Friday, September 30, 2011


I know I've mentioned this before, but I got excited again this week, so I have to bring it up again.

Let's talk swagbucks. Have you heard of them? Basically it works like this:

You search the web (just like Google) and then they give you Swagbucks. You then take your earned bucks and buy things. The best deal is Amazon gift cards. Amazon sells pretty much everything, so that means you can get pretty much everything with Swagbucks. I was just on there and was amazing at what all you can get!

I've been using them for a while, with the intention of putting the money toward Christmas gifts, but I wasn't totally committed. Then I decided the other day that I wanted to have at least $50 in gift card money to put a small dent in the Christmas expenses. I was a little ways off from that so I started using it more. I made a goal to get 45 bucks a day which by the end of October would get me my $50.

Can I just say how easy that is?? There are ways to get free bucks every day.

First if you have the toolbar you get a buck a day (right click on the ledger where it shows your current swagbucks total and hit refresh toolbar. If it hasn't refreshed that day, you get a buck).

Every day you can take the daily poll, worth 1 buck

Click through the NOSO's (no obligation special offers). There are usually 5. You don't have to sign up, just click skip/see next offer. At the end you'll get 2 bucks.

Trusted Surveys. They've changed how this works. Now if there are surveys on your dashboard, but you get disqualified or the quotas are full you get a buck, up to 5 a day. If you make it through the survey, you can get 50, 100 sometimes more! They take a few more minutes to complete (but they tell you the length so that helps)

Lately they've been giving 3 bucks in my swagbucks inbox for watching a video ad and making sure that the advertising at the beginning matches the landing page when you click on the ad.

And speaking of watching videos, SwagTV lets you watch movie previews and other things. The more you watch, the more your meter fills. Once it hits 100 you get 3 bucks. It fills about 10% every 2 minutes you watch or so.

And then of course there is the searching. I have the toolbar installed so as I search (just as if I was using the google search up in the right corner), every few searches I get 7, 10, 25, 50 or more bucks just for searching. Pretty good deal, right? I'm doing it anyway. I may as well get paid for it.

And on Fridays, it's superbucks day so you have a better chance of getting larger amounts for your searches. 

If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for their blog, twitter and facebook accounts where they sometimes have swag codes. Go to the swagbucks home page, write in the code (case sensitive!) and you get more free bucks.

And if you refer people you can get matching bucks for their searches.

So you should all click the link below and be my official referees.*shameless plug*

Search & Win

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Don't Worry, I Have a List!

 I know you all think that with my lists, surely I don't get behind on anything. Right?

Um, no.

Not true.

Somehow over the next couple of weeks I have a ridiculously large amount of things to get done and not really enough time to do anything. We have something going on every single night and most days too, which isn't typically how we book our lives. So pretty much I have about 1 hour a day I can work with to get any of this done.

Some things HAVE to get done.

Some things I really WANT to get done.

Some things just keep getting moved to that elusive back burner.

Here are just a few of the things that are on those lists:

Have to get done THIS WEEK: 
Royal icing flowers made for my final cake class (and for a friend's daughter's birthday cake)
Bake a cake to put those flowers on
Shop for nylons for a choir concert on Sunday
Memorize songs for choir concert (mostly done, but there are a couple that don't want to stick in my head)
Shop for coordinating clothing for family photos
Invoice/books updated for my job
Meal planning
Grocery shopping
Pack for going to visit Mark's parents

Things I WANT to get done:
Bake cookies
Go through my girl's clothes and figure out what they need for fall
Shop for said clothing
Design invitations for my nephew's birthday party
Read chapters in a book for a class I'm in
Read blogs (it was so much easier to do this when Kate was still nursing)

Things on the back burner until further notice:
3 Christmas present projects
A hand bag I've been meaning to make since, um, February.
Actually make that 2 bags
Make up a document for Mark for booking playing at weddings (I promised him I'd make this some time in the summer. I need to have it done before the next bride calls to book him. Hmmm... no telling what my deadline is.)
My list of everything fun to do in the fall, and here in Canada fall might be done in 3 weeks so I better get a move on.

And we won't even talk about my storage room that has been waiting half-finished in it's reorganization project for the last 2 months. Luckily on that one I can literally just close the door. Ha!

I'm hoping after (Canadian) Thanksgiving that life won't be so crazy. How did everything end up on my plate for this week??

