Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Calendars

I have made family calendars for the past 8 years. I have hand made them and color copied them, I have tried Costco, a photo shop in a local mall, and an online photo shop that did 12x12" size. But I highly recommend if you decide to do one. Sign up with their website for their promotions and you'll get their coupons for between 20% and 35% off. If you order 5 or more of the same calendar, they are $9.99 each plus $3 S/H (before coupon). And they are super quality and you can choose a calendar with Canada dates. Here are the 2 that I made for gifts for this Christmas. LEAVE this post NOW if you are related to me! Just joking - no one related to me visits this blog. I made one for each side of the family. The first is for my husband's side. All of the pictures were taken at his niece's wedding. Fun to have such gorgeous photos to work with. The second is for my side of the family. My grandma sold her cottage this month and so I had to make a calendar full of lake memories. I didn't plan to make my mum cry on the first of every month of 2012, but I suspect that she will. I've printed some photos of the disgusting blue-green algae blooms for her to look at to remind her why it's not such a bad thing to try out some different vacation spots in the future.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Warning: Family Christmas Letter

Everett was added to a photo of our family at my niece's wedding (He wasn't able to attend the wedding).

I asked the family what they considered to be their highlight of 2011.

We had to prompt our 14 year old. Grayson agreed that he really did enjoy Scout Camp in the summer. That they always received mustard but no ketchup received much coverage as did the stop at Peter’s Drive-In in Calgary during the drive home.

Kepler responded with “my basketball game this morning. It was awesome!” His community league team had not led the whole game and with 17 seconds left, they were down by 1 point. Doug (the coach) called a T.O. After, Kep’s teammate passed the ball straight to the other team. [Groan!] Then Kepler intercepted the next pass [Yay!] and dribbled down but fumbled the ball [Oh, no!] but snatched it up just before it went out of bounds. He then made a basket [Hurrah!] and his team joyously mobbed him.

Everett quickly replied with “remember that time that I took money to get Skittles from the vending machine but punched the numbers in wrong and I got crackers and cheese instead? Chortle. Guffaw.” That was the highlight of your year, Everett? Funny kid.

After careful consideration, Sabine chose her first day of grade one. She was excited to load her backpack with her supplies, choose from her new clothes, and find her desk in her new classroom. Her best friend phoned to arrange that the two of them wear matching outfits: peacock shirts, cranberry jeggings and hot pink beanies for that first day. All of my babies are in school!

When Doug was in grade four he did a report on the Great Barrier Reef. It was the first time that he had even heard of a reef and he was fascinated. The highlight of this year was spending an afternoon snorkeling off the coast of Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, en route to a conference in Brisbane, Australia.

I’m going to choose the Bayly family reunion at my grandma’s cottage at Pigeon Lake. My youngest brother’s wife planned it and it was so fun! She recreated all of the holidays: the kids opened Christmas stockings the first morning, hunted for Easter eggs, visited a haunted house and trick-or-treated to the rooms in the cottage, and blew out candles on cupcakes that they decorated. Canada Day celebrations included a street hockey game and the most enjoyable water fight of all time. If every wife had the chance to pelt her in-laws with saturated sponge balls I can only imagine that the world would be a more satisfied place. Just kidding, In-laws.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Professional Health Care Worker

