Thursday, 5 January 2017

Mommy Time-Out, Inactive No More

Wow! It's been years since I posted. Where have I been, where did I go? Nowhere really, I've just been living my life and raising my kidlets. I can't believe how fast time flies, when did my kidlets become 7 & 10? I disappeared over a well to common and familiar mom problem called mom guilt.  I have huge mom guilt as I'm sure many of you out there do as well. Do I spend enough time with them?, Do I do enough for them?, Do I teach them to do enough for themselves?, Do I give them enough room to grow, Do I snuggle them enough, Do I tell them I love them enough, Do I stay patient enough?, Am I doing this right?...the list could go on forever.

That's when I lost my creativity and desire to blog and I had huge guilt over taking the time to write, does anyone read this stuff anyway? Can I be a small blog and just do my own thing without being professional and tied to my blog all the time? All these things ran through my brain and the overwhelming wave took over, so I stopped. I put my focus on my kidlets and got lost in that. I did nothing for myself. I didn't pick up a book. I didn't knit. I didn't take a time out. I didn't blog. I just got lost in life. Has anyone else done that before? Raise your hand! Well, I did. Don't get me wrong, I loved being lost in my family. If you have to be lost, there really isn't any better place to do so. I really soaked them in, every minute I could, but then I realized, I can be enthralled in my family and not get lost from myself. What a concept right? So I made the decision to take some time for me and after getting over the initial guilt and idea that I NEED to give all my time to my family, it got easier with every step.

So what did I do to take time for myself? I started small, really small. I started going to my Chiropractor by myself. Seems silly huh? I always had my kids in tow, one or both. It seemed a strange concept to go somewhere by myself but I came to enjoy those few minutes alone in the car. Tiny little steps to just get some time where the sound around me was quiet and I didn't need to be responsible for anyone.

After a few of those trips that worked out well and were a little liberating, I made bigger steps. I started taking what I like to call "Mommy Time-Outs". That's exactly what they are, I take a time-out from "Mommying" and "Wifeing" and I do whatever I want for an hour or so. I've taken a bath and read a book, I've gone down to the river to read a book, I've gone to Timmies to drink a HOT cup of coffee in a quiet car and just people watch. I've gone out with friends. I've gone for a drive to the beach just to see the sunset. It doesn't really matter what I do, the most important thing is I'm doing it, and I'm doing it guilt free, most of the time.

I never thought I would or could honestly. I also never thought some time alone in quiet was worth very much but I was very wrong. I get to be with myself again and get to know me all over again. I'm still learning. I still struggle to return to my old ways and tell myself I don't NEED the time. I just try to keep reminding myself that it's ok, my family is perfectly fine without me for an hour or so a week and I WILL be better for finding myself over getting lost in life again.

I even got a tattoo to remind myself to keep moving in the right direction, one of my favorite Emily Dickenson quotes, "Out with lanterns, looking for myself.".

So, here I am spilling this all out to the universe and trying to ignite the creative juices and start blogging again, in my little own way, even though small, maybe she might be mighty? I did a little facelift to the ol' blog and I've got one post under my belt. Here's to more where that came from! 

Now it's your turn, throw the mommy guilt away and declare you are taking a Mommy Time-Out! Enjoy!!

Friday, 28 February 2014

Lego Themed Birthday Party

This past birthday, my son decided that he wanted a Lego themed party and I was excited to plan it! This happened over the summer and I'm just getting around to blogging about it now. Ugh.

Every year, on birthday morning, we have a birthday muffin for breakfast and sing 'Happy Birthday'. This year lemon poppy seed was the muffin of choice.

Planning this party took lots of Pinterest hours and manual hours putting everything together, but as with all crafters, it's always worth it in the end ;) Hopefully this collection will cut out some of those research hours for you guys out there. I decided to stick to three main colours in my Lego theme, blue, red and Lego yellow.

I constructed this banner from two different sources, here and here. I printed the letters out on white paper and then glued them onto red card stock for stability. I did the same with the 3 Lego men and glued them on yellow card stock. Once I had all the separate pieces, I hot glued the men and letters to some yellow wrapping ribbon, about 1/2 inch thick, and attached to the mantel. You could hang this anywhere, even above your food table or entrance area.

