Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh you want to know what this is all about.
You definitely do.
At least, if you have kids around this week - you do. Or you have friends that have kids around.
Or whatever.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rain and smells and random ramblings

If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops
Oh what a rain it would be...
I would stand outside with my mouth open wide - ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah

I love that song. Great one for the shower...

Ok... other than money... and chocolate because I think those are fairly obvious - what do you wish was falling from the sky right now instead of rain?

Come on - something great. What is it for you?
I myself do love really crunchy red seedless grapes (freshly washed of course and nice and cold)
And dill pickle chips are fab although kind of sharp falling down maybe.
Green olives. Yum!
Pickled beets too. Imagine the mess though. We would look like the movie Carrie! Ick!

Speaking of a mess - we have a dog. She's kind of a pain in the ass, if you know what I mean. And she smells bad right now. (Long story - I did just bath her though - she has "issues")

And when I look longing out into the rain of my backyard, I do really love a good rain, all I can see is her poop. There I have said it. And I will admit, I have looked through the fence at the neighbour's yard to make sure that she has poop all over hers too and she does. Which makes me feel a lot better about our dog poop, if there is any good feelings about it to be had.

I did spare you all by not photographing it for you and posting it here. No need to thank me. I can just feel the loving thanks coming through the net as you read this. (Seriously - there really is a lot of it out there).

Have you ever called a Dr. Poop or Doggie Doo-doo service? We haven't but our neighbour has. Just wondering if you thought it was worthwhile - that's all. I usually just wait until we have had a few dry days strung together, you can imagine why I would do that, and then I rake it all into the shovel and into the garbahgio. I am sure there is a lovely, more eco-way of dealing with it, but I don't know what it is. If you've got a suggestion, I am opening to hearing it for about another week or so. Then I will just go out and deal with it.

I hope it storms tonight - I LOVE that.

(Great pic above courtesy of some random website I found when I googled "rain image" - called The Firefly Forest - kudos!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Question of the Day

If you eat two packets of Quaker Weight Control oatmeal and you mix it with tons of grapes, raisins and berries and then you put cinnamon sugar on top - is it still weight control?

What about if you wash it down with 3 cups of coffee over the course of the morning?

I'm thinking probably not - but yum!

Friday, February 20, 2009

This weekend is going to be the one that works!

I have been spinning my wheels but no more!

This year has not started out well for health and wellness in our family. We have had chicken pox - then a mysterious virus that couldn't be identified - now DD has a chest cold and DS has a fever and can't eat with headaches. MAN!
Ok - so it could be worse...
With all of this I have missed a few days of work and become behind in my housework etc etc etc. So now, this weekend - I will get it all done. How? Don't know yet. But I am determined to go to work on Monday am completely in charge of the world. Well, my world anyway.

I will try and post a few updates here - but if I don't get to it, you will know why.
When I sit down at night to rest - I am going to work on this guy.

In the world of Flylady they call this a Control Journal. Except this one ain't pretty. I think that's why I don't love it and want it out in the public eye - so it goes out of sight and then out of mind. It is meant to hold all of your important paperwork. Contact info - schedules, menus, lists, stamps, bills (except we always pay online as soon as they arrive to get them out of the way), school lists etc etc.

For a long time, I had it going strong - but I have let it go. I am going to get it going again. And I want to make it pretty... Then maybe I will leave it out where it can be seen and used. We'll see how it goes. No pressure...

If I get it all set-up I will let you know and get some pics for you. I did find some cool things in it when I opened it up last week - like an article about my parents from the local paper regarding adopting older dogs (Good Ole Uncle Bogey). Sorta fun to browse through my life circa 2006ish.

Do you have one? What's in yours?

Just 'cause I love y'all... here's a recipe for you! Nice warm wintery soup for you and yours...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can you tell things have fallen off the rails for me?

Well they kind of have.
However, the things I did work on seemed to mostly stick. I reorganized my kitchen and re-purposed all the cupboards. See my cookbooks above - now they are all out in the open where I might actually use them. And I have if you want to know... see out of sight out of mind is totally true!

I would like to tell you that my sink is always empty - but it would be a big fat lie. It is a lot more often empty though and that is something.

I am still using a lot less plastic bags but sometimes I forget. On the weekend I went around the house and found all the reuseables that had migrated to different areas and collected them all up again. Now they are ready to go back in the car where they belong (and get used).

Last month, I told you about my jars and Chef Michael - well - that one STUCK and I am IN LOVE with the system. To show you - I took some pictures I thought you might like.
Baking on top two shelves - all of my herbs and spices on the bottom - you may not be able to tell but the jars are 3 deep in some places! Tons of stuff fits in this cupboard!

