27 February 2009

[invisaline: I See the Light]

SO ... I'm done!! Invisaline ... well. Actually, that's a lie. I'm SUPPOSED to be done. I finished my last set of trays for my top teeth and went to the orthodontist to have him check things over. My bottoms have been done since November, but I always knew that the top may take longer.

But the COOL thing is, is that the bumps they soder on, have been taken off. THAT's exciting. Because I don't have these wacky bumps on my teeth that I think make me look like I don't own a toothbrush. At least that's how I feel about them.

They came off, because I am going to get molds for a NEW set of trays. Probably another 4 or 5 ... which, in "time terms" is about another 2-3 months. Totally not a bother - especially because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And they're NOT quite perfect ... and I've come this far, what's another couple of months? So I'll get new bumps. Ah well

This has been the EASIEST thing ever. I have definitely had nights of pain and cringing as I've had to take them out before I eat ... when I change to new trays, taking them out is THE most painful thing. Like being punched in the face. But it only lasts for maybe a day.

I am SO glad I did this and didn't wait another 10 years. I know that some of my friends thought I was crazy for spending money (we have GREAT coverage) when my teeth weren't SO bad. But you know what? I was self conscious about them. Every single photo, I never wanted to show my teeth ... my fangs.

But, alas, I no longer have those thoughts. YAY!

What do they look like at this point? Funny you should ask ... here's a pic. And you can click my "invisaline" category to see a picture of me wearing my first set of trays. Not really a good example, as the trays actually make the teeth LOOK straighter than they are.

I think they're well on their way. *SMILE WITH MY TEETH SHOWING*.

26 February 2009

[make: Brocolli Salad ... and a Plug for Mona Vie]

I hate vegetables right now. Seriously, just TYPING the word gives me the shudders. I'm sure the average preggo woman detests veggies ... right now I'm all about a bowl of cereal, or a baked potato LATHERED in butter. *drool*. So sure, I'm taking my multi vitamin - but as an added "help", I've been taking Mona Vie.

It's a drink, made from the acai berry (yada yada yada) and each 4oz contains 13 servings of fruits and veggies. And I just down it in a small espresso cup, twice a day. Can I be a shameless plug and say that I've been feeling SO much better? Shameless, I know. And although I'm now considered a "distributor", I will not be selling it. If you ARE interested in it, I can hook you up with someone who is.

There are a few "vegetable" things I can stand. Like ... hmm ... zoo sticks with dip *grin*. Awe, come ON ... they're a veggie, right?? And IF I had all the ingredients, I just might have made this tonight ... for some reason, it sounds appetizing to me.
You probably already have this one ...

Broccoli Salad - serves 8

5 cups fresh chopped broccoli
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup sugar *which is PROBABLY why I think this sounds yummy *grin**
3 tbsp vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup sunflower seeds


- combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
- combine next 3 ingredients in a small bowl.
- toss together in large bowl. Refrigerate.
- just before serving, add bacon and seeds.

25 February 2009

[talk: Time to Save ... and Something Free.]

I'm not a regular watcher of Oprah ... she really does annoy me most times. However, I did watch today - and it was showing stories of young American families losing everything due to our current economy. And it freaked me out.

The continual message seemed to be that everyone WISHED they had SAVED their money when they had it. Most said that they spent frivolously ... and don't we all? A Starbucks here, a manicure there, ... ordering pizza instead of making a perfectly good dinner with what you have in your home. We've all done it - and sure, maybe some are better at budgeting and being stewards of their money - but I think that we would all agree, we live good lives.

And would you not say, that when things get tough, the FIRST thing people do is stop giving? I mean, no longer donating to their World Vision Child or to the local food bank ... or wherever it is that you give. And really - isn't that sad? OBVIOUSLY, there are circumstances where that is the ONLY thing a family can do ... but for most, we won't consciously give up our weekly latte to give the $25 (and a tax receipt ...) to a needy child. We do everything in our power to maintain our own high standard of living, instead of being responsible with what we've been given.

This show has hit me ... many of the people on the show were moms, my age, who had homes and never thought they would be in this situation. Increasing home mortgage interest rates absolutely devistated them. And so, I think that it's a wake-up call to those of us who are a bit ahead of the problem right now. SAVE SAVE SAVE. Be smart, be stewards. Pay off your debts. Don't reward yourself when you owe for something else. Don't believe the lie that it'll make you "happy", that you "deserve" it. Downsize. Do whatever it takes. Because if we get hit as hard as our neighbours to the south, it's imperative that we have SOMETHING in the bank to hold us over.

