Saturday, November 23, 2013

What the Furb am I thinking?

Google image
Ok. So the holidays are quickly approaching, and my kids have one toy on their minds. FURBY BOOM. Last year, the must have toy of the season was the reinvented Hasbro Furby. This year apparently, it’s the upgraded Furby Boom. K-aos was delighted when she received her hot pink Furby for Christmas last year and she instantly fell in love with the little plush robot. She carried it everywhere, tucked it in at night and bawled every time its LED eyes went black, a sign that the batteries were about to die.
We became a “Furby Family” and K-aos even insisted that she have a Furby birthday party. Our little guy loves Furby as well, and there is a constant battle between my two kids over the Furbster. Thank goodness for durability, because he (or is it she?) has hit the floor quite a few times mid battle.
Now, as a parent, we all have to endure toys that get on our nerves. When K-aos received her little Sesame Street piano at age 3, there was lots of times I was thankful when the batteries died. She was also too little to notice when it went missing for days on end. Tickle-me Elmo was another one.
But nothing nags at my sanity like the constant chitter chatter of Furby. Sure, they may look sweet and innocent, but the schizophrenic little “Dr.Jeckyl-Mr.Hyde's", never ever seem to shut up. You know what it’s like, when a tap drips all night when you’re trying to sleep? Or a mosquito flies over you and you hide under your sheets? Well they are that F-urbing annoying! When the kids forget about Furby or we “conveniently” don’t have any more battery replacements … I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Wait. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of silence. F#$* yeah! J Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but our Furby has only acted cute and sweet twice. Ours is Dr.Evil, howling at the moon, more often than not. Furby’s manic behaviour and outbursts are enough to drive anyone to drink. Having a husband who howls every time there’s a full moon is enough to cope with. J
So I posed this question to K-aos, “Why in the world would you need another Furby?”
She looks at me like I’m stupid and replies, “So they can talk to each other and Furby Boom is so much cooler!”
If you haven’t seen the commercial for the new Furby Boom, they have upgraded Furby so that they are more interactive. (Do you remember Nano-pets? For some reason that’s how I conceptualize a virtual Furbling.) Although I haven’t seen one used yet, from what I’ve read, as you play with and care for your FURBY BOOM they will earn colourful virtual eggs that in time will each hatch and become a FURBLING virtual friend. The kids can feed their virtual Furbling, and even watch it go to the bathroom. You will be able to collect over 50 eggs within the FURBY BOOM app and eventually build a FURBY BOOM city. I don’t know what anyone else thinks of this, but the idea of a Furby city scares the crap out of me!
Now, when K-aos’s stepsister came to visit, she showed her how to go on Dad’s phone and upload Furby Boom videos on YouTube. Surprise, surprise, K-aos’s new favorite past time is to go online and watch what these colorful little monsters can do. If you ask Little J if he likes Furby, he points at your phone and says “Boom!”
So, what’s a mom to do? The letters to Santa are complete, and the number one thing is F.B. I will neither confirm nor deny, if Santa will be bringing a Boom for Christmas, the same as I can neither confirm nor deny that I have ever screamed, “Shut that Furby up, or I will shut it up forever!!!”
See my predicament? I am trying to raise grateful children, and we’ve had many discussions about not always being able to have everything we want. I’m sure my kids would be fine if Furby Boom wasn’t under the tree Christmas morning, sure they might be a bit disappointed, but they would get over it. The fact is though, I want my kids to be happy Christmas morning, and it’s the ONE thing they’ve asked for….
Gulp…..what the Furb am I getting myself into?
All I can say is, Santa better be compassionate and bring me a really good set of headphones, or a gift-card for a day trip to the spa, for my moments of Furby-induced insanity.
Good luck to all the parents out there, who will have a Furby/Furbling, or some other obnoxious toy joining their family this holiday.
Season’s Greetings,
Amy :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

A soul searching for a little country….

