stockings and the Christmas Village is on display.  I'm starting to get into the Christmas Spirit, and soon I'll get all the gifts wrapped!!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Fun Snack Time

So I struggle with snacks sometimes. I really want to provide healthy snacks, but sometimes providing fun snacks is ok too.  I just don't have a lot of creativity when it comes to snacks my kids can have and usually I just send them to the pantry to get a pre-packaged lunch snack.  BORING!!

The other day I was thinking of making Ants on a Log for Lil Man.  I don't think he's ever had them, but that's also because he's not a huge fan of peanut butter.  (He's a weirdo, I know lol just kidding).  But then I was thinking what kind of snack could he have using items he likes, I have all these marshmallows from camping that we need to use up before they become pellets and I have some chocolate chips.

That's when I thought of snowmen.  I know I'm all into this winter season right now, it's crazy, we've done snowflakes, snow forts and now we are eating snowmen.  Yup you bet we are.

I took three marshmallows and put them on a toothpick.  Then I added chocolate chips for eyes, mouth/nose, and buttons.  I put them on the plate for Lil Man and when he finished playing outside he had a snack ready to go. He devoured them, he loves marshmallows (Mawshmellows as he calls them)  he wanted more, but 6 large marshmallows is enough sugar for that kid in one day!!

Next time I do this I think I'll just set the ingredients up on a plate and he can build his own snowman.  I'm sure this is part of some very creative momma's Frozen themed birthday party out there, but I figured it was a fun snack!!  I could even add raison, skor bits, twizzlers or smarties to have him create some fun snowmen.  I could even put in shredded carrots if I took the time and he'd add them to his snowmen and would eat them as well.

Now to come up with some more snack items for him to eat at snack time!!

Friday, 5 December 2014

It should be yoga, but it's not going to be

So I had originally planned to do a post on my yoga sessions with Nicole Schulz, and I will but something else came up that I feel the need to articulate about. So here goes.

Social media, as great as it is, in keeping us all connected it is an evil, an evil that drives me crazy.  An evil that probably drives teenagers crazy because they feel so much pressure to be perfect and to always be virtually engaging with their friends. Yet Social media is supposed to be a network or your friends and your friends should support you, yet, negative comments, judgemental comments always seem to creep in.

I don't share a lot on Facebook, and yet I do.  But most of what I share is pretty neutral, it's not thought provoking, it's not anything to start a conversation, it's things like going to stars and strollers, or thanks to a friend for having a great visit.  I get lot's of likes and that's very uplifting, that people care enough about me and my life to spend even 5 seconds on my updates.  And there are times when I wish I could just delete Facebook (I'm aware I can, I just have a compulsion to not do it) but my desire to see what's going on with my friends and family far away keeps me connected.  That and it bothers me that even if I shut down my Facebook account it's still there, if I shut it down I want it gone, erased from internet, not something that sits out in limbo that a hacker could get their hands on.

I think Facebook in the ability that it allows people to stay connected over great distances is a great tool.  It's wonderful that I can connect instantly with friends and family across the globe, that they can see my kids grow even if they don't get to see them daily.

But Facebook can bring out the worst in people too. People hide behind their statuses, posting all the 'wonderful' things that are happening in their life, yet in reality that's not what their life looks like, and I've personally found those people that paint a stepford wives portrait of their life are the most judgemental of other peoples lives.  It's so frustrating too, because they put on this front that their life is perfect, that they are living the dream, and if you don't measure up they let you know. They then comment on other people's statuses to make them feel bad because they don't have a "perfect" life.  Or they comment on other people's status like they know better and that the person is making a detrimental mistake by posting an honest status on Facebook.

I just wish people would stop passing judgement on others.  You have not walked my path, you have not experienced my life so you can not make an informed decision on what is best for me.  You can make suggestions, but at the end of the day, I'm going to make my decision I feel is best for me and it may be a mistake, I've made a few in my life, but it's what I've decided whatever comes it's what I can live with.  I may not understand everything my friends are doing, but it's not up to me to interpret their life decisions, and it's not up to them to interpret mine.  I welcome questions but at the end of the day it's my decision and I hope my friends can support me on the decisions I am making.  That's what I need from my friends SUPPORT not JUDGEMENT.