And would I even dare to say, be generous where you are called to be. Giving is a Godly principle, and I believe it's always rewarded.

Ok. I'm off of my soapbox *smile*. I hope you can tell how passionate I am about this ... I feel that our homes, our children's security, our future is all at a crossroads right now - and we CAN prepare for this ...
I would love to hear if YOU are doing something tangeable to prepare for your family's future, if uncertainty rears it's ugly head. Any tricks that you could share? A special place you get gas? A place that accepts competator's coupons? A better rate on your phonebill? Please SHARE - would love to hear it!


How about something for FREE?? If you're a digiscrapper ... here's a free kit from Shabby Princess. You can find it here.

24 February 2009

[baby: Today's Appointment]


We heard the baby's heartbeat today ... and the Doctor thinks that MY dates (being 12 weeks) is correct and the ultrasound dude is not so correct (thinking I'm only 10 weeks). He said if they were right, we wouldn't have been able to hear the heartbeat with his instrument ... but if I was right, we would. And we did.

With every single baby, the ultrasound has been off. Mattias was born at 36.5 weeks (weighing 6.4lbs) and Josiah was born 10 days early (weighing 6.14lb) according to THEIR dates. According to mine, they were early, but not by as much.

I need to be 12 weeks, because my hubby's in a friend's bridal party in London during the dates the ultrasound dude gave me. I'm not worried. Well. Not terribly.

So - here's the poll. The baby's heartbeat was 170 (wow!!!).

What do you think? Boy or girl?

23 February 2009

[talk: News News News]

Ok ... so - where to start? Well ... it's Monday, and I'm supposed to meal plan. I would, except for the fact that cooking makes me gag right now. So, that leads me to News #1. I'm 12 weeks pregnant, due the first week of September. Whether I'll meal plan in the next month or so remains to be seen *smile*.

News #2 is that I've been hired by another local church to help out with their worship services. I will not be leaving our home church, nor will I stop being involved there. This is just an opportunity that I felt strongly to take. They've asked that I help every 4-6 weeks, so that is more than do-able. I'm leading there this Sunday morning.

What else? Well, today I was told that my Sydney-Los Angeles flight in May, has been confirmed in Business Class. THIS is exciting ... I intend on sleeping the entire way in a complete lie-down position. SO great!! That's News #3.

And something touched me today ... a girl from Jr. High, whom I never really even knew as she was older than I, wrote something lovely about me on Facebook. As I intend on printing out this blog for my own keepsake, I hope you don't mind if I post what she wrote ... it reminded me that we all touch people, even when we don't realize it. She wrote:

There are a few people that I wanted to thank that I only deal with here on Facebook. They have no idea what an impact they have had on my life and I dont want to forget thanking them. "TAWN" - This girl is one of a kind. I started out reading her blogs and felt like I got to know her more and more. The way she lives her life is a huge motivator for me today. The way she is with her husband and children is just beautiful. The way she lives her life, the things she believes in and her love of the Lord are evident in the things she says and does. When I read her notes I am motivated and I feel every bit of love she puts down on that page. Please know that although we have never met ~ you have helped me through some very
hard times without even knowing it. You are a walking example of the power of faith, love and hope. I am very thankful for you.

So thank YOU, ES, for making MY day and validating the things that I say and do as something worthwhile. What a beautiful gift you gave me.

And to make you smile? WELL - I put Josiah down for his afternoon nap - which has proven to be a bit of an issue as of late. He's quite capable of climbing out of his crib and rattling on the door until I come and get him. Today, I heard him - but thought I'd leave him for a bit ... get it out of his system. Well, after about 15 minutes, I got curious as to the silence in his room ... and this is what I found.

21 February 2009

[digiscrap: Saving Memories]

I don't know about you - but I'm a little overwhelmed with the idea of missing something as a mom. Gone are the days of bringing out the camera and taking a "roll" of 12 pictures for the annual birthday party. Today, I find myself snapping pictures of the smallest things ... almost a weekly documentary of my children's lives.
But I enjoy it ... and I guess that's why I do it. I'm not a slave to it ... I love taking pics, I love scrapping them ... and I love sharing them.

Here are a few of my most recent pages. Actually I did 14 pages just the other day - got on a bit of a roll ... *smile*.

