Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Out and Play!

Just a little proof that I am trying to get outside with the little man, even when it's still chilly!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


I've just returned from a weekend away at a scrapbooking retreat where I managed to get done most of what I'd hoped to - 3 double page layouts, 10 single pages, and a mini album of last Christmas.  I forgot my page protectors (doh! as well as my hair dryer and straightener... where was my head?) so I have the snapshot pages that I wanted to do in the pocket style page protectors still to finish, and some titles to do on my Cricut, but I am happy with what I got done and happy with the getaway, and happy that my family does so well without me.  They all said they missed me, but no one cried.  :) 

I'll share the layouts one of these days, but thought I'd just show a few recent pictures.  That first one is of my big boy who can reach the library return slot all on his own.  He's getting so tall.  This one is of Madeline's apron that she made in sewing at school.  Nolan wanted to try it on.  They are both awesome.

This one's from this morning.  We were out and got home just in time to see the recycling truck come - watching these trucks is one of Nolan's favourite things, and I am so glad it's warm enough now to stay outside for it!  Walking (jumping) in puddles is one of his other favourite things, so seeing our next door neighbour's massive driveway puddle made him one happy boy.

Oh, and this morning?  I went for a haircut and left Nolan with a friend who has a little guy N's age.  They are in our small group, so Nolan is familiar with them, and we've been to their house to play once, but he wasn't too thrilled with the idea of being left there.  He clung a little bit, but when I explained again that there was no where to play where I got my hair cut, so he could play at his friend's house instead and I'd come back as soon as I was done, he went to my friend without a fuss and was fine the whole time.  So pleased that he is getting more comfortable in more places.  Next project: the 2 year old Sunday School class...

PS The next scrapbook retreat is October 24-26 if anyone wants to join me!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Coasting to Spring...

We're generally a pretty healthy bunch around here, but M had an ear infection last week and Nolan has a pretty ugly cough today. (Wrote this a few days ago - took me a while to get pics added... Turns out it was croup!  It was pretty quick, though, and he's all better now.)  Thankfully there's not much on the calendar this week so we are taking it easy and laying low.

This morning Nolan played with the cloud dough that we made the other day while I did the dishes and then we made apple cheddar muffins - we did sit and watch a lot of TV, but at least there was some play and some productivity, too!

The cloud dough was a recipe I found when I was starting to get cabin fever last month - I searched for a bunch of activities to do with toddlers and finally got around to trying this on this weekend.  With only two ingredients (eight cups of flour and one cup of oil -we used baby oil), it was a super simple one to make and Nolan was entertained for a long time.  I'm not sure how long it keeps, but we've got it in a pail on the counter ready to play with until it all ends up swept into the garbage.  It does make a bit of a mess...

Another activity I tried from that same website was painting in the bathtub with shaving cream colored with food coloring.  N had fun painting the walls around the tub, and clean up was just a matter of taking off the diaper and running the water!  Both fun and easy.  He is really looking forward to being able to get outside more, though. 

Inside, his toys of choice are Daddy's screwdrivers and a "working TV 'mote."  He has toy tools, and even some old remotes, but he knows there is a big difference.  Especially since he's been helping Dad change light fixtures.  He wants the real tools all the time now.

Madeline is done basketball and soccer, so we are pretty free these days.  She's looking for something else to get busy with - we're helping her stay occupied by having her watch Nolan while we get out on our own every now and then.  Her basketball wind up introduced us to an awesome place that N and I have been back to a couple of times already - Boomers Air Park.  Do you have one of these where you live?  It's a trampoline park - a warehouse that's wall to wall trampolines (including up the walls!)  They have toddler time during the day a few times a week, so we've been out there having a blast.

I hope you are healthy, not too busy, and are enjoying your loved ones!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Feel Good (and a Free Printable)

Hi, friends.

I just wanted to send you a little encouragement today.  This time of year when you may feel like you've been stuck in the snow or in the same routine or the same problems for too long, it helps to be reminded of how to get back up.  These are things you probably already know, but reminders are good.  Reminders are needed.

1. Go Outside.  In our neck of the woods, the weather is cooperating - all four of us got outside to play in the snow Sunday afternoon, and it may have been the highlight of my weekend.  Great temperatures, lots of new fresh snow (that will be gone soon!) and the family all together?  Perfect.  This morning I was outside with the boy for an hour, too - not quite as entertaining as with all of us, but still, fresh air and a little unforced exercise?  So good for you.

2. Read Uplifting Words.  Do you browse blogs? Try (in)courage for a starting place - lots of good contributors there.  Paper more your style? I'm reading The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry, which is based on Philippians 4:8, which I printed out a while ago and put up on my wall - it's good to be taken deeper into HOW to think on those things.