Do you see Gabby's Girl Gourmet cupcake maker? All her "baking" stuff fit in here too...

See how I labeled them? You can't see them but they are there so you never have to front-face them! How very Sleeping with the Enemy of me... Mwah ha ha.
Seriously - do I have a problem?
Here lives all my pots and pans. Since I do cook at home more than we take-out these get used all the time. This means that in the old cupboard they never stayed stacked. This spinny cupboard as we lovingly named it used to hold all the canned goods. Problem was, I never knew what I had because it would get buried at the back or in the middle of shelves.

Just a question - who WAS Susan and was she really lazy? Somehow I doubt it!

Now I am posting this picture - and now that I have taken it I realize I need to sweep... however, here are all my canned goods. I think the kids chucked that crackers in there - but all my pasta is on the left, oils at the bottom... canned in behind - you get the idea. And I know what is in here because I can mostly see everything...

LOVE it.

Last but not least, my apothecary jar who lives on the counter. Now you tell me - do any of your cupboards comfortably hold an upright cereal box without taking up all the space?

Mine don't.

So I bought this guy and he holds the cereal. Now I am not going to apologize for the lack of homemade granola here girls - it's Cinnamon Toast Crunch and I'll tell you - it never goes stale in this house. The black thing you see is my 1/2 cup measuring spoon which stays in here. The kids get their own breakie in the morning now - and almost no mess... One of the best $6.99s (I think!) I ever spent on a home organization device...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chef Michael - we love you!

Do you ever watch Chef at Home?
With Michael Smith and his wife (no idea what her name is - only that she has curly dark hair and a maritimes accent) and his cutie patootie Gabe?
Ok. Well, if you don't - you should.
That is all I will say about it.

So once you watch it like the good little blog followers that you are - you will undoubtably see his incredible amazing much-coveted pantry.
Oh yeah Michael Smith - well I spent all day today... (and I do mean ALL DAY) taking every single thing out of every single cupboard in my kitchen. Then - I cleaned them and put every single thing away. Except for all the things that I am purging.

I am purging my toaster oven (never use it), old electric tiny juicer, rice/veggie steamer which is just another thing to plug in and then wash and put the 50 parts away again and a multitude of cookie tins, strange lids to things which I don't remember and much, much more.

And if you have seen Michael Smith - you will know about the Mason Jar. Now I LOVE mason jars. Weird, I know.
They are just so darn useful.

Today I sent hubby off to Canadian Tire to load up on even more mason jars. I was tad worried since it isn't really pickling season that he wouldn't find them but there were tons over there. He also stopped by the bulk barn for me to get some gluten free pasta and a few spices I was running out of.

I put every spice from my existing cupboard in its own tiny mason jar.
Then I labeled them (on the bottom) using my fantastic dymo label maker. What an awesome Christmas gift that thing is - we use it a lot!
I put all of my baking supplies in mason jars or giant plastic containers, also picked up by DH today. Labeled those suckers too.
Then I put all my pasta, rice etc etc etc in jars and put them all away.
I switched around almost every cupboard. All my pots are where my cans were and vice versa.
I imagine it will be pretty funny watching me cook around here for the next few days. People may here the odd "crap", "damn" or "sugarballs" around here when I reach in the wrong dang cupboard until I get used to it all.

But when I open the cupboards now - and all the Tupperware is stacked, lids on, ready for use - I swear I can hear the angels choir singing Hallelujah just for me. And for hubby too.

If I wasn't totally dog-tired right now I would take a picture and upload it for you. But that part will have to wait until another day.

I hope you are all doing well!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monkey Wrenches and Sidestreets

We have SPOTS over here!
Actually it's my son - he has the chicken pox poor kid. And he is COVERED. When my daughter had them they were so mild and few that it was almost a non-event, like, what's the big deal guys?

Now I know.
Boy do I know. My heart is breaking for this little trooper because he is so tough and brave but dying to scratch. And it's early days yet.

We have been doing tons of snuggling. I have brawled using Bakugans a lot. I never win one battle. Not one. But it sure is funny when he says, "That's okay mom, you might win next time" and then proceeds to kick my butt again.

We stayed up until 1am watching Ironman because that is what he wanted to do and he couldn't sleep anyway with the itching.

Today we will make a great grocery list and go through the freezer, pantry and try to menu plan using some of the many things we already have. I am famous for buying more and more and more. If there is ever a blackout/snowstorm and you can get yourself here - I can feed you. Especially if you like baked beans, rice or chick peas. Or frozen waffles. Or granola bars. We got em aplenty. And thank goodness for that.