I only set professions for the first half of 2011 and it shows in my lack of posts and accomplishments. All of my children started full day school in September and I really have nothing to show for it... if you don't count reading a lot more books than I used to. Hmm... maybe I was a librarian for September! Tee hee. But it's important to me to look back with a positive attitude, so I have decided that I did work on health. I have improved my energy level, my attitude towards myself and life, and developed a peaceful way to deal with depression.
  1.  My energy level improved when I started fueling this body of mine. I started eating avocados (with salt and lime juice - YUM!) weekly and more fruit and veggies daily. I have been known to reach 4 pm wondering why I felt like having a nap and then realize that I hadn't had a meal yet that day. Silly me.
  2. Through conscious effort I have managed to curb the stream of negative thoughts in my head. I was waking up in the mornings to the thought "you are failing as a mother". Like, that thought was what woke me up from sleep. Not a nice way to start the day and I felt like I had no control over it because it came from my subconsciousness. But I do have control over it, as I learned from a very interesting book by Byron Katie. She has a very interesting philosophy about how to train our minds. I had to start telling myself positive things when I was conscious of it, and that gave my subconscious positive material to work with. Our minds are very powerful.
  3. In November I had about 1 week of depression. Nothing unusual for me but I was so pleased with how I handled it. I took control of it. Did you ever have that experience as a child where you realized that you were in charge of your dream and you were able to alter it? I did when I was four years old - I remember telling a big monster as he stormed down my street toward me that I knew he was just a dream and I didn't believe in him. His shoulders slumped and he turned around and trundled away. I felt so powerful! This November, instead of just drowning under the tide of depression, I managed to tread water. I accepted that I was sick and that it wasn't my fault. I indulged in watching funny shows and reading wonderful books. I focused on getting supper on the table each night which helped keep my spirits up unlike the guilt and negative speak that my mind would provide when I didn't even do that for my family. And then when I woke up one morning with an interest in life again, I just stepped back in where I had left off.
So, likely this was not an interesting read for you, but I needed to get it written down so that I could look back on it to remind myself of the truths that I have found. Now to plan my professions for 2012. I'm thinking of choosing a life skill to focus on each month so that by the end of 2012 I will have 12 new habits.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kitchen is Open!

My husband took the children camping with his parents for 6 days at the beginning of July and I had 6 days to myself in my house. It sounds dreamy but luckily my mom made it into my version of a nightmare by leaving her dog for me to enjoy. But I did manage to paint the kitchen ceiling, freshen up the cupboards with a coat of paint and paint the walls gray (Stonington Gray HC-170 by Benjamin Moore, inspired by the grey of my Regis shampoo bottle). It was looking very fresh. Then my hubby came home and we picked up the supplies to do the wainscoting. SOOOOOO easy. They have 32" lengths of beadboard and then they package the baseboards and caps together, that have grooves to hold the beadboard. Using just a jigsaw and our kind neighbour's finishing nailer my DH and I completed our first home improvement project together.

Do you think that we could take on wall papering now?!?

Click here for the "before" pictures. Well, I didn't match up the pictures too well and most people commenting on that post thought that I was posting "after" pictures. Butt I will post matchy pictures once I do the valance and vinyl. I'll do that in September once the paint has fully cured on the cupboards. I ordered some modern material off of etsy for the valance. Love etsy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thankful Thought 3

  1. My Cuba book arrived. Wonderful.
  2. I've ordered 2 canvases: Photos #1 and 3 - I'll switch them out of the grouping for some variety. I'll post a photo once they arrive.
  3. June is Bike Month.
I only chose professions for the first 5 months this year, but when I cycled passed a sign that read "June is bike month" I found my focus for this sixth month. My sister has organized a 'cycling relatives' group: my mom, dad, sister-in-law, her and I. We try to cycle in the river valley twice a week. I have it the easiest because I'm not a senior citizen, nor do I have to drag a child along behind me. I know that gives me an unfair advantage butt I still quite enjoy waiting for them to catch up to speedy me. Haha. Cycling reminded me that getting out to enjoy nature makes me happy. And it's been super fun visiting with my family more regularly.

On June 10th, for our 17th anniversary, my husband and I packed up our bikes, picked up a picnic supper at one of our favorite restaurants, and headed to our city's gorgeous river valley. We rode our bikes to a spot with a gorgeous view of said river, enjoyed our picnic (complete with sticky toffee pudding. Drool.) and then went for a bike ride with that super awesome evening sun reminding us of how good life is.

On June 13th, my friend organized a morning for the Kayaking Kraycees at a lovely little pond that is about a 20 minute car ride from my house. I figured that I could get there faster by bike. I checked out the route with the helpful satellite map and rode my bike BY MYSELF on a route that I'd never been on before. THAT is as adventurous as I get, people. And it felt so gooooooooood!