I can just say that I don't get a lot of judgement, or if I do I just sort of ignore it.  But I have friends that have posted honest posts, on their opinions and what's going on in their life and people attack them for expressing themselves.  Now it's a two way street, but there's a difference between wanting to ensure your friends aren't making rash decisions, and basically telling them they are making a horrible mistake and they are being stupid (insert your pick of negative adjectives here).

I appreciate my friends honest posts, it allows me to see that they are still being themselves, they are still being real, not pretending to be a perfect version of themselves. My friends are AMAZING but they aren't perfect.  They are always learning from what they do and they are always growing and I love them for it.  However, if they do post things I have questions about I generally don't comment on their status on Facebook, I will text them (which isn't much better) or I will be crazy and I will PHONE them to talk to them (Not the greatest either) or if they live close by I will be crazier and actually SIT DOWN and have a FACE to FACE visit with them(best option)!!!

I've decided on a New Year's resolution, it's going to be hard, it's going to be near impossible, but I'm going to only check Facebook on my computer for a month, then maybe two, so after January 1 I will delete Facebook from my phone and I won't be on it, but I will talk and keep in contact with my friends and family by phoning, texting or emailing.  I just need to decrease my habit of checking that stupid website as frequently as I do!!

Ok who wants to do this challenge with me?  If you are interested in doing this let me know we can support each other by texting or calling to keep us off Facebook....let's go old school and communicate like we did way back when.  I may even get a landline and decrease my cell phone (ok let's not get crazy ahahhaa)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Perceptions

Sometimes when I'm talking with people I get a peek of how they see me and I am often very surprised by what their perception is of me.  It's not usually a bad thing either, it's when people see me so vastly different in a positive way that I don't always see myself.

I can be a pretty private person (I know laugh, I'm writing a personal blog hahah).  I don't always share everything in my life as it happens with everyone and it can take a bit of time for me to be comfortable sharing at all, and sometimes I suffer from share spewing where I just share everything that's on my mind and it does not pass through a filter at all. But generally, I'm a pretty private person,  and in that I can be a little shy.  I'm not super comfortable approaching people I don't know and striking up a conversation especially if I feel like I have a motive.  If I'm trying to approach people to sell things I'm very uncomfortable (I love Fifth Avenue Collection Jewelry but I hate selling it to people), if I'm just approaching them to compliment them or to ask them where they got something I'm ok with it, but there is no ulterior motive.  I know I've said this in the past that I'm shy and I had a good friend laugh, because she does not see me that way. I was surprised actually, but then I did some reflection and when I'm with my friends I'm comfortable and I am not shy at all.  Same with when I was waitressing anyone who worked with me would laugh at the thought that I was shy, because I wasn't.  Not once when I was waitressing was I ever considered shy, I was brazen even and very much a flirt.  I never had problems talking with people, striking up conversations with complete strangers.  When I was waitressing, or when I'm out with my friends, I'm not shy, but when I'm in a new environment or an unfamiliar social situation I suffer from extreme shyness!! I was part of a dress club this past year, it was a lot of fun but it took 6 months of talking with these girls for me to feel comfortable going, before that I was like dreading going. So I feel shy, but I bet if you ask anyone who knows me that would be the last adjective they would use to describe me.

I had an experience recently where I discovered that people see me as influential.  Influential, me?? Really?? I mean I know I share things, I know I try to help people, I know I try to make a difference in the world, but am I really influential?  Maybe that's why I'm influential, because I'm not trying, I'm not pushing any agenda. I am very honoured that some people see me as influential, because that's really something I strive to become. I would love to have some influence over this world, that at the end of my life I will have lived a life that makes a difference.  I get caught up in the idea that to be influential, or to make a difference in this world, I have to do it on a grand scale, something that gets known the world over, but really the small influences are just as important as the large ones.