Make a menu for the week if you can. I am going to try. Now that we are all back-to-school/work/karate/sports (except for the chicken pock kid) we gotta get back on track.
Jump on too if you like.

Here's wishing you an itch-free long-nap kind of day.
I'm tired.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Resolve...

Do you make resolutions?
I sometimes do and sometimes don't.

I think I will this year...
I think I might even add to them as the days go by this week on the way back to work...
I have been off on holidays since mid-December - my longest vacay ever - and I have to say, it is like a dream. A crazy, busy but extremely awesome and fun dream. As there are still a few days before reality... school, sports, work, lunch-packing, diet maintaining duties - I think I will revel in it.

Like today, for example - I resolved to stay in my pjs all day and do basically nothing.
Mission accomplished. We played hours of Animal Crossing on the Wii with the kids. We did not answer the phone (sorry to anyone who may have called). We didn't really clean up. We chilled and snuggled. My daughter, who just turned 8 on the 30th of December made her 1st muffins from scratch with no help and minimal supervision. I just got the things out of the cupboard and put them back. She did the rest - dishes and all. I cooked a pot roast for the fam... A sandwich for me. I cheated on my diet and I am ok with it.

Tomorrow - I clean.
The alarm will be set for 7am. I will jump out of bed and get dressed "all the way to my shoes" as Flylady would say. I will put up my hair and start a pot of coffee. I am deciding tonight which room I will start in.

I vote, front hall and living room. That is where I will start tomorrow am.
Once begun in half done right?
How hard was that?

I am even going to put my runners in the bathroom for a reminder when I get out of bed.
If I can get this crazy place tidy I will be happy for when all the company comes over this weekend. And really, as I look around - it's not more than an hour or two away from really quite sparkly all over. Just need to put some more decorations away and find a home for some of the new toys and games. Gotta mop and dust, dust and mop.

As for the long term - I resolve:
-To be nice to myself and thank myself for all I do by being happy.
-To have a million experiences. We started by going to the Rangers game the other night and I even went and got my daughter's picture on the big screen for her birthday. She was tickled. A small feat for a big reward.
-I will use all of my gift certificates. I have gift certificates for all kinds of places. I will redeem them to $0 because I deserve to enjoy the gifts I have been given. And I will use them on me - not on stuff for the kids.
-I will go horseback riding this year.
-I will take pictures til the cows come home.
-I will continue on my healthy eating journey.
-I will exercise at least 3 times per week.
-I will try and bring my lunch to work.
-I will go and see Mickey and Goofy (really - we are going in May!!)
-I will say I love you more often.
-I will add to this list and check back in on it often.
-I will continue to make a difference in the world, in my own way.

Do you have resolutions?
You should write them down if you do.
If you don't - that's cool. A list is only good if you check it off completed anyway and it doesn't work for everyone.
This year, I wish you peace and happiness in all the ways you can never buy.
Happy 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It has been insane.
I wasn't ready for Christmas. Were you?
I mean, I made it in under the wire. Last minute crazy mall shopping against my will.
In fact, I actually have two more presents to buy for people I won't see until next week.
I have ideas you understand - but not the presents.
I don't really have any ideas either.

And my house is
You wouldn't believe one house could be in this state. And Christmas morning wasn't even here - we sleep over and open presents at my parents house and then cart it all back here in bins and bags and everything is now strewn from room-to-room.
However, it was, in a word - SPECTACULAR.
And I am sorry that I haven't blogged.

I hope you and your families had a most incredible and amazing holiday.
And that you all have a wonderful new year too.

I am not going to promise to blog in the next day or two. I will really try!

But I am going to promise to clean my house and put everything away tomorrow. (Except it is fun to keep it out and play with all the new stuff - if I put it away we might forget about something right???)

I promise to make a martian.

And to play this:

And I think that is as far as I want to plan. It's more fun to just go with it once in a while right?
Although I am going to pick up some groceries, maybe a nice roast for the family...? Ahhh Betty has been missing me like I have been missing her...
And some logs for the fireplace. Hmmm.... That sounds nice already!
Peace xoxo

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today is a great day.
Yesterday was a great day.
Yesterday when I was walking into the front door of my work - I was thinking - who has it as good as I do at work?
I couldn't think of anyone.
My day only got better after that -- even though it is an extremely busy time right now.
And at home I am busy too.
But I am pretty lucky.

Today's job is to make sure your sink is still shiny. Do one load of laundry. Just one all the way through - dried, folded and put away. When you are putting the load in the washer - try this. Sort enough clothes for the next load. Then stop. Leave in on the floor or in a basket of its own in front of the washer.
When you move your washed load to the dryer - see if you can stop yourself from putting that new load in the washer.
Don't turn the machine on if you don't have time or intention to see it all the way through - but - put in the washer for next time you are ready.
Just an idea for today...

