Mom of two Mischievous Monkeys: 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

The #1 lesson I learned in 2012


I originally shared these pictures as a Wordless Wednesday post. When reviewing all my posts last night to write my favourite things review for 2012 I just knew I had to share these again as the #1 lesson I learned in 2012.

Lesson learned: Black gel based food dye will actually come {mostly} out of a microfibre couch, however, it would be best to not accidentally leave this stuff out where your preschooler can find it to use as finger paint!


THE CULPRIT

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review: Favorite Posts

As 2012 draws to a close, I thought it only fitting to share some of my favorite posts from the past year. Thanks to all my readers for continuing to Monkey along with us! 

I just realized while going through all these old posts that I completely missed celebrating my One year Blog Anniversary so will try to come up with an awesome Giveaway for you in the New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Due for a "true" Vacation


December is a busy month. It seems that if we weren't out doing something fun this month we were dealing with a sick kid, working on homework projects for the oldest, making new speech therapy goals and the list goes on and on.

And that is just at home. I have felt similar feelings at work this month, just trying to stay caught up with the work. And even then, it is not necessarily our busiest time of year. Nope this is just the planning for the busy time, which will be the next three months come the New Year.

So I told my boss that I needed a week off and proceeded to book one for a week in early January.

Book Review: Understanding Other People by Bev Flaxington

Starting today I will be in charge while our manager is away. I have had these acting assignments numerous times in the past, so am pretty used to it by now.

These assignments have not always been easy. There have been some in particular, where I remember thinking “Why did I do this again? Reminding myself that I was gaining valuable experience during these times.


I have certainly learned a few things along the way about interacting with others. There have been times though where I simply did not understand what the cause was.

When I recently reviewed Understanding Other People: The five secrets to Human Behavior By Bev Flaxingtion I found some great insight into why these communication breakdowns can occur.  Reading the book, it really made sense that people bring their pasts, values, filters and behavioral styles to the workplace and specifically into the conversations that we have.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me



This great little Blog Hop is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic.  

Heather posts 4 questions on Sunday evening and includes a linky list, so be sure to link up after posting your questions/answers.  You also have the option of adding in your own question.

Acting Balanced

Here are the Questions:

1. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
2. How does Santa manage to circle the world in one night?
3. How does Santa deliver into your home?
4. How do reindeer fly?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Helper: Reducing Stress


As we near closer and closer to Christmas Day, last minute plans are being made and some are scrambling to finish up shopping.

 I have a few things that I like to do to reduce the time invested in preparing to celebrate during the Holiday season.

For starters I don’t actually cook a turkey on Christmas Day. With just the four of us (who find turkey not worth the fuss), we simply put a chicken in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook away. Then we can simply make some sides such as the usual mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and veggie plus stuffing and gravy.  I know some people that do there big meal on Christmas Eve so that they can eat the leftovers the following day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Visit with Santa Claus: Wordless Wednesday {with linky}


We had a great time at the local Christmas Celebration at the Railway and Forestry Museum. The kids had a blast decorating cookies, visiting with Santa, checking out the mini Christmas village display and riding the miniature train.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sharing a moment in time


I didn't get around to writing anything this past weekend. We were fairly busy and so not only did I not really get a  chance, I also didn't know what to write.

While out on Saturday I found some inspiration.

We attended a local Christmas Celebration at the Railway and Forestry Museum. There was hot dogs, popcorn, cookie decorating, mini train rides, and Christmas Village displays.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Get your Game on: Thunderstruck with Kevin Durant #Giveaway



Warner Bros. is proud to announce the release of Thunderstruck on DVD and Blu-ray December 4th 2012, along with the Thunderstruck Blog App!

NBA superstar Kevin Durant plays himself in this action-packed family film about a basketball star who switches talent with a klutzy 16-year-old fan. When Brian (Taylor Gray) magically switches basketball skills with his hero, Kevin Durant, he becomes the star of his high school team... while Kevin Durant suddenly can’t make a shot to save his life! But with the playoffs approaching, Brian learns that being a true winner means working hard at your own game, and he tries to make things right in time to prevent a catastrophic end to his hero’s season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Party for a Princess: Wordless Wednesday {with linky}


Her Birthday was a month ago, but I just had to share these photos from our family dinner for Karensa's 4th Birthday.

