Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a very joyous and prosperous Christmas!

May your heart be filled with the spirit, generosity and kindness of the season.

I want to wish all my friends, family, readers and fellow bloggers a very joyous and prosperous Christmas! May the sun shine bright, your love be strong and your spirit filled with the generosity and kindness of the season.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

(Recycled) Christmas Crafts!

Burned out Christmas lights
Well, here we are a few days from Christmas and I *almost* got all the things on my "to do" crafting list accomplished. However, I didn't get to share them for a few reasons (I really wanted to, I'm so happy with what we've accomplished). First and foremost being married to a photographer has it's benefits... It also has it's pitfalls. Namely, December is a really popular month for people wanting pictures. So although my stuff is a priority people who pay with more than cookies and kisses take the front seat. Then, my dear husband, threw his back out and was laid up for a good many days.

Milk carton villages!
But I did take a few "during the process" snaps that I'll share and who knows, maybe I can make proper tutorials before next Christmas!

 Snowflakes from old letterhead!
The burned out Christmas lights I had from the hanging of our outdoor lights and all the rage right now is to make them pretty by dousing them with glitter. I did 8 bulbs, 5 of which I added magnets too and are now adorning our refrigerator!  The main issue I have, as pretty as they are, is the glitter shed! I looked for from Diamond Glaze but it's only available at a few stores in my area and I wasn't going to drive 1/2 an hour to find some. They look great and absolutely pop against my white fridge.

We also built a milk carton village. It is absolutely my favourite thing we did this year! We have five houses in our village and they are adorable. We added flame-less candles and they have been twinkling the night away since early December.

Snowflakes - who doesn't love them? Even though we are under snow here for typically six months of the year, it's fun and simple to make paper snowflakes. TroubleMaker is a pro with his scissors and with a simple square folded, it's a breeze for him to make unique and creative snow flakes.

So this is what we've been up to this month - what have you been doing to make Christmas fun and crafty?

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Little Philanthropist

I've got many reasons to be proud of my son (doesn't every mother?) but sometimes, if it's possible, he makes me more proud than usual. Before I get there, though, let me rewind the clock a bit...

A few weeks before last Christmas, we saw a television commercial for an aid agency that helped children in Africa. He turned and said to his father and I "Mommy, why don't they go to the store and buy food?". We explained to him that they didn't have money to buy food. With out missing a beat, he declared that we needed to help them get food. He didn't judge, he didn't say "get a job", he took it at face value and knew, deep in his heart, that the only thing to do was help another human being.

Help he has... With the help of his friends, he raised 19 kilograms of food at his 4th birthday party. His generosity continued through the year but with the Christmas season approaching again, his desire to help out came to the forefront.

He expressed his concern about helping out other kids this Christmas. We explained to him that not every family who wishes to celebrate Christmas could celebrate. We asked how he'd feel if he woke Christmas morning only to realize Mommy and Daddy couldn't afford to get him a present. He decided he had to help a family in need. We planned a Christmas dinner and decided to donate toys for a kid his age to the local Santa's Anonymous.

Today, we delivered our dinner to our local Food Bank and dropped the toys in the bin at the shopping centre. Just a fun fact; today, his donation weighed more than he did!

So yes, I am proud, enormously proud of him. Proud because he gets it, proud he understands he is part of the community, the province, the country, the world. Proud that he understands that it is his social responsibility to help out his fellow human beings. Proud that he understands that he can't have everything he wants. Proud that at his core, he is four years old and although he knows it is important to help, he's not above temper tantrums, stalling at bedtime and shoulder rides to bed.

This is my Merry Christmas and seeing the world through his eyes makes it the merriest one yet.

Our food bank was so happy to see a young friend, they tweeted his donation.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bad Mommy... Happy birthday to the Wonder Schnauzer!

I realized as I was putting TroubleMaker to bed that December 13th passed with out a thought.

What does this mean? It means I forgot my first baby boy's 13th birthday. His GOLDEN birthday. I suck in an epic way.

The only relief is that baby boy #1 won't know I forgot and as per TroubleMaker's suggestion, we shall party tomorrow!

Happy birthday, Cortaillod High River Maximilian Finnegan! I love you (even if I forgot your birthday)!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - December 17 to 28, 2012

Brennan's Christmas Picture (Blackstone Images)
Trying to get ahead of the game with planning the next couple of weeks so I only have to do a small shop right before Christmas... I don't like the crowds so I'm happier being home right around Christmas. I also don't like that it's so close to Christmas. I really, really like the lead up to Christmas and realizing that I can plan my menus up to and past Christmas day makes me a little sad.

December 17 to 23
Monday (17) - Chicken and Mushroom Linguine
Tuesday (18) - Burrito Bake
Wednesday (19) - KD and fish sticks
Thursday (20) - Chicken Caesar Wraps
Friday (21) - Assorted sub sandwiches
Saturday (22) - Crock pot BBQ meatballs, baked potatoes, corn on the cob
Sunday (23) - Pizza

December 24 to 28
Monday (24) - Mom's Ham, Gramma's buns, cheese platter
Tuesday (25) - Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies
Wednesday (26) - left over buffet!
Thursday (27) Maple glazed pork roast, baked mashed potatoes
Friday (28) - Perogies and ham sausage

Linking up with the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Currently - December 12, 2012

This week, Brennan is currently...

Reading... Curious George's Christmas Countdown
Listening to... Holiday's Rule!
Hating... His eye drops for pink eye 
Laughing... At the new episodes of Curious George on PBS!
Ignoring... Me, when I tell him it's time for eye drops!

Brennan's mom is currently...

Reading... Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper
Listening to... Holiday's Rule!
Hating... Giving Brennan his eye drops!
Laughing... At being the healthiest person in our house!
Ignoring... The pile of stuff I have to do yet before Christmas!