Do something lovely for yourself today. Have a bubblebath. Light some special candles. Read for an hour - something frivolous or meaningfull, whatever... Drink a cup of tea or coffee and really enjoy it. You deserve to feel amazing today!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A tiny bit of space causes a large adjustment!

My son (the younger of my 2 kids) lost his 1st tooth today. My last baby is becoming a big kid!

I myself still feel like I am a teenager most of the time. So how can my kids be losing teeth and getting older?
So not cool.
Wasn't he just born yesterday? Or at least just last week?
Man -- he is one handsome kid though.
Thanks for letting me share a bit!
It's Day One again...
Got all the teachers gifts purchased today. Made a couple of Christmas cards.
Best of all, I went out with my daughter, mom and sister - I saw some friends at a shop we all love and I had some lovely snuggle time with dh and kids.
What could be better?
I hope you had some quiet, family or friend time today with some loved ones.
Tomorrow -- try and give your bathroom a quick wipedown and swish your toilet really fast before you go to work - or before you leave your house in the morning.
Makes a big difference!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Today is Day #21!! We have a Winner!

Ok - so it's Day #21 and I can officially say that the shiny sink thing is ALMOST a habit. I say almost because there have been one or two nights where I just couldn't drag myself back to the sink to empty it and clean it out at night. And I am being honest - it has been more recently than I would like - but - every time I had to wake up to a yucky sink full of yucky stuff I was sad about it and vowed to do better.

How's it been going for you?

I found that this sink generally kept all the counters clean if not the kitchen table. And the tidying around the house has been a lot more awesome. Since my relatives came over to visit we have done a pretty good job of keeping things at least tidy enough that if someone came to the door - I wouldn't be embarassed.

Flylady calls this the CHAOS - or - Can't-Have-Anyone-Over-Syndrome which in our house was pretty often. Check her out more at So it is all getting better. I think I would like 21 more days to keep working on my house and home habits and since none of you commented otherwise - I will assume it's alright with all of you.

During the next 21 days, I will share with you my home successes, shopping triumphs and the continuing saga of the plastic bag phenomenon. Can you believe 2 terms of 21 days are up?

In this time, my husband and I have also been on a very huge change in our food/diet lifestyle. To date, (about 5 weeks have passed) I have lost 8.5 pounds and my husband has lost 11 pounds plus both of us have lost many, many inches. Man we have got lots going on lately around here!
Jenn - My sister Laura drew the names and you are the winner of the bracelet giveaway! Send me an email with your address and I will mail it to you - or if you are going to our favourite store this weekend by chance, let me know - I will be there tomorrow for part of the afternoon... Maybe we can run into each other there and I can give it to you in person!

I wanted to share with you all some cool shopping bags I found. Remember I said that I found some cool ones with a cool store? Well - here are some pix:

So here it is... only 99cents and made entirely from 2L plastic bottles. The store owner (Tootsies - if you have one near you, stop in and grab some of these!) told me that the cost is 99 cents for him to buy but he doesn't try to make money on them - he just wants to do his part in the environment too by selling them at cost...

So this is how many of my Christmas gifts will be delivered this year - this is our replacement for wrapping paper... Cheaper and reuseable!
Here is what it says on the tag:

"This reuseable bag is made from approximately 4 recycled plastic bottles. That's a very good thing.
-Annually we consume in excess of 500 billion plastic bags. That's 1 million per minute.
-Only 1 in 200 single use plastic bags is actually recycled.
-Every plastic bag ever used still exists today, and will exist for up to 1,000 years. Plastic bags are not biodegradable.
-This bag is 100% recyclable.
-This bag is made from 85% post consumer recycled plastic.
-This bag can replace 50 or more non-recyclable bags.
-This is all a step in the right direction for the environment and the future."
Pretty cool right?!
And the black tie version:

Friday, December 5, 2008

What did I get done so far? PD Days off work rock!