I’m back! I know it’s been quite the hiatus, but a lot has changed in my life in the last several months since I did my last post. One of the goals of this blog, was to work on my “Happiness Project,” which really required myself to evaluate my life, and the things in it that make me happy and those that don’t. Being able to have an outlet to express my thoughts and evaluating my life on paper, pushed me to figure out exactly what was missing in my life. In July the opportunity arose, for us to move from our townhouse we had been living in for almost 4 years and make the big leap to move to an acreage outside the city. Although, it was a big change and I was skeptical at first (especially when I’m used to being a minute from all amenities, grocery stores, and SHOPPING), I knew it was the right decision.
Growing up a country girl, I often thought about what my children were missing out on, that I really appreciated about my childhood. Being able to run and play, climb trees, make forts, dig in the dirt, go for hikes, have campfires, garden and just get dirty, are things that I want my children to experience every day. In our townhouse, I was constantly worried about the kids whenever they left my sight. I never wanted to take me eyes off them for fear that they’d get hit by a car, or kidnapped or worse. I know I probably shouldn’t have worried as much as I did, but city living sometimes has its draw backs. For me I feel it’s so important to let kids be kids, and I felt like I was failing in this department, when I was being such a “worry wart.”
Being able to offer my children a childhood and environment like I had growing up, means the world to me and brings me so much happiness.
This fall, the kids were outside playing house with old pots and pans, stirring in anything they could find in the yard to make “soup” and I couldn’t help but smile. I can still smell the concoctions, my sisters and I would come up with, when we made “soup” in the old pots in our sandbox. We’d mix in rotten tomatoes, rhubarb seeds, moldy cucumbers, basically anything rotten in mom’s vegetable garden. It was foul smelling, but we’d stay outside for hours making our gourmet specialties. It’s the little things like this that make me so grateful for where I am right now.
When expressing how much happier I am since we moved, my sister said to me, “That’s because country living is good for the soul.” I thought about it and I totally agree. The longer I live here, the happier I seem to get. Did you know that living in the country can add up to 2 years to your life? Not surprising really. It’s funny how mundane chores, are even enjoyable. Mowing the lawn, composting, raking; I appreciate it all after not having any yard for years. Even cutting firewood and hauling wheelbarrow loads in the house, (which drove me nuts as a kid) is enjoyable….nothing beats wood heat! When stacking the rows of wood, I can hear my dad’s voice telling me how to stack it just so, to ensure that the rows will be sturdy.  
I know I’m sounding a little nostalgic and sentimental, but this move for us, is proof that changing one thing in your life, can have a monumental impact on all other areas of your life. I am happier, hubby’s happier, and the kids are happy. I can’t ask for anything more than that. Making changes in your life can be overwhelming, and challenging trying to figure out where to start. But, I am slowly learning that taking baby steps and changing one thing at a time, might just have the most profound results. Although, my happiness project is still a work in progress, it turns out for me, that happiness is wide open spaces and a little dirt under my nails.
Now I’m off to shovel the snow from my driveway, which I’m going to do with a smile on my face! (I don’t know how long I will be saying that for!)

Xo Ames
Let me know if you too have experienced a move that was good for your soul!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Savvy Steals and Frugal Finds: Canada Day Weekend Addition!

                                                                                                      *google image search
Over the Canada Day long weekend, our family went camping with friends at a lake near St.Paul, Alberta. Just leaving the city was exciting and it turned out to be one of the best weekends we’ve ever had as a family! Today though, we are back to reality, thoroughly exhausted and are stuck tackling the mounds of laundry :S!