It's true, only a Princess gives such "dainty" kisses!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me


This great little Blog Hop is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic.  

Heather posts 4 questions on Sunday evening and includes a linky list, so be sure to link up after posting your questions/answers.  You also have the option of adding in your own question.


Acting Balanced




1. When was the last time you had your picture taken with Santa?
Hmm.. Most likely sometime long ago as a child I am guessing. I could dig out a photo to share but it is getting late in the evening to do that. Another time, maybe.


Holiday Helper: Shelf Stable Milk

The countdown is officially on until Christmas Day (as my son reminded me the other day when he noticed the fact that our Advent calendar was not out) and with it comes an even busier schedule. With School concerts, shopping, decorating etc this can be a crazy time of year. To keep up with our busy schedule I like to have quick and easy snacks to take along on our outings. One product I really like for this is Shelf Stable milk, making it super easy to have a nutritional snack on hand I can grab from the cupboard.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers Stuffed Pasta Shells

We all know the traditional things to make with those Thanksgiving Leftovers, but a few years ago I was searching for something aside from the traditional soup or turkey tetrazzini  I can't remember where I found this recipe now, and as odd as it sounds it tastes oh so good. A perfect blend of all the great things found in that Holiday Dinner melded with one of my favourite foods, pasta!

Ingredients


1 box jumbo pasta shells
2 cups cubed turkey
1.5 cups leftover stuffing
1-4 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mayonaisse
4 cups mozzarella shredded cheese
1.5 cups leftover gravy

Directions

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LOVABLE LABELS BLACK FRIDAY 4 DAY SALE

One of my favorite products for my kids is our Lovable Labels which make labeling our kids school supplies, shoes, water bottles etc ever so easy. And they are still in great shape after going through the dishwasher  washer and dryer. Right now, even better is the fact that they are ON SALE. Check out the great deals below!
Lovable Labels, Disclaimer,
Facebook Page, Twitter, Contact, Label Me Crazy, Pinterest, You Tube Lovable Labels Disclaimer Facebook Page Twitter Contact Label Me Crazy Pinterest YouTube
I was provided with a promotional item in exchange for this post. No monetary compensation was received. As usual all opinions are 100% my own!
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We love Handmade gifts {Wordless Wednesday with linky}

A while back my kids were the lucky recipients of some great handmade quilts. A friend had been given a number of them from her friend who was clearing out her collection of fabrics, so made up a bunch of quilts. She simply asked our friend to share them with kids she knew who would love to have them.





The kids certainly loved them and we were very thankful to receive such beautiful gifts!









I would love it if you left a comment after linking up your own WW post!

 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Champion Me Books - Review and Giveaway

Both of my kids love books, which of course makes me very happy!  Despite the many books that we own I sometimes find myself wishing we had something a little different and more unique to read than what is currently on our bookshelf.

We had a blast getting to create some new stories for our collection with the help of Champion Me Books. And the kids loved the creating part, taking care to customize the characters to reflect themselves.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wintertime Fun Bucket List


Even though it is only November 8th, Yes I am posting about Winter. Although not officially here *yet* seeing as how we got a good foot of snow just in time for Halloween, I can't help but notice that Winter has decided it is here in our City!


What better way to share it all with you then with a Winter Bucket List, courtesy of Writing Prompts over at Mama Kat. And I know have lots to look forward to over the next five or so months of this chilly weather!


1. De clutter our house. Since we have started the process of looking for a house to purchase it has become quite apparent we own too much. Granted this is partly because we don't have enough room in our townhouse but I know for a fact some of that stuff  we just no longer need. Plus to be completely honest I want less stuff to have to pack when the time comes to move.


2. Christmas Baking- My kids love to help out in the kitchen so I intend to put them to work making some yummy goodies. And that procrastinating I did last year that led to me never getting around to making my Nana’s shortbread recipe that I love is so not happening this year. To top it off I am committing to using that cookie press I bought last year. That is still in the box. Since last Christmas. And I wonder why we have all this extra stuff.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me



This great little Blog Hop is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic.  




