Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Great Outdoor Challenge

Have you heard of the Great Outdoor Challenge? It's hosted by Lisa over at 5 Orange Potatoes. Check it out and join in - it's super do-able!

This is Casey enjoying our favorite park. It's a perfect place to visit after school as it's on our way home. The first picture is of Casey standing on the root system of a toppled tree, stick in hand of course. The second picture is Casey pulling apart some rotting wood, looking for bugs - specifically, sow bugs. I've also heard them called potatoe bugs, wood bugs, and Casey calls them 'piddle bugs'. The third picture is of Casey's very grubby knees. This is how Casey usually looks at the end of any given day, which just affirms to me that it has been a day well spent! At about this time of the year, every year, Casey's pants are all becoming a wee bit short at the ankles, and/or worn through at the knee. It's perfect timing since we are well into spring - as Casey's pants wear out, he just moves into shorts and I don't spend any more money on long pants until back to school shopping.

Now here's Cody. This first picture is classic - this little boy loves peeing outside! If he needs to go, he'll find a spot and whip his little pants down so quickly I barely have time to protest, and then he's 'watering the plants'. Oh, the joy of being a boy! In the second picture, Cody is measuring how deep the pond is using a stick. This is something that he decided to do all on his own which I find interesting - the things children figure out all on their own, without prompting or input from adults. The third picture is Cody on his wonderful little wooden bike. This bike, without a doubt, is the single best thing I could have ever gotten this little boy. I plan on keeping this little bike forever - one day I hope to have grandchildren who can ride it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Card Collections

Hello! Happy Tuesday! A quick post today - I created three collages of some cards that I've made recently. I'm in a card making frenzy, and it's a happy kind of frenzy! I plan on giving the moms in my family card sets as gifts for Mother's Day, which means that I'll need seven sets of cards, six cards per set. Also, I will be giving some sets as good-bye gifts - Casey's teacher, Cody's daycare providers, etc., plus - I will be giving thank you cards/good-bye cards/change of address cards to various people over the next few weeks. I've got my work cut out for me, although I've already got a lot done, plus - I sure don't mind carving time out each day to put a few together. It's one of my favorite ways of relaxing. There is also a Design Team call requiring a card submission - wish me luck! Cards, cards,'s all about the cards these days!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Multitude Monday - Round 7

121. Happy noise from my boys

122. A fridge and pantry full of good food

123. A glass of wine

124. Bird song outside my windows

125. Sunny spring days

126. Getting my sleeping patterns sorted out

127. A brand spankin' new library card

128. A house with open doors and windows to let the warm spring air flow through

129. A husband who knows pressure points for migraine relief

130. Casey sticking up for his little brother while outside playing

131. Decluttering

132. A long, middle of the night, lying in bed conversation with my husband about everything and nothing

133. Friday night movie nights with the kids

134. Homemade broccoli soup - can't get enough!!

135. Super helpful parents-in-law

136. Dental plan coverage

137. Having the opportunity to be a mom to three beautiful, amazing children

138. Good books on hand to choose from

139. My Grandpa's hostas thriving after I transplanted them

140. Our approaching moving day

holy experience

Friday, April 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday - Round 4

1. Challenge Day at The Inspired Scrapper - this week brings us an always excellent sketch by Becky Fleck at Page Maps along with two versions of the sketch by two oh-so-creative and delightful designers, Cari Locken and Virginia Wong - go take a look!

2. I have found another fun challenge blog to participate in - it's The Great Outdoor Challenge at 5 Orange Potatoes. Here is my photo for today:

Yet another photo of my child(ren) at Everett Crowley Park. We absolutely love it there!! I'm going to miss it so much when we move next month. Cody loves this creek - he becomes mesmerized. It is so satisfying to me to just watch him become so transfixed and peaceful...I feel like I can check "provide my children with a great day" off my daily list of things to do when we spend time like this somewhere.