Linking up with...


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Optimism is for someone else!

Typically, I'm a happy, glass always full kind of person. Certainly, I get "down" and have off days but for the most part, I'm sunshine and rainbows...

Mostly, today, I'm not. I'm all angry eyes, death ray stares, F bomb dropping, punching Tickle Me Elmo in the face, flipping off little old ladies and drive through the puddle to splash the kid on crutches kind of not happy.

Is it stress? Is it hormones? Is it pain? I don't know but I'm not a very happy camper which means no one with in 20 feet of me is happy either.

This too shall pass... I hope... I miss my unicorn.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Currently - December 6, 2012

Brennan is currently...
Making... Christmas decorations (helping me with bows), paper snowflakes and milk carton houses (check back  on Monday to see those).
Thinking... About trying to be "good"; he's had some being good issues lately and he's very aware that his behaviour has put a visit from Santa at risk.
Loving... Christmas lights. It's like a contest when we drive up the road to see who see houses lit with lights first.
Cooking... Cookies! His recent fixation has been on chocolate chip cookies made with M&M's... Next, we'll be onto Christmas cookies!
Dreaming... About a remote control monster truck.

Brennan's Mom is currently...
Making... Christmas decorations (like bows, milk carton houses and Christmas tree toppers).
Thinking... About how I continually over do it.
Loving... Christmas lights!
Cooking... Cookies, of course!
Dreaming... About surgery and feeling my thumb again!

What are you up to? Share it here...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Countdown - Day 2 - Bird Snacks!

Stir it up!
It snowed early here this year and our usual bumper crop of sunflowers wasn't so bumper! What does this mean? Hungry birds and an easy peasy craft for us to do! Cruising FOLK! magazine's blog,, I saw a crafty little idea for a bird seed ornament. We have a feeder in our tree (my mother in law gave it to Brennan) however the birds haven't exactly flocked to it. But with a few dozen hungry chickadees roaming around our yard, we headed off to get birdseed! He is a very helpful helper. He only splashed flower out once. We pressed them into a wax paper lined cookie sheet - finding the backside of a spoon was much less messy! Add some cookie cutter (press them REALLY hard into the mix - getting them out and flipped later was challenging and we found they didn't seem to cut through much).


Just a little higher! 

Brennan is very independent and must always, always have a hand in anything - especially if it is very awkward and requires some form of parental acrobatics!  The end resulted netted us a large ziploc bag full of ornaments (mostly "blobs", our shapes didn't withstand the taking out phase). We've hung four in our tree and are now awaiting some fine feathered friends!

Nothing says bird food like a bear!

Unfortunately, our neighbourhood has a load of cats that have the local bird population hesitant to land anywhere) but we remain hopeful, especially since we're only a few months into winter! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - December 3, 2012

Another Monday and I'm in a slump. Unable to perform my usual culinary genius (haha) in the kitchen, I'm tapped for ideas and tired of chicken, pasta and blah meals. Thankfully, I know about this amazing resource of people who share their awesome menus!

Monday Assorted submarine sandwiches
Tuesday KD and fish sticks
Wednesday Honey Garlic Pork Chops with mashed potatoes
Friday ??
Saturday Sweet and sour pork ribs, fried rice, veggie stir fry
Sunday Sloppy Joes on buns

Thanks to all the blogs I was inspired by and to Laura from The Organizing Junkie (who contributed menu items on Wednesday and Thursday)! Happy cooking!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Countdown - Day 1 - Chalkboard Sled!

For the past few years, I've struggled to do an "Advent Calendar" for TroubleMaker. By struggle, I mean I see so many ideas that I want to employ, I wait until the last second to pick an idea and then play catch up all month trying to stuff, fill, colour, cut and figure out what to do.

But no more. This year, although I had several different ideas in mind and been inspired out the wazoo by Pinterest, I decided on a treatless, presentless countdown device. He doesn't need all the extra candy and because we made a resolution to not spoil him too much (my husband and I made this pact before we got pregnant), I didn't want to get him 25 little things!

I was inspired by a cheap snowman chalkboard in the Dollar store and when I couldn't find a snowman wood cutout at the craft store, I fell in love with a large wooden sled and decided that this would work even better! Using this picture as my inspiration, I started to work.

The runners were broad brushed on with a blend of gold and brown.

I blended four colours for the base coat wash (red, poppy red, gold, black and a colour extender) applied with a dampened sponge applicator.

Once it was dry, I applied a second coat with a dry sponge. I then dry brushed black all over the edges. Next, I lightly sanded the entire surface and wiped it clean with a dry towel. I blended a white acrylic paint with a silver acrylic paint to paint the snowman. I gave him three generous coats (as the red beneath showed through). His nose was orange and his buttons had a base of orange and I painted over it with the scarf colour (a blend of red, black and gold). The hat is pure black and the cloud was acrylic chalk board paint (3 coats). The snowflakes were applied using white acrylic paint on a rubber stamp and I had painted his name on the top.

I had planned on putting an acrylic sealer all over the piece (save for the chalkboard part) but I finished the sled at 9pm last night after a very long day... This morning, I added the string - which consisted of three pieces of jute twine with three bright red jingle bells.

He was so excited to see it this morning, he didn't even ask for a cheap chocolate advent calendar at the grocery store today! I, myself, am enormously proud of how well it turned out. It's been a many, many years since I've done any folk painting (I actually gave my sister all my paints a year or so ago as I hadn't used them in at least 3 years) so I think for being pretty rusty, the Christmas Countdown Sled turned out very well!

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be sharing a number of Christmas and holiday ideas between now and December 24th so I hope you'll stop back again soon.

Sharing the season with...

Ask Anna


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