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kate's Tongue

A few weeks ago Kate started to mimic facial expressions. I made the mistake of sticking my tongue out at her and now she thinks this is best game ever. She'll walk around sticking it out at people. Whoops!

You've probably also noticed the drool ring around the collar of her shirt. I think it's so gross (because it is). This is the downside of teething. She won't wear any sort of bib, so we just live with a wet shirt all day.

She only has 4 more teeth to get (all her cuspids) so hopefully it will end soon. At least until her two year molars arrive.

Until then we'll have a wet shirt. It probably doesn't help the drool situation when she has her tongue hanging out of her mouth half the time.

Quick, give me ideas for a new trick I can teach her to do instead!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wilton Cake Class #3 - More flowers!

I discovered last night that if your royal icing isn't thick enough, then your hand doesn't cramp while piping. I also discovered that this can make flowers either really difficult to make or really easy, depending on the design.

Basically daffodils are impossible.

Last night we worked on the wilton rose. I tried it with a different tip for a "victorian" rose. Truthfully, I can't tell the difference. I think the outside ones are victorian, but I don't know for sure.

We also learned how to make daffodils, violets and lilies (probably my favourite).

This week I have to decide what my final cake will be covered in and make a million of them. Or at least enough for the design I choose. Hmmm. Suggestions??

These were still soft when I went to take pictures so I had to leave them in the forms.

We'll also learn the basket weave piping and I'll get to "graduate" and be 2/3 done another thing on my 30 before 30 list. Yea!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tiny Dancer

In August I signed Mady up for a dance class with her cousin, Claire. We went out and got a little dance outfit and ballet shoes. She was so excited (even though I don't think she had any idea what going to a dance class would mean!).
For weeks she begged me to go and had a hard time understanding that it wasn't going to start until the end of September.

Well on Saturday the day finally arrived!

She was almost giddy while putting on her dance outfit. For the kid that can move slower than molasses in January, I have never seen her get dressed so fast!

And then we had time to kill. So she danced around my living room until it was time to go.
 She and Claire waited quietly in the hallway while the previous session ended. I think they were both excited and a little nervous (and maybe a little overwhelmed by the number of people there since there were parents for both their session and the previous one in the tiny little hallway).
They stuck to each other like glue. It was quite funny to watch. They always had to be beside each other and sometimes in moving across the room they would lose each other and then other girls would line up on either side, leaving no space for the slower one. So then whoever wasn't as fast wouldn't know what to do and instead of just finding somewhere else along the wall to stand, would just stand right in front of her cousin. 

Usually this confusion resulted in them missing the next set of instructions so once again they were last in doing whatever they were supposed to. It was super cute. Claire is the youngest in the class and Mady is a perfectionist who wants to be sure she's doing something correctly before she even tries so they both did a lot of watching before attempting, so these factors added to their lagging. But they were all smiles when they came out and had lots of fun.

And they only wanted to hold hands with each other. I kind of felt bad for the little girl who was trying to befriend Mady (who was busy encouraging Claire) and got totally shunned. We will have to work on kind ways to say no.

 We get to sit in on the last class in December and take pictures so that's why there aren't any of the class in session.  I wish there was a way to show you videos of the whole thing because it's stinkin' hilarious. If ever you get a chance to watch 3 and 4 year old beginners in a class, do it. It'll make your day.

Mady has been acting out "dance class" ever since Saturday. And then yesterday she threw in some worship leading from church (complete with the CD not working which made me just bust a gut because that happens all. the. time.). I think she's going to be quite the little leader some day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jesus Loves Me

With the start of fall comes the start of the fabulous choir and orchestra that I'm in (and when we have our website finished I'll link to it so you can all oo and ahh). Next weekend we have our first concert, so as per usual I have been madly memorizing music.

BUT, when I memorize music generally there are words that stand out to me. Perhaps ones I hadn't thought of before.

We're singing a fabulous version of Jesus loves me called "Yes, Jesus loves Me." One of my friends found a different group singing it on YouTube and posted in on Facebook last week. So I thought I'd include it here so you can get a taste for it. I love singing this song. Some day when we have our own choir's video I'll post it. Until then, this will have to do.

I've sung Jesus Loves Me my entire life. But sometimes I can sing it and forget that Jesus really does love ME. That's pretty amazing. I hope you can remember that today.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Than a Mom

This picture has nothing to do with what I'm talking about, but I feel like I've been a slacker in the picture taking department lately, so here's a recent one from when my friend Laura came to visit. This is our fabulous attempt at a self-portrait, because you know how much I love those. Katie was sleeping so we took more with her later.

