Friday, August 28, 2009

My favourite timewaster

I have to confess that there are some evenings where I don't feel like doing anything meaningful with my time. I just want to veg by the computer and let my brain be entertained for a while. YouTube is the perfect mindless entertainment vehicle. There is SO much you can learn if you look carefully.

YouTube videos taught me to crochet. You can just pause and rewind until you've got the hang of a stitch. It also taught me how to do various things with my sewing machine, like add an ivisible zipper without the special foot.

My latest favourite though is all the wonderful makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts that share their tips, reviews, tutorials on different looks and general musings. I've got a whole bunch on my subscriptions list but a few hightlights are:

Pixiwoo - a pair of makeup artist sisters. Seriously, they are geniuses when it comes to makeup. They can transform themselves into different celebrities a la Kevyn Aucoin.

MakeupGeekTV - a beautiful girl with great skills (a musician as well as a makeup artist!)

Pursebuzz - she's great at makeup but what keeps me watching her are her hair tutorials, she's great at updos! She also has a lovely website (and is currently running a competition!)

Lollipop26 - she's just an ordinary working girl who has a passion for clothes, makeup and pretty things. And hey! she uses blogspot too :)

As long as you can filter out all the adoration of all things MAC (my budget as a stay at home mom doesn't quite stretch that far!), you can get some really useful tips. The reviews are really helpful if you can't afford to experiment your way forward with makeup and need someone else to test it out first.

Enjoy wasting hours of your life watching these girls!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crafty post

A few months ago I got it into my head that I wanted to get some old tea cups from Goodwill and do something crafty with them. I am a frustrated crafter... I LOVE crafts and have a creative being lurking somewhere very very deep inside but I haven't really got one talent to give it it's outlet. So I dabble. In lots of little things. Rough translation = there are lots of mostly finished projects lurking around that I'm too embarassed to give away because they're not perfect!

Anyway, a candle came to mind. So I made these lovely little tea cup candles for my friends (some are colourful like this one and some are dainty white china)

Tim works close to Hobby Lobby and had picked up the wicks and tabs up for me ♥ along with some handy bags to melt the wax in so you don't have to dedicate a pan just to candle making. I added some essential oils for scent and a few of the kids' leftover crayons for colour (see, I might be losing the accent but I still can't bring myself to type in "American"). It's a really great, cheap and easy project for an afternoon and I think they turned out quite cute!

Unfortunately I've been feeling gross all week and haven't really been able to give them to anyone yet, something I hope to remedy this weekend, when hopefully the neck and sinus issues will be better.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How decadent!

The children are spending the weekend with Tim's sister & brother-in-law. It was quite odd not to hear a little pitter patter down the hall this morning, it didn't climb in our bed and tell us that it was hungry and thirsty and that it's brother was still asleep. The house is eerily quiet and I keep forgetting they're gone and thinking that they're up to no good in their room.

On the other hand we have been able to hop in the car and go anywhere we want on a whim. We went to the book store without having to play with the train or remind anyone not to run or yell or pull random books off the shelf and put them back in the wrong place. We've had a nice margarita lunch and walked over to the movie theater to catch the matinee. Followed by a nice afternoon nap (I know, how decadent is that!) and cooking for two - we're feeling quite spoiled.

Isn't it funny thinking about what you placed values on before you had children? Now the most precious and lavish treats are being able to do what you want, when you want to and having an uninterrupted meal!

Thanks D&D

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cooking up a storm

When Max is in school I find it makes my life a lot easier if I make a menu for the week and just do one big shopping trip. It saves money too, I don't think I've ever gone into the grocery store for one thing and come out with just that one thing - have you?!

When we have company coming I also like to spend a day or two making large batches of food and freezing it. So when you've had a long, fun day (shopping!) with your visitors you don't have to worry about cooking. My sister and brother-in-law are coming to visit at the end of September so today I spent the day filling up the freezer.

I made pot roast in the slow cooker and while that was cooking I got to work on turkey, corn and black bean chili and a double batch of marinara. One half of the marinara got mixed with spicy Italian sausage and penne pasta. Sprinkled lots of parmesan on top and put it in one of these - They go straight from the freezer to the oven to the dishwasher. Brilliant things. The other half of the marinara got frozen for later use in chicken parmesan. I tend to make recipes up but if you want the recipes I'd be more than happy to share them.

