Monday, 17 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 7

Christmas Movie

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. It's just not Christmas until you watch this classic.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 5

Candy Cane Reindeer

Always a classic. I used to make these every year as a kid.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 4

Shaving Cream Snowman

Idea from mollie's mom

I really hope my kids like these as much as the website suggested kids do. I think I may have overfilled my snowmen and it is hard to see the noses, so we'll have to see how the kids react.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 3

Pez Dispensers

I chose not to include Anwyn on the Pez dispensers for the small choking factor. I gave her another chocolate treat instead.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 2

Decorate the Christmas Tree

This is my first year to have an artificial tree. As much as I love the smell and nostalgia of a real tree, I decided to switch this year because my kids want to put up the tree earlier then I usually do (I usually wait until December 15th or so) and my beautiful western ornaments are quite heavy and weigh down the branches too much and too many were getting broken when they fell off the tree. So "Cheers!" to new traditions!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 1

Merry Christmas! I just love this time of year. I am so excited now that my kids are a little older that they are also look forward to the holidays. This year I decided that I was going to have an Advent Calendar to count down the days until Christmas. Despite my best intentions to have my wall hanging Advent Calendar completed by December 1, that didn't happen, so for this year I'm having to improvise. I decided to go with a rustic, paper bag kinda theme and to include treats and experiences. Come back every day to see what we are up to each day.
Hope you enjoy counting down the days to Christmas with us!

Write Letters to Santa

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Happy Halloween

I made these Frankenstein Rice Krispie treats for Blade's preschool Halloween party. They were a hit with the kids!

Once again this year, my kids were not into carving pumpkins. I'm a little bummed because this was always my favorite Halloween activity. So I enjoyed cleaning and carving pumpkins by myself, and then bribed them to take a picture by letting them sit on the table. 

I decided that I would make the kids Halloween costumes this year. Blade decided that he wanted to be a Cowboy (surprise, surprise), Gemma wanted to be a fairy & Anwyn a peacock. Blade's was pretty easy since he dresses as a cowboy everyday, but I did make him a stick horse to ride. I made Gemma a fairy tutu to go with her wings (hey, for $3 I can't make them) and I made Anwyn a peacock tail. I am the worst Mom in the world and have absolutely no pictures. 

We went trick-or-treating, and despite the cold, we had fun. I have to say though, I really can't wait until the kids can go to the doors all by themselve, I'm not pushing a stroller and I can just stroll down the street and enjoy all the costumes.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Best Pretzels Ever!

Normally I am not a big fan of pretzels, but when a Reining Mom (thanks Cathy!) raved and raved about these, and finally shared them, I was hooked. A large bowl does not last long.

You will need:

2 large bags of Pretzels (I usually buy the Walmart brand because they are only $1.77/bag)
16 oz. (2 c.) of Canola Oil (Cathy swears by the Orville Redenbacher's Butter Flavor Popcorn Oil, but you can only buy it in the USA)
1 pkg. Ranch Dressing Powder
2 tsp. Lemon Pepper
1 tsp. Garlic Salt

Mix all the ingredients & stir pretzels every 1/2 hour until the oil has been absorbed. So easy!

Yum Yum! Bet you can't just eat one!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

My Wall of Love

Yesterday I was feeling motivated and I finally got my "Wall of Love" (as I like to call it) completed. 

I originally bought one of these magnetic frames from Creative Memories when Blade was a baby. I finally got around to buying another 2 for the girls last fall, with my wall of love in mind, but didn't actually get them out of the box until yesterday. 

They are great for changing out photos of the kids. I keep the back ground the same and change the picture each time we have more taken.

For my viewing pleasure!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Alright people, here it is! My super secret, I'd-tell-but-then-I'd-have-to-kill-you, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. 

Just kidding, I got the recipe from the Focus on 4-H Favorites cookbook. 

Hard to tell by the picture, but this cookbook is very well loved

These don't last even a week in my house and I always make a double batch. My husband eats these by the handfuls, as in 5 or 6 cookies in each hand (ask anyone at a horse show, they'd attest to it). 