My 3rd thankful thought is that I was able to so thoroughly enjoy this morning:
  • physically - how blessed am I to be able to pedal a bike, and to feel the sun on my skin?!?
  • visually - one of the reasons that I love winter is because it helps me to enjoy the beauty of summer
  • socially - so thankful for a friend who organized an awesome morning around sharing her kayaks
  • emotionally - my body was so full of positive energy that there was no room for anything else
  • auditorily - I arrived before the others and just sat by the still water enjoying the call of those red-wing blackbirds!
  • mentally - it is so rewarding to accomplish something challenging! 
Photo courtesy of Jeanette, featuring Julie.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Cuba to print

    Kay, a 50%-off-12x12-photobook coupon came from Shutterfly, so I ordered my book this morning. Yippee!!! Shutterfly has finally improved their books: you can now make the text and titles look much more professional, and change the size of the photos and location of such, which will also make the books look so much more polished. They made the change the week AFTER I spent an entire scrapbooking retreat assembling this book, so I'm looking forward to enjoying the improvements with my NEXT book. Sadly, they have discontinued their Creating Keepsakes designer books. I'm just SO glad that I did up a CK book for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday before they were gone! Here's the final version of the Cuba book:

    And here are the top 9 contenders for a 16x20" canvas to go in my living room. I was enamored with the soft pinks and greens until I ran a cross-processing action on "photo 1" and fell in love with that one; it looks watery in the background.

    Photo 1


    Photo 3

    Photo 4

    Photo 5

    Photo 6

    Photo 7

    Photo 8

    Photo 9

    Feel free to post your vote.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    An Albertan gardener escapes!

    Every year we plant our garden in April. Lois Hole has an excellent book that encourages me to risk planting when there is still snow on the ground and frost on the windshields in the morning. Butt I took my family and fled from her advice just ahead of a snow storm on April 14. We fled all the way to hot, hot Cuba! It was loverly.

    Now it is April 27, our skin is peeling from the sunburns.,, and there is still snow out there... butt not on OUR property! Doug and I were wise to produce 4 little field workers (pictured above) to help us in our yard. They have shovelled the snow off of our north facing deck, prepared the soil in the garden, chopped down the old growth from last season and planted the beans, beets, sweet peas, sugar snap peas, carrots and lettuce (The potatoes and cucumbers need the weather to warm up a little more.). The raspberries are tidied, staked and watered. The evergreens and bulbs are fertilized. The Death Star has been assembled and lies in wait at our back door for scraps from our kitchen (my husband just took up composting but I know that it was the composting unit's resemblance to the Death Star that drew him in).

    Now I will sit and wait for the daffodils to bloom. Dear Spring; I love you no matter how long you take to arrive.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Thankful Thought 2

    I thought I'd start April by posting my second thankful thought in honor of my dad's 66th birthday yesterday. At his party he asked everyone to say three nice things about him but it immediately turned into a roast so I quickly banned the choking-on-the-rice-bolus story. My sister-in-law was out of the room at the time and when she returned, she chose to tell about the first time she went out with my dad and my brother and how they went to the Rice Bowl (do you see how close she got to "rice bowl-us"??) and thought to herself that she had never seen anyone eat rice so fast (that wasn't the time he choked, BTW). SO, here is a thankful thought dedicated to my dad. Back in the spring of 2010, my dad purchased a table saw and was looking for a project. I mentioned that I had been looking for a captains bed... a CALIFORNIA KING sized captains bed. They don't exist. He insisted on making us one. YAY! After many afternoons of labouring in my garage, he happily brought in this massive bed. I figure I've got about a decade before I'll have to resort to a step ladder to get into bed. But now I essentially sleep on top of 2 enormous dressers: 6 drawers on both sides with a cubby at the foot of the bed for bags and the such.

     I love it!! Thanks, Dad! You're super!

    And a quick April Fool's prank. DH's April Fool's joke was to generously sprinkle yellow-food-dyed-water around both bathrooms: basically it looked like someone was standing to pee when they got electrocuted. Daughter got up and said "Daaaaaaaad, you made a mess in the bathroom!" and then spent 10 minutes wiping it up with toilet paper (just like she does every morning, likely. Hahahaha. Just jokin'). Son1 saw it and was so grossed out that he decided to wait to use the bathroom at the day camp he was going to. Son2 saw it, assumed it was soap and just went about his business. When we asked Son3 what he thought about the pee all over the bathroom he looked at us, blinked and said, "...wha?"