This morning I met a mom who has 2 kids right around my girls' ages and is expecting twins in a couple of months. As we talked with other moms in the group I noticed that the twins seemed to be the only thing people could talk to her about. I realize that they aren't the most normal situation to encounter, but they're not really abnormal either. I asked her if that's all anyone asks her about lately (yes) and to tell me a little about her outside of her life with kids. What did SHE like to do, what where her hobbies and interests? She admitted that she wasn't asked these types of questions very often and had to really think about an answer.

I thought about that the rest of the morning. How sad that as soon as we become moms it's really easy to forget that we were anything else!

So, if you're a mom, tell me something about YOU outside of your kids (and your husband! That can't be a fall-back answer) in the comments. Something you enjoy spending your time doing, something you're interested in learning more about, some quirk about your personality (and I promise you won't have much quirkier than me so no judgement here!). If you're not a mom, tell me what you want to be known for that if/when you do have kids you don't want to forget.

And lastly, a little challenge for your week, when you meet someone new (especially moms) make a point to ask them questions that they can't answer with talking about their kids. And try to not answer similar questions about YOU with answers about your kids. You're more than just a mom!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jobs I want

There are really fun jobs that I keep finding out about and ones that I know must exist just from using that cute little brain of mine. I'm not looking for a career change at the moment, but if one of these offers came up, I'd totally consider it.

1. To be a flavour taster for Jelly Belly - just not those gross Harry Potter ones that tasted like vomit (literally!).
2. To be a flavour taster for Ben and Jerry's.
3. Basically to just be a flavour taster for anyone who has sweet-tasting products.
4. Actually, a product tester (where you get to keep the good stuff!) in general would be fun.
5. The person who tests all the stuff for reality game shows like The Amazing Race. You'd get to travel all over the world and have some really cool experiences. You don't win a million dollars, but for that job, it's a good trade off.
6. To be a lego artist.
7. How about a Disney cast member? Theme park doesn't matter.
8. To work under a chocolatier (how do you spell that?) like Bernard Calibaut. As long as I got to eat all my "duds."

What about you? Do you have a list of jobs you think would be totally fun? What's the most unusual, fun, quirky job you've ever had?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wilton Cake Class #2

I've been a bad blogger. Sorry. I find whenever I have a new routine it takes a few weeks for the dust to settle and for me to find time for my "cherry on top" kind of activities! And sadly, blogging has to be a cherry on top. Something about being a mom...

Last night was my second Wilton class (from the class that teaches all those flowers...). Um, I knew when I signed up this class would be a stretch for me. And it's really a stretch for me. Please no one ever ask me to make a cake covered in royal icing roses. Or rosebuds. Or primroses. There's hope for the apple blossom...maybe.

I almost didn't show you the pictures of them all, but, heck, I have nothing to hide in showing my failures. And since I know this isn't my strength then really no one (not even rude anonymous comment-ers) can say anything I didn't already know. Ha!

So here they are:

Maybe if I practice lots (and I mean LOTS) then I'll get the hang of it...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dad's Crossword Birthday Card

My Dad is one of those people who does the crossword puzzle every day.
And rarely has to look up the answer.
And can do it in pen.
Yes, I tell you, one of those.

I am not.

The most I do when it comes to word puzzles is search-a-words. Oh I've tried to do crossword puzzles. I even got one of those crossword puzzle dictionaries. Which never have the answers to the puzzles I'm doing. They just don't work for me. My brain doesn't think in crossword puzzle clues. I'm more of a number or logic kind of gal.

Last week my Dad celebrated a birthday. Of course I made him a card. What is more fitting than a crossword puzzle?

I used a shape from my silhouette studio and just added the words and printed it. This is another one that doesn't require the cutter in order to make it. Just in case you aren't yet convinced to at least go and get the free software...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mady's Self Portrait Session

Learning how to take a decent self-portrait (without a timer!) is a required skill in our family.

I don't know why, but we love taking them.

And we suck at taking them.

Which means it's about 17 tries to get a good shot.

But that's part of the fun.

I decided this week that it was time to teach Mady.

Obviously she has a long way to go.

Here is the results of her session, completely unedited. Not that editing would have helped anything...

I think the last one with the monkey lips/squirrel face is my favourite.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wilton Cake Class - Flowers

Last night I started a Wilton Cake course. I had taken the first one with my sister a couple of years ago and have always wanted to finish, but it never worked with my life. Finally I put it as a goal to finish them on my 30 Before 30 List. So now I'm working on checking that off.

