Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We certainly had a great couple of days celebrating. Here is a pictorial account.

Yesterday at Grayson's Pre-K class they had a nice little Halloween party and I was so happy to be able to volunteer to help. Grayson went as a monkey. We had some issues with the headpiece of the costume in the car.

When we got to school he was so excited for the party to start that he was vibrating!

But he and all the kids had so much fun doing all the activities - Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin, Halloween Bean Bag Toss, Halloween Bingo, Crafts and Cookie Decorating.

Then they had a snack, sang Halloween songs and listened to Halloween stories. It was a very fast-paced, busy 2 and a half hours, but the kids had so much fun! (& I was exhausted at the end of it!)

Today we had a lazy weekend morning and got everything ready for the big night. In the afternoon we prepared and dropped off some treats to our friends. I also tried to get some pics of the boys in their cute matching Halloween t-shirts (I know...what a geeky mom I am, but I might as well take advantage of it while they are young!) Sam didn't want to cooperate, even with a little help from Grayson:

I did manage to get a sort-of-OK shot of all three of my boys in their orange finery.

After a nice supper provided by Grammy, the boys got dressed in their costumes and once again we tried to get a pic.

Then we were off! Grayson was really into the Trick or Treating this year (Sam was clueless, but came along for the ride!) The weather was quite nice - about 7 degrees celsius - and we visited several of our neighbours houses, ending up around the corner at Grandpa's house.

The wind started to pick up, so we made a few more trick or treat stops and headed home. For two little boys who didn't go to too many houses, they sure got a lot of "loot"!

We sorted through the treats and allowed Grayson to choose one or two. Baths, some milk and a couple of spooky stories rounded out the night and our little monkey and Tigger  conked out the moment their heads hit their pillows. It was a great Halloween and we look forward to many more, creating more memories and family traditions that our boys will hopefully remember for a long time!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Free Halloween Printables!

As promised, I finished up and got these cute Halloween printables posted on the Sharing Memories website last night!

Here's the link to the download for you.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Meals and More a few things to post, so I'll keep things movin'!

Here is this weeks menu plan:

Monday: Skillet Cheeseburger Macaroni, Raw Veggies, Buns
Tuesday: Shane is out at a meeting, so the boys and I are having Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup - yummy comfort food!
Wednesday: Not Fried, Fried Chicken, Baked Potato Wedges, Mixed Veggies
Thursday: Leftovers!
Friday: Pizza and Caesar Salad
Saturday: Halloween! Chili, Buns and Coleslaw. Hot chocolate at the ready for parents of little ghouls and my own little monsters as they come in from Trick or Treating!
Sunday: Baked Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Carrots, Peas

As always check out the hundreds of meal ideas at!

Now...on to other things:

Grayson was home today with a cold AGAIN...or maybe the previous one just never left? It got me thinking about the H1N1 virus. How bad will it be? To vaccinate or not? Are YOU planning to get vaccinated? Really debating on this one.

I have been working on a couple of new projects for SMS - some printed Christmas Tags which will be in the shop in the next couple of days and some cute Free Halloween Printables which I hope to post on Wednesday.

I didn't get a chance to post about Grayson's field trip to the Pumpkin Patch last week. He loved going on the school bus (he said it was the "Farm" bus since we were going to the farm, not to school!)

We got to ride in the haywagon again to go out to the pasture where the pumpkins were.

When "Big Blue" (the tractor) finally stopped, all the kids scooted around to find the perfect pumpkin. Fortunately it seemed like all the little pumpkins were so sweet and perfect! (Ironically in last year's pumpkin pics G is wearing the same jacket, touque and mittens! Calgary in the fall, eh?)

Then the kids had their snacks, some free time to play and see the animals (including the 400 pound pig!) and to ham it up for the camera.

When we were heading back to school on the bus many of the kids were falling asleep. At this age they go, go, go and then crash pretty hard! Grayson lasted until we got home then he fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. He hasn't had an afternoon nap for close to a year, but I guess the excitement just wore him right out. (He is only four after all!) I think it was a really great first field trip - one we'll both remember. I am so glad I was able to go with him. I am also lucky to be able to help out in the classroom this Friday for their Halloween party. Looking forward to that!

I am getting ready for Halloween around the house, too. I made some treat bag toppers last week that were featured in the October SMS newsletter, and now I have to put the rest of the bags together.