    Finally, I have a link to the blog of a fellow professional SAHM!!! Check out her talents here.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Super Thankful Thought

    So my favorite, Ali Edwards, uses rounded corner frames that I love (and use) and she has come up with a great idea that I love (and now use) of periodically framing a photo with a Thankful Thought frame. Click here to visit her blog and download her Thankful Thought frame. I just downloaded mine today and immediately had a super chance to use it. Keep reading.

    It was above freezing, the sun was shining and we had new snow yesterday: time to toboggan! I invited a friend and we took our children, and I thought to bring my zoom lens. Well, my daughter loves to go over the jump and it freaks me out. I normally forbid it but today I thought it would be fun to catch some photos of her going over the jump; I'm too overprotective, right?

    So my thankful thought today is that we have never had to make a trip to the emergency room after a happy afternoon of tobogganing. My super, SUPER thankful thought. The landing here threatened a concussion but this girl is so brave; a couple Advil and she was up for a movie night watching E.T. (If her dad had been in town, we would have spent the evening at the emergency room. Word.)

    Ya. That picture makes my feel a little queasy. I'm back to the no-going-over-the-jump rule, and I think this girl is now fully on board.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Decorator of Kitchen

    I haven't received the pink slip as of yet, butt I'm pretty sure that I was fired by the blue-collar workers union. They don't want to call any pansy lazy butts, like me, one of their own. Sooooo... onto my next profession. My sister is overhauling her bathroom, which I hope to feature here, and learning how to put in wainscoting, which she will then teach me to do. My plan is to paint my kitchen grey, put in some counter height wainscoting on the one wall (you thought YOUR kitchen was small but mine only has ONE wall!) that doesn't have cupboards on it. You should know that long ago, in a land far, far away... okay, a town 10 minutes away but it was last summer, my sister ordered some vinyl for me.

    I chose orange, and yellow orange versions of the above vinyl decals from wiwicoco on Etsy.
    Which I plan to apply to these cupboards in my kitchen.

     So, the plan:
    1. paint walls grey
    2. put up some wainscoting and paint it white
    3. re-paint cupboards white
    4. make a new valance: a graphic orange and grey material
    5. order white vinyl quotes for up above cupboards
    6. wait 1 month then put up vinyl decals
    And just in case "anyone" is confused, this is my kitchen. My kitchen right now. The kitchen that you just walked out of after you finished the dishes. Yes, OUR kitchen! Don't be confused because you see it on the interweb. It can be viewed on the internet AND in our house at the SAME time. Okay, ya, the 1st picture is not our kitchen. You're right. But the next three really are.


    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Chore descriptions

    I have thrice searched the interweb, in vain, for chore descriptions. I have purchased the lanyards to hang around my childrens' necks from which to suspend the chore descriptions... butt there are no chore descriptions to be found. Lots of chore charts, if you're wondering. So I spent the day making some up. I did up 18 chores and can send you a pdf if you're interested in having some quirky chore descriptions for your children. Here are 3 samplings:

    [I make me laugh. Downtown instead of Downstairs. Baaahahaha.]

     [Haha. Ore. A reference to the board game Settlers of Catan, if you haven't had the good fortune to play it.]

    [Seriously, there's not enough room on this card to give my 13-year old the amount of instruction necessary for him to successfully complete this chore, so I resorted to ridiculing him. I find it to be quite motivational.]

    So I avoided work today while researching work! I enjoyed searching for brief quotes to add to the cards. Perhaps someday they will mean something to them. Now I'm planning to put 6 cards on each lanyard and the children can take them off and hang them up as they finish them. They will have 1 week to complete them and can figure out when to get them done.

    So for my blue collar work, I gave 3 haircuts last week (as requested from people NOT related to me), and 4 haircuts this week (to people who I threatened to charge if they didn't stop complaining and start singing my praise. Yes: related to me). I volunteered thrice at my childrens' school, visited the housebound (a little shot of healing energy out to poor Julie!) and elderly. I also worked hard on my DH's 40th birthday. I hosted 2 parties, took him out and did up Valentine's gifts for all. For his 40th birthday on Valentine's Day I printed 40 of my favorite pictures that made me think of him. I thought that he could put a couple up on his bulletin board at work each week. He actually expressed appreciation for them! Here's a few of those, too.

