Saturday, December 31, 2011

My One Word Goal for 2012 - New Years LINKY

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(my husband Doug took these pictures of the kids and I this afternoon)


What a year it has been.

Back on January 1, 2011, at the prompting of my sweet friend Susan of 5 Minutes for Mom, I chose 3 words that I hoped would encapsulate my year.

Those 3 words were Hope, Joy and Thankfulness.

I must admit that 2011 has been a hard year and honestly those weren't the first words that sprang to mind when I was thinking about writing this post.

But despite the difficulties I think 2011 really has been filled with hope, joy and much thankfulness and I think that is pretty amazing.

In the past year we've dealt with a lot of craptacular things... my husband was laid off and 6 months later is still unemployed, our landlord sold the house we were living in and we had to move and couldn't find a place to live and spent a month semi-homeless, Aiden has had significant struggles with angerAutism and school and life in general, Owen has had some pretty major struggles, my migraines have reached an all time high... and the list could go on and on... but in the midst of all that unpleasantness there has been much GOOD.

We have never gone without food. We have always had a roof over our heads. We've always had clothes to wear and a vehicle to get around in and people who love us and support us. When we weren't sure how we were going to cover the bills money would come from unexpected places. When our van door kept falling off and the heater started to die friends offered to give us their van (true story!) !! We have been incredibly blessed and God has certainly been taking care of us during this ridiculously uncertain time.

This year my friend Susan is encouraging us to chose a One Word Goal for 2012 .

The word I have chosen for 2012 is Peace.

Peace amidst the storm.

To feel peaceful in the good times and in the bad and to not let anxiety and fear take over is my goal.

A worthy goal for 2012 I think!

I will also keep my 3 words from 2011 because in my opinion you can never have enough hope, joy and thankfulness :) .

What is your One Word Goal for 2012?

Do you have a New Years Post of some kind? Feel free to link it up here:

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Barbie and The Plague

Pin It I mentioned in my post yesterday I have the plague (aka the flu) and am feeling like I was run over by some sort of large vehicle. Twice.  I had hoped to be back to my healthy-ish self today but alas, the plague still has a tight fisted hold on me.

I managed to drag my carcass off the couch for awhile this afternoon though to help Olivia clean / organize her room. She had a layer of STUFF all over her floor and couldn't even find a place to play and her stuff was starting to spread throughout the house. That had to change.

I cleaned out her closet so her brand new Barbie townhouse could live in there and she is really happy with it.

But wow... even after just cleaning Olivia's small room I felt like I had climbed some sort of mountain and fallen down most of it. Not ideal.

Apparently I won't be cleaning the rest of the house today.

Which is unfortunate considering how it looks.

Oh well.

I do have the plague after all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Get Those Creative Juices Flowing

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I have the flu. Or the plague. Or scurvy. Or something equally unpleasant that has made me rather useless for the past several days.

While I have been spending my days dragging myself from my bed to the couch and back to my bad again my children have been enjoying their new Christmas presents.

I must admit it was excellent timing in that regard- the kids have tons to play with, all sorts of new and exciting things to explore and there is no school so I don't have to make sure any lunches are made or anyone looks presentable.

In fact everyone has pretty much spent the past few days in their jammies. I highly recommend it.

I am hoping the plague departs within the next day or so though because my house is starting to really LOOK like I've spent the last few days in bed and that is never a good thing.

Here's to your good health and mine!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Delight LINKY

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to You and Happy Birthday to Me!

Pin It Wishing you all a truly wonderful Christmas day!

My sweet mother-in-law makes us all new jammies every Christmas and here are the kids and I snuggling up on Christmas Eve in our cozy new pjs.

Today we celebrate Jesus' birthday.

And mine!

Yes, today is also my birthday (true story) and I am now 36 years old. I used to REALLY hate having my birthday on Christmas day but I don't mind so much anymore - I love that my kids are so happy and excited to be with me... even if it is because they love that I give them presents on my birthday :).