3. Think Positively.  This stems from that verse and that book.  I believe we don't pay attention enough to what we think, and allow negative thoughts to occupy places they shouldn't in our brains.  What we think really does make a difference in our moods, our attitudes and efforts in relationships; what we teach ourselves to think about today really does shape our future. Read that again:
4. Focus on Your Family.  Invest in Your Relationships.  'Hermit-ing' is okay sometimes, but don't stay there for too long.  Make the effort to get out with a friend.  Plan a playdate.  Pick up the phone.  Go out with the man without the kids.  Start good routines of good dinner table conversations.  Pick some questions that you ask each other each week. (Thanks, Pastor Darren!)  As your relationships improve, you will notice yourself feeling more up.

5. Accept Your Season.  I sat down to write mostly about this today, but then my topic morphed.  And I found this post by Kristen Welsh which said it perfectly, anyway.  I have been aware lately that this is the least involved I have been in groups or ministries or serving... and often remind myself that looking after my kids is the greatest service I can be doing right now.  No one needs me more than they do.  Time-wise, what I do all day with Nolan and how I am training him is shaping his whole life to come.  I am doing all I need to be.  No guilt. 

May you feel uplifted, encouraged, accepted and loved today.  You are a beautiful, wonderful, creation and I hope you believe that in your deepest heart.

If you would like a copy of that print, I would love to share it.  Just email me at followandlead(at) and I will email you one.  Just specify if you want the first color option or the second.  :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

What to do when you buy the wrong ribbon.

We got a 'prayerline' email the other day from our church, and one of the people to pray for was a dear lady who was in the hospital.  I thought I'd send her a little card and let her know how special she was to me, but I had no cards.  Sigh.  So today I made some.  And she'll get one of them asap!

I've been having fun making bookmarks lately, (and have a bunch listed in my shop here), so I stocked up on ribbon at Michael's a couple of weeks ago. 

I didn't realize till I got home, though, that one package (the biggest bunch that I got, of course) was adhesive backed.  They wouldn't work for the bookmarks, but I decided to keep them for other projects.  Like this one.

I pulled out my box of blank cards (you can get these sets at Walmart, Michaels, Chapters), the adhesive ribbon, my flower stash, and a couple packages of self adhesive gems.  The flowers all had gem centers already.

It was super simple - I picked a card base that went with flowers I had, picked the best ribbon to go with it, and added a few gems on some of them.

Why it works: Any design is more satisfying to the eye when you follow the rule of thirds.  Slap that ribbon down with one third of the card on top and two thirds on the bottom and you're halfway there.  Then remember that things groups in threes are often more visually appealing, and it practically makes itself.

Once again, nothing fancy, but nice to have around when you want to send a little note:

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Yes, for Canada in the Olympics of course (Bobsleigh and Hockey and Curling, oh my!), but we haven't actually watched as much as last time around.  Maybe the hosting and local time events and no toddler...? Our TV is more likely to be showing Tangled or SuperWhy.

What did make me get a sore throat was cheering for Madeline's soccer team - we were away at a tournament in Saskatoon all weekend.  They didn't make it to the final few, but did play some of their best games, and Madeline even scored a goal and got player of the game for one of them.  Woo Hoo!!  So proud of her, and she had a great time playing and hanging out with her soccer friends.  We enjoy some of the other parents that we've gotten to know over the year or so and had a good time visiting with them, too.

We found a new place we like in town called Birminghams - we've heard they have good nachos but keep ending up there on wings night so haven't tried yet.  When Sean mentioned to his business partner one time that we were going out, he asked what the occasion was, and was surprised when Sean told him we go out every week or two.  I sure appreciate that my husband sees that as important.

Playing the snow!  All four of us had a great time playing out in the snow in the backyard last night - many laughs, and I think good for all of us!

On the Calendar
Having M home this week for her winter break has been good (and the break from all the practices and games, too!), and she's looking forward to leaving again tomorrow for a youth trip to Edmonton.  One last event for our youth pastor who is leaving at the end of the month.  I wonder what will be next for our church in that area?

Short hair.  I went in last week and got a good chop.  Photos to come maybe if I ever get on the other side of the camera.  So don't hold your breath.  I've always done either short or long - this time it's just in between my shoulders and ears, so right in the middle.  I'm liking it a lot.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

By Special Request...

In January I had two sales through Etsy plus one custom order that I'm still working on, one sale through Used Regina, and one custom order coming from that, I had one "Can you make this?" from a friend, and some little things that I made for Madeline.  So it was not too busy, but all over the map as far as what I was doing.

Bows for M - Madeline asked if I could take her shopping because she wanted new bows.  I had a look at one of hers, told her I could probably make them for her, and let her have a look through my stash.  The backings came in a package of four, so this is what she got.

Custom size magic bags - (forgot to take a picture...) The fellow who bought three magic bags emailed the next week saying a coworker saw him using one at work, and wondered could I make them twice as wide?  I was happily in between buying fabric and cutting it all up, so it worked out fine.  I've made one extra long, a couple of squares for a lady who was happy with the old size she had, but needed new ones, some small 'across the forehead for migraines' bags, and a handful of half size 'kid-sized' bags, but this is the first time I've done ones so big.  At $25 each, I'd do them again.