1. Parent Teacher Interview - check.
2. All the new dishes washed, dried and put away - check. These are them - hot right?!!! I am so totally stoked - Orange is my favourite colour ever! And these are a nice pumpkin smoky orange which is fantastic!
3. At least 2 people crossed off the Christmas list? - At least. I think I can cross off 5 or 6 once I sit down with the list and double check. I will update the list while sitting at the dojo during karate tonight.
4. Old dishes found a new home - check. Our friend and daycare provider was happy to take them off our hands. They are nice dishes - I have just had them for AGES and want to redecorate in here. Already washed up and delivered.
5. Recipes - no baking was made today so far. However, I do have meatballs in the crockpot for the family with homemade sauce (I made it up by grabbing items from the fridge - hope it tastes good!) If it gets raves reviews I will post for you all. Meatball subs it is! The kids are pumped.
6. I did not get all the wrapping paper organized - but I did call my grandma for a big chat, which I have been meaning to do. Important jobs like this need attention.
7. Karate gi - washed and dried and ready to put on in a few minutes.
8. Healthy food all day. Check!
9. I did not get my soy latté today but that's ok - I did get a Timmys which made me happy as well! Tomorrow maybe on my travels...
10. Purse purged, sorted and put back together...
Wanna see? It really wasn't as bad as I thought. The danger of a big purse is a big bunch of stuff you don't need in it. But there wasn't a lot once I dumped it out. Just seemed like it.

Did you do your purse today?

That AERO bar was my son's. The kids helped me clean the purse by eating those.
Not too bad right. I put away my Christmas receipts, chucked the rest and filed.
I checked the ipod for battery power - still good.
I put one of my 2 pairs of mitts in the closet.
I organized and files the papers that were in there and put the jewellery away. Awesome!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Went Christmas Shopping tonight... Figured something out, made my list and checked it twice.

Figured out:
I need to clean out my purse.
It's full of S*T*U*F*F
I hate stuff in my purse.

So Tomorrow:
*There will be pictures of the purse purge.
*And I will draw a name for the bracelet and pop it in the mail. (So go and comment on that post if you haven't already - you might win!)
*I will show you the amazing thing I ordered from AVON to bring order to my gift wrapping needs this Christmas.
*I will post a recipe for 3 quick and easy teacher/coworker gifts that literally take under 10 minutes each to prepare and look yummolicious...
*And I bought some amazing shopping bags made entirely out of recycled 2L pop bottles. I will post a pic and tell you where I got them. 99 cents - Yahoo!
*I will knock at least 2 people off my Christmas list because it is a PD day here and after parent/teacher interviews are done in the morning - I am hitting the shops, sans enfants if you know what I mean, and getting it done!
*I will eat amazing healthy food all day with no JUNK.
*I will get myself a Starbucks soy latté because I deserve it as a special treat
*I will print and enlarge a photo at Blacks I recently took of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Then I will frame it because it is their 20th wedding anniversary in a few days, and the picture turned out great. I am kind of proud of the picture actually.

I scored some seriously great Christmas presents at an unexpected place for an amazing deal.
I also got all new dishes for my kitchen which I have been wanting to do for years. Literally. So I found the most incredible prices and even though it is so close to Christmas, I couldn't pass them up. Too cheap and EXACTLY my colour (Pam - you will die when you see!)

Tonight I won't:
I need to clean up in this house again - but not tonight. Every day starts out amazing and by 10pm somehow a little tornado has ripped through this place displacing things. I am going to enlist the help of said tornado(s) tomorrow morning in rectifying this situation.

Right now:
I am going to bed. Right now. Going to snuggle with my daughter (yes I know, she's still awake - but it's a special PD Day eve!!!) and read a book with her.

Do you know what you are doing tomorrow?
Make a list.
It's great.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day #18 What should we do next?

I think we should keep going on improving our homes for another 21 days - get us through to Christmas holidays - then start a new poll with all of us to decide what is next? Is that cool with everyone?

Today I am going to give you a crockpot recipe as promised... I almost never cook from recipes, which I know drives some people crazy I know (you know who you are...). So I am kind of just going to wing it here too... But I will try and be as precise as I can for you. I am not a chef - I wish I were - so I can't vouch for it turning out perfectly.. Only that I have made these recipes many times and they turned out for us 'kay?

You should also know that I don't eat any meat. I won't even taste it so I am going on the word of the family that it tastes good...

Chicken in the crockpot. Just did this one last week!
--Buy a chicken. A whole one. In pieces, like a kentucky 9-cut or whole. If you are working with whole bird check for gizzards and stuff inside and discard (ick!) and you want the skin on and the bones in. Since it will be cooking for a long time - these are a good idea.
--Set the crockpot to low and if you have a timer - use it. I have one but haven't exactly figured it out so I just set mine to the lowest setting and leave it all day while I am at work. Sometimes that is 8 or 9 hours. Perfect.
--Using your favourite spice mixture (italian seasoning, cajun or mexican blends are all mixtures I have tried) coat the bird all over while the skin is fairly dry. Then it will stick.
--Add 1/2 a can or bottle of beer. If you don't have that - add 1 cup of white wine. If you don't have that - use 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth.
--Throw in a whole bunch of garlic cloves peeled but not necessarily chopped. Saves time.
--Toss in a whole chopped onion, white, yellow, sweet, not sweet - doesn't matter.
--I add about 1/2 a pint of grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes - whole, not chopped.
--Add 1/2 cup of your favourite tomato sauce or BBQ sauce - homemade or store bought, doesn't matter around the chicken.
--Cook all day. When you get home the bones should just fall right out of this guy.