Grayson is going to be a Monkey this year. He really wanted to be a Vampire, but our good friend Mel gave us a wonderful Monkey costume a few years ago and it finally fits him this year so I had to convince him to wear it! Sammy is going as Tigger...following in Grayson's footprints for yet another year.

I was reading Ali's blog today about doing the December Daily album. I like the idea of it. I am sad to report that I have lapsed in my Project 365, but chronicling the 25 days leading up to Christmas, especially when you have everything prepared ahead of time, seems doable. I love Ali's 2008 DD album, so I think I'll give it a go.

Anticipating Elisha Snow's BPS photography class which starts next week. (Sorry there is no link...the class is full so I guess they aren't advertising it anymore!) I am really hoping her tips help me take better pictures - including ones of layouts and product for SMS - right now most of those types of photos suck. Hers definitely don't

So, lots on the go around here as usual! Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Snow

It's snowing this morning.

It was raining when I got up and I thought it seemed so dismal. But then magically the raindrops started to turn into snowflakes. Big, fluffy, slowly falling snowflakes. The ground now is covered and I know the roads and sidewalks will be very slippery with the wet rain underneath, but somehow the quiet beauty of the snow makes me happy.

A snowy Saturday morning somehow gives me permission to slow down and get cozy. We made pancakes and had a leisurely breakfast. The kids played around in their pj's. I allowed myself another cup of coffee and some time to catch up on the unread blogs I (try to) follow. We made some pumpkin cookies.

There is no rush. The snow isn't going anywhere, and neither are we.
Have a happy Saturday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

A little late with this one, but at least I am planned for the week!

Monday: Chili, buns and green salad

Tuesday: Ginger-Orange Salmon with rice and broccoli. Marinate salmon fillets in bottled Ginger-Orange sauce, then bake in 400 degree oven until fish is opaque and flakes with a fork (about 10-12 minutes)

Wednesday: Spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs, salad and garlic bread

Thursday: Leftovers! Clean out the fridge!

Friday: Pizza and a salad (and the requisite glass of red wine!) Add a movie and it's at-home-date-night!

Saturday: Grilled chicken, potatoes and marinated veggie salad (hubbies favorite - marinate carrots, chopped peppers, cukes and cherry tomatoes in Italian dressing)

Sunday: Sunday dinner - roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, yorkshire pudding and gravy. A maybe a little PUMPKIN PIE for dessert? (It's not just for Thanksgiving ya know!!!) ( secret for great yorkshire pudding - President's Choice Frozen Yorkshire Pudding from Real Canadian Superstore. REALLY! I have tried so many recipes for yorkies and I have never been able to get them just right, but these are perfect every time!'s not a secret anymore, eh?)

Make sure to check out for lots more menu plans!

PS...I brought home a big bag of homegrown tomatoes from Shane's Aunt's place in Lloydminster and they are all starting to ripen at the same time. There's more than we can eat, but not enough for a big batch of sauce to can. What should I do with them? Any recipes for a small batch of tomato sauce? Other suggestions? Thanks in advance gals!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pre-K OK

Grayson has been in Pre-K class now for about 6 weeks. He is really loving school and seems to be adapting very well. He talks about his friends in class and he loves to tell me what they all play each day. He brings home some work or a craft each day and I can see that they are very busy. Always reluctant to hold a pen or pencil,  he now can write his name quite easily and is learning how to write the rest of his letters. They have circle and centre time every day as well, and as we drive to school each day he wonders which centre he will get to play with (he always hopes for the sand table or lego!) He is thriving on the routine and knows exactly what he needs to do which is really great to see.

Parents are encouraged to volunteer and so I am accompanying them to Butterfield Acres Farm on their first field trip this coming Wednesday. Grayson is beyond excited to go on the bus - a first! Parents also help out in the classroom and although I haven't been in the class yet, I did my mommy-duty of sending orange playdough earlier this month! I mentioned in an earlier  blog post that I would share the recipe that the pre-school provided, so here it is.

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 packages of Kool Aid in whichever color you want to make. (I only had 1 pack and everything seemed to go fine, but I guess you would get a more intense color with 2 packs.)
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 tbsp. oil

Grayson helped out with measuring all the ingredients.

Place all ingredients in a large pot and combine well. (Looks pretty gross!)