Do you ever get complimented on skills that you are like, yeah I don't have that skill! I've had this happen about my organizational skills.  I always feel like the most unorganized person at every meeting. I don't take notes, I don't maintain my calendar, I start many different types of organization systems don't always keep with any of them, so I'm putting on a great show hahaha!! I mean I guess I am organized in an unconventional way, I get me and the kids to all events that we are scheduled to get to. I can get up in the morning and get ready for work and get the kids ready for where they need to be.  I low what's happening in work and can give a synopsis from the top of my head at any moment, but traditionally organized?? Not really, even though I would love to be!! I do try, it just doesn't always work!

I'm glad that people see me as a good mother, I think I'm a good mother.  I think I'm doing the best job I can and I think I'm raising some pretty awesome boys! I'm not perfect, I can lose my temper, sometimes I have no patience, but I own those feelings, I own and take responsibility for my actions and I demonstrate that to my kids.  I have been complimented as a mother and I feel my ego swell every time and I appreciate it, but I do know that I work on this role the most in my life.  I do take this role as my most important role, but I do so a working mother.  I love being a working mother, and I think for my personality that working outside of the house makes me a better mother to my kids.  Strange I know but very true for me!!

I'm happy that the way some people see me is different from how I see myself. It bolsters my confidence that maybe, though, I don't feel like that, that I feel I have a deficit in that area, the world does not see it, and maybe I should embrace it!! Maybe I'm not shy, maybe I am influential, maybe I am organized.  Does this mean I stop trying to improve those skills and areas of my life, no absolutely not, but maybe I take what people say about me and embrace it, accept it to be true and live like it is!!

Have you ever had someone say something about you that made you question your own perception of yourself?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Snow Fort 2014

I'm not a big fan of winter I don't care for many winter sports and I HATE the cold.  Despise, loath, detest the cold, after -15 it's all the same really, too cold to function, in my opinion.  So when I had boys I had to decide, did I move somewhere warm, or did I learn to embrace winter?  I learned to embrace winter.  I still don't like it, but it can be pretty, it can be nice and warming up after being out in the cold is a favourite activity of mine!!

Lil Man loves being outside, he loves being active and he loves the outdoors.  It's not always his first choice, because of the generation he's apart he likes those technology things and covets time with them.  This may be because I limit his use of iPads, computers, video games etc to the weekends and then only for 2-3 hours.  Even TV is limited in the house, so if he thinks he can get me to allow him to watch TV, he'll try to play that game, but once you get him outside, he will stay out until he's cold or until I call him in.

I went out with him after the first snowfall and we built a snow fort in the backyard.  Since we don't have two dogs now the backyard is once again a place for the kids to play in the winter.  Last year with the two dogs it was too hard to play because the one dog did his business everywhere, Sasha only uses the dog pen to do her business.  Now this fort isn't as large as last years fort, but we don't have as much snow yet, so we are working on it.

This snow fort, though, is three rooms, a back yard, a garage and there are three parking spots as well.  In the back yard area Lil Man has his hockey net set up so he has an area to play hockey.  He has parked his little tykes car in the garage and his quad is parked in the parking spots.

We had a lot of shovelling to do that day and Lil Man has decided that the deck is also another fort and he will visit that area as well.

It really is a lot of fun to play with him and it wasn't too cold out.  Any time I can put a smile on my boys face makes it worth it, just have to go out and invest in some good winter clothing to continue our winter adventures!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Crafting Snowflakes

We are preparing to decorate our house for the holiday season and since my Lil Man likes to be involved in all things that I do I had to come up with some crafts that would be easy for him to help with.

Where do I go for all things craft, Pinterest of course! So a checked out a few different snowflake crafts.  The one I liked the most was probably the most complicated when trying to put it together.  It was a popsicle stick snowflake that you could paint. They made these huge snowflakes, but like many things on Pinterest, when you start working on them they turn into an EPIC FAIL!! So I had to come up with a new craft that would be easy for Lil man to help with.  And I really liked the idea of snowflakes!