Oh- and it is ALSO the lovely @LindsayDianne (aka the Urban Momtogropher)'s birthday today too so if you get the chance hop on over and wish her a good one!

Merry Christmas everyone :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Concert Bonanza

Pin It This week we had a regular Christmas concert bonanza going on- Olivia's concert was on Tuesday, Aiden's was on Wednesday and Owen's was on Thursday! To add to the fun my husband volunteered to be the "sound guy" for the week so we were at the school for a total of 6 Christmas concerts ( 3 concerts, 3 dress rehearsals) plus Christmas carol singing on Friday morning.

It was a very full week but so much fun to be at the school too :).

Poor Olivia only managed to make it through one of her songs though before stage fright completely took over and she spent the rest of the concert on my lap. I felt so bad for her - she was trying so hard not to cry while singing a happy Hawaiian Reindeer Hula Christmas song :( .

Owen's class sang and signed "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" and they did awesome! Owen is the blonde boy in the back row wearing a red shirt and looking like he would rather NOT be in front of all those people. I also want to point out the kid with the fabulous afro on the side- that is my son's best friend who apparently has a real knack for sign language and zero stage fright :) !

Aiden's class did "Jingle Bells- Old and New". They sang and played various instruments including iPads!

The first video is from the dress rehearsal so you can see what the iPads looked like. The second video is the actual performance.

In the dress rehearsal Aiden was right in the middle in the back row but for the concert he asked to be off to the side because he didn't want everyone staring at him. He also choose the grunge-look outfit especially for the Christmas concert because he is just that cool :).

All 3 of my kids actually have a fair bit of stage fright... which they inherited directly from me since their dad has absolutely zero fear of being on stage. Why couldn't my kids have inherited their dad's fearless-ness instead of my stage fright?? Gotta love genetics.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Defend Dignity

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This is a guest post by my friend Glendyne who is the director of Defend Dignity

The gift I need

Human trafficking and prostitution are the fastest growing criminal activity in the world next to the drug trade.  It takes all the profits of Google, Starbucks and Nike combined to add up to the profits made in selling human flesh.   The sad reality of our world is that it's so easy to sell people because there is such a ready demand to purchase them.   The purchasers of sex give no thought to the needs of the ones they buy.  Not too far away in my city, a young mother needs diapers for her babe and turning a trick is the only way she knows to get what she needs for her child.  How can it be that here in Canada there is a steady line up of purchasers for someone like this?

How do we fix what's gone so wrong with us?   Most days it feels like swimming against the current in a wide ocean of human depravity.  The problem is too big, the needs too great.

If it were not for the hope of the babe born so long ago in his own needy and unjust beginnings, the strong ocean currents would surely sweep over me.  Jesus left all that was rightfully his as God's son to come and be with us.  To be in the middle of this mess of  injustice and pain.   He is here with her.  He dwells among us.  He shows us the way.

How silently,

how silently

the wondrous gift is given.

I would be silent now,


and expectant...

   that I may receive

            the gift I need,

                    so I may become

                             the gifts others need.

Guerillas of Grace   Ted Loder

Join the campaign to end modern day slavery and defend the dignity of every  woman. Together we can end prostitution in Canada.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thinking About Bible School?

Pin It *this is NOT a paid post- I just want to share this info with you all!*

Many years ago (18 years ago actually) I attended Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre for two of the best years of my life. I spent those years learning more about my faith and making lifelong friends in the process.

On Thetis Island is Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre, a branch of the international and interdenominational work of Torchbearers International. It is one of 25 such centres for Bible training, retreats and evangelism, which are scattered throughout 20 different countries of the world.
I loved my time at Capernwray and am thankful for the teaching I received there. If you have ever thought about going to bible school - or you have kids who are thinking of going to bible school- I'd like to recommend Capernwray.  It is non-denominational and people from all over the world attend.

Capernwray has a great program called "Taste & See" where you can experience a week in the life of a student there for only $99. That is crazy cheap considering that covers full room & board for the week!