Just a note, if you don't like sugar, these cookies are not for you. There is a lot of sugar in these, but they are oh-so-good and I don't care.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. Margarine
1 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. White Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/2 c. Rolled Oats
2 c. Flour
1 c. Chocolate Chips
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda

Cream together margarine and sugars. Add remaining ingredients. 
My Bosch Mixer working it's magic!

Drop by teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

Once cooled, I store these cookies in a glass jar and find that they stay nice and chewy for as long as they last. 


Friday, 7 September 2012

Life Before Kids

There are things I miss about my life before kids.

1. Grocery Shopping

Remember when you could visit the grocery store, take your time, cruise the aisles, contemplate choices...
It is such a distant memory for me that I can only imagine what that would be like. Shopping with 3 kids is shopping with a mission, and a list - don't forget the damn list! 
I can usually have it done in under 45 minutes, but it requires avoiding whole sections of the store (i.e. the candy, cookie or ice creams aisles) so my kids don't get side-tracked and whiny.
It is quite sad really, that now I consider it a luxury if I can shop with 2 out of 3 of the kids, and it's like Christmas if I only have to take 1!

2. Wing Night

I love chicken wings! I love wing nights! I miss the spontaneous "Hey, it's Wednesday night! Let's go for wings". Although wings are still delicious, the planning that is required takes all the fun out of it, and frankly, it's just not worth the hassle. The best wings are always in the pub (it's absolutely not the same in the restaurant), and getting a babysitter for an hour or so is just silly.

3. Sleeping In

In this world, there are 2 types of people - morning people and NOT morning people. I fall into the latter category, with underlining and exclamation points. It does not matter how early or late I went to bed, how much sleep I got or a myriad of other factors, I am not pleasant in the morning. Give me an hour and I am much better.
So my lucky self was given a daughter that is a morning person. This little ball of joy that is wide awake and raring to go once her eyes open. And she know where to find me (in my bed). And the demands start immediately:

  • Mom, I want toast (not going to happen)
  • Ok, Mom, I want cereal (here it is, dry, deal with it)
  • Mom, I want cartoons (ok, sit and watch and be quiet for another hour or so)
  • Mom, Why is Blade sleeping? ('cause he is my favorite child)

I can usually get another 30-45 minutes of solid dozing in before I absolutely have to get up (Read: 1 more child is awake and someone is crying).
I miss the days of waking up slowly, no where to be, no one to look after. Laying in bed until my eyes open all on their own, maybe having a little cuddle, or better yet, the whole bed to myself so I can stretch and move however I want.

4. Shopping Days

I am not a shopper (you can ask my sister), but occasionally I get the urge and I want to go just have a look. Cruise the mall. Check out the latest fashions. Watch the people. My kids make this impossible! Unless we are in a store that has something for them (toys!) or stopping at the play place, they are in a hurry to get out of there.They don't want to sit in the stroller, they don't want to walk, and really, I can't blame them - it's boring! So anytime we need clothes or a gift, it becomes a shopping mission similar to grocery shopping.

5. Driving without Stopping

I don't mind driving - short distances, long distances- doesn't matter. But I like to drive without stopping. I load my truck up with drinks, snacks, anything I could possibly need so I won't have to stop. Unless it is a planned (by me) stop for gas or some other such necessity
It make me cringe (every time) and  sigh (every time) when I hear that little voice from the back seat with those dreaded words "Mom, I have to pee". I try to ignore (did I really hear that?) and stall (just wait sweetie and I will pull over - in an hour or so) but really he's only 3 and I can't be so cruel (although I really, really, really want to). I lose my patience with the unbuckling of the seatbelt, climbing out of the truck, undoing the pants, doing the deed, looking around, scratching his butt, checking out the scenery, waving at the passing cars, pulling up his pants, doing them up, climbing back into his seat, closing the door, and getting buckled up. I'm at the point I don't even bother to get out of the vehicle with him anymore. Just pull over and unbuckle his seat. It frustrates me to no end when we stop to pee, get on the road and not even 20 minutes later I am being asked to stop again. The worst part is that I know this is only going to get worse once I get #2 potty trained (and then #3).