Of course I made extra large batches so that I could take out enough for us to eat this week too. Now, if only I could get someone to clear up the giant mess I've made in the kitchen......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BIG shoutout to Google

I know this is a Google based blog - the format is just SO easy to use for a non-programmer like myself, but it seems like every week I find something else I love about Google's different features!

Google has settled MANY a dispute in our household, whether it's what movie we've seen an actor in TV in before or a historical fact. It's also our dictionary, just type the word you're trying to spell in and it will come up with the correct spelling.

My Blackberry is always at my side and I can't count the times the Google Maps app. has saved me from getting lost. It's fantastic and means I don't have to pay for a GPS program. I even think it's more efficient than GPS.

I use Google's gmail as my main email account. It's free, I've never had issues with spam and it's a snap to organize emails into different categories, ones that make sense, like the receipts folder.

The Google reader feature means that I can keep up with all the blogs I follow (and there are quite a few!) all on one page as soon as they're updated.

Today I discovered the Google calendar. Brilliant stuff. It's a week at a glance that you can colour code and then print out! Genius. If you've ever tried to do this yourself you'll know how tricky it is to do or how much people charge for the seemingly simple programs that can do it for you.

So, even though this isn't a sponsored post, can I just say a quick "thank you" to Google for making this Mom's life a bit eaiser!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Max's first day of school

He was SO excited!! Homework done, backpack packed, lunch ready in his Spiderman lunch box in the fridge... he had a hard time getting to sleep the night before. The next morning he practically hopped into his uniform and gobbled down his breakfast - we were ready well before we needed to leave.

We walked him into his classroom on the first morning and he just seemed so happy. His first day went well but he was very tired and quite overwhelmed so we didn't get too much information from him. Fortunately they bring home an agenda every night to tell the parents the important stuff. He did leave his lunch box at school so I had to put a note on his backpack for him to remember to bring it home today.

They have an interesting system at his school for kids who get dropped of by their parents. You put a decal on the window of your car with the child's last name on it. After they're let out of class, all the children get put in the auditorium. Then as you pull up to the school a teacher outside radios your child's name to the auditorium and they come outside and the teacher puts them in the car! The first day was a mess, of course, noone seemed to follow the directions we were given and lots of impatient parents clogged up traffic by going the wrong way. But I think once it calms down it is a very efficient way of doing things.

Anyway, enough babbling - here are some more photos of my handsome boy on his first day of school ♥

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ichetucknee springs

We decided to take one final little break before Max goes back to school. On Wednesday we packed up the van and took off for a few days to go camping! Years ago, B.C. (Before Children), Tim and I went with his parents to Ichetucknee springs in north Florida. It's a beautiful place - freshwater springs that all feed into a crystal clear river. Nice cold water is refreshing on a hot summer day.

You hire an inflatable tube and float down the gorgeous lazy river. It takes between 2-3 hours if you don't go all the way down and when you've got small children that's plenty! We got hold of tubes that held two people, one in front and one at the back so we could keep a good grip on the kids, despite life jackets. We saw LOTS of turtles, some of them swam right by us. We also saw a mother wood duck with her babies following her, some herons and big snails. The kids were fascinated, we got to sit back and relax.

Camping was great! As long as you don't mind being a bit sweaty and dirty for a few days that is. We stayed at a nice camp site (a bit primitive but it had a faucet and some picnic tables and port-a-potties), it was quite private and quiet, being the middle of the week.

The children had lots of fun roasting marshmallows and strumming the guitar. We had fun too, cooking on a wok - it really is the perfect camping tool. It was a nice practice run for figuring out what we need when we go camping on Cumberland Island in October with Donal and Nicola.

Here's a video of Lily's camping song and a few photos too

Lily's Camp fire song:
Every time I go camping..
There's no ghosts
Cause Max is just kidding.
About the real ghosts.
But there isn't a real one
but it's not.
It's pretend.
That's it!