Heather posts 4 questions on Sunday evening and includes a linky list, so be sure to link up after posting your questions/answers.  You also have the option of adding in your own question.




And now for this weeks Questions 



1. What is your favorite thing about November?
2. What was the last thing that you bought that you regretted soon afterwards?
3. What is your go to snack food?
4. Do you believe that newspapers should charge for their online content?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winter Wonderland {Wordless Wednesday with linky}

Winter started off with a big dump of snow this past weekend and temperatures went down to - 19 degrees celsius this week overnight with windchill! Definitely putting me in the mood more for Christmas than for Halloween!





I would love it if you left a comment after linking up your own WW post!



Saturday, October 27, 2012

20 questions to ask your kids

I always thought it a neat idea every time I saw people writing letters to their children on their birthdays all about what that child's current interests were. Sadly, I never actually got around to ever writing one. I saw this idea recently and like it even better, especially since the child gets to answer all the questions




Here are the results of asking my son:

Nathan- Age 10


1. What is your favourite color?

Red

2. What is your favourite toy?
Beyblades
3. What is your favourite fruit?
Apples
4. What is your favourite TV show?
Beyblades
5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?
Cheese filled Tortellini

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Super Undies Pocket Potty Training Pants Review

When we received our Super Undies Pocket Potty Training pants we had been using pocket diapers for about 3.5 years. And yes we had continued to use them as training pants, which didn't seem to bother our daughter but who wouldn't want a training pant that was instead made to look like big kid underwear and not a diaper, but also super hero inspired?

Front View
Super Undies are available in a pull on trainer, nighttime undies, and pocket trainers like we received. To find out more about the difference between the pull on and pocket trainers check out this great video.

Cook'n Recipe Organizer Giveaway - Hoppin' Halloween Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Hoppin’ Halloween Giveaway Hop hosted by MamaNYC!
 We’re celebrating Halloween with an amazing event that features ALL sorts of prizes, which means there is going to be plenty of prizes you’ll want to try and WIN! With over 90 blogs participating, Hoppin’ Halloween is surely going to be a SCREAM! This event will run from October 25-31st which gives you plenty of time to enter all of our giveaways. Good luck and Happy Halloween!



I have not one, but TWO prizes available as part of this awesome Giveaway. Two lucky readers will each win a download of the Cook'n Recipe Organizer Program (worth approx $80 each) Open Worldwide! Be sure to check out my REVIEW to see just how much I love Cook'n! Enter on the Rafflecopter form below:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me



This great little Blog Hop is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic.  


Heather posts 4 questions on Sunday evening and includes a linky list, so be sure to link up after posting your questions/answers.  You also have the option of adding in your own question.




And now for this weeks Questions 


1. How often do you shop for groceries? Do you shop in one place or many?
2. How old were you when you had your first tast of alcohol?
3. How much TV do you watch?
4. How do you relieve stress?
.

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

My Answers


1. How often do you shop for groceries? Do you shop in one place or many?

I usually try to only go once a week (or less) but usually at least once a week to be sure to snap up what is one sale. And more times if forget something (which I usually do!) I shop at three or four different stores.
2. How old were you when you had your first taste of alcohol?

Hard to remember, but know that my parent's used to let us have a little bit of Bailey's Irish Cream in our hot chocolate. That was probably over the age of 11 I guess.

3. How much TV do you watch?

Too much!

4. How do you relieve stress?

I love to read or take a nice bath. Or both together. Go for a walk if I am at work!

 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me #mqam



This great little Blog Hop is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic.  


Heather posts 4 questions on Sunday evening and includes a linky list, so be sure to link up after posting your questions/answers.  You also have the option of adding in your own question.


And now for this weeks Questions 


1. What is the most interesting fact you have learned recently?
2. The alarm goes off on Monday morning.  What is your first thought?
3. What is the most memorable movie line of all time?
4. Describe a situation that always seems to try your patience.

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

My Answers

1. What is the most interesting fact you have learned recently?

My son loves to learn and repeat all kinds of obscure facts. Some of them stick in my head more than others. The most recent one was that it would take 31,400 10-year-olds' brains to equal the weight of a sperm whale. Since he is ten this once is actually somewhat relevant to us.