That's when I saw the pin about different patterns to cut out snowflakes on paper and figured Lil Man would love to colour some paper then cut out different snow flake patterns. And because I would make him colour the paper before we cut it out, I could draw out the craft for a longer period of time. Lil Man is a boy and he's not really keen on sitting still for long periods of time.


I also saw the pin where an adult had taken a painting canvas, put painters tape on it in the shape of a snowflake and let the child then paint the canvas.  I really liked that idea to so then I figured we had our snowflake crafts to get us started in the decorating season. I don't have painters tape and kept forgetting to grab it at the store so I came up with an alternative. I took white glue and did a snowflake design on the canvas with glue and then Lil Man got to paint those snowflake canvases.

First, we got 5 pieces of plain white paper.  Next I had little man pick out his crayons and he coloured  the front and back of 3 sheets of paper, I did two.

Secondly, I cut out the snow flakes, but cutting different designs into the paper.  We carefully admired our work then hung them up on our front window.  Lil Man had to help tape and that's fine he did a great job.



I didn't want to do both crafts on the same day, because what if I ran out?!?!?  We did the painting craft the next day he was home from school for the day. It becomes part of our game playing (he makes me play school).

This one took a little more time to set up, I really don't want him to get paint everywhere, but it was a lot of fun for him.  He painted the canvases and it took some time, while the paint was still wet I added some sparkles to it just to jazz it up!!


Happy holidays!!!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Menu Monday: Making Shepherds Pie

In October I had the brilliant idea to put together a meal exchange group.  The idea was that we could all make meals that we can freeze and share them with others.  Initially, I had made the group and stated that if ten people participated then you made 10 meals, but that can be really difficult for someone working a full time job.  So I made it a get what you give meal exchange group.  That being said if you brought in 6 meals you would get six separate meals  from 6 other people, if you brought in 10 you got all ten.  It worked out really well.  I got some soups, a lasagna and I made shepherd's pie for everyone.

It was the easy shepherds pie, not the traditional shepherds pie.  I used ground beef, corn and potatoes and cheese.

I pan scrambled the ground beef with onions and garlic and added in an onion soup mix seasoning.  ( I was going to use the clubhouse seasoning packages but that's basically all it is so the onion soup mix was cheaper) Once all the meat was scrambled we put the meat into aluminum foil containers, I put in 3 cups of meat into each container.

Then we added two cups of corn ( I use corn because I like it best, but you could use any frozen or canned vegetable that you like) *side note: when I make this as a regular meal in my home, I use one can of corn and one can of creamed corn*

Finally we added the mashed potatoes.  I don't have a measurement for how much potatoes each meal got but we put enough potatoes on to cover the meal, I went through a bag and half of potatoes, I'm pretty sure the one bag was a 10 lb bag.

Then we sprinkled the top with a little shredded marble cheese.  I don't always do this, but I felt it needed it this time.

The last part was to wrap and freeze all the meals.  And wait for the exchanging to begin!! It was a good time!! I look forward to doing it again possibly in the new year!!

Recipe:
1tbsp of butter
1 lb of hamburger
1 can of corn
*1 Can of creamed corn (optional)
5-7 large potatoes mashed.
1 small onion (chopped)
1clove of garlic (minced or pressed)
1 package of onion soup mix
*1 cup of shredded cheese

1) In a large pan melt butter add in chopped onion and garlic blanche the onions
2) add in hamburger and onion soup mix, stirring and scrambling meat until it is brown.
3) Put meat into 9X13 pan so that it covers the bottom of the pan.
4) open can of corn and creamed corn if you choose, and cover the meat with the corn.
5) Peel and boil the potatoes, drain the potatoes and mash them in the pot.  You can add a little splash of milk to help mash the potatoes further. Once potatoes are mashed, spread the potatoes over the corn in the pan.  Cover fully.
6)* optional, sprinkle shredded cheese over the potatoes.
If you are cooking this right away, I put it into the oven for 30 minutes at 350 to heat it up. If you are cooking from frozen put in oven at 350 for 90 minutes, if it's thawed you can do 45-60 mins at 350.