Friday, April 29, 2011

An update on my 30 before 30 lis

It's been a few months so I figured I should give you an update on my 30 before 30 list. I have been working on things. Sadly, nothing is actually complete because I've started on all the things that have many parts to them. But I thought I'd at least tell you what I've been doing. The stuff in red is how far I've gotten.

1 Sew something I can actually wear 
2 finish all the Jane Austen books (0/8) (I've started a few times, need to finish!) - I'm working on Emma and actually getting stuff read. I had tried to start this one before, but I was pregnant/had a new born and my foggy brain couldn't keep the characters straight. I'm doing much better this time!
3 plant a vegetable garden that actually produces something (hopefully the squirrels and bunnies won't feast on it) - Just waiting for the snow to melt...
4 cook/bake through a cookbook (I'm doing the Company's Coming 30 minute Weekday Meals) (4/117) I actually think I've done more, but forgot to put them on my list so I'll have to flip through the book again to double check.
5 Go on an overnight trip without my kids 
6 Make a fondant-iced cake (I'm now giving myself the option of doing one covered in modelling chocolate because I found a recipe and it looks fabulous)
7 make something successful with a candy thermometer 
8 Learn Chopin's Minute Waltz on piano 
9 Finish the Wilton classes (1/4 done) 
10 eat something I've never tried before 
11 Go a week without going on-line (0/7) Mark doesn't think I can. He obviously hasn't seen my determination out full force. Ha! 
12 Make an entire meal using only food from the farmer's market 
13 Go tobogganing, you know, like in the cold 
14 Give blood (haven't been able to since my first donation because I keep having kids!) 
15 Go to a spa and have a facial 
16 Make ice cream 
17 Host a girls dessert night 
18 Go berry picking 
19 Make care packages for unsuspecting people 
20 Finish decorating 3 rooms in my house (help me! I'm decorating challenged) 
21 memorize 30 Bible verses 
22 Go door to door Christmas carolling (I need some friends to do this with, let me know if you want to!) 
23 Take my kids to the Stampede Parade (where does one purchase tickets? I don't want to drag preschoolers downtown at 6am) 
24 send homemade birthday cards to my family for a year (9/20) 
25 Go see live local music 
26 Eat dessert first 
27 Build a snowman, you know, outside, in the cold 
28 Make really awesome shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse 
29 Do 30 random acts of kindness (big and small) and document them (0/30) 
30 Throw myself a hardcore 30th Birthday party!

Shoot, I thought I had done more. At least with summer coming it will be easier to do some of them. :) Thanks for keeping me accountable!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Last April Birthday Cards

Whew! I made it through all the April cards!

Technically there is a May 1st birthday that I lump in with the April cards since I have to make it in April, but I realized that I totally forgot to take pictures of it before it went out in the mail yesterday, so I'll have to get the recipient to take them for me. Since that one will be delayed so you just get two today.

My mom and Mark both celebrated birthdays this past week.

When I saw the inspiration for this card design I knew it would be something that would work well for my mom. I like the zigzag fold of the paper on the bottom (yea for the silhouette's ability to perforate any line). My mom is not a complicated person so I liked the simplicity of the design. I picked the colours as they fall into the palette of colours that my mom likes so when I see them I think of her.

For Mark I've learned that he isn't so much into the whole home made cards thing. I mean, he doesn't hate them, nor would I say he prefers a store bought card, but he's a guy and, well, as a general rule they don't tend to notice the layers and details that a woman would notice in a home made card. For this reason I have a hard time finding card design ideas for him because I don't want to spend hours and hours on something that isn't so appreciated. Is that messed up? Should I not care and do it anyway? Whatever. He cares more about what is written on the inside. But this year I found the perfect idea. I love this card design just as much as he did! Humorous cards are always hard (in my opinion) unless you get a humours stamp and I don't like reusing the same joke, so I never buy them. But perhaps with the ability to cut out any font on my computer (and if I get the sketch pens -hopefully soon- then I can write anything!) humour cards very well may be on their way. Here's the first one of the future series:

He KNOWS how much that is! Hehe!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Dresses 2011 and a Secret

I love traditions! I remember getting a new dress on Easter as a kid growing up. Truthfully I don't know if it happened every year or not, but I've always planned for my kids to have Easter outfits.