3. GO CANUCKS GO!!! !.
We are huge hockey fans in this house! The Vancouver Canucks are playing against the L.A. Kings tonight, back on home ice, game 5 of the first-round playoffs, with the series tied at two apiece! There are all kinds of great factoids and statistics available in the world of sport, and my two favorites pertaining to the Canucks right now are: 1.) Two Canadian cities - Montreal and Toronto - hosted the Winter Olympics and then went on to win the Stanley Cup the same year. So, given that Vancouver just hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics...well, you know where I'm going with this! 2.) This year's Canucks team is the best team of Canucks we've ever had, meaning that our chances of going to the finals are, on paper at least, pretty good! I remember well both of the Canucks previous runs, first in 1982 and then again in 1994. It's 2010 now, and - it's time

4. While out at a park today with my two youngest, a patch of clover amid the grass brought back a wonderful memory of my Grandma. Every year on my birthday, my Grandma would mail me a birthday card. It always arrived on time, and it always contained a cheque for twenty dollars. The best part, though, is that every year, there would be a four-leaf clover taped to the inside of my card. My Grandma said that she just had a knack for spotting four-leaf clovers among the patches of clover in the grass in her yard. She said that she would just look down, and there one would be. She'd pick it, press it inside one of the big, heavy books on the bookcase in her front room sewing area, and save it for a select few special occasions, one of them being my birthday. I always saved the cards and letters from my Grandma, but not in an organized or deliberate way, and so over the years, they've become lost. Of course, now, as an adult, this saddens me and I would do things very differently if I was able to go back in time. There's a hopeful little part of me though that thinks that if I sort through the boxes of my poorly organized papers and pictures collected over the years, I might be lucky enough to come across at least one of these misplaced treasures. I may actually get around to digging in to some of those boxes this weekend while organizing for our upcoming move - one of my goals for preparing for this move is to finally sort and store keepsakes properly, so my fingers are crossed that I will come across some long-lost goodies. I have never in my life found a four-leaf clover, and I have spent a few idle moments trying (my Grandma's words, "I just looked down, and there it was!" going through my head). Maybe this weekend, I'll find one that has been found once before!

5. Today's Question of the Day at today is: Why is it called a flea market?

Answer: This is a jocular term for an open-air or street market for mainly secondhand merchandise, which would be the type of items that might be infested with fleas. The first flea markets were in Paris and they were called marché aux puces which translates to 'market with fleas'. Flea market first appeared in English in 1922 as a translation of the French market's name. Flea is of Germanic origin (fleah) and was not spelled flea until after 1550. A synonym is flea fair.

I think I could have made a fairly accurate guess as to the 'flea' part of the term, but nevertheless, it's interesting and fun to get the full explanation, don't you think?!

6. I love being a mom, and I am well aware of how quickly time passes and how precious simple, everyday moments are. I am thankful everyday for my three healthy, beautiful children. Now having said that, there are some things that I won't be sorry to see my children outgrow. I am looking forward to the day when there are no more little bums to wipe. I'll appreciate the day where we can all climb into our car/van, strap on our seatbelts, and take off, i.e. no more carseats. And, it has always been a happy day when one of my children has graduated from having me push them on the swings to them being able to pump for themselves, i.e. Mom can now sit on the park bench or the grass, write in her notebook or flip through a magazine, take a few pictures, and smile and wave.

7. "When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity." - Albert Einstein.

I feel like this quote applies to my life right now in relation to purchasing our first home and our upcoming move. The time we spend purging and packing doesn't seem to make much impact, passes quickly, and still leaves us wanting. Waiting for May 15th, however, the day we take possession and can start moving, is taking forever and the waiting is becoming harder and harder to bear!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

For Today, Sunday April 18th, 2010...

Outside my window...the green glow of enthusiastic sunshine filtering down through new leaves.

I am thinking...that life is good.

I am thankful...for sleep patterns that are finally settling down, and this time I'm not talking about the kids - I mean my own!

From the kitchen...Good old-fashioned Sunny Boy cereal, with lots of brown sugar. Mmmm mmmm...

I am wearing...if you've ever read my 'For Today' posts before, you'll know the answer to at-home 'sloppy slops' - yoga pants, oversized turquoise t-shirt, hoodie...