Next up was the food table. I started by buying two yellow plastic table clothes from the dollar store and put one down to create the skirt and the second one for gathering the corners. On the two ends I just tied a knot and in the center I gathered the table cloth into a ruching and stapled. Then I taped a Lego head from my straw toppers (link below) over top to hide staple.

One either side of the table, sticking with my colours, I placed one bunch of balloons in red, blue and yellow. I placed another bunch of balloons in the living room where the games would be.

Above the table I wanted something as well, but with the window I was limited with what to do. I decided to hang two staggered red tissue fans I found at a party store.

In the living room, I set up some things for the kidlets to do while the we were waiting for everyone to arrive.

I had a pile of Lego men colouring pages, found here, and some Lego crayons I purchased at the party store. The sign was made from a blue and yellow piece of card stock. I typed up my signs in Word using the Lego font, found here, and printed them on yellow card stock, cut them out and glued them to a slightly larger blue piece of card stock. On the corners I used my hole puncher and punched out red 'Lego bumps' for the corners. I did laminate mine, because I'm obsessed with laminating things, but that step does not need to be done. I displayed signs in a few Lego blocks.

I also set up a game of "Guess How Many Lego Blocks" for the kidlets to fill out to win a prize. I put some ballots in a cup that I created in Word and printed out on yellow card stock again.

Once all the kidlets arrived, we ate! I had red punch in our drink container and labelled it 'Building Fuel'. I made the sign in Word again, printed it on yellow card stock and then just layered that onto a larger blue circle and then a larger red one. Plates, cups and napkins were purchased from the dollar store in coordinating colours. I printed off some Lego heads, found here, and taped them onto straws.

The cutlery was in the same blue and red and I built a container for them out of my sons Lego pieces. I also placed Lego people around the table for some added decoration. What's a Lego Party without Lego?! ;)

Next came the food labels. I did the same as I did above with the 'Create Your Own Lego Man' sign. I kept the food a mix of healthy and junk and all went down the hatch for the most part.

Veggie Tray

Fruit cups
These popcorn boxes were one of the first things I found. I bought them on clearance at the party store several months before the party. I liked the colours and that the circles mimicked Lego bumps.


The Jello cups were a big hit with the kidlets. They were small and they just squeezed them right from the cups into their bellies. I bought coordinating Jello colours and made them in these little red shot plastic shot glasses. These of course did not contain alcohol.

I made this cute little Lego crackers & cheese. I actually used one of my kidlets playdoh rolling pins to get the circles for the crackers. I attached the 'bumps' to the crackers with a little dab of cream cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza cut in blocks for 'Lego Pizza' & M&M cookies

After we ate we got into the games. The first game we played was Lego Car Races. The kidlets dug through the Lego to build their cars.

When everyone was done, we raced them. Winner raced the next person until we had the last vehicle standing! Winner received a prize.

After the races we played a Lego version of Hot Potato. Everyone got a spoon, stood in a circle, and passed the Lego piece. If you dropped it, you were out. Last one standing won a prize.

While the kidlets were doing the games, we cleaned up the table and got the dessert table ready. I just rearranged things already around from above. Than we ate cake!

I had a local cake lady make the cake for me. 


Then it was time to open gifts!!

We thanked all of our guests with Lego themed goodie bags. I made the bags from punching large circles out of card stock and used raised glue dots to attach them onto blue paper bags. My sons friends got some Lego candies, a Lego figure and a Lego travel case. It was a great day!

And that's our  Lego Themed Birthday Party in a nut shell. Thanks for stopping by. Happy crafting! ;)

May be Linked at the following FABULOUS Parties!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Valentine Cheddar & Chive Crackers

Kidlets LOVE anything that has a shape to it. It could be brussel sprouts! Made into a shape and plated fun and interestingly, it has a better chance of going down the tube. Kidlets need to taste different kinds of food often, before they come around to liking it. Of course, this doesn't mean they will like everything, but you have a better chance this way, which brings me to this post.