The problem with this is getting pictures (because everything like this has to be documented, right?). Pictures must be done before we go to church as you never know what craft project or bathroom accident might befall the poor dress and the fear that the attitude of the little person inside the dress when they are cranky from hunger and in need of a nap may ruin all photo ops after church. Now, I'm going to share with you a secret, that obviously not many have figured out.

You ready?

...The 9:00am service.

Yes, I know that in most church circles this is considered the more traditional service and so they don't tend to sing the latest praise choruses or whatever, but really those are over-done anyway. Let me introduce you to everything glorious about the 9:00am service.

1. Parking spaces. Near the door. And you don't have to wait for someone else to leave to get one.

2. There are TONS of volunteers in children's church. Yup, everyone, even the volunteers, want to attend the 11:00am service. So, they all serve at 9:00am. This means that the rooms are stocked with a fantastic ratio of workers to kids, meaning your child will get more attention and thus will have less meltdowns and thus you will be less likely to be called out of the service. (and for the record, the 11:00am service is the HARDEST to get volunteers for, so there are typically double the kids and half the workers.)

3. There are no lines. When we leave the 9:00am service we see a line of parents waiting to get into our children's ministry area for the 11:00am service. When they let all these parents in, they then have to stand in ANOTHER line in front of the door to each of their children's room's while each child gets checked in. This doesn't happen at the 9:00am service. There are literally half as many kids (and double the volunteers) so the process is quick.

4. Your kid's friends are better behaved. Want your kid to make friends with other kids from wholesome, disciplined families? You have to be disciplined to make it to the 9:00am family. Those who can do it are typically more disciplined in other areas. They raise kids who are well-behaved, follow the rules and are generally just nice kids all around.  I've worked in our children's ministry (as staff) for 6 years and this has remained true the whole time. The 9:00am kids are just better behaved. I know there are probably some very nice kids and families who attend the 11:00am service, but nothing like the ratio of them that attend the 9!

4. The 20 minute date. This isn't my idea, but I love it (click the link to see the full context). But basically if you don't have to stand in line and get your kids into children's church right away, you and your spouse get to go sit in the church sanctuary and have a mini-date for 20 minutes before the service starts. You know, have real adult conversation without the distraction of your kids. It's the best part of my week. This doesn't work as well at the 11:00am service because of the lines.

Convinced? Try it out. You'll love it.

Still with me about the Easter dresses? Well, in order to get to the 9:00am service and have time for the 20 minute mini-date we have to be out the door by 8:30. Which means we have to have everyone ready to go at 8:15. And every Easter I make Resurrection buns (Marshmallows dipped in butter/cinnamon/sugar wrapped in a crescent roll and baked. The marshmallow melts leaving the empty "tomb") for breakfast. Which means I have to be up VERY early. There's totally a reason I don't attend sunrise services. Could you imagine?

Had to be distracted with Mommy's keys

Anyway, know that the pictures in this post are a labour of love. I sacrificed sleep to get them (and we all know how much I LOVE my sleep!). Mark thought we had enough. I would have liked about 20 more just to be sure. Of the 20 we DID take, these are the only ones worthy of showing. Ha!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mark's Birthday

Today is Mark's birthday!

I'm so blessed to be married to such an incredible man and terrific Daddy to my girls.

So basically I'm taking today off from blogging (though you're still getting this post) to make birthday cake and wrap presents and such. Because, though I enjoy blogging, we all know I love those things more!

Happy Birthday Honey!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

We had a pretty relaxed Easter, but I did make sure that we had a little bit of fun!

I skipped the egg hunt only because it was just our family together and I thought it wouldn't be as much fun with just Mady. Next year when Kate is big enough to join in the fun I think we'll do one.

On Saturday Mady and I coloured eggs while Daddy was at work. We only had one catastrophe (and really it was just a tiny crack so I just dipped the other end up to the crack). We coloured on the eggs with crayon first. It sort of worked. I didn't have white crayon and the ones we own are all washable so you had to be careful to not touch the crayon when you took them out of the water.

Mady picked the colours: Pink, Purple, Orange and Yellow.  Since I was the only adult while this was taking place and we were trying to be quick before Kate woke up from her nap, I didn't take pictures of the actual dying of eggs, but I did get them all lined up in the carton after. Totally forgot to take pictures of the actual designs. I'll get better at documenting as I mature as a mother, right??

