Monday, December 01, 2014

Giving a Book a Day

I've discovered something cool - a way to donate a book a day to support literacy for kids.

I've known about the Hunger Site for a long time, and for a while now have been getting daily reminder emails.  I always do it from my phone - click over from the email to the hunger site and click the button - once a day - to donate a cup of food to the hungry.  There's lots of shopping you can do while you're there, that also supports good causes, and lots of ads, but I always just click and run.  :) 

Until recently.  I've known that it's a whole group of sites, but it just isn't realistic to go to each of the other sites (Breast Cancer, Animals, Veterans, Autism, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Literacy, and Rainforest) and click on their buttons to donate to all of the causes all of the time...  But literacy...  I love books, and I value education, and I believe that a good education can help prevent a lot of the problems in our world.  So once I click on my donate food button, I head over to the literacy site and click there, too, to donate a book a day.

It's the season of giving, and I wanted to give you an idea of on more way to give.

PS - I was just looking at it on the computer instead of my phone, and there were actually a few things that caught my eye as potential Christmas gifts... hmm.  I like that a lot of it is fair trade goods that support people in less fortunate circumstances than ours.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just a Catch Up.

A visual catch up of our last couple of weeks:

Nolan finished his second round of swimming lessons with flying colours!  This is the last day of 'Seaturtle' getting a boat ride from the teacher.

This is ONE order - a generous lady down on the US east coast bought 40 coffee cozies to give as Christmas gifts.  :)

We had a quick visit from Granny & Papa.  Nolan and I took Granny to the Children's Play Place and we all had fun.  Painting is his first stop usually, and today Nolan discovered the microphone...!

We took a long weekend vacation and went up to Saskatoon.  We stayed with friends who have a girl M's age, and they had a great time together.  The other girl is younger and was happy to entertain Nolan.  He liked her almost as much as the dogs...  We stayed in a hotel too and hit up the pool and waterslides - I don't think we've all gone swimming together for years.  Lots of fun.  The sled show was the initial attraction and reason for the trip, and we did check it out (some of us twice!), and also took in a hockey game, a children's museum, and played mini golf.  It was a pretty great weekend.  I can say that now since I've forgotten how hard it was being there with a two year old...

And this past Sunday was my first Craft Sale of the season.  I've looked forward to these for a long time, but honestly for part of it I was wondering what my family was up to and thought it might be nicer to be home on the couch.  Ha.  I did sell quite a bit, so was happy with the event overall.  This Friday and Saturday I have another one (and my last one), and it's a long running one that is supposed to be very busy.  Here's hoping I sell a bunch more!

In other news... Today I took photos of Nolan's toddler bed, the glider chair in his room, and the diaper genie and listed them on Kijiji.  We're making room for a big bed!

Saturday, November 01, 2014


October was a beautiful month here - the trees held their colourful leaves for a good while, and we had some nice summery weather, which was awesome.

Now that November has hit, I am thinking of sewing and craft sales and making my Christmas gift lists, (and, oh yeah, should we do Christmas cards?)...

Up until last week my focus was getting photos ready to print for the scrapbook retreat; now that I'm back, my focus has been back to building stock for my craft sales.  I was making good progress on getting a stash built up, then I got an order through Etsy from a lady who wanted 40 coffee cozies.  Sweet!  I love big orders.  But that meant that the other stuff is on hold while I finish these up.  I hope to get them in the mail by the middle of next week & will post a photo before they go.  I'll get photos of the scrapbook pages I made and post those, too.

Tonight we did a yoga workout to finish month 2 of P90X3 - 5 weeks to go!  We will keep up probably 3 workouts a week after that, but it will be good to get the every night commitment out of the way.  We have taken 3 nights off this past month (aside from our Sunday rest days) for various reasons.  Funny, I kind of missed them...!  But sometimes you just can't do it.

Halloween is not a big deal around here; Nolan isn't a dresser-upper, and we ended up going to the Pat's hockey game last night.  I did make Madeline an awesome Jedi cape, though, and she looked fantastic.  I will have to get a photo to post of that, too...