I am reading...'The Night Birds', by Thomas Maltman.

I am hoping...that my daughter feels better soon, and that I don't catch what she's got even though I can feel it starting in my nose and throat...

I am mega-dose on Vitamin C and my various other elixirs.

I am card sets as thank-you gifts to give to some wonderful people when we move.

I am hearing...'hee hoo...hee hoo...' - seemingly ever-present, persistent, and very welcome black-capped chickadees.

Around the house...Lots of boxes and rubbermaid containers - four weeks until we move into our new home!

One of my favorite things...having the doors and windows wide open to let in the fresh, warm spring air.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Mail a package of cards to Operation Write Home, complete some more gift sets of hand made cards, and more purging/packing around the house.

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing with you...Casey and Cody climbing an enbankment at Everett Crowley Park. Check out The Great Outdoor Challenge at - it's a really fun idea and this is my official first day of joining in!

Friday, April 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday - 3rd Edition

Another Friday, another opportunity to explore/discuss/consider seven things. 7 Quick Takes Friday is a meme hosted by The Conversion Diary and I love it because it gives me a reason to write about things that I could only otherwise call "7 Random Blips From My Brain', and I try to avoid using the word 'random' in association with anything I write at all costs, if only to give myself the (false) assurance that I am contributing something more significant than 'random' (read: irrelevant) thoughts. Oh, the lengths I'll go to prop myself up...But I digress. So, here are my important and oh-so-enthralling 7 Quick Takes!

1. Fridays are challenge days over at The Inspired Scrapper. Here is my 'Earth Day Challenge' contribution:

Thank you. Thank you very much (said in my best 'Elvis' voice). If you're a scrapper, go visit The Inspired Scrapper and play along. If you're not a scrapper, well - what are you waiting for?! It's a darn gratifying little hobby...

2. One of my favorite, and most useful, websites of all times is They feature a Word Of The Day, which I love, and they also have a Question Of The Day, which I find really interesting. For instance, some of the questions posed have been:

What is the difference between blatant and flagrant?
What is the difference between a monologue and a soliloquy?
What is the difference between affect and effect?

Oh, I just love it! It gets me all silly and excited...I'm a self-confessed (and proud!) word nerd. Sites like this just thrill me to no end.

3. Miracle hair product alert!! Ok...I really don't like to acknowledge this, but I was not blessed in the hair department. My hair is very fine, very thin...very disappointing. Always has been. Granted, I was born a redhead and that makes up for a LOT, but I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be born with the kind of hair that bad girls in rock videos toss around and shake and tousle. Seriously. That is my true hair personality. But alas, this was not meant to be so for years and years and years, I have been trying to work magic with all kinds of hair products that promise to volumize and thicken and add bounce and shine...some do better than others. I have also invested a small fortune in hair tools - i.e. straighteners, curlers, crimpers, hot irons, cold steamers, various combs, picks, brushes...and again, some do help more than others, but there's just never been a day in my teen to adult life that I've ever just had a good hair day as a given, as a default setting, as something to take for granted, as some people I know do. And truly, if one more person says to me, "Well you know, having hair this thick is actually a real problem! It's just TOO much for me to do anything with!"...I'm going to knock their dumb and grinning front teeth out. Is that too harsh? So anyway, it comes in a tiny red plastic bottle - it's made by Schwarzkopf and I think it's proper name is 'OSIS+ Dust It Mattifying Powder'. This stuff is amazing, I'm telling you! Right off the bat, I have to say that less is more and if you overdo it, you will HATE it. It takes a bit of getting used to. Once your hair is dry, lift it at the roots and tap just a tiny bit of the powder out onto the very base of your roots. Then, put your hair down, work your fingertips in at the roots where you've placed the powder, and just give it a bit of a rub. It creates a lot of 'grip' and you can then work your hair up to amazing height/volume. You have to know when to quit, though. It's a bit of a tricky dance between application and then fiddling with it, but once you get the hang of it, KA-BAM!! Big hair. Volume. Height. The best part? It lasts!! Give a little shot of hairspray and girlfriend, you are good to go! Hair starts to settle down a little over the course of the day? Just get your fingertips in there and give another little bit of a rub! I am telling you - it is bloody revolutionary! I could weep, truly, I could. Finally...I can let my inner hair goddess out to take her righteous and deserved place in the sun. The downside of this though, is that I now live in fear of this product being discontinued or some such soon as I've got me a little bit of extra pocket money, I'm going back to that salon and I am stocking up!!

