Friday, November 11, 2011

Well wouldn't you know it....

I am still alive!!!

I know you'll never believe it, but I'm sitting on the floor of a hotel bathroom waiting for Maggie to conk out and have a nap, while Sean and the kids are at the pool swimming, so I figured this was the most opportune time I was going to get. 'Cause we have a lot planned this weekend. Because we've been so busy that if we weren't really busy on our vacation too we probably wouldn't know what to do with ourselves and get bored.

So this isn't going to be a  complete update for a few reasons:

1. Maggie will never sleep long enough for me to even begin to scratch the surface of what we've been up to the last 6 months
2. My computer battery will die long before I get to everything
3. My legs and but will fall asleep from sitting on a hard cold tile floor for that long
4. I don't have all our pictures on my laptop, and some stories are just better with pictures
5. The hotels internet connection is incredibly SLOW, so I don't think it could handle a post with more than one or two pictures and words all at the same time
6. You would all lose interest partway through the post anyway, and then still wouldn't know what we've been up to.

I will try my bestest to catch up slowly, and that will just have to do.

So back to the sitting on the bathroom floor of a hotel room thing.

Sean has just finished the last week of a crazy busy, 100+ hr/week, 10 week long rotation. So he needed a break, away from the hospital, and the 3 roads he drove on the get there and back (because lets face it, he hasn't really driven anywhere else in the last 10 weeks). And I needed a break from the house and everything else. So we booked a hotel, packed up the kids and drove to Edmonton. We're spending 4 days here and so far having a great time! We took the kids to West Edmonton Mall this morning, after "sleeping in". Now don't go and get all excited for us -  these days our sleeping in is anything past 6 am, so when the kids didn't wake up until 7:30am and didn't make us get out of bed until 8:30am, it was heaven! We headed over to the mall, watched the Remembrance Day ceremony, and then let them marvel at the shear awesomeness of the mall. We spent a bit of cash, and let the kids go on a few rides in Galaxyland, and play some games. After a late lunch at the food court we came back to the hotel, and here I am hiding out in the bathroom so Maggie will sleep.

I will try and post some of our video's and pics when we get home (see number 5), but for now, I'll try and leave you with this great Remembrance Day video that I just stole from my sister's blog :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Easter to remember - good thing we have pictures!

Easter was crazy busy this year. My sister, her husband and his family (Mom, Dad, Brothers and Sisters) were here for their Canadian Wedding Reception. So we had desserts to bake, wedding favors to make, and of course Rocky Mountains to show off. Oh, and food to eat. And eggs to colour. And then hunt. And food to eat. And a gym to decorate. And un-decorate. And food to eat. And family to visit. And somewhere in all that, it was Easter. So we had food to eat. Needless to say, it was a fun and busy weekend. And I think all our pants are fitting a bit tighter than they should. Because we had food to eat after all.

So anyway, in a rare quiet moment with Sean, the kids and I we started talking about Easter and what it really means. Once we got past the Easter Bunny comments, we started talking about Jesus. It went something like this:

Sean: What did Jesus do for us?
Kaden: He died
Anise: That's sad
S: It is a bit isn't it. But what happened after he died?
K: They buried him
Me: Yup, and what happened after that?
A: They went to visit him, but he was gone!
Me: And why was he gone?
S: Was he resurrected?
K: Oh ya
A: Yes!
S: Do you know what resurrected means?
K: No, not really
A: Nope!
S: It means he came to life again
A (while jumping to her feet and shaking her bum) : BOO-YA! BOO-YA!
S (while chuckling heartily): Yup, Boo-ya! Take that death!
On a less sacrilegious note, I have this cookie recipe that you make as you read passages in the scriptures. Eater Story Cookies. I've had it for about 4 or 5 years now, but I always forget about it until just after Easter. This year, despite the running like a chicken with it's head cut off weekend we had, I remembered to make them with the kids. It was fun and a great spiritual experience for the whole family. I did however forget to take a picture of the finished project - so you'll just have to make them yourself.

Easter Story Cookies
To be made the evening before Easter

You need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important! Don't wait until you are half done. Do this now!) 

Read John 19:1-3 Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the spoon to break into small pieces.

Read John 19:28-30 Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Let each child smell (and if they want taste) the vinegar. Put 1 tsp into mixing bowl.

Read John 10:10-11 Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Eggs represent life. Add egg whites to mixing bowl

Read Luke 23:27 Explain that our tears, and the tears of Jesus' followers taste salty. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it, and brush the rest into the bowl.

So far the ingredients don't look or smell very yummy.

Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16. The best part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to be close to him. The best part of these cookies are the sugar. Add the sugar to the bowl.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until very stiff peaks are formed.

Read Isiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3 The colour white represents our sins that are made white through the Atonement

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets (you may need two)

Read Matthew 27:57-60. The cookie mounds represent the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.

Read Matthew 27:65-66. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Put the cookie sheets in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.

Read John 16:20 & 22. Explain that Jesus' followers were sad to leave his body in the sealed tomb. They may be sad to leave the cookies in the sealed oven overnight. Go to bed.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie.

Read Matthew 28:1-9. Bite into the cookies - they are hollow and empty - just as Jesus' tomb was the first Easter.


And now for the fun part...PICTURES! 

super duper cute cookies - we made them with a stamp!
Lurel baking up a storm
Kaden discovered that if he was helping in the kitchen he wouldn't get sent to bed. So he washed dishes for an hour. Clever boy!