TIP: You know a chicken is cooked when you pierce it with a fork down to the bone and the juices run clear.

--Cut it up, serve with your favourite side or salad.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Follow us!


If you aren't already a follower of this blog officially, click the Follow button at the bottom on the right hand column to receive updates when we add a new post...

Come on! You know you want to!
How else could you get lovely recipes from Betty Crockerpot pictured above. Tonight I will look up one of my crockpot recipes and share it for you on here. I LOVE her.
If you have named your crockpot too - let me know. It's silly but fun!

Prize up for grabs... Tell your friends!

I know it isn't much - but I used to make beaded jewellery and a friend gave me her lovely beads when she purged her craft room last week. She is moving to a new home and is taking this opportunity to get rid of things she won't use anymore and passed them along to me. Smart गर्ल for purging!
So I made her a bracelet to say thanks (which she loved I guess...) and I made this one for you guys. Well.. one of you guys anyway!

Post a comment in this thread and try to tell at least one friend about this blog before Friday at 6pm and I will draw a winner and send you this in the mail. You will note - it has 21 beads on it!!!
Sorry I haven't updated in the last couple of days - my house is upside down right now with the flu. I came home sick from work at lunchtime today and by the time I got my coat off I got a call from school to pick up my daughter - then at 3:30 my daycare provider arrived with my son in her van, he had just been sick all over the washroom in his Kindergarten class as well. Poor thing - he was so embarrassed! So - it has been eventful around here and it's keeping me (even though I am sick myself) walking around disinfecting things around the house today... Argh...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Comments trouble...

Hey guys!

I have been having some trouble with the comments section - my email was putting all your wonderful comments in the spam and I just found them all now but I can't retrieve them for some reason... Hopefully they are surfing back through cyberspace and will pop into my inbox shortly so I can share them.

Sorry about that!! So, if you have been wondering where your comments went - that's what happened.

Home today so I have a couple of posts for you I will try and get up on here - and a giveaway!
Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday - Day #14!! Lots to share

So much has been going on... Lots of new things to share and information to pass along.
For starters - I have a few links regarding plastic shopping bags. I will be honest - it is SUPER hard to leave the plastic bags behind when going in for Christmas gifts, especially on my lunch break because even with my purse bag - it isn't enough! But I am doing pretty well. I haven't had to grab to many and all that I take I reuse reuse reuse.

Some good news locally for us regarding this... Our stores will all now have a plastic bag charge of 5cents to discourage people from taking bags... while a few people grumble, most see the need. Thanks to Pam for the links!

Here is the link to our local newspaper here in Ontario...

And one from Toronto -

This plastic "tax" has worked in other countries and regions. We'll see what it does for our consumption around here.

In our family, we have decided not to wrap presents this year as much as possible. I think Santa will still be sending his gifts in the traditional paper but for the rest of the gifts, from mom and dad and aunts and uncles and nanny and poppy it will be cloth shopping bags. When you think about it - a shiny gift bag is often $1.99 at least while a cloth shopping bag is only 99 cents. With this new rule at the grocery stores, it may be more challenging for a little while to get bags so I am going to snap them up for Christmas while I can!

My mom Kathy wrote a great post for us regarding the purchase of Christmas presents and toys for kids - read it right now! Right here:
Christmas is a perfect time for decluttering…the house is cleaned in preparation for decorating and some of our things are packed away while our seasonal favourites take centre stage. As you unpack our Christmas treasures, check for items that are damaged and either repair or discard. Evaluate what you have and using the “one – in, one- out rule – don’t accumulate any more than you can comfortably store.
While on the topic of decluttering, be mindful of adding clutter to your home and others by falling prey to the lure of fancy gadgets and trendy toys that will soon be gathering dust. Before purchasing the latest “must have” gift for children, take some time to learn more about it. Let the child see it “in person”…maybe it’s not as great as it seems on TV. Consider the play value, will it be something that will be enjoyed for months to come ? How about a “disposable gift” like a gift certificate for movies or an indoor playground or a membership to a children’s museum.
Finally, going back to our first 21 days, find environmentally friendly ways to wrap your gifts. Many stores sell reusable shopping bags for less than the price of a paper gift bag that is only useful one day a year ! Use your imagination to decorate the bag with bows or tags to give it the festive touch. With a little effort we can all enjoy a “Green” Christmas ! Happy Holidays everyone !