6. Showering by Myself

I never get to shower by myself, unless it is very early in the morning (and I'm talking really early due to child #2) or really late at night (due to child #1). Neither time is optimal for me, so I usually have company. I'm not sure what it is about the sound of the shower that brings all the kids running (or crawling) but they all show up wanting to jump in.

7. Going to the Bathroom

You think you can sneak in and out without being seen, but they seem to have a radar system that activates as soon as you close the door. You think locking the door will get you some privacy, what it really gets you is someone banging on the door screaming "Mom! What are you doing? I want to come in!"

Yes, there are a lot of things I miss about my life before I had kids, but then there is the smiles, the laughs, the giggles, the first words, the "I love you", the "Goodnight Mommy", and I don't think I would go back to my old life for anything (or maybe just for a day or two).

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

I Made This...

I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was a perfect way to store and display the flowers and bows that I have for the girls hair. 

I am thinking about adding some hooks to the bottom to hold the headbands and hats that the bow go on (note to self: buy some hooks).


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Pictures of the Kids

I have a great camera and I can take some pretty great pictures, but I never seem to have my camera out at the right time, or when I do have it out, my kids never want to cooperate. Do you know the kind of noncooperation I am talking about? Hiding their face, frowning, walking straight at the came for an extreme close-up. They are always more interested in being behind the camera instead of in front of it.

When Blade was born, there was a promotion with the Welcome Wagon & a photography studio in our town to have pictures taken at 4 months (lying down, pushing up), 8 months (sitting up) & 1 year (standing up). I loved this concept and had the photos done. I have to say, although the pictures were great, I was very disappointed with the photographer for a few reasons. 1) They assured me that they would give me a call at the appropriate times to remind me to come back in for the next photo. They didn't. So Blades photos are more in the age range of 4 months, 10 months & 18 months. 2) They were not very timely with giving me a link & password to the photos for me to have a look, and possible purchase others. 3) Once all 3 stages were taken, I was to choose what pose of each I wanted and they would print them & frame them. I was told this would take about a week to 10 days. After constant harassment from me, I finally got the finished product after 2 months.

When Gemma was born, I decided that I was still going to get these stages photos taken, but I would do them "myself" (i.e. I would write on my calendar when the photos needed to be taken, book them in somewhere myself, and have it all framed afterwards). My best friend, Shantal, had been to the Superstore Photo Studio in Airdrie for numerous pictures of her boys with great results and for a reasonable price. Although I still don't have the pictures framed, I am still super happy with the end results.

Now we are working on Anwyn's stages photos. This time around, I decided I would try to kill 2 (or 4) birds with 1 stone. While booking Anwyn's 8 months photos, I also booked Gemma's 2 year old & Blade's 4 year old photos. Here are the results:

Anwyn - 9 months
Gemma - 2 years

Blade - 4 years
The Bell Clan

 I don't have a lot of expectations when taking pictures. I want the kids to look at the camera and not cry. If we can get all 3 of them in 1 photo - bonus!
Although it wasn't easy, Mission accomplished.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Blade's Quilt

This has been a journey of epic purportions!

In 2009, I had the great thought that Blade needed his own quilt to transition from the crib into his "big boy bed". Being a quilter (once upon a time), I thought that this would be a great project to get me back into quilting - something I haven't done a lot of since high school and my Grandma passing away.

My first step was to get on the internet and look for some inspiration. I knew that I wanted something fairly simple (to save time) and something with a western theme. I found this bedding set at the Children's Bedding Boutique, which was my inspiration.

I raided my Mom's fabric stash so I could save a few dollars (mostly) and help her to use up some of her fabrics. I amazed myself with how quickly I was able to get all the blocks cut and sewn together. I ordered my iron-on stars off ebay and attached them to my quilt.