On our way out of the city, we stumbled upon this treasure trove on the side of the highway, just east of Elk Island National Park. As seen in the picture there were lots of little buildings, trading posts, or buildings setup for yard-sales, and collectibles. There was so much great stuff to look at (and great prices too!) that we could have stayed the whole day, sifting through the treasures!
In the first little trading post we went in, the walls were covered in paintings by an artist of the name J.G Lewis, who is no longer with us. He had done paintings of all the places he visited in his life, areas in Alberta, places in Hawaii etc. Although the paintings were not overly skillful, they had a lot of folky-charm. We bought this painting, which was suitably of “Mount Robson, Alberta” (see why we had to have it?) for the amazing price of $5.00! Each of the paintings on the wall told a story, and Mr. Lewis had put a lot of work into them, we couldn’t turn down a piece of $5.00 art! So, the painting travelled to camp with us amongst our tent, air mattresses and kit bags! I think a new frame will do it wonders!
We also bought this great cowboy hat that we all enjoyed wearing while we were tenting on the weekend. It made for lots of laughs, as we each practiced our cowboy impressions and was also great for keeping those darn mosquitos off and the smouldering 30+ temperatures!
K-aos found this tiny dancer! She just had to have it of course, to display her earrings on. The elderly lady at the sale, gave it to her for nothing!
…and just because I think it’s pretty, I acquired this little jadeite set for myself. How much did I pay? $6.00!

On the side of the road we met Betty Newman, when she waved us over to see her artwork and her home-printed novels. The novels were true stories about a little girl and her horses. Her artwork and homemade cards were mostly of Alberta wildlife and bison in the area of where she lived. These were $5.00! So we purchased a painted card for $5.00, how could I refuse? Anyone that's willing to stand there all day by herself in the heat, with no chair, had me sold! Betty was wearing a great big floppy hat, which just added to her kooky character, but she wanted to take it off when I asked if I could take her picture for my blog. Her reasoning was that she had a new haircut! :) We loved Betty Newman!
Painting of bison in Elk Island Park, by Betty Newman
Betty Newman without her floppy hat! She was so fun to talk to!
All in all, we had a fabulous weekend, and had a blast searching for treasures. Although, it was the last thing on my mind when I left for the lake; you just never know when you will stumble upon new acquaintances, fun art, or a new prized possession.
xo Amy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Finding My Motivation Again!

