Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Day - Hourly Photo Style

A few years ago, Andrea, over at A Peek Inside The Fishbowl started a Christmas Day Hourly Photo Challenge.  As someone who LOVES to take photos, I jumped on the chance to join in.  The idea is to take a picture every hour on the hour of what you are doing at that moment and then upload them to share you day.  I don't take the time to blog the pictures during the day, but I do post them to my InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.  And now, here they are, blog style!

9:00am - Let's get this party started!!  (Yes, Liam slept in until 9:00am!  But only because I kept him up until almost 10:00pm the night before!)

10:00am  (part 1) Good bye old pots, we've had a wonderful 15 years together but it is time you move on.  It is not good bye forever, you will now be our camping pots.

10:00am (part 2) Hello new pots!  You look so nick hanging on my wall!  Can't wait to get to know you!  Thanks Henry!!  :) 

11:00am  Turkey, get in the oven!  

12:00pm  Building ramps for the remote control monster truck that Santa brought!  I think Liam may grow up to be an architect or engineer.  He is always building stuff out of whatever he can find to build with!

1:00pm  Time to start decorating the birthday cake.  After five years of this I still can't believe that Liam was born on Christmas!!  

2:00pm  Still decorating the birthday cake.  And watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.  

3:00pm (part 1) The cake is finished!!  For those of you who are NASCAR fans, you will know what it is, but for the rest of you, it is Danica Partick's number, she is Liam's favorite drive.  Because she is a girl and she's hot . . . yes, that really is what he say.

3:00pm (part 2)  Cake decorating mess has overtaken the kitchen.  Where is that clean up elf that I asked Santa for?

3:00pm (part 3) Building a Mega Blocks World of Warcraft dragon. 

4:00pm  Finally a chance to sit down and relax with a glass of wine and the Dr. Who marathon on Space.

5:00pm - Turkey's done.  Let's eat!

6:00pm  Birthday cake time!

7:00pm  Birthday and Christmas presents from Gabba and Aunties!

8:00pm  Kitten cuddles!

9:00pm Dr.Who Christmas Special!!!  (This is not a picture from the Christmas Special.  I was so excited to watch it that I forgot to take a picture!  This is a scene from the 50th Anniversary Special.)

10:00pm  The wine is almost gone and Dr. Who is almost over.  That means it is almost bedtime for this sleepy mommy!!

11:00pm  One last peek at my Christmas Birthday Boy!  And then off to bed!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Fun - Grown Up Version - Homemade Bailey's Irish Cream

Christmas Fun - Grown Up Version - Homemade Bailey's Irish Cream

Yes, I said Homemade Bailey's.  It doesn't matter how you like your Irish Cream, in coffee or hot chocolate or on the rocks, this recipe will delight you!!

It is quick and easy to make and cheaper than the real stuff.  And I love that I can add as much chocolate as I want!  

It is a great hostess gift for all the holiday parties you get invited to or a nice little addition to a festive gift basket.  If you give it as a gift, you should probably include the recipe.  Most people that I give it to think it is better than the real stuff and start making their own!

So, here is the recipe, get out your blender and give it a try!

Bailey's Irish Cream

3 whole eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup rye
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp chocolate syrup

Put everything in the blender.  
Blend on high until well mixed.
Store in refrigerator.
Makes approximately one liter.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Fun - Clay Flower Pot Christmas Tree

Christmas Fun - Clay Flower Pot Christmas Tree

I found this idea on Pintrest (Clay Pot Christmas Tree) and I couldn't resist trying this with Liam this year.
Not only is it super cute and easy but it is cheap! 

All you need is 3 different sized flower pots, green acrylic paint, two or three other colours of acrylic paint, a foam paint brush, a pencil crayon, a little bit of felt (scraps will work), glue, a star, a wooden skewer and acrylic sealer.  I got everything I needed at the dollar store except for the acrylic sealer, I had to go to Walmart for that.

Here's how to do it . . . with picture!

Assemble materials.
Paint flower pots with foam paint brush.
Dabbing the brush gives a textured look and better coverage of paint.

Use the flat end of a pencil crayon to put "decorations" on your tree.  If your child is older, they can use a paint brush and paint more elaborate designs.  
Once the paint is all dry, glue some felt pieces around the inside of each pot.  This is so that the pots one stick together when stacked.  

Cover all three pots with acrylic sealer and stack.  Attach a star to a wooden skewer and place through the bottom center holes of the flower pots.

And there is it, a Clay Flower Pot Christmas Tree!

I think that one made out of the really big clay pots would make a cool outdoor Christmas Decoration!  I will put that on next year`s to do list!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Fun - Crystal Snowflakes

I've seen tons of pictures and tutorials around the internet for Crystal Snowflakes made from pipe cleaners, Borax and water.  