This is where it got interesting.

Originally, I thought a really nice hand appliqued blanket stitch around each of the stars would looks really good and keep with the western theme. So I began blanket stitching...and hated the way it looked. I asked for opinions, and everyone else liked it so I continued. But my enthusiasm for the project waned as I continued to look at those stars and hate them.

So I set the quilt aside to think about it. For awhile. A long while.

Note: This was supposed to be a birthday gift for Blade's 1st Birthday - September 23, 2009.

Fast Forward 2 years (yes, years!). I was due to have my 3rd baby November 13, 2011. By the time the 18th of November rolled around and still no baby, I was getting bored. Really bored. I had finished work on November 10th, my other 2 kids were at Grandma & Grandpas and I had nothing to do. So I started looking around the house for a project that I could work on that would not require a lot of clean up when I went into labour (as I was planning on having a home birth). Once again, I was thinking about Blade's quilt. I had never really forgot about it. So I dug it out and once again started on the blanket stitches around the stars...and still hated it. I was getting close though, there was only another 12 or so stars to go.

Since I still hated how those damn stars looked, I ripped out all the hand work I had already done (aka. the majority of the quilt) and started over with the sewing machine. It looked much better!

I finished in an afternoon. So much for a project to work on. (FYI - Anwyn was not born until November 23rd)

Here is the finished quilt top.

So I had a baby, got back into a routine, and was finally able to get up to my parents place to get the quilt put together in February. I had to go to my parents because I needed the help of my Mom and she has the stretcher bars.

Then I had another change of plans. Originally, my plan was to tie the quilt in each one of the block corners and be done with it. However, the more I looked at it once we got it tied, the more I thought it needed a little more. So I decided I would also hand quilt around each of the small stars and quilt a larger star into the blank blocks. And so, I began quilting...

Now, being at home with 3 kids and nothing to do (as my husband likes to keep reminding me) I actually finished quilting it in record time. It was finished and ready to start binding by mid-March.

We went on a trip to Australia in April and my Mom suggested that she would have the binding sewn together and on the quilt by the time I got home so the only thing left to do would be hand sew the binding edge. That did not happen.
Once home, there was a million things to do and the binding took a little while to get done. I finished it today.

Finally! Finally! Finally! Blade's quilt is finished!!!

I think Blade is excited to have it.

Now onto Gemma & Anwyn's quilts (and we'll see if I can get them finished before they are 4).

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My Baby Girl

My baby girl has been holding out on me - or just waiting for me to notice. 

She is changing daily and progressing at an alarming rate (yes, it is true what "they" say - life gets faster with each child). However, being the 3rd child I find Anwyn kinda gets toted along and (gasp!) set aside more often then not as I am dealing with the other 2, since she doesn't demand as much of my attention.

I just realized a few days ago that she had another tooth - and not just the bumps in the gum that it was coming in...actually had already cut through (*sigh* Mom of the Year, right here). 

So imagine my surprise today when my baby did this:

She is sitting up all on her own.

I must start paying more attention.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Welcome to the Big 3-0!

So I'm a little behind, but that seems to be pretty normal for me in the last little while.

My good friend Krista celebrated her 30th Birthday a few weeks ago. I travelled down to Cochrane to celebrate this momentous occasion with her. Our friend, Shantal, and I were originally trying to plan a surprise party, but it ended up being a busy weekend for Krista and we wanted to make sure we got to celebrate with her too.

We started out by us girls having a group reading with a psychic, then went for supper and joined up with the boys (i.e. Krista & Shantal's other halves) before heading out to the Cochrane Hotel for a few beverages and a surprise.

Now Krista hates surprises. And although this was not anything extreme, she almost refused to go out with us in anticipation of what we were going to do to her. Shantal & I had a lot of fun teasing Krista with the absolute worst things we could think up to embarrass her.

And here was her surprise

Just a cake.

A little edible something to remember her 30th birthday, made by yours truely.

Happy 30th Birthday Krista - welcome to the Wild Side!!!