Another passion that has flared up again is for writing letters.  A goal that I've wanted to go for for a long time is to stay of top of making & sending birthday cards for a whole year & not miss any.  I'm on track with all the family birthdays and anniversaries - lots have been late, but they've all been sent!  Next year I may just do the kids.  :)  I love putting something homemade in the mail, and I thing next year maybe my goal will be to write a letter a week.  There are 51 birthdays and anniversaries in our family (not counting ours), so 52 letters is comparable.  A lot more writing, but if I set aside one time each week, just like I did one time each month to do cards, it might work.  Have a look at my new pinterest board for some inspiration.  Wanna join me in my snail mail fun?

Have a great weekend, and a joyful November!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

God's Wisdom

I just finished reading the book of Job.  Job and his three friends have finished their speeches, and then Elihu speaks up - a 'young punk' who waited until his elders had had their say (very polite of him); but his speech goes on and on for pages, saying basically, "I'm right - listen to me!"

I found myself scoffing a bit... what a fool.  But then I remembered that we are are on the outside of the story.  We know what has happened behind the scenes and we know what comes next.  We know his is wrong.  Being quick to judge him means that I am just like him...

And that got me thinking - Am I quick to judge and quick to speak?  When others have a disagreement, do I itch to step in and correct?  Yes, sometimes.

What's better? I need to pray for understanding for those involved, and recognize that it may not be my issue to interfere in.  Pray for respect and good clear communication between them - not necessarily from me.

I need to let God's wisdom rule, not mine.  Like we learn in Job, His wisdom in infinitely bigger.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Miss M

A few friends and I have a scrapbooking retreat that we like to get away to, and it's coming up this weekend.  Yay!

While I was getting a few things ready, I found these photos and the papers to go with them all ready to put together.  I would have prepped them at our April retreat, and haven't scrapbooked since then!  So I pulled out the cutter, tape, a few embellishments, and here they are!  Felt good.  Maybe I won't wait six months after this retreat to pull stuff out again.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Importance of an Encouraging Word

**NOTE** I first published this last weekend while in Winnipeg for Thanksgiving, using the new iPad mini we got when we switched banks, and somehow it published to an old church blog I wrote while working at Westhill, instead of this one.  I just noticed now when I published the Anniversary post and saw that it come up all wrong.  Oops!  Sorry for the blog silence!!  

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An intentional pause, thought, and putting pen to paper... You can never tell the results that will come of making an effort to send that note, but I'm pretty sure that the effort is never a waste.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and she was talking about her daughter's upcoming birthday and how she thought she might ask a few friends to write her notes of encouragement or blessing. Count me in - I love writing, letters, encouraging others - and I wondered, as I sat with my Bible picking verses for this friend, why don't I do this more often?

My kid had a rough time this week, and in the mail one day came a card full of love and encouragement - a real help and support.

So my goal is to try to notice who might need encouragement, and to carve out time to make that happen. 

Is there anyone you can think of that could use a bit of lifting up? Don't let the opportunity pass!

Happy Anniversary Alice&Victor!

I started my shop - Alice&Victor - on Etsy one year ago, and wanted to celebrate with a sale.  For you, my loyal blog readers, I am giving 20% off everything, for one whole week!  Use the coupon code BLOGREADER anytime between now and next Friday night at midnight.  It's a way to celebrate my one year of running my shop, but also a way to say thank you to you who have been with me here on my blog, even in the slower writing months of having a toddler who doesn't nap.

I appreciate you!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Shop Update: A New Product!!

I launched a new product in my shop last week.  Years ago I sewed us a bag to fit a score pad & pen, a deck of cards, and our dice.  It's been so handy to grab when we want to play something at home, and we throw it in whenever we go camping or on a road trip; nice to have it all together and ready to go.  One thing I love about it is having a long term record in the score pad notebook - I love looking back at who played what when, and who won!  I thought of making some for Christmas gifts last year, and did make and give one, but thought they would be great to make for the shop, too.  I've got two finished and listed, and plan to have a bunch more available soon.

The fabric I used for those bags was leftover from a big project I did for my friend Holly.  She is a teacher, and is using tables instead of desks in her classroom.  She asked if I would make her 30 seat sacks - pockets that fit over the backs of the chairs to hold the student's books.