There is also a Torchbearers Conference Tour coming up:

These conferences will help reconnect us with some of the thousands of alumni across North America (around 20,000) and give us the opportunity to clearly and effectively communicate what is happening in the ministry of Torchbearers. 
The conferences will be held at churches and will run from a Friday night through to late Saturday, or in some cases, Sunday morning. We have an exciting line-up of speakers, centre staff and guests for each weekend so check out the dates to see who will be where!
Denver 30th & 31st March
Milwaukee 13th & 14th July
Abbotsford 20th & 21st July
Portland 3rd & 4th August
Calgary 17th & 18th August

If you are interested in learning more about Capernwray check out their website at You can also find them at: 

If you are curious about the kind of things you would learn at Capernwray they have all of their teaching in podcast form!! There is great teaching for all ages. 

And just because they are extra cool they even have a free App available on iTunes!

Like I said, this is not a paid post- I just wanted to share :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Stage Fright LINKY

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My little girl had her Christmas concert today and she had a massive case of stage fright. She managed to get through one song shaking with tears and then I rescued her and let her sit with me instead. Poor little crying princess :(

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Victorious for Nintendo DS

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Nickelodeon Victorious Hollywood Arts Debut
Nintendo DS game
Rated E by D3 Publisher

Product Features (from
Edition: Hollywood Arts Debut

  • Take part in crazy adventures with Tori, Beck and all the stars from the show
  • Explore Hollywood Arts and find hidden items and unlockables around every corner
  • Create and customize your own character with clothes, accessories, locker decorations, and more!
  • Exciting and intuitive mini-games using the stylus such as dancing and singing with Tori!

Guest Review by my husband Doug

I haven’t had the privilege of seeing the TV show this game is based on. It’s a game where you are new to a school and go through little tasks to succeed at the different things going on in the school.

The controls of the game are all based on the stylus. This is okay as there isn’t any really ‘action’ in the game, it’s a quest based, do these things to progress to the next level kind of a game. There is a lot of reading to determine what your next task will be. You get to customize your character throughout the game and the more you complete the more options you have for your character’s clothes and accessories. I can foresee that my daughter would want to play this game, but not being able to read would bring a lot of frustration.

The graphics were a little less then I expected but certainly are more then enough to convey the story and what the game is doing.

If your little one can read and likes Victorious then I think this would be a good game for them!!

Power Rangers Samurai - Nintendo DS Game

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Power Rangers Samurai - Nintendo DS Game By Bandai
Rated E-10+

(information from

Product Features
  • Protect the World From Evil! - Join the new generation of Power Rangers to master the mystical and ancient Samurai Symbols of Power which give you control over the elements of Fire, Water, Sky, Forest, and Earth!
  • Armed For Battle! - Use your Samuraizer (DS Stylus, Wii Remote) to master the symbols and morph into your Ranger, then use your weapon to battle hordes of Knighlok monsters.
  • Teamwork - Martial arts training and fitness combined with team based battles teaches the importance of working together, friendship, & responsibility to battle armies of evil & overcome tough challenges.
  • Samurai Power Up! Unlock secret passageways, access hidden levers, and mystical pathways to get hints on how to defeat the Nighloks and collect Zords to gain Samurai Megazord combinations and finishing moves.
  • Samurai Megazord, We Are United! Engage in exciting boss battles against the likes of MegaMonster by combining your animal Zords to form the giant Samurai Megazord!

GUEST REVIEW by my husband Doug :)

This is a side-scroller style game. It follows the story line of the television show of the same name and actions figures (as far as I can tell - I will admit to not being a big fan of the power rangers franchise).

You can select one of five different characters to battle against. Your job is to protect the world from aliens that are trying to conquer it. They enter our world via ‘portals’. When a portal is opened you’re dispatched to it and battle the aliens and finish the level by defeating the ‘boss’ or big alien guy. There are special attack and defense moves you can do by completing different combinations of button presses. At the end of select levels you get to battle as the Megazord, which is when all five samurai combine to make a large samurai that battles and equally large villain.