Boot shapers - a lady from church who has bought a number of things from me in the past sent me a link from another Etsy shop wondering if I could make 'something like this.'  It was a pair of boot shapers - have you ever seen these before?  I don't think I have, but I also keep my one pair of tall boots laying flat, so haven't thought of the need for something like that.  I played around with some stuff I had and came up with something that worked for her, and who knows?  It might be something that would sell well at a winter craft sale - one to keep in mind, anyway, especially when I see fabric on sale...

Zip pouch with dividers - The request for this was from a girl who wanted separate compartments for her quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.  Obviously American - we would need one more compartment.  Add Toonies and Loonies and take away the pennies!  The first attempt at this was a learning experience - a little stiff.  This is the second try, but the dividers are still too loose fitting for my liking.  She can take it or leave it, but I'm not spending any more time on something that won't make me much.

What are you making these days??

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Weekend Tournaments - Our Athlete in Action!

Madeline's soccer team has had bad luck getting into soccer tournaments this year - not enough teams their age in their division to make it work, mostly.  This weekend was their first of the year - (we get to go to Saskatoon soon for another, though, and are looking forward to that!) - and it was also the weekend of her only basketball tournament...  We are happy that there are only a few overlaps between those two schedules; it seemed almost comical that these tournaments ended up on the same weekend.

Happily missing one quarter of one basketball game was the extent of the overlap this weekend.  I got to run her around Friday night while Sean stayed home and put Nolan to bed, and I thankfully remembered to take advantage of the kid-less games to take my camera along.

KT tape for the shin splints.

Warm ups.

Notice all 10 of them have the same hairstyle??

She shoots...

I love how much fun she has with these girls.

Right in the action.

This tournament was on 1/2 size fields, so they split into two teams.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Mother and Daughter

 Just having a little fun before Nolan's birthday party last week.  :)


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Homemade Playdough

I had made Nolan a batch of playdough the week before his party, and had the brilliant idea that I'd make more as the goodie bags, too.  It costs nothing, kids love it, and it's not something to clutter up the house or add sugar to the system.  That's a win in my books.

So I planned to make four batches, do each one a different color, then divide them so each child got some of each.  Trouble was I had a little helper, was a little distracted, read one of the amounts wrong... and ended up making four double batches.  It worked out being a nice amount, so a good little mistake.

Here are some shots of the process, and the recipe is at the end, if you want it.

It helps to have a little helper.

My original recipe from Mom...

...with a note added by my first playdough lover.

Stir it up.

Make sure you taste it!

Clean up time!

The finished product!

This recipe is the one in the cookbook my mom made for me when I moved out, with all the familiar recipes that she made when we were growing up.  After my own recipe binder, it's still the one I use the most often.

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp oil
(1 tsp alum - optional)
a few drops of food colouring

Mix it all up, add more flour if it's too stick.  Store in the fridge.

Monday, January 27, 2014

And then he was two...

January has felt nice and slow.  After the fullness of the months leading up to Christmas, and then lots of family time and traveling, January has been fairly relaxed for me.  I haven't put too much effort into my shop, just slowly making a few things here and there.  Madeline is back at school, basketball, and soccer, and right now is in exams, so keeping her running is enough of a job!  We did have a birthday last weekend, but even that was pretty low key - I didn't even make a cake!  We had a few little families over for a playdate-party; opened a few presents and had some ice cream cake from DQ.  Nolan opened and enjoyed some of his gifts; we opened the ones from his friends first, and when he ran out of enthusiasm, we just put the ones from us away for the next day, which was his actual birthday anyway.  I did make some playdough for the little ones that came though.  I'll post that recipe and pictures soon.

Some highlights of the boy being two:
  • hearing him sing happy birthday to himself - the whole song!
  • when we went to Dairy Queen to pick out a cake, he climbed up into a booth, ready to eat it NOW!
  • learning to make a 'pop' sound with his finger in his mouth - I tried to help him with my finger, but when I told him to tighten up his lips, he tightened up his teeth... OUCH!
  • a trip to the doctor for a check up: he didn't want to climb on the scale to get weighed, but as soon as the nurse went to get a sucker to bribe him, he got on to 'practice'
  • He's 30 lbs and over 3 feet - that means he'll be tall when he grows up - over 6 feet.  I've heard for boys double their height at 2, and for girls, double their height at 18 months to find out their end height.
  • That's 95th percentile height and 85th percentile weight
  • He loves shoveling - we've had some good weather this week and he's agile in the snow and handles the shovel like a pro.
  • He can talk really well and make himself understood.
  • He is getting good at knowing his colours, and his letters are even starting to come along, thanks in part to his favourite show, Super Why!
'Calling' Granny from a phone at M's soccer game.

After swimming with Riley.

Playdough!  He loves to eat it, too.  Mmm - salty.

At the family center - rock a bye baby!

At DQ wanting to eat the cake.

Party day!

And the rest of the fam...

This 'LeapTop' is a new favourite.

A shot I love sent from a friend.

Gramma & Grampa came on his birthday.

He got himself in Daddy's boots.

In action - from the pile back on to the deck.