So that's what September has looked like from my sewing machine's point of view!  I've also been trying to build up a good stash of stock - the more you have in your shop the better you fare in search results, and also I am doing a sale in a couple of months, and want a good selection of each product for my table there.

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's the weekend!!

Nolan dropped his nap this summer, and while I am mostly fine with that, there are a few things that I used to do in those wonderful hours that I can't find much time for these days...  Blogging is one of them. :(  But it's Friday night and I will stay up late so I can say hello and stay connected.

Tomorrow is Sean's birthday, and today he took the day off, to get a long weekend and much needed break. There is still much to be done at the shop, and he and Madeline are going in tomorrow morning to do a little painting, but progress is for sure being made.  Tomorrow Nolan has swimming lessons in the morning, Madeline has soccer evaluations in the afternoon, and then she's babysitting in the evening, so today was a great relaxing day to celebrate - we drove out to Moose Jaw for a soak at the spa and then went out for brunch.  When we got back to the city we did a little shopping and got most of our gear for sledding this winter; it was 28* out and we were trying on heavy winter coats and boots...  Then we went to a new restaurant for a birthday supper.  A good day.

Nolan started his second ever set of swimming lessons last week - Sea Turtle! - and had a great time.  Today at the spa  I asked him if he wanted to go under and he was all for it, and kept jumping in to me off the in-pool seats, going under the water and growing up before my eyes.  Wow.

One new thing I've picked up this fall is a babysitting job.  It's temporary and a favour to my friend as she waits for her parents house to sell - once they move here, Grandma will get the kiddos for the one day a week that my friend has gone back to work.  These are my three buddies: Nolan is between the two boys in age, and he has a fine time spending the day at their place every day three.

The other things that's a big deal with us right now is working out.  We've decided we needed to get back in shape, and can't just ease into that.  No, we have to go hard core and do P90X again.  Last time we did that was just before I got pregnant with Nolan... and I haven't done much since. Ha.  But since we did it in 2011, there have been new versions that have come out, and we are doing P90X3 this time around.  It's only 30 minutes.  So good.  Not 60 or 90 like the last one.  We've been at it 3 weeks and already see some results.  Working out like that helps motivate healthy eating, too - we've tried to get into some better habits.  Working out after Nolan falls asleep at 9, then showering and right to sleep doesn't leave much time for evening snacking, that's for sure!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September Firsts

Featuring the lovely Miss M... First day of grade 10.

First school soccer game...  She had evaluations for city soccer yesterday, too - that should start up right after the school season ends. 

And just for fun, a shot from 10 years ago.

Happy Sunday, all.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Hot and Cold in the Bedroom

Nope, nothing sexy in this post.  Just a few temperature stories...

Yesterday morning we woke up to a furnace malfunction - it was 29 degrees in the house.  Even Madeline in the basement woke up at 6 am in a sweat.  It's a new furnace and under warranty still, and they came and fixed it pretty quick, but it got up to 30 before we got the breaker turned off to kill the hot air flow.  Batteries weakening in the thermostat?  Causes some havoc.  Have to change up those babies every 6 months like the smoke detectors, I guess.

Nolan gave up his nap this summer, but was sleeping in till 9, so managed fine until bedtime.  This week he woke up at 7:30, then 7... and needed a nap to get through.  I thought maybe it was the temperature, and now that it's cooler in the mornings it was causing him to wake earlier.  But then the hot-house morning he woke early, too, so... not the correlation I thought.  It's evened out the last couple of days - he wakes up at 8 am and falls asleep at 8:30.  Those are some pretty good hours.  Especially that earlier bedtime, since Sean and I are doing P90X3 starting Monday!!

Lastly, in the spring we were looking for a lightweight bed cover to replace our winter duvet, and Sean had the bright idea to just use the duvet cover without the duvet - does anyone else do this?  It's brilliant!  The perfect weight for summer, and you don't have to change up all your colors.  Not that we would anyway...

Have a great perfect-temperature night!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cousins, A Wedding, A Move, and Elk

We've packed a lot into these last few weeks of summer.  Nolan and I went to a little 'beach' just outside of town with some friends - a perfect little spot for the little ones.

Remember that time I took Nolan on a bus adventure downtown?  We did that again, but with the whole family.  This is us on the bus... goofy.