Cook over low heat until very thick (like mashed potato consistancy). Halfway there:


Let it cool for a few minutes and then dump it out and knead the dough to combine and make it smooth.

Store in an airtight container.

A few notes:
I let it cook over very low heat and stirred to combine every few minutes. You can definitely see the texture change as it "cooks".
It was a really nice texture after kneading - smooth and pliable.
I am not sure how long this playdough will last, but at school they ask for a fresh batch each month, so I guess a month is a good bet.
The Kool-aid makes the dough smell very good, so you might have to remind younger kids not to eat it! I think you could omit the Kool Aid and just add food coloring.
This was my first attempt at homemade playdough and I was pleased with the results. Does anyone else have a good homemade playdough recipe to share? I wouldn't mind trying another to compare!

So far Pre-K has been great and we are looking forward to the rest of the year. Now to decide on Kindergarten for next year. Oy...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving recap

We had a great weekend up in Lloydminster with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.

We headed out on Saturday morning, but our trip did not start out auspiciously! Since we are contemplating replacing my Jeep with a mini-van, we decided to rent one for our trip.  But when we went pick it up, the rental agency had no vans (flashback to the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is at the car rental counter saying "A reservation means you HOLD the car."!!!) They eventually got one from another location just fine and we were off - just an hour later than we had intended. Then we hit construction coming out of Calgary which set us back more. By this time we needed a coffee, but it ended up taking 25 minutes in line to get it at the Crossfield Tim Horton's we stopped at.  Well, it was lunch time and we had barely got out of Calgary! So we ate our sandwiches in the car instead of at the rest stop we usually go to, but we were confident that we were on our way. WRONG! The weather was not great, with blowing snow and lots of clouds and fog. About an hour later just north of Red Deer traffic slowed to a crawl along the highway. We sat in bumper to bumper stop and go traffic for about an hour and 20 minutes. It turned out a terrible accident at the Blackfalds turnoff - with rescue vehicles and everything - had been the cause of the slow down. As we continued driving, our complaining stopped as we thought of the people who had been hurt in the accident. So even though we ended up getting into Lloydminster about 6:30 instead of 4:00 as planned, we were just thankful  we got there safe. We had a quick dinner and then Grayson and I played in the hotel swimming pool and hot tub while Shane got Sam bathed and ready for bed.

On Sunday we had breakfast with Shane's dad and did a little bit of shopping. Then it was off to Shane's Aunt Pat and Uncle Roy, who hosted about 35+ family members for Thanksgiving lunch/dinner. I don't know how Pat does it! When I was growing up there was only mom, dad and I and my aunt, uncle and cousin for family holiday suppers. All the rest of the family was overseas or out of province. So I love going up to Lloyd and joining in on the big family feast where there is lots of noise and visiting and eating off your lap wherever you can find a seat! It's crazy and wonderful! Sunday evening was spent with more extended family at Shane's Aunt Marilyn and Uncle George's place. Shane's brother Darcy and his lovely girlfriend Maja were also up in Lloyd so we got to catch up with them, and there were some other kids for Grayson to play with. It was a busy day and a late night, but we all enjoyed it so much. My only regret is that I didn't get any pictures as I left both my iPhone and my camera packed at the hotel. Next year? For sure!

Monday morning we had a quick breakfast with Grandpa Bert then stopped to have coffee with Shane's Aunt and Uncle and to pick up some homegrown veggies. We were on the road back to Calgary by 12:00. The boys (who were exhausted!) slept and Shane and I had some quiet time to chat - it seems our road trips are one of the only times we can have extended conversations! It was an uneventful drive and we got home in time for supper, baths and bed no problem. A short, busy but lovely Thanksgiving trip.

On the way home, Grayson piped up from the backseat and asked - "Mom what are YOU thankful for?" He has been talking about Thanksgiving at home and at school and last week he brought home these:

I am loving getting these artifacts in his backpack every couple of days and getting the chance to have him tell me what thay did at school. I love hearing his new songs and rhymes and hearing what Mrs. Markowsky (whom he adores!) says each day. I love seeing his name get more and more legible and his drawings get more and more detailed and intricate. (The teacher in me has been trying to get him to write and draw for the past couple of years to no avail - but after only a few days/weeks at school, he loves writing and drawing. Go figure.)