They looked pretty cool and the instructions seemed pretty simple, so I decided to give it a try!  Here is goes . . . step by step . . . 

Use three half pipe cleaners, twisted together int he middle to make a snowflake.

Mix 3 tablespoons of borax to 1 cup of boiling water, stirring to dissolve.  Add blue food colouring if desired.  (If mixing a large quantity, use 3/4 cup of borax to 4 cups of boiling water.)  Liam enjoyed measuring and mixing!

 Hang snowflakes over the top of a container by tying a string to the snowflake and the other end to a dowel, resting across the top of the container.  Fill your container with borax solution, making sure to cover the pipe cleaner completely and ensuring that the snowflakes are not touching the sides or bottom of the container.
Let sit over night.  About 4 hours later, the crystals were just starting to form on top of the water.

Remove snowflakes from borax mixture.

And there you have it . . . Broax Crystal Snowflakes!  Liam was super excited with his crystal snowflakes!

Overall, the project was just as easy as I expected!  I did have difficulty finding a container, the instructions said to use a jar and I didn't have anything big enough, so I used a stock pot and did three snowflakes together.  This used considerable more Borax and water than I anticipated.  (I used half a box of Broax just for this!)  But, other wise, super easy!

Some of the instructions that I saw before doing this said that they would be done in a couple of hours.  This was not the case.  If you try it, leave them overnight!

One other bit of advice if you try this - not only does the Borax form crystals on the pipe cleaners, it also forms crystals on the inside of the container.  When I do this again, I will use a disposable container so I don't have to spend an half an hour chipping water out of my pot! 
This is what my pot looked like when we were done.  The stuff at the bottom was rock hard and about half an inch thick!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Depression Is . . .

Depression is one of those things that can strike at any time.  You never know when or where it's going to rear it's ugly head.  It doesn't matter if you are at home or at work, on vacation or at the mall.  It doesn't matter what time of the day or night it might be.
Depression isn't always the same.  it can creepy up slowly, bring you down deeper and deeper everyday.  Or it can come out of nowhere and slap you upside the head causing a downward spiral.  It can last for a few hours, a day, a week, a month - you never know.
Depression doesn't always have a reason that you can understand.  Sometimes it does, there are lots of things, stress, illness, death, etc, that could trigger a period of depression.  But sometimes you find yourself in that deep dark hole and have no idea why you are there.
Depression can hit you in so many different ways.  It can make you sad, like sit in a corner and cry all day kind of sad.  It can make you angry, like explode at everyone who looks at you kind of angry.  It can make you not care, like the world could come falling down around you and you just shrug your shoulders.  It can make you clueless, like so clueless that you don't even notice that you are being miserable to everyone around you.  It can make you self absorbed to the point where you don't care that the guy in front of you slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a child, all that you care about is that your purse fell on the floor and spilled when you hit your brakes to avoid hitting him.  It can make you withdrawn to the point where all you want to do is stay in bed.
Depression effects EVERYTHING - your family, your friends, your job, your pets, your home life, your social life.  No one can tell you what to expect or how you are going to feel or react.
Depression is unpredictable.  There is no one treatment that works for everyone.  Life becomes a rollercoaster of medications, therapies and strategies to try and keep in control of your life.  Some days it works, some days it doesn't.
Next time someone tells you that they suffer from depression, don't tell them that you know how they feel because you don't and you never will.  Instead, ask them how they feel and LISTEN! 
Even if you suffer from depression yourself, you don't know how they feel and you never will.  You understand what it is like to live with this horrible mental illness not knowing when it is going to turn on you again, but nobody suffers the same way. 
Depression is something different to everyone who suffers from it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Remember - 9/11/01