Controls are fairly standard. This game makes use of the touch screen and the buttons to work through different parts of the level. The game has a tutorial built in that requires you to read through instructions on how to do the special moves and make the movements needed to complete the level. Without being able to read you would miss a lot of key instructions about how the different controls work.

Graphics are on par with other DS titles and the music fits what you might see on the television program, and thus fits the game and it’s style.

If you have a Power Ranger fan in your house, then this game might just work well for you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Fun

Pin It I've been knocked out with a migraine this weekend and it is still going strong which means I am pretty useless at writing anything coherent.

So instead you can look at this cute picture of my son and his best friend - they had a sleepover this weekend and my husband snapped this photo yesterday :)

Did you know that Christmas is in one week??!! Seriously, how crazy is that? :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Successfully navigating through the holidays: top 5 tips for parents of kids with autism

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Guest Post by Mary Ray, CMO

The holiday season is always a fun yet stressful time of year. Planning activities for kids, buying presents for friends and family, deciding which holiday parties to attend – the list goes on. However, decisions become especially challenging for parents and relatives of those with a child on the autism spectrum.
MyAutismTeam, a new social network for parents of children with autism, surveyed its more than 14,000 community members and came up with some tips to help parents and children on the spectrum successfully navigate through the holidays. Here’s the top 5:
  1. Practice. Do a practice run of ‘the Holiday moments’ like waiting for other family members to wake up before opening presents, practice gift giving and receiving, practice any traditions that take place ahead of time to help familiarize your child.
  2. Keep it small. If your kids are easily over-stimulated, keep them away from large or loud groups that you might find at the mall. Keep your child comfortable by avoiding large crowds.
  3. Comfortable surroundings. If your child experiences sensory overload or changes to their environment, gradually decorate your home rather than all at once. Share pictures of typical decorations that your child is likely to see. If you think your child may experience sensory overload from decorations, like flashy lights, have them help decorate your own home with non-flashy decor to feel more comfortable. Also, it may be good to avoid those homes or stores that truly go over the top.
  4. Keep it simple. Avoid over-scheduling. Sometimes, simply staying home for the holidays helps. If you do plan to visit with family, doing so in short sessions can be more effective. Also, establish a place in the home that you’re visiting for your child to have private downtime away from the group.
  5. Create a food plan. If you are taking your child to other homes to visit with family and friends, pack toys, snacks and meals that are familiar to your child. Meal planning is the way to go!
Do you have any personal tips that you’ve used over the years that work well with children on the spectrum or those with special needs?

Friday, December 16, 2011

KitchenAid Architect Series Food Processor

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KitchenAid Architect Series Food Processor 
product description (taken from the press release)

Reconnecting with loved ones over a carefully crafted meal is often a highlight of the season. Offering versatility, convenience and style, the new KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor is truly a culinary necessity when it comes to food preparation. An externally adjustable sliding blade coupled with exceptional performance ensures controlled and precise slicing, chop- ping and pureeing to help create a meal experience that brings the whole family together.


  • New external adjustable, stainless steel slicing disc provides ultimate versatility 
  • Dual shredding disc easily flips the disc from 2mm to 4mm to achieve ideal slicing thickness 
  • Large 13-cup (2.75L) leak-proof work bowl, plus chef’s bowl and mini bowl to efficiently 
  • Ultra Wide Mouth Feed TubeTM adjusts to 3 different sizes to accommodate foods of varying sizes, including whole potatoes and cucumbers 
  • 17 precise food processing options for speed-controlled slice, shred, chop & puree functions plus three maximized slice, shred and puree/chop blades and bonus dough, egg whip & Julienne blades 
  • 4 speed-controlled functions 
  • Comfort design side handle allows easy viewing while the food processor is in use 

  • New stainless steel multipurpose blade 
  • Maximized S blade for exceptional performance 
  • Dough blade 
  • Dual stainless steel shredding disc  


Contour Silver, White and Black

GUEST REVIEW by my husband Doug (who is definitely the chef in our family!)