Thanks Mom for your thoughts and for the inspiration to change our wrapping habits. I know we have definitely decided that less is more this Christmas - and we have also limited the number of gifts we are exchanging. We already have all that we need... so we will still have lots of presents to enjoy I am certain of it - but we are sharing our bounty with all of the charities we donate to, the sending of our old toys out for others to enjoy, the Angel Tree (we have always given to this amazing group), and getting just a few good toys that they will really play with is making a difference.

Ok - I am not a super uptight person except for a few things. Mostly if you open a drawer in this house - expecially the kitchen - it is probably cluttered and unorganized and you have to dig for the item you want. It's in the right drawer mind you, just not all lined up nice and neat. I have more interesting things to do than line up my wooden spoons, you know what I mean? With 2 kids and pets and a husband who from time to time puts the dishes away, I can't really enforce a line 'em up set of rules around here I don't think.

But, 2 things I get a little uptight about - the fridge (where I store my family's nourishment!) and my cupboards of spices and cans. I forward face labels like at the grocery store most of the time, kinda like that guy in the movie Sleeping with the Enemy only not in the same creepy scary way I hope. My fridge is usually super organized. Not today mind you... but on Sunday when I am back from grocery shopping - I clean it out. So much easier to do it all the time. Here is your job for this weekend if you have time. You need about an hour for this job depending on how your fridge looks right now. Mine takes less time now because I do it often but the first time was about an hour for sure...

1. Open fridge. Take a "Before" picture if you want. I find it satisfying to look back after - but it's up to you...
2. Get a pen and paper and put it beside you.
3. Grab a bowl of soapy water and a rag or other cleaner for the shelves.
3. Grab your kitchen garbage can and have a bag for recycling next to your sink.
4. Start on the top shelf. Take everything off the top shelf and take it right out of the fridge. If there are any jars that are almost empty and you know you won't use that little bit - put them in the sink for rinsing and recycling. Don't start washing them yet - just put them in the sink. Check inside your cream cheese, sour cream or other containers and see what's doing. You may find the source of funky odours this way. Better out than in right?!
5. Before you replace what is left - add any items you have to replace on a list (a ha, the reason for the pen and paper!) - but don't buy things you didn't finish unless you know for sure you need them for a recipe this week. It can wait until you need it and then you are saving money too.
6. Wipe the shelf.
6. Replace the items. I line stuff up or put them in groups that make sense together when I put them back - but you don't have to.
7. Repeat on the rest of the shelves
8. Do the crispers and the door. Take all the junk out and wash or wipe these down too.
9. Get the garbage out and rinse and either find a use in the house for or recycle those plastic containers and glass bottles... But here is the thing - you can't keep them if you aren't going to use them RIGHT AWAY - then they are just clutter again!

When you are done you will have a good grocery list started - just check the cupboards and the freezer and away you go!

The other cupboard is my spices. Did you know spices go bad? I didn't realize that until I recently watched one of the many cooking shows I love (that's the only tv I actually watch - food network, so fab!) and they were talking about getting rid of old spices. Makes sense because you know who have opened that package of rancid walnuts or funky almond slivers in the cupboard - or ack - pine nuts! Right? Can't you smell it right now just thinking about it?
And who wants icky nuts in your baking - not me! Spices, as it turns out, same deal. You gotta check for freshness and replace. I think buying those giant bulk sized packages are maybe a bad idea unless you feed large crews of people all the time. I like to use a large variety of spices all the time - so I have small quantities of many. The only exception maybe is at canning time...

Here is the inside of my mom's spice cupboard - doesn't it look FANTASTIC! All label maker-ed up! Gooooo mom!

Going to a Christmas party out of town tonight. Trying to get revved up. Not super pumped just yet because I don't know what I am wearing and what the kids are wearing. Gonna get off this computer and go get that done!

Have a great day everyone! Have a wonderful Saturday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day #11 - halfway!!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

Just something to think about...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day #10 - It's Tuesday... How's it going?

I have a bunch of pix to share from around our house. I kept promising these and then would run out of time... And I have a few tips to share tonight as well...

Also we have a wicked name for the crockpot! Thanks ladies for sending in your ideas. I fell in love right away with the name!
She is called "Betty Crocker-pot!" Isn't that BRILLIANT!
I will post you guys a recipe for your crockpot this week for sure!

See above - what you see there is my kitchen at 6:39 pm.

But how does it look at 7:39pm. Look down. And what is that in the middle of the stove? Tonight's dinner? No my friends, read on!!

Those dishes in the sink are clean. When I stopped to take the picture, I was helped my girl with her homework - so these are just drying up in the sink! All clean - NOT guilty! Ha ha ha!