My family and I started eating clean about a year ago. What is clean eating? Find out here. It took some time for our palettes to change and get used to eating things in their natural form and not chalked full of sugar, additives and preservatives. It also took some time for our bodies to get used to not having such high levels of sugar in our diet. We ate very healthfully before going clean, but once you start really looking at your labels, you'd be surprise at how much food has sugar added to it, food you think is very healthy for you. After the initial withdrawal, the process went fairly well, but not all new foods were welcomed with open crackers.

At first we were experimenting with new clean crackers using jams, goat cheese with cinnamon and honey, some butter or nut butters, but this got old quickly. My kidlets wanted good ol' cheese and crackers, just like every other kid, and they weren't settling for a clean cracker. After awhile, the new clean crackers would come home in their lunch pails completely untouched. Food and money was just going down the drain.

After becoming 100% clean eaters for a good 6 months, we loosened the chains a little, and came to a family decision to include different kinds of cheeses and a few other things, like full-fat yogurts, into our diet. Typically, most cheeses are not considered clean because of their high fat content.

I needed to figure out a way to get clean crackers IN the belly and not have my kidlets miss out on a childhood staple. I started to research crackers and found out that they are actually really easy to make and fun when you bring your little sous chefs in the kitchen with you!

Those are not the crackers she's mushing, this pic is from the muffins we made ;)
Make some of these kidlet approved crackers for your little ones, in any shape you fancy. Although they are not considered 'clean', they are fresh, homemade and healthy. What more could you want?

Valentine Cheddar & Chive Crackers

1 cup of shredded Old Cheddar Cheese
4 tablespoons of cold butter, cubed
1 cup of whole wheat flour (plus more for dusting while rolling)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of cold water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Add cheese, butter, flour, chives and salt to a food processor.
3. Blend until your ingredients becoming all grainy
4. 1 tablespoon at a time, add cold water to processor. Blend until dough comes together in a ball.
5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 mins.
6. Remove dough and roll out to an 1/8 inch thickness.
7. Cut your shapes out of the dough with cookie cutters or cut into 1 inch squares.
8. Place dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
9. Bake for 15 mins.
10. Enjoy!
11. Allow to cool completely and store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

May be Linked at the following FABULOUS Parties!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Kitchen Cupboard Organization

Happy New Year Everyone! January is a great time to get out with the old and in with the new...newly organized kitchen cabinets that is. 

I am a VERY organized person by nature. If you gave me a space that was solely my own, it would be prim and proper and organized to perfection. The thing is, there are no such spaces like that in a lived in home with a husband and two children, all while running a full-time daycare with seven kidlets each and every day. Although things start in an organized fashion, life happens and then you end up with cabinets full of things you've just stashed away and then BOOM! a big unorganized mess ensues. 

I like to deal with this mess by completely reorganizing spaces approximately bi-yearly to suit your needs. When I organize I like to pull absolutely EVERYTHING out of a cabinet (or whichever space you are working on) and work with a clean slate. I'm going to show you my reorganization from one side of my kitchen to the other. 

Before you pull anything out of your cabinets, get yourself and pen and paper and make a rough draft of your kitchen cabinets. After you have them on your paper you need to decide what shelves you want to contain what. This is a huge help when you are piled high with STUFF and forget what you wanted to put where. No need to strees, just consult your plan. I like to check off which cabinet I've done as I go along, makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Go ahead try it, it's fun! Well...that's if organizing floats your boat and it sure does over here ;) Once you have your plan you can at this point figure out if there are any organization tools you need to purchase to aide in organization. I knew I needed some bins and that I wanted my oils to go on a Lazy Susan. I purchased those and I was ready to go.

Now start with your first cabinet and empty that sucker out. Remember, before you fill your cabinet back up to give it a good wipe down. My first cabinet is full of plastic containers and this is also where we store our medications and things we use on a daily bases. Things pile and pile and spread and spread.