We received this beautiful food processor to review. One of the first things we noticed was how sturdy it appeared.  It’s apparent right away that this is a better built countertop appliance then many.  While the bowl(s) are made out of plastic, it is a good bit thicker then the other food processors I have used in the past.

Also straight out of the box a big difference is that KitchenAid provided a storage box for all the standard attachments and accessories.  The box holds the two different sized blades, the dough attachment, and the slicing, julienne and grating plates.  The box has a closing lid so that everything can stay as you left it.

Once you start using it, it’s apparent that it’s more then powerful enough for almost every job.  I even used it to mash potatoes.  It struggled some, and you can likely mash them quicker with an actual potato masher, but it did it.  All of the cutting attachments are wonderfully sharp.

I had read some reviews of other KitchenAid food processors and there was some complaints about how it handled liquids and leaking.  This model however doesn’t seem to leak.  We tried filling it up with water to the maximum liquid fill line and adding ice tea mix and having it blend it.  The blades ‘click’ into place and seem to stay in place real well.  The lid has a very large red O-ring to seal the top.

I have found that the blades do a good job of chopping and mixing. Both the large and the small bowl. The dough bladed does quite well with pasta dough when I tried it.  The smallest pusher has a tiny hole in the bottom which allows you dribble in liquid ingredients.  It’s a neat feature and works smoothly.

 The slicing attachments work very well.  The slicer thickness can be adjusted with a slider on the outside of the machine.  The grater works tremendously well.  We’ve tried pizza mozzarella, medium cheddar, as well as parmesan reggiano  in it and performs beautifully.   I tried using the egg whip to make whip cream and it worked quite well.

All in all, I’ve been quite impressed with the food processor. If I were to offer any criticism it would be that the pusher and the bowl cover can be more difficult to clean, as there is a lot of nooks and crannies, and food has a tendency to climb into them and stick.  That being said, it is generally easy to clean except for those two small things. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Switched at Birth: Vol. 1 review

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From the studio that brought you “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” comes a groundbreaking new drama about the upheaval that two teen girls experience when they discover that they were accidentally switched at birth.

Bay Kennish, a talented graffiti artist with an edgy streak, grew up in a wealthy family with happily married parents and an older brother. Daphne Vasquez, an athletic teenager who lost her hearing at an early age, grew up with a single mother in a working class neighborhood. When the girls’ worlds collide, family bonds are tested, new romances are sparked, and they start to learn that it’s who they are inside that matters, not where they grew up. Relive the girls’ journey and catch up before the premiere with “Switched At Birth: Volume 1.” Including all 10 episodes plus exclusive collectible iPod skins, this two-disc set is a must-own for every fan!

Vanessa Marano (“Gilmore Girls”)
Katie Leclerc (“Veronica Mars”)
Constance Marie (“George Lopez”)
Lea Thompson (Back To The Future, “Caroline In The City”)
D.W. Moffett (“Friday Night Lights”)
Lucas Grabeel (Disney Channel’s “High School Musical”)

Guest Star:                                           
Marlee Matlin (“West Wing,” “The L Word”)  


I had not heard of this show before so I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out I really like Switched at Birth! I love that the deaf community plays a prominent role (I am all about diversity on TV). I think the show does a great job of increasing awareness while still being entertaining.

The actors are truly excellent. I was already a fan of Vanessa Marano - I am a huge fan of Gilmore Girls and thought she did a great job as Luke's daughter - and so I really enjoyed seeing her in this more "grown-up" role.

I've mentioned it before and I will say it again- I love watching TV series on DVD. I just find it incredibly convenient - I can start and stop it whenever I want. Plus it made it possible for me to catch up on a series I didn't even know existed! TV series' on DVD make excellent gifts as well.

I enjoyed Switched at Birth Vol. 1 so much that I fully intend on watching the new shows on TV now :).

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