2. The alarm goes off on Monday morning.  What is your first thought?
Do I really need to get up....

3. What is the most memorable movie line of all time?
The one that sticks in my head is of course, "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"

4. Describe a situation that always seems to try your patience.
Poor customer service in stores. Really if I want to come into your store and purchase something at the price advertised in the flyer I think you should sell it to me at that price. Nuff said.

 

Cook'n Recipe Organizer Review

If there is one thing that I love to do it is cook and bake. I love trying out new recipes (sometimes referred to as "experiments" by others in my house, and yes some of the times they don't turn out all that great).

But for those times when I find a winner of a recipe, I of course want to keep it. Unfortunately this has led to a bit of a hoarder type situation when it comes to saving them all. I tried printing them off and storing in a binder, but half the time they didn't make it into the binder or got taken out to use and then just stacked up in a cupboard.

In addition to getting rid of those printed recipes I would like to scale back my cookbook collection, you know the ones I have but really only use for 1 or 2 favorite recipes.

Finally I have found a solution that will help me make sense of all this mess. I have been trying out Cook'n Recipe Organizer and so far I am impressed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

DIY: Make your own wizard wand

We needed to make my son a new wand for his Harry Potter costume this year after the one from last year broke so thought I would share how we did it! 



Using an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper roll your wand, starting out by putting a strip of double sided tape diagonally along the paper. In this picture the tape was placed to where you see the rolled paper ends. Roll the paper towards the tape, being sure to roll one end narrower than the other so the roll is tapered. Stop once the roll is stuck to the tape. Before you start you could also roll it along a chopstick for stability  We simply inserted the chopstick after rolling, this was a new thing we tried this year which I think will help with the stability of the wand. 
On the paper left smear a thin coating of glue on the entire surface, and then continue rolling. Once finished rolling leave to sit for 20 to 30 minutes to dry.

Friday, October 12, 2012

National Costume Swap Day October 13th



Description: http://www.greenhalloween.org/CostumeSwap/img/logo_web.png
Image: Green Halloween


Three years ago in the US a couple people came up with National Costume Swap Day which  was born from a simple idea – trading costumes instead of buying new ones. That one simple thought has blossomed into a National Event that is now expanding into Canada. Tomorrow October 13th will be the first Costume Exchange Day in Canada.

I just heard about this event happening in my own community yesterday and while we already have costumes for the kids this year, they love to dress up, making this a perfect event for us!. And since  my kids likely won’t want to give up any of their old costumes I love that our  Local Art Gallery who is hosting the event has given multiple ways to participate in this event:

*Simply drop of old costumes you no longer need prior to the event (in good condition of course!) and receive a swap card for the day of the event
*Come on the day of the event and swap out a costume
*Come on the day of the event and donate $5 and pick out a new costume

Plus I am sure there will be loads of accessories to go along with all these new costumes. Maybe my son will find a pirate sword to go along with the pirate costume he received this year from Costume Discounters.

I love that this event promotes recycling and creativity all while kids have fun and parents get to go home knowing they have acquired cool costumes for their kids (or for yourself as there will be adult costumes too) at a fraction of the cost of buying new (Who wouldn't be excited about that?) We of course haven't bought ourselves costumes yet, so will definitely be checking out the offerings for us adults!

So if you are in the market for some new costumes or some great accessories check out the National Costume Swap Day site and click on 2012 swaps to find a location near you. For my fellow Canadians check out the Canadian site Note that I found not all locations offering swaps were listed on the Canadian site so be sure to keep your eyes out for info in the media in your area.  I would love to hear if you attended a swap and the cool costumes you found!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our Garden {Wordless Wednesday with linky}


Thought I would share the two things that grew the best from our balcony garden this year. Our strawberries did not fare as well and before I could grab a picture of their deformities a certain little girl in the house had already eaten them!



I would love it if you left a comment after linking up your own WW post!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving & Bloggers wanted for Hoppin' Halloween Giveaway Hop

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian Readers!



As I am sitting here getting ready to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner with family, I am reminded that the next upcoming Holiday will be Halloween, which is one of our favorite Holidays. We love dressing up and taking part in the festivities.

This Halloween I am exciteed to be participating in the Hoppin' Halloween Giveaway Hop hosted by Mama NYC!