 It still works!
center piece
like most of the reception decorations, this belongs to Grandma
Colouring Easter Eggs at Great Grandma's 
More Easter Egg fun
Maggie wanted in on it
Ahhhh! Aren't they cute?!
Maggie and Mommy all ready to explore Waterton
Kaden taking a break on the bench
Anise watching the falls
The Brooks', Wilde's and White's (x2)
having a picnic lunch
getting lost in a snow bank
AAAACK! You'll have to fix my camera again!
Prince of Wales Hotel
She didn't know he was there. He threw a snowball. It was funny.
In true Waterton fashion. It was windy.
Bears Hump
She gets dressed in the dark
Crayola coloured bubbles...not the good idea you think they are
Egg hunt
This is what Maggie thinks about grass
Anise and her eggs
Eggs and Kaden
Maggie playing with Grandma Brooks
The girls watching the hockey game
Maggie meets spaghetti

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's a contest!

So I have this friend, whom I'm very blessed to know. She is an amazing person. She's also amazing at designing and re-purposing things for next to nothing. She has an eye for it. Well, she has this blog called DIY Design where she's been keeping everyone up to speed on her latest and greatest projects, and has since started her own business. And guess what? She's having a contest! And not just for a really cool piece of art, or re-purposed dresser. Oh, no. She's giving away an entire room makeover! Wahoo!! So head over here to check it all out and get in on it. You won't be disappointed.

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

I just read this article and had to pass it along.  You can see the article with all it's related links and videos here . I'm sure he is taking more than a bit of guff for it.  So Mr. Granderson, from one concerned parent to another - THANK-YOU!
Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) -- I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.
Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie "10" (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her "Xtina" phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word "Juicy" was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. ... I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she's not even in middle school yet.

Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the "Ashley," a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they're pedophiles?

What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?

That there was a demand to make little girls hot?

I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer's breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don't have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they're potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.

We've been here with Abercrombie before -- if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds -- but they're hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular "Bratz" franchise introduced padded bras called "bralettes" for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase "Who Needs Credit Cards" printed on the front.

I guess I've been out-of-the-loop and didn't realize there's been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.

What's that you say? Ten-year-olds can't drive? They don't have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?

Their parents?

Noooo, couldn't be.

What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, "She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top."

And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we've all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.

And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergarteners if they didn't think people would buy it.
If they didn't think parents would buy it, which begs the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?

It's easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what's appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

I get it, Rihanna's really popular. But that's a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her.
I don't care how popular Lil' Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn't always makes me popular -- and the house does get tense from time to time -- but I'm his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it."

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he'll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn't allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Maybe I'm a Tiger Dad.

Maybe I should mind my own business.

Or maybe I'm just a concerned parent worried about little girls like the one I saw at the airport.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There's nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?

A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don't know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just a little something I whipped up

with some inspiration from this beautiful site here.

My sister is having an "I got married last summer" reception here on Friday, and wants to do a vintage theme. Most everything we are using for decorating/serving we are raiding from my Grandma's house. Unfortunately, tiered dessert trays are not something my Grandma has and they are ridiculously expensive, even at a thrift store ($45 dollars!) So my Mom and I decided to make some.

We turned all this......

in to this.....

You will need
plates - we found all our plates at the thrift store, most of which cost a whopping 50 cents!

 candle sticks - again from the thrift store. Depending on what style of tier you want to do, will dictate what you are looking for here. We used short glass ones for a low base,

and taller brass and silver ones for the actual tiers.

Glass ones were about 25-50 cents, brass/silver $2

Epoxy glue (clear drying is best) - this you shouldn't get from the thrift store. Walmart is a safer bet. This was a splurge at $8/bottle - we were able to make 7 tiered plates (3-3tiered, 3-2 tiered, and 1 cake platter with 1 1/4 small bottles of epoxy)

tinfoil, Popsicle sticks - for mixing and spreading the glue. Plan to use a few of these, especially if you are using quick drying epoxy

Once you've gathered everything, and have decided which plates and candle sticks you want together, you are ready to go.

Mix the glue on a piece of tinfoil as per instructions on the bottle.

Spread on the candle sticks

Place on the bottom on the plates and allow to dry (again follow instructions on glue for drying times).

Once dry, attach the tiers together, one at a time allowing to dry in between.

Voila! You have some beautiful tiered plates for between $2-$7!

Helpful Hints:

If you are making several tiered plates like me, you may want to use a slow drying epoxy so you have more time to glue everything before your glue dries. Unless of course you are impatient like me, then just get the fast drying glue, mix small amounts at a time and work really fast!

You may want to mark the center of each plate using a ruler so that the candle sticks end up in the center. Unless of course you are like me, and couldn't be bothered, then just eyeball it and hope for the best.

You may want to do this without any help from children - the fumes from the glue seems to induce tantrums of epic know, just sayin',
theoretically of course


Monday, February 7, 2011

Because I'm invisible

My mother-in-law emailed this to me a couple days ago...and I just now had a chance to sit down and read it because I've been busy being "Mom"...which I found only fitting

The Invisible Mother ...

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way
one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be
taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping
the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see
me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of
hands, nothing more! 'Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock
to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is
the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone?,
What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
that studied history, music and literature --but now, they had disappeared
into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going,
she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she
was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty
pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and
said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one

In the days ahead I would read --- no, devour the book. And I would discover
what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could
pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have
no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a
work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and
expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their
faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird
on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you
spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
the roof, No one will ever see it ' And the workman replied, 'Because God

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost
as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you
make every day, even when no one around you does'.

'No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last- minute errand is too small for me to
notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see
right now what it will become.'

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of
the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work
on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand- bastes a turkey for 3
hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a
monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there
is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect

To all the wonderful mothers out there!!

May God give you:
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.