Anyway, today is another snowy. blowy day, but there is no school  as we have a five day weekend here. So we will hunker down to stay warm and tackle the piles of laundry, put away all the detrius of the trip and get the rest of the week organized. I need to get back to doing meal plans so I stay on top of groceries and cooking. And I need to back to work on October's SMS newsletter and post a few more products on the site. break is over but I am so thankful I had it!

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving - have a great week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Birthday and The Present

I have been really under the weather for the last week with a nasty sinus cold, achy body and sore throat and I just can't seem to shake it. As I write this I am sipping yet another cup of Neo Citran and hoping it will allow me to get some sleep tonight. Sigh....

So I was actually sick on my birthday last week (October 2) which is always a downer. But we had already celebrated by going out to dinner a few nights earlier and my sweet Hubbie gave me a gift certificate for a nearby salon and spa. Bless him...I hope he is willing to babysit parent while I go and be pampered! And Grayson actually wrote his name inside the card the boys gave to me. I was delighted and it will definitely be a keeper! (Although Grayson has always loved to read he has shown little interest in holding a pencil and writing letters or his name. But after just a few weeks in Pre-K he is writing it like a pro. So much for MY teaching abilities, eh?)

But one of the best presents I got was to reflect on "The Present". Last October 1st, the fabulous Stacy Julian wrote a blog post that challenged scrapbookers to 1) capture a little slice of their "Present", 2) to carry that little album with them for a year and 3) to document the experience one year later. I liked the way it coincided with my birthday and the idea of giving yourself a present, so I made up this little album.


I included several recent pictures in it and lived with it for the past year. It sat on my bedside table and it was browsed through and enjoyed often. Then on October 1 of this year, Stacy wrote another post and asked us to reflect on and create a layout about the experience.  So, I pulled the pictures out of the album and made this layout:

(My apologies, because I can't seem to photograph my layouts for love nor money!)

I pulled all the pics that focused on the important people I had in my album and wrote about what had happened in our lives over the past year. It was so neat to see the differences in the boys and even in myself. I thought about what we all had accomplished, the challenges we had faced and where we are right now. And the cool part is that I think I have crafted a new tradition for my birthdays...from now on it will be a time to reflect not only on my age, but on the experiences I have had in the previous year and the ones I want to have in the coming year. From now on, The Present will be my own birthday present to myself.

Lots of scrapbookers took part in this project and if you would like to see their layouts check out this Flickr Gallery. Thanks Stacy for providing continuous inspiration!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1st

October is by far my favorite month of the year! (and not only because it's my birthday month!) Fall is in full swing, there is enough bite in the air to break out the fall sweaters, pumpkins and pumpkin flavours abound and we get to celebrate Thanksgiving AND Halloween! Two holidays set in one great month - how can you not love that!

Anyway, on this October 1st I:

* am under the weather with my first sinus cold of the season and it's a doozy

* am still enjoying the view of the fall colors out my windows:  out the back -

and the front -

* am lamenting the fact that because of said cold I will have to miss out on my first book club meeting where they will be discussing this book that I really loved:

* made two batches of orange playdough for Grayson's Pre-K class (I will post more pics, the recipe and the how-to's another day.)

* plan to settle in to read the newest CK issue which landed in my mailbox today! (love the Ali Edwards LO on the cover)

* have to start putting away the sandals and getting out the socks and shoes (I try not to wear socks from April 'til October!) I guess I have to start in on the closet swap as well

* so thrilled that the ever inspirational Stacy Julian launched her own website today!

* am hoping to reflect on this little album which I made based on a prompt from Stacy one year ago and to make a layout about how things have changed in year since then

* debating whether or not to take Ali's class at Big Picture Scrapbooking. It starts today. I have so many things going on in the next few months but it looks like she isn't teaching it again next year. I can always put all the info away until I can really sink my teeth into it. Hemming and hawing...

* am feeling a little guilty (and overwhelmed) about not getting to the mile long TO-DO list for Sharing Memories Scrapbooking. I have to finish a tutorial, figure out the shopping cart software and start on the October newsletter. (I probably should be doing all that instead of blogging, eh?)

* am craving yet another Pumpkin Spice Latte. Maybe Hubby will be sweet and bring one home to sick lil' ole' me! (are you reading this hon?)

What are YOU doing on this fine October 1st? Whatever it is, have a great day!