 Halloween Giveaway Hop MamaNYC

MamaNYC's Hoppin' Halloween Giveaway Hop. . . 

Sign up's are OPEN!* 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Play dough 101

I found out after it was already over, but September 16th was National Play dough (or Play-doh if you buy the name brand stuff) day. We love play dough so I thought I would share our favorite recipe.

I have been using this recipe ever since it was sent home with Nathan back when he was in preschool. It lasts for so long and makes for a great activity making it along with your kids. This recipe is nice and easy and takes very little time and is a nice inexpensive toy for your kids. I love that play dough provides many learning opportunities including Measuring, observing reactions (science) and with the addition of cutters in shapes, alphabets, etc the learning continues through play.  This recipe makes enough in one batch to split it up and customize with different colors too!

Smelly Play dough

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trip down memory lane...Childhood home

When I read through the writing prompts at Mama Kat's I wasn't sure at first what I was going to write about. That is until we had an appointment to go look at a house for sale.

There were many homes we lived in growing up as on average we moved every three years. When we walked into one house this week I noticed right away how it was very similar to the last house I lived in with my Parents before I left home at the age of 17!

It got a little weirder though when I went into the bedroom around the corner after climbing the stairs. The bedroom that at my parents house was mine. The door opened into a room that was painted blue, the same colour of blue that my room was. Then I noticed that there was a daybed in the room, in the same spot that my daybed was located in my room.

I called Jeremy over and since we met in high school and he had seen the room I told him to come look. He noticed right away the similarities and we had a little chuckle over it. In the end there were a few things we didn't like about the house so I am actually happy to not end up living in the house with a replica of my former bedroom. Honestly it was actually a little creepy!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WW: Another Great Family Photo {Linky}


I love this photo that our friend Nancy took this summer for us. It worked out perfect when needed a photo last week to enter a contest to win a family adventure in our city. I  would greatly appreciate it if you would VOTE for us! Voting is closing soon on September 30th and voters are eligible to vote once every 24 hours. Thanks in advance for your help!

Link up your WW post below.  Consider leaving a comment, I enjoy reading each one.





Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me #MQAM


This great little Blog Hop is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic.  

Heather posts 4 questions on Sunday evening and includes a linky list, so be sure to link up after posting your questions/answers.  You also have the option of adding in your own question.


And now for this weeks Questions 


1. What room in the house do you try your hardest to keep clean?

Hmm..I guess my living room.


2. How do you describe your blog to someone you just met?

I don't tell lots of people about it really, but I guess a place to come an get updates on our family, with recipes, crafts and reviews and giveaways.

3. What was your lie from last week?  (If you didn't play last week, What was your favorite cartoon you watched as a kid?)

My lie was that I completed a year of college. I failed my third practicum so was not able to move onto fourth practicum and complete the year

4. What is your favorite kind of salad? (post a recipe if you got one)

My new favorite is watermelon, cucumber and feta cheese. 

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!




My 5th question this week is ...


What is the one feature you would not compromise on when buying a house? 



Saturday, September 22, 2012

What makes me a {Crappy} Mother


Description: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cXSr7sq5fB0/UFxyG_zt2pI/AAAAAAAAOvI/lU0MKb8DbyQ/s400/420861_485124151511616_1250091452_n.jpg
**Photo Thanks to Granola Babies**


I saw this picture posted this week and thought, “How nice, moms supporting each other even if they have different beliefs, we are all moms who just want the best for our children”. What I didn’t find out until a few days later was that over on the Facebook page of one of my Favourite Blogs, Jen @ Life with Levi had posted this and gotten some not so nice responses and some people who were being downright nasty over a discussion about circumcising boys.

Jen posted up this great meme, I’m a crappy Mom ” and I just knew I had to join in. So here is my list of reasons why I am a *crappy* mom



My son was circumcised. 

My Children are vaccinated and will continue to be.

I breastfeed my son for four months then went back to work and used my coffee breaks to “pump”. After one month I stopped as he preferred the bottle.

I breastfeed my daughter for ten months. She bit me. I tried to get her to stop, she wouldn’t so I stopped and used formula.

I play Beyblades with my son even though making a spinning top battle another top in an arena does not appeal to me at all.