I guess last year Wilton changed how they offered the courses and instead of 4 courses it's now only 3. 3 really expensive (over-priced really) classes. I'm all for getting a good deal. I found out Michaels was offering a 50% discount if you signed up in August for the September classes. And then due to poor signage I got my $50 kit for $20. And then of course I used 40% and 50% off coupons to get the rest of the supplies (and refused to buy the useless things like the Wilton Brand parchment paper. I just made my own with the big roll from Costco). So I kind of feel like I've gotten this course for a steal of a deal, which is good, because there have been some issues.

Like when they told me it started last week and it didn't.

And when they told me it was from 7-9pm and it was really 6:30pm-8:30pm.

Good thing I'm always early so I only missed 15 minutes and was able to catch up in no time at all.

The instructor for this class is hard to follow, mostly because he doesn't announce when he's moving onto the next part so if you're working away and don't look up he's well onto the next thing.

But whatever. In the end I learned how to make pansies (mine need a LOT of practice) and button flowers (hard to mess up when you use a mold...).

It is my opinion that these are way too much work for every day kind of cakes. So don't expect them to pop up much. Except this week, when I'm supposed to practice.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why My Daughter Will Become a Manager...

Often at supper I will turn to Mark and ask, "So, what's the plan?" referring to what he or we have going on that evening.

The other day, Mady walked up to him and in the exact same tone said, "So, what's the plan?" He laughed and then started ticking off on his fingers the four things he was going to do that night. When he was finished Mady asked, "What about the other one?"

"What other one?"

"The thumb?"

He quickly came up with a fifth item.

"What about the other hand?"

Such a slave driver, she is...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Josh Groban Concert

The four of us who went together: Jessica, Jeanne, Me and Jen. I guess I needed a J name...

Last week my sister came to visit with her two kids and we went to a Josh Groban concert.
Here's the commentary "let's take a nice normal, not-to-excited picture" "Oh wow I look pasty, let's try again"
This is about take 8. "Wow, we look like dorks. Seriously, I have a giraffe neck!"

Now we can't stop laughing, so this is the best we're going to get. Tanya, I know this sounds way too familiar...

Going to a Josh Groban concert is a big deal. You need to understand what that means.

When I was in college I LOVED him. What's not to love about a curly mop of hair and a crooning voice. I know, right? Well, the plan was that I was going to marry him, but can you believe it? He never called me! I don't understand it.

Instead a violin player called and won my heart heart instead. But he never puts on concerts in my living room, so when Josh comes to town, I always go see him.  Ha!

We had floor seats (row 13) which gave us a great view and he even came out into the audience right beside us. Sadly for me he stopped a few rows back and took my friend Cherie from college UP ON STAGE where he served her wine and sang to her. I'm so jealous! She even got to meet him back stage afterwards.  Not. Fair. I swear the guy is avoiding me. I'm not a crazy stalker, I promise.

Look! There he is right beside me!
That's his hand on her shoulder. Yup he TOUCHED her. I'm going to go pout.
The concert was my favourite of the three of his that I have seen. He's a funny guy and was super comfortable on stage (can't say the same about the first time I saw him).
Sorry it's blurry, but he moves a lot!
Oh and his opening act was ELEW, who was on America's Got Talent. He's got some mad piano skills. And thighs of steel because he doesn't sit on the bench. Jen and I decided that we were no longer going to practice while sitting and hope that it would work as a new exercise regimen.

This was a stage in the middle of the audience. When he played the piano he faced us. I'm pretty sure if you look through the squint he's looking right at me...
We had so much fun that we walked out without me remembering to stop and get a mug for my collection. Silly me, what was I thinking??... I'll tell you what I was thinking. "Cherie gets to MEET him! Gah!"

Jen, this one is included for our inside joke. :)
This is the closest we got. See? Me and Josh! Mine is blurry because the people beside us, behind us and in front of us were all looking at us like we were crazy so we didn't take a second one.
Ignore our washed out flash pictures. The point is that we are in the same frame as Josh.

 Oh and I must include a picture of his amazing band. Seriously, they are incredible. This isn't all of them, but he travels with symphonic instruments too. The horn players were my favourite. You could tell they were having SO much fun!

Josh, I know you don't have back up singers, but I'm telling you, I could sound like the entire gospel choir you don't travel with if you needed me to... CALL ME!