4. I've said this before, and I feel the need to say it again - I LOVE the library!! Hooray for the public library system! Nothing says happiness to me like a tall, diverse stack of reading material on the end table in my living room or my bedside table at night. In approximately one month, we are moving from my beloved hometown of Vancouver to a city 'next door' called Surrey. One of the first things this made me realize is - new library card! New library system! Numerous new library branches to explore! Be still my beating heart...I did mention I'm a word nerd, right? Confession time...I've already been to my new neighbourhood's local branch and signed myself up for a shiny new library card! Love it! Unfortunately, the policy for new Surrey Public Library patrons is that for the first three months, there is a limit of 10 items per card. TEN! That's it! I am telling you, it was SO hard to limit myself to just 10 books on that first visit...but - on the upside, I am officially three days into the first three months. It will go by quickly!

5. I talk to myself. All the time in my head, but also a lot outside of my head, as in 'out loud'. To myself, when I'm in the house or the car or alone, but also, I find myself doing it a lot of other times too. As in, when there are other people around. It was particularly worrisome when I'd catch myself doing it when I worked in a Geriatric Psychiatric ward. Think about it. I'm sure I resembled a patient more than an employee. The worst part was when I would realize I was talking out loud to myself and look up to make sure nobody had caught me, and inevitably, who would be standing there but one of the Department Psychiatrists. Oh joy. I found that with them, and in fact, with anybody, the best thing I could do was cheerfully acknowledge that I was doing it, via a perky "Oh hello! There I go getting caught talking to myself again!" The doctors would always smile and say something reassuring back, like, "Oh - I do it all the time myself!", but really, I was fully expecting any one of them at any time to slip in a subtle..."So...tell me about your childhood", or something equally shrink-like on me...It didn't help that I sat in an open, shared space area at a desk that faced the back wall so that I really didn't know who was standing behind me at any given time. I took to looking over my shoulder rather frequently...a habit that probably wasn't lost on all those psychiatrists milling about...I'm sure that, not only did they have me diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, but they'd probably already placed me on a short-list/short-cut track to the in-patient unit - never mind that I didn't really qualify as 'Geriatric'..."close enough!", they probably thought. Do I sound paranoid yet?! I'm not quite, I don't least, not all the time...but I do have to say that since leaving that position, I find I'm feeling much less self-conscious and hyper-vigilant...

6. What is up with all the yogurt commercials?! Print ads, radio ads, TV's all about the gosh-darn yogurt! Has anybody else noticed this? What is going on?!Whatever the big push/trend for yogurt is right now, what it is succeeding in doing is turning me OFF of yogurt! I'm so sick of hearing about it every ten seconds that in lieu of boycotting the TV and/or radio, I have decided to boycott yogurt. But not for the kids. Just for me. Heaven knows I wouldn't know what to do without yogurt as an option for the kids! Does this make me weak?! For myself though, I can sacrifice! It truly is driving me mad and making me cringe at any mention of yogurt. I complain to my husband about this and declare my newfound hate (yes, hate!!) for all things yogurt, and I declare that these ad campaigns have therefore failed miserably, and he says back to me (and I'm paraphrasing a bit...) - "Well, I would say that these ad campaigns have been successful because they've got you talking about it!". Aargh!! The nerve of that guy! Sure, he's got a degree in Marketing, but still...I know what I'm talking about by gosh, by golly!

7. This meme is called '7 Quick Takes Friday'. I often struggle with the quick part - so, having said that, I will end this post here! Besides, I've told my husband that I can't have a glass of wine until after I post this and we're both more than ready and done with waiting! Happy weekend to one and all!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Stealing...