There was a wedding in the family last weekend, so we had a full week of visiting with out of town relatives and playing with cousins.  This was the little family shower, getting pedicures.  I'm on the right, and going clockwise, there is Theresa, the bride, Ana, in from Portugal, Colleen, mother of the bride, Laura, cousin from Portugal, Carla, and Madeline. 

Here is a rare shot of all the cousins together.

And on the big day!  Madeline with her Auntie Carla, Uncle Warren and new Aunt Theresa, and Uncle Ian.  The wedding was out at Lumsden Beach, and during the reception Nolan and I got in a good hike in and around the cottages.  I shouldn't have worn heels.

To add to the family fun, the Friesen's came to stay for a night (the wedding eve) on their way back home from holidays.  Always glad to have them here.

I'm working on a big sewing project for a friend - this is often what it looks like when I sit at the machine.

And the biggest thing for us this past week - well, all month, but this week has been 12 hour days every day for Sean - is the big shop move.  As of this morning, the old location is empty and clean and locked and left for the last time.  The new shop is still a big work in progress since the contractors who were supposed to be all done three weeks ago are still not finished.  It's hard to put things in their places when their places aren't finished!  But they will be open for business again on Tuesday, done or not, and hopefully the settling in process isn't too bad.

This afternoon the kids and I took a quick trip out to a local park where they were thrilled to feed the Elk.  We went for the big slide, but this was a treat we weren't expecting.  I like looking at the animals out there, but this time there was a lady with bags of bread, feeding them, and she gave us a bag so we could join in the fun. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekend Meal Idea

Looking for something different to do this weekend?  Why not have an "Appie Meal?"  We do this every now and then and I thought I'd share because it's a fun break from normal healthy food...

An Appie Meal is when you have appetizers for your meal.  Simple.  We did this last weekend and had chicken nuggets, pot stickers, eggrolls, perogies, dry ribs, and fries.  Other times we've had mozza sticks, potato skins, an oriental party pack, and wings.  Oh, and an essential side is a big platter of cut up fresh veggies. You know, to try to add something healthy.  You'll also need fixings - sour cream, plum sauce, ketchup & veggie dip.

The concept is simple, but the kitchen is pretty non stop for half an hour...  Before you start, check all the cooking times and temperatures - you'll have to do some figuring to coordinate the '20 min at 375' with the '28 min at 450.'  This is what my list looked like this time:

450 - Dry Ribs - 10 min
turn down to 400 & add fries & egg rolls - 5 min
add nuggets & start stove top stuff - 5 min
flip egg rolls
10 more min then done

This is Nolan's plate - he tried everything!  You can see the one bite out of each of his things.  And no sauce for this kid. (Except on ribs. He devours ribs.)

If you try it, let me know what your favorite appies are!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thankful x 1000

It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you get up two hours before your kids!  Today is fall program registration, so I got up so I could be on the phone at 7am to get Nolan into his Sea Turtle swimming lessons.  Only 18 minutes on hold and I got our first choice.  Nice.  And yes it's nice that Nolan sleeps till 9; but the trade off is no more naps... So maybe I should get up earlier more often.  Maybe.

So today as I was reading my Bible (without interruption!) and writing in my journals, I reached 1000 things in my 'thankful journal' - only 4 years after I started, way back on a road trip to South Dakota.  I was reading a book that I don't even remember, but it was about happiness I think, and suggested writing down what you were grateful for.  I had a new notebook (I have a weakness for new notebooks), and I liked the idea, so I jotted down a handful of things every now and then as I thought about it.  Then I read Ann Voskamp's blog and book about being thankful, and now I'm working through 40 Days to a Joy Filled Life... so many different ways to convey the same message - being thankful is good for you in every way!

What are you thankful for today?  Do you write them down? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fabulous Fifteen

We celebrated this girl all day yesterday.  Happy 15th Birthday, firstborn!!  Mom and Dad came out for a quick visit and we had a nice day together.  There was a last soccer practice that was called half way through for a thunderstorm, but there was enough time for cupcakes with yummy buttercream icing (thanks for the recipe, Mom!), and then a sleep over with a friend that didn't end until suppertime today.