Once I had completely cleared out the cabinet, I consulted my plan and started putting stuff back in. I needed a high cabinet for all our medicines and poisonous things, to be clear out of reach from little hands. I also wanted to use baskets to help contain our regularly used vitamins and medicines. I removed a large portion of the plastic containers and just have the ones I use daily for the kids lunches here. This cabinet holds all the things we use daily and many many times during the day.

Below this cabinet, I forgot to take a before picture, but it contained our large mixing bowls and small electric appliances. Now the cabinet contains more of the daily items we use, all in one part of the kitchen. This is the after photo.

The next few upper cabinets from my plan are our cups, plates and bowls. I did not organize them as they were in good shape and I didn't need or want to move anything around in them. 

My next cabinet was a catch all for lots of things. Toaster, lunch pails, party trays and things we rarely use. I forgot to take a before pic of cabinet, but just imagine all this stuff packed in ;)

I decided I wanted to have all my small appliances in one place as they were slightly spread out before. I also put our plastics that we use less often in this cabinet. Still accessible but in a less desirable place of the kitchen.

Next up was our spice and oil cabinet. I found this cabinet was getting too small for my spices and oils so I moved them elsewhere.

I wanted this cabinet instead to house our cereals and snacks. We are clean eaters and don't really have a lot of dried goods to store in cabinets so the smaller space was all I needed.

Next cabinet was above the stove. This area had become a place to really just stuff things I wanted put up and out of my way. It was a MESS!

 I decided above the stove was a great place to put my cookbooks!

Next cabinet did house our snacks but had grown full of junk from Christmas Holidays and needed a good clean out. As mentioned before, we are a clean eating family but not at Christmas time. We indulge in the season, host parties and put on the 'Holiday 5lbs' with pride and enjoyment!! But it's back to reality and some of these things need to go. 

As mentioned previously, I needed a larger cabinet for my spices and oils. Now they are all together on their own shelves and ready for dinner making. This is also where I used my Lazy Susan I purchased. Now all my regularly used oils can spin around for easy access.

Next was the cabinet above the fridge. This was a catch all space as well, ugh! I also forgot to take a before picture of this, I was just too excited to be organizing I guess ;) Anyways, this was the mess that was above the fridge. 

And this is what it looks like now. Looking at this picture, I have noticed my crock pot needs a good exterior scrub. Ah well, another day.

Last stop on the organization train is the pantry. The organization that once was, was just falling apart. Needed a good clean through and purge of some of the junk foods. 

When my family and I started clean eating, almost 1 year ago, we went 100% all in, no junk ANYWHERE! We lost over 100lbs collectively in the process, but during the journey we also realized that reality still needed a place as well. We like to entertain dinner guests and I love to bake and make goodies for people, but I also understand they may not enjoy the clean foods our family loves. So over the past year of learning we had got rid of anything unclean just to turn around and introduce some products back into our home in the hopes that our guests WANT to come back for dinner :) 

This is what our pantry looked like before, a mish mash of overflow.

And the after. Everything has a home, including some of our unclean products. Here are some more of the bins I purchased. Your organization does not need to be expensive, the dollar store is your best friend when it comes to organizing. 

That's it! My kitchen reorganization is complete...for now. And it will likely be a hot mess in another 6 months but that's ok, I'll just roll my sleeves up and get back in there. The older I get (not that I'm old by any means) I am coming to the realization and a comfort that my home doesn't need to be perfect on the inside all the time. This is a slow process but I'm getting there, day by day. This doesn't mean that if you showed up to my door unannounced, I wouldn't still have an internal panic attack from the imperfect state of my home, but I am getting better. My mother is able to come by unannounced and I don't die a thousands death like I would have 5 years ago. My best friend has seen the likes of the kidlets bathroom, toothpaste spit marks and all. I didn't die from this event. I am learning to let go of those strings a lot, in the effort to have happy and healthy kidlets that don't feel that they can't LIVE in their own home or that their mother was always too busy cleaning instead of playing with them. You really will just have to mind the mess, since we ARE busy making memories. This home is LIVED in, it gets messy and we clean it up :) 

Thanks for stopping by and happy organizing!!

  May be Linked at the following FABULOUS Parties!