Saturday night Mady helped me make Jell-O eggs for after our easter lunch. I would love, Love, LOVE those 3D egg molds from Kraft, but they don't ship to Canada and Kraft Canada doesn't carry them (I check to make sure this hasn't changed EVERY year. Sigh). Any american friends want to volunteer their address for next year and then ship them to me?? Pretty please? Anyway, we used my wilton egg shaped cupcake molds. They work too and have pretty designs. Here is Mady with the finished product.

Mark was even a trooper and tried to eat one (he hates Jell-O) because Mady made them. He made it about half-way through one taking the teeniest bites I've ever seen. I just laughed at him and ate two!

Earlier in the week Mady and I made her easter basket. She's quite into crafts lately so I knew she would have fun. I cut the bottom off a milk jug, watered down some paint and cut up old tissue paper (Mady picked the colours), then we rubbed the glue onto the jug and slapped on the tissue (basically modpodged it). Then I punched a hole in the sides and tied a piece of ribbon through, which you totally don't see in the picture. There is also easter grass in the bottom, but the basket was kind of full. My mom sent down some treats for the kids too so they ended up with quite a bit of stuff.

I didn't make one for kate because she would eat it (that kid eats EVERYTHING). She was napping when it was time to pull out the easter baskets so I gave her her loot later. And totally forgot to take pictures (seriously, I'm not good at this. I need to glue my camera into my hand). She got clothes and books. Next year we'll let her have some candy. A little bit. What did YOU do for Easter?

Sunday, April 24, 2011


But the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! 

(Luke 24:5-6)

Friday, April 22, 2011

The words that make today "good"

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” 
(Luke 23:24)

I'm thankful to be forgiven!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kid Birthday Cards

So we all know how much I love parties (if you don't, you better check out the tag on my sidebar). Kid parties would have to be my favourite and especially if it's a birthday!

This month I had a nephew and a niece celebrate their birthday. One of the best things about having a birthday that I remember as a kid was getting cards. I loved getting mail with my name on it.

For my niece, she turned 10. I wanted to do a fun girly card, but also something that wasn't super childish. She is 10 after all. I remember when I was 10 that was the age that I really started to feel that I was no longer a kid (and sadly got stuck in that too-big-to-be-little-but-too-little-to-be-big stage for a couple of years - I'm sure you all can relate).

I got her card design idea off of flickr and adapted it slightly (not much, really). Can we just take a moment to talk about how much I love the ribbon behind the i? This technique is going to show up in a LOT of my cards, I'm sure. Made much easier now that I have my silhouette.

For my nephew, my sister threw him a robot party at his request so I knew that a robot card was in order. Thankfully someone on that flickr group had designed one. Again, I barely adapted it. Let's just talk about the teeny tiny letters that aren't straight, shall we? First of all, I was not thinking when I planned it all out in terms of how small those letters would be. I had to work hard to get them on there, never mind straight. It's still readable (at least in person) so that's all that matters. I'm totally in love with this robot, even though he had tons of tiny pieces. 

(For some reason the lighting was weird when I took this picture. It must have been a weird time of day so some of the colours look off to me.)

I hope you don't get totally bored of all my birthday cards. If you do take heart that in the fall from September through November there is only 1 birthday a month so it will make up for the rush now. :)

linking up here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This garden train was my personal favourite of the whole show. I think it's pretty. I could totally stand to have something like this in my backyard. Hear that honey?

It is no secret that my husband LOVES trains. What's with boys and trains? I don't really get it. He could watch them for hours. He has passed on this love of trains to Mady (and racecars. Weird, I know). So, this past weekend we took the girls to Supertrain. It's a model railway show that showcases various individuals' and train clubs' model train set-ups. It really is a ton of fun to watch, even for non-train obsessed people like myself. These people have put a lot of hours into their trains.
And it was PACKED! (the weather was crap and so I'm sure there were people taking advantage of something fun to do that's different, indoors and out of the house.)

It was truly an all-ages type of show. I loved seeing the little boys in their railway hats looking beside themselves with glee that they were in train heaven. And then seeing the little old grandpa's who are also dressed in their railway hats, just as beside themselves with glee in train heaven. I overheard one grown-up jokingly say to his buddy "why are there so many kids here?" Ha! Obviously he viewed this as a show geared to his age bracket.

Well, what kind of trains were there? All scales (and that's all I'll say about that because I don't understand the technical terms), Thomas the Tank Engine and even Lego trains. Plus vendors of everything train and model-train related.