Fellow bloggers, tell me - are you ever in the mood for blogging/writing but don't really have anything in particular in mind to write about? That's why I love memes! I Googled 'Sunday memes' and found 'Sunday Stealing' - love the name, love the concept! This is the 'Me Me Meme' - read on, and you'll know why...

1. Never in my life have I been: Outside of North America.

2. The one person who can drive me nuts is: My teenaged daughter.

3. High school was: Disappointing.

4. When I’m nervous I: Get anxious and irritable.

5. The last song I listened to was: Whatever the song was that Justin Bieber performed on SNL last night.

6. If I were to get married right now my best man/maid of honor: My sister.

7. My hair is: Red, chin-length inverted bob, and probably the best/most satisfying it's been in years./

8. When I was 5: My baby sister was born - I was so smitten! It was like having my own living, breathing dolly...

9. Last Christmas: Was the first time my hubby, children, and I have spent Christmas with my sister and her family, and it was so much fun! I'm hoping we do the same thing again this Christmas.

10. I should be..: Cleaning and purging in preparation for moving in a few weeks, but instead, well, obviously, I'm writing this and enjoying ever minute of it!

11. When I look down I see: A carpet that needs cleaning.

12. The happiest recent event was: My husband and I getting pre-approved for our very first mortgage!

13. If I were a character on 'Friends' I would be: Monica. I'm neurotic like that.

14. By this time next year: It would be nice to be about 50 pounds lighter...

15. My current gripe is: Oh, it's so hard to pick just one...but they all pretty much involve the purging/packing/moving situation.

16. I have a hard time understanding: Lots of things! Math, right off the top of my head...Then, of course, the bigger, more philosophical things in life...Also, how did they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bar?!

17. There’s this girl I know that: I have high hopes for and fear for all at the same time.

18. If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be: My husband.

19. Take my advice: Appreciate every day as if it were your last.

20. The thing I want to buy: New furniture/decor for my new house!

21. If you visited the place I was born: You'd be visiting the most beautiful, wonderful city in the world.

22. I plan to visit: Every province/territory in Canada.

23. If you spent the night at my house: You would probably have been up very late drinking wine, playing games, listening to music, and talking.

24. I’d stop my wedding if: How do I finish this sentence?...I've already married my best friend/soul mate, which means that he already qualified in every way all along the way, so I'll just take a pass on this one.

25. The world could do without: Men who prey on children and women.

26. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: Paint a house or pack and move a house - two things that I will be doing very soon. Don't get me wrong - I'm very grateful for the opportunity, but...I still can't help but fantasize about being rich enough to just hire somebody else to do it all for me. Moving really does encompass all the things I dislike most!!

27. Most recent thing I’ve bought myself: Nestabilities. If you're a scrapper/crafter/card maker, you'll know what I mean!

28. Most recent thing someone else bought me: Flowers, chocolates, and a card.

29. My favorite blonde is: Geez, I'm having a hard time with this that I think about it, I don't really know very many blonds!! How about, my favorite blond joke is: Naw, better not...

30. My favorite brunette is: A four-way tie between my husband, my daughter, and my two sons.

31. My favorite red head is: Me!

32. My middle name is: Charlene. I don't like the name at all, except that I was named after my grandpa, Charles - Charlene being the feminine of Charles, so I love the reason why I was named Charlene.

33. In the morning I: Rely heavily on caffeine to get me going. I wish I didn't, but I do. I accept this.

34. The animals I would like to see flying besides birds are: Humans. Specifically, me.

35. Once, at a bar: I met my soul mate.

36. Last night I was: Spending a low-key night at favorite way to spend any night.

37. There’s this guy I know who: Is the biggest ass ever! Well, actually, I don't know him personally, but I know of might too - Tiger Woods? He's this golfer who...well, if you don't know, you can always Google him - type in 'World's Biggest Ass' and it will lead you right to him!