    He treated himself to Lasik eye surgery for his 40th, so that was his monetary gift. I believe he likes that gift a little bit more. Haha. Stay tuned for a guest blogger: my sister is a "professional plumber" and is finishing up her bathroom overhaul. Now THAT takes some real work!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Blue Collar Worker

    That's my profession for February: manual labour. I've still been mulling over the concept of discipline from my 'monk' attempts, and thinking about this 'now' idea, and then I read a lesson ["Chapter 27: Work and Personal Responsibility," Gospel Principles, (2009)] about the importance of developing a love for work. Ya, I don't have that either. Here are the ideas that stood out for me:
    • "There is an old saying: 'Doing nothing is the hardest work of all, because one can never stop to rest.' Without work, rest and relaxation have no meaning."
    There is definitely truth to that!
    • "One way to enjoy life’s fullest benefits is to learn to love work... President David O. McKay said, 'Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that the power to work is a blessing, that the love of work is success'.” 
    I'm still pretty sure that work is drudgery, but I'd be happy to learn to love to work. 
    • "Children should do their part in the work of the family. It is necessary for children to have work assignments to fit their abilities. They need to be praised for their successes. Good work attitudes, habits, and skills are learned through successful experiences in the home."
    Haha. Of course that one stood out because it means that I can train my children to do MY work. Butt really we mustn't overlook how much work it usually takes to TEACH children to work. So with my lazy example and this culture of self-indulgence that my children are growing up in, I can't fail them and their future families AND society by being too lazy to teach them the value of work.

    So today I did all of the dishes and tidied the kitchen (Umm, nope. That's an unusual occurrence. My dishwasher is out of town and I didn't want him to come home to... well. Dishes.) On Friday my daughter and I finished chipping the ice off of the sidewalk (that I like to do). I plan to be dedicated to house work this month, and to get my children back to doing their daily chores.


    The "now" project is being worked on. This is a good concept; good word.

    So I thought I'd write about my profession for January. I didn't choose one, but looking back over my month, I would say that I was a socialite. If you don't think that is a profession, you'll have to take that up with Paris Hilton!

    I did some serious socializing in January. Let me think. January started with the holidays so that's generally pretty social although I did spent New Years Day finishing up my bedroom. I painted over the purple paint and just finished it all up after letting those little last items drag along for too long. I'm now going to list the social activities that I did in January: visited Second Cup with a couple girlfriends from church; went to the art gallery and for supper with friends from my first job after university; spent a Saturday scrap booking with a neighbour (and dear friend) and a couple friends from high school; spent another Saturday shopping for wedding dresses with my niece and her gorgeous, young friends; took my family to Japanese Village (I had missed that Japanese butter!); organized a climbing party for my 11-year old; planned a farewell dinner for a neighbour with the Tree Island Mom's group; went swimming with my sister and our preschoolers Wed. afternoons; took my 5-year old out for lunch to BP's on a weekday; went cross-country skiing with my DH on a weeknight (why wait for a weekend when you have a 12-year old!); went out for lunch and to look at art with my sisters and mom for my birthday; had a 'favorites' themed night to celebrate my mom's birthday with those same ladies; took in a concert with my sister and our husbands (Spirit of the West's singer sang AND my bro-in-law won the door prize of tickets for the next show!); started aerobics with good friends and almost went to bookclub (it got moved to February due to the weather). Phew. That's a LOT for little ole me. I felt a bit selfish taking TWO Saturdays to myself but my DH said that he didn't mind taking the kids to their classes.

    But the coolest thing is that I do have a connection to Paris Hilton. Yes, I do! We have the SAME DRESS! I mean, we didn't wear it to the same socialite event or anything, so it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Tee hee.
    But cool, right?

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Word of 2010

    N. O. W.

    Everybody is doing it! Picking a word of the year, that is. Hopefully the irony that I chose the word "now" as my word for the year. . . on Feb.2 . . . doesn't elude you. I was going to choose "discipline" because you know that I need it but when a fellow blogger listed "now" as her almost choice, I recognized that it had to be my word. Ali Edwards started this idea [click for link to a course you can take on the idea] and called it "one little word". Her idea is to chose " . . . a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life." - Ali Edwards.

    So "NOW" it is. The thing is, that I chose a word LONG ago that I have focused on for most of my life: "LATER". I hardly even understand or comprehend "NOW" because I am so accustomed to "LATER".


    I'm excited.