This one is downtown Calgary, complete the C-train all made of Lego

Sorry in advance for all the back-of-Mady's-head pictures. It's hard to capture your kid watching something, especially when thousands of other people are trying to do the same thing.

I know all the trains end up looking the same size in pictures when you have nothing to compare them to, but this was one of the teeniest trains. I like the little ones for the details.

Kaitlyn wasn't as interested in looking at the trains, except as an attempt to stay awake as it was totally nap time. I was hoping she would fall asleep in the stroller, but she had no desire to do such a thing. So instead I took her picture to prove she was there, because I realized last weekend when we went to Aggie days, I totally missed making sure we had a picture of Kate. Sorry, sweetie!

 Mady's favourite set up was the big trains that go in peoples' gardens. One of my friend's dad has one in his backyard so we'll have to go over this summer and see it. This is his train club, but we didn't see him.

I know this is a little blurry, but I loved the stance she took leaning against the wall to see better.

Watching for the train to come...

...and catching the smoke! (she thought that was great!)

So that was our day at Supertrain. If you live in the area and you know a little boy (or girl!) who loves trains (or even one who's a big older *wink*), you should be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sister Birthday cards

So remember when I decided that I was going to make home made birthday cards for my entire family for a year? Well we certainly have a birthday season and we are right in the middle of it! I was smart and pre-designed most of the cards back in January and so now I'm just going through cutting them out and putting them together. Between the middle of March and the middle of July we have birthdays almost every week. Some weeks even have 2 or 3. And the one space that I get a break from birthdays has mother's day in the middle so I won't really get a break from cards. Good thing it's something I enjoy.

Since I designed these in January, I was still getting used to my silhouette, the software and all the things a person can do with the machine. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. So I did what any normal person would do. I went to the silhouette Flickr page and used other peoples' ideas. So if you see a card design that you came up with, thanks for helping me out!

This was the card I made for my big sister Jen's birthday. I was trying some new colour combos.

This was for my sister-in-law, Debbie's card. She likes flower so I thought she might like this. 

I used my cuttlebug to make the embossing on the white layer and I used versamark to add some texture on the purple layer.

I know these both use teal, but would believe I've had it in my stash for 5 years and maybe only used it once?

linking up here:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kaitlyn's 9 month pictures

Here we are already 3/4's of Kate's first year of life. You KNOW I'm already planning that party. :)

I feel like this month Kate discovered a whole new set of abilities. She has always been interested in the world around her, and is quite fine to just sit and take it all in. This month that became no longer good enough. She's been trying (and has yet to succeed) in climbing the stairs. If she gets left in the (sunken) living room then she tries to come where we are, which usually results in her sitting at the bottom of the stairs squawking at us until we come get her. With her new ability to stand at the couch I'm sure stairs will not take her long to master.

Plugs, power cords, heat grates, the grate on the bottom of the fridge and blinds are some of her favourite off-limits items to grab whenever given the chance. She can entertain herself playing on the floor, but would much prefer to be sitting in someone's (anyone's) lap. The other day I found her in the play kitchen putting things in and out of the play fridge.

As mentioned on the sign in the pictures, she hates socks. She will pull them off as quick as I can get them on her feet. I think she's going to be a warm-weather loving gal hanging out in flip flops whenever possible.

She's becoming quite the little eater. Some newer foods she loves are: baby corn, broccoli, bread, fishy crackers, chicken, blueberries, peas, beans, yogurt and puffed wheat. Cheerios still are high on the list, but since Mady tends to like to share the fish crackers those have become a quick favourite.

Mady found her snack cup in the diaper bag and promptly took it to Kate to share
Kate took it and kept it, spreading fish crackers all over my living room
Both girls stuffed their cheeks fast when they saw me because they knew the fun wouldn't last long!
Kaitlyn can drink from a sippy cup, but I started her with the soft tip ones. This means she can make quite the mess (good thing its just water) because they only use pressure to close, so we're thinking of graduating to the firmer tip. It's weird to do these things so young as Mady was barely able to manoeuvre the soft tip cups when she was a year and I don't think she figured out the firmer tips until closer to 15 months. I guess it's that younger child determination thing. And maybe I'm more willing to try things a little earlier. Ha!

I feel like these last two (and some above) make up for the first few (many) solemn months that we had to endure. She really does have the best smile when she decides to pull it out!

Mom, this one reminds me of one of the ones you have of me from my Canadian Baby Photographers session.