38. If I was an animal I’d be: A female grizzly bear.

39. A better name for me would be: Your Highness.

40. Tomorrow I am: Back to the full-time Mommy gig. For now, my two boys are at their grandparents' house this weekend so that hubby and I can purge/pack unimpeded by little people who pop up at the most inopportune time and claim old McDonald's Happy Meal toys and broken trucks found in the playground as "their most favorite, special toy(s) ever!!" and then demand in the most screechy and intolerable way that these ridiculous little toy-things cannot be thrown out/given away ever, never, ever!!!

41. Tonight I am: Staying up too late, I'm sure - like always!

42. My birthday is: July 18th - I've always loved having a summer birthday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Inspired Scrapper - Scraplift Challenge

Good morning! TGIF! Looking for some scrapbooking/creative mojo? Head over to The Inspired Scrapper - Debby Visser and Susan Tutt have both posted great layouts based on a scraplift of other people's layouts that have inspired them. Join in on the challenge too - the more, the merrier!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Top Ten...Things I'm Looking Forward To When We Move...

Today I am joining in on Amanda's 'Top 10 Tuesday' meme over at

After 8 years of marriage and three children, my husband and I have bought our first home. It's such a big step and it's so exciting! There was a time in my life when I thought that I would never own my own house. I've come a long way since then and am so thankful for this opportunity. My Top 10 list today is of things that I'm looking forward to about having a new home:

1. Not having to use the stove top as a counter top.

2. Closet doors that close properly.

3. A full size fridge for this family of 5.

4. Built-in light fixtures in the ceilings.

5. An entranceway that is wide enough to maneuver in, and bright enough, thanks to natural light via windows!

6. Not battling mold and mildew in the windows, closets, etc.

7. A main bathroom that you can just walk into, versus one where you have to inch your way in around the door as you open it because it opens right into the vanity.

8. More square footage.

9. Properly hung/affixed window coverings on all the windows.

10. All the benefits of owning vs. renting from a financial/investment standpoint.

We take possession on May 15th. Let the purging and packing begin!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Multitude Monday - Round 6

101. Watching rain drops race down the window pane with Cody

102. Cody and I using our fingertips to 'race' raindrops down each other's backs.

103. Children who love to read - with me, and on their own.

104. Drawings from my children.

105. Starting a day feeling tired, run down, discouraged...and having it turn around within a couple of hours - leaving me feeling bouyant again.

106. Beautiful days that are the epitomy of spring - heavy, dark downpour, then the sun breaking through so powerfully, blue skies overtaking the grey, a rainbow appearing, the freshest scent imaginable in the air, and then a misty rain again, but this time with the sun remaining...glorious and perfect.

107. Realizing that overall, I have a 'cup half full' outlook - knowing that things will always come around to good again.

108. Smiles from strangers.

109. Instincts I trust.

110. A long weekend for extra time with my family.

111. A wild windstorm to watch from the safety and warmth of my living room - all natural entertainment!

112. Having a husband whose dependability is predictable.

113. Having a husband whose spontaneity can still surprise me.

114. Having the opportunity and means to buy our first home.

115. Flower baskets that my little boys made me for Easter.

116. A backyard full of numerous varieties of birds to watch and to listen to.

117. Deep breaths that calm and relax.

118. Strong network of extended family.

119. My children's health.

120. My husband's migraine-easing back and neck rubs.
holy experience

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Life In Song...

I've come across this game/meme a few times around the Internet and thought it would be fun to try out. Simple directions: use the shuffle function on your music player and see what you come up with in answer to the following questions.

How does the world see you?
Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol

Will I have a happy life?
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
(This 'answer' is somewhat serendipitous because this is the first song that I danced to with my husband on the night that we met)

What do my friends really think of me?
Hot In The City – Billy Idol

Do people secretly lust after me?
Walk This Way – Aerosmith/Run DMC

How can I make myself happy?
Stand By Me – Ben E. King

What should I do with my life?
Home For A Rest – Great Big Sea

Will I ever have children?
Satisfaction – Rolling Stones

What is some good advice for me?
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

How will I be remembered?
Let The Good Times Roll – The Cars

What is my signature dancing song?
Under My Thumb – Rolling Stones

What do I think my current theme song is?
Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Soul Man – Blues Brothers

This was pure fun and frivolity! Give it a try - I'd love to read your answers!


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