Tip: If you put a pretty display on any appropriate flat surface, see my dining table here, you are a lot less likely to place junk or piles of stuff on it either. Doesn't it still look pretty after almost an entire week. And I promise - except for dusting it on the weekend - nothing has been piled here at all - and I have added the tradition big bowl 'o' Christmas nuts. Unfortunate fact: We do not actually own a nutcracker that really cracks nuts. Just the decorative ones. Oops.

And some pics of the basement renos! I keep taking about it... here are just a couple to share... more once we get some proper new chairs and stuff... Here is the floor I laid my very own self (with just a little help, okay lots of help, from my family of course!!)

And here is what is sitting on top of that delightful beauty of a floor!!! Put these up ourselves!

I put out just a few of my favourite Christmas decorations. This is just a start - we have boxes more to put out!!
I LOVE nutcrackers at Christmas time.

Tip: As you take out your decos this year - get rid of, donate, give to a relative and purge your Christmas decorations. Think of it this way... if you aren't going to put it out this year - why would you next year? Get rid of it instead of packing it away for another year!!
If you have lots - take a picture of all the boxes you take out this year and then a picture in the new year of the reduced number of boxes you have to pack again after the holidays. So satisfying!!!

Tip: Think about what you are going to have to do tomorrow evening (do this every night!!!) and take things out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Figure out if you need a trip to the store on your lunchbreak or at some point during your day. Plan at least one dinner ahead and it says that panic, driving home from work, what the h-e-double hockey sticks am I going to cook when I get home. I do this every night and sometimes am still asking myself this question at 6:30! That baked chicken with herbs will be heated up tomorrow night with some veggies, rice or pasta and voila! DONE like Dinner... (Sorry, couldn't help myself!)
Peace y'all - one month til the big day!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday the 23rd - AKA Day #8 and it's time to name my crockpot.

SO far in the last 8 days we have a lot to celebrate!
-My dining room is so nice, well, you could eat off the table (wink wink)
-The kitchen is sparkly. From the sink on outwards.
-I washed the floors on my very own hands and knees yesterday before the company arrived and today, I just need to walk about with a wet cloth and touch up the spots that happened today. So much easier to keep clean than to get clean right?
-The bedrooms all got fresh linens from my amazingly organized linen closet. Man that's nice crawling into a crisp clean smelly-nice bed.
-The toilets were all cleaned. Tub too. Hung up the fancy shower curtain and put out the brand spanking new bath mat. We deserve it as well as visitors. It's not going back in the cupboard waiting for a bathroom reno like it was before. Forget that!
-The family room in the basement was swiffered and dusted. Most of the movies and books around the house migrated down there to the new shelving units. Where they belong.
-The kids got to jump in the jumpy castle which came in for a visit from the garage. (Yes we have a jumpy castle and yes we use it in the basement. Highly recommended. I love that thing too)
-Bought a new area rug for the new rec room too. Totally worth it for as long as the cats can refrain from leaving a hairball on it. Should be good for a while I guess.
-Visitors came and went. Meals were cooked and served and washed up after.
And, a little thing that makes me smile so much...
...there is nothing except my beloved crockpot on top of the fridge and I even shined her. I really do LOVE my crockpot - just had to get a new one on Thanksgiving weekend too cause my old girl cracked and cooked her last meal. Some people name their cars, or their houses. I am naming the crockpot. Definitely a girl - her name will be... ??
Send me a name suggestion and I will pick the one I like the best. And I will post a picture of her with her new name. Come on - she needs some direction! PUH-LEASE! Pretty please with some roasted chicken and veggies in it?
If we get at least 4 name suggestions - I will post a lovely crockpot recipe for you to enjoy as well. I have MANY!

Okay... one more job for you to round out the weekend. Whether it is Sunday night or Monday when you read this - go have a lovely bath with something extra awesome and smelly that you received as a gift and were saving. Never save these things - they are meant for you to enjoy.
Get a book, a cuppa tea, a glass of wine, some candles if you like and get in the tub. If you HATE the tub as I understand some people do (I don't get it, the hating of delicious bubbly soapy smelly hot relaxing peacefulness - but I am not here to judge! LOL) have a long shower. This one time, do not worry about the water bill or shaving your legs if you don't wanna... just go in for the sake of going in and feeling all warm and clean after. If it's bedtime - do this and then crawl directly into bed with a book or your spouse or a show if you have a tv in your room...

I'm going to the tub NOW! Right after I clean out the litter box (Ick - dreaded destestable chore!) then I will be squeaky clean and smelling great for bedtime. Meee-owwwwwww sisters!