So, as promised previously, here comes the ‘Mommy Fitness’ section of my blog! I have been procrastinating in getting this started because once I start blogging about it I’ll have to be accountable! That’s not a bad thing though, it should help keep me motivated and maybe I will stick to my workouts better! Because I run a day-home, I am always busy watching my kids and other people’s kids from 7 am till 7 pm sometimes! After they leave, I have to get my kids ready for bed, clean my house, (which is usually destroyed) and try to get some ME time in after that. Sometimes this seems impossible! In addition to my day-home, I’ve also been helping my hubby start a business from the ground up, which has been proving to be a lot of work. My challenge lately, is trying to make the time to work out, when I am physically and mentally exhausted! But I am going to try!
Ummm, sometimes i'm not so sure that is possible!
So, here’s my fitness story! I have always enjoyed being active, I played soccer for years as a kid and then in university I started doing gym workouts. I love to work out, eat healthy, and feel the extra energy that comes from living a physically active lifestyle. After having 2 kids, I had to really work to get back into pre-baby shape. With K-aos I gained 70lbs, as a result of eating so many double cheeseburgers from McDonalds, (extra pickles no onions) and cereal bowls full of ice cream. I hadn’t intended to gain so much weight, but by the end of my pregnancy I was gaining 10lbs a week. My family doctor kept asking, “What are you eating? You have to stop drinking so much juice!” blah blah blah! I did what many women do during their first pregnancy and ate whatever I wanted. I have always been a “skinny bitch” as my momma calls me (she is just joking around) so I wasn’t worried about it! I actually lost the 70lbs relatively quick after K-aos was born; she was after all an 8lb baby. When I was prego with Little J, I gained 55lbs. I ate a lot healthier for that pregnancy, but despite my healthier efforts I still gained a lot of weight! He was a 9.5 lb. baby. Thank goodness for C-sections! J After Little J’s birth, I struggled much more to lose the baby weight this time. I was crazy busy with my 2 kids; however, the belly bulge just above the C-section scar remained. So, it was time to do something about it! For my New Year’s resolution (2012), I resolved to get in good shape. I started off by cutting out all the junk, white bread (Only wholegrain bread), and Pepsi (this one was hard!). I also started doing Turbo Jam again. I am such an advocate for this one! Turbo jam first caught my attention on a silly infomercial, but I was sold! I did the ‘Ab Jam’ dvd everyday (it’s a 20 minute workout) and the ‘20 minute’ workout dvd. Occasionally, I did the Cardio Party dvd; however, not as often because of all the kicks involved (I have wonky knees!). I also did some weight training in our home gym, but nothing crazy. After 2 weeks, I was addicted to working out again, and at my strongest I was doing and insane amount of ab work everyday, 300 jumping jacks, 40 pushups(in a row) and a lot more bodyweight workouts (check out body rock too)!
Confession: This winter I lost it! :( I indulged in far too much delivery pizza and chicken wings. I still ate healthy for the most part, but those late night cravings for delivery won me over. I have slowly stopped doing my dvds, and have barely gone to hot yoga. So it’s time to kick it in to high gear again. I CAN DO THIS! :S
This time I have more specific goals that I want to put into place:
Let’s start with some ‘naggy tasks’, that I have been intending on doing for a long time, and just haven’t bothered doing.
Naggy task 1: Although I am pretty skinny; I like to be strong and slim. I have a hard time putting muscle on my legs because of my knees (my knees turn in). So, one of those ‘naggy tasks’ that I have been meaning to do for a long time (but I keep putting off), is to meet with an orthopedist. I am positive that with the right orthotics that I can start fixing this wonky knee issue and have more success with running and putting some meat on my legs J
Naggy task 2: I have had some stomach issues basically my whole life, IBS runs in my family, and many things can cause my stomach to ache and bloat (bell peppers, milk, onions etc.). I would really like to pinpoint what is causing all my crazy stomach bloat. I can go from having a really flat tummy one minute and then look like I am 6 months pregnant within a matter of minutes. Last year, when I was working out like crazy, I was taking Iso-Sensations natural flavored protein. I noticed that my stomach was bloating all the time. After buying several buckets of that protein, I decided to switch it up (even though the Iso-Sensations one was $30.00 cheaper). The only difference between the new protein I bought and the old one, was that it’s lacking a gluten based glutamine peptide product, which can cause celiac symptoms. The IsoFlex protein, I can use with relatively no bloat. So, I am thinking maybe I have a gluten sensitivity, which I have been worried about for a while. So, it’s time to meet with a nutritionist or a doctor to have a gluten allergy test done. I am almost 30 years old, so it’s about time that I got my digestive issues figured out!

Besides my ‘naggy tasks’ that I need to do: here are some other fitness goals and things I would like to do, that will aid me in getting into my best shape yet!
·         Do more yoga: (I love hot yoga, but I have slacked off! I find it’s great for my stress and for my flexibility, so hot yoga here I come!)
·         Bike more: I have a great bike that I haven’t used yet this spring, simply because it has 2 flats. Apparently I need a “chuck” or whatever that is. So, I am going to figure this out!
·         Buy new sneakers: I would love to have a new pair of trainers and a pair of runners, mine are in brutal shape. I guess I will wait until I see an orthopedist before I take on this one though.
·         Start a reward program for myself: For example, if I get ‘X’ number of good workouts in, maybe I will splurge and get some new workout clothes. You know it’s true what they say, if you look good and feel good about yourself when you are working out, then you tend to give better workouts. I am pretty sure Oprah said this at one point. Haha

Where I was last year this time, and where i want to be again!
Well there you have it! I’m ready to start getting into shape again, and this time I am going to tackle the challenges I was facing before. I am going to do posts about my progress and my struggles. You may find that I post things about healthy eating as well! We’ll see! I hope that I can make the time to do it.. Please feel free to leave comments on my posts and share your fitness challenges and stories as well! I am always looking for pointers so please feel free to share! If you have advice on making more time to work out, I could use that too!!!    

xo Amy