I remember bring at work, in the playground with a group of sweet, innocent toddlers when a co-worker came outside and told me about the first plane hitting the World Trade Centre.
I remember not exactly know what the World Trade Centre was or what the twin towers looked like or how big they were.
I remember thinking that it was a horrible accident - who would have thought of anything else before that day?
I remember another co-worker coming out and telling us that another plane hit the second tower, that both towers were engulfed in flames and that there would be hundreds of casualties.
I remember wondering what were the chances of two planes crashing into two buildings that close together.  Terrorists never crossed my mind. 
I remember parents dropping of their children sharing all sorts of news reports with us - some would end up being true, others, not so much.
I remember the utter shock and disbelief when I actually realized that this was not an accident.
I remember being told that shortly after rescue workers entered the tower to help people, the towers collapsed, first one and then the other.
I remember knowing that this was a horrible tragedy but not really having a clue how big it really was.
I remember hearing about the plane crashing into the Pentagon.
I remember hearing about the plane that crashed into the field in Pennsylvania.
I remember becoming more and more worried with each new piece of information.
I remember wondering if we were safe here.
I remember my husband telling me not to go anywhere on my lunch break.
I remember going home and eating supper in front of the TV watching news coverage.
I remember feeling sick to my stomach as I watched video replays of the second plane crashing and the towers collapsing, knowing that even though we couldn't actually see anything, that was a video of people dying.
I remember seeing the video of the President reading to a group of school children as someone whispered to him.
I remember the look of shock and horror on George W Bush's face.
I remember footage of people, running from the collapsing buildings, so covering in dust and ash that you couldn't tell if they were black, white or any skin tone, everyone was grey.
I remember footage of firefighters running towards those buildings to help anyone they could get to.
I remember that hundreds of those firefighters did not make it back out.
I remember that thousands of people lost their lives that day.
I remember that even more people lost loved ones that day, many who's bodies were never even found.
I remember that the events of that day have forever changed how we look at the world.
Every time I see a picture or video of the NYC skyline, with or without the Twin Towers, I REMEMBER and I ALWAYS will.
But I will never completely understand the enormity of this horrific event or the number of people who were touched first hand but this act of terrorism.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

The End Of An Era - Good Bye Daycare . . . Hello Big Boy School

Four years ago, almost to the day, my baby was started daycare.  He was eight months old and I was a week away from going back to work - at the same daycare.
Liam's first day of daycare - August 31, 2009
Four years seems like a long time, but it also seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. 
After a year in the infant program, a year in the toddler program and two years in the preschool program, with me working in the same building for three of those four years, today is my baby's last day of daycare.  He is almost ready to start school.
Liam's Preschool Graduation
My little boy, who has come to daycare with my for four years will now have to get on the school bus and go to school all by himself. 
I am excited for him to embark on this new adventure - to learn new things, to make new friends, to explore a whole new world. 
But I am also sad.  He is growing up far too quickly.  I won't get to see him with his friends every day.  He won't be there to run and give me a hug when I go into the room that he's been in for the past year.  I won't know what he's done every day and if he's listening to his teachers or not.  I won't be able to kiss his bo-bos.  I know that I am very lucky to have had him here at the daycare where I work.  I know it is a luxury that most working parents don't have.  But it still makes me sad.
And I have to admit that I am a bit worried for him.  What if he is scared on the bus?  What if he doesn't like his teacher?  What if he doesn't make new friends?  What if he needs me and I'm not there?
I am pretty sure that my worries will amount to nothing.  He is excited about going to big boy school.  He loved going on the school bus for our daycare field trip.  He's been trough countless daycare teachers in four years and they have all adored him and he's loved them all.  He is super social and he makes friends with kids anywhere we go. 
I think this is where I have to admit that I need him here more than he needs me here.  Even when he was a toddler and we were in the same room almost all day, everyday, he was content to do his own thing most of the time.
September will be a month of big changes and many new routines.  I expect that there will be a lot of chaos as we adapt to these changes and learn new routines.  I am sure that there will be tears (probably most of them will be mine!) but there will also be lots of excitement as we embark on this next stage of life. 




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Baking Bread

I love to bake.  Liam loves to help me bake.  So, yesterday, I decided to bake a batch of whole wheat bread.  And of course, my little man was ready to help.

"Do you really have to take my picture?"

"Hey mom, what is this stuff and why is it growing??"

"This is HARD to stir!"

"Really?  I can use my hands?"

When baking with a 4 year old boy, one must always be prepared for unexpected dough monster attacks!

Whole Wheat Garlic Herb Buns

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rasin Bread

Everything baked and ready to be eaten.

"We made this?  Really?

Here is the recipe I use.  I have no idea where it originated, it is the recipe that my mom has used for as long as I can remember!

Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. yeast

Combine above ingredients and let rise for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, heat:

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup shortening

Once shortening has melted, add:

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water

Mix well and add yeast mixture.

Gradually add:

6 cups whole wheat flour
6 cups white flour

Knead dough for 10 minutes.  Let rise until doubled in size.

Punch down dough.  Cut into 4 pieces.
Let rise 15 minutes.

Shape and place in greased pans.
Let rise until doubled in size.

Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
Lightly glaze loaves with shortening or butter.

Yeild: 4 loaves or 4 dozen rolls.

For garlic herb bread/rolls: 
Knead one teaspoon garlic powder and one teaspoon Italian seasoning into one loaf before shaping. 

For Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
Mix 3 tablespoons brown sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Knead cinnamon sugar and 2/3 cup raisins into one loaf before shaping.