18 February 2009

[talk: Big Money ... ]

I got my quarterly CCLI cheque today.

CCLI is the Christian Copyright organization that monitors the use of copyrighted music and lyrics. It has been around since 1984, and was actually founded by a family friend who attended our church back in the "hay day". This company created a way for writers, whose music was impacting the Christian community, to be compensated according to the demand of that song.

Now, I've heard the whole "It's God's song ... people shouldn't make money off of worship services," which is a valid point. But more so than worship services, it is also for recordings and the likes there-of. It is also a way of keeping record of what type of music is working and needed in local churches and such ... and also a way to see where one's song(s) have traveled to, if anywhere.

There are a few misconceptions about payouts with praise and worship songs. Churches typically fill out a survey of "songs sung" throughout a 6 month period. It isn't documented how many times each song is sung, just whether it has been used during that time. So, the conception of someone singing a chorus over and over again, earning more and more coin, is simply not true.

NOW - I'm certain that different churches may do things differently ... this is just how I understand it to be.

That being said ... I got my own CCLI cheque for the period of May-September 2008. Usually I see "Just As I Am" and "Highest Praise" on the list, as those are the songs that have been done locally - but it seems those churches haven't submitted during this time frame.

For me, what was a little shocking was seeing the name of a song that wasn't used on our church's 2006 CD and that hasn't been sung in our church for a very, very long time. So - somewhere, someone is singing "Amazed" and that, for me, is super cool.

The big cheque? $0.58.

I'll try not to spend it all at once *GRIN*.

16 February 2009

[talk: Another Blog]

As this new venture continues to move forward, I've decided to start a blog for my photography site. It's appropriately named http://www.redhandedphotography.blogspot.com/ . I plan to use this blog periodically to show upcoming events that I'm doing, and show recent work. As this is a new business, I don't anticipate that I'll be updating this new blog too often ... but when I do, I'll be sure to let you know here.

Other than that? Well, I'm coughing up a lung, sounding like a wheezing cat (there's a nice picture for you ...) and feeling like a pretty useless mom. Don't you hate that? I look at my eldest and I think, "I only have you for such a short time ... and I'm wasting it today." Such guilt. But that's ok ... after he finished his yogurt Popsicle, he and I are going to do some crafts. And make a mess. That's what 4 year old boys like best *smile*.

On a final note - I am terribly excited about the Bachelor tonight ... and horribly embarrassed that I am so wrapped up in this season. But, I am not ashamed *GRIN*. Thus, the reason for the post ... if I were ashamed, I wouldn't have told you that ... HA!!

So, sorry about the lack of posts ... life has been crazy. More on that later ... but for now, if you're interested, I have a few pics posted at my http://www.redhandedphotography.blogspot.com/ site. And if you haven't been to my new photography site, consider this your personal invitation *smile*. The site is http://www.redhandedphotography.com/ .

talk soon!

10 February 2009

[talk: Do the Quiz - Feed the Hungry]

I came across an interesting article this morning, and decided that it would be the focus of my post today. The concept is simple - go to www.freerice.com and participate in the quizzes, earning free donated grains of rice.

Yesterday, 66.5 million grains were donated on behalf of this site.

Now, sure ... we're talking GRAINS, not POUNDS. But I'm all about being a steward of time and money. If it takes me 5 minutes to play a few quizzes and help feed someone, somewhere ... then that's making my minutes count.

So. I've been thinking that it is so very sad, the the first thing to go during tough economic times, are donations. People don't necessarily re-evaluate their own unnecessary spending, but rather think that their donation is expendable. Understandable, but sad - I think.

Maybe things are tough for you, for your family - but www.freerice.com is a way that YOU can do something small TODAY. And if we all do it together, we could feed a family. Or two. Or a village.

Go on ... use your time wisely *smile*.

08 February 2009

[make: Cars Birthday Cake - MACK the Truck]


Another birthday party under wraps - and honestly, it really was nothing special. It was my 2 year old's party, and his birthday was back in January ... but we figured everyone needed the break and a party in February would work best.

After having Mattias' birthday party in the summer, I found myself STUCK as to what to do for a 2 year old's party. I mean, you can't do organized games or crafts ... soooo - I just made a big lunch and us mommies, and a few daddies, sat around and hung out while the kids played. I felt so ... lazy? I guess ... because I really hadn't PLANNED anything ... Ah well, what I DID do was decorate AND make Josiah the greatest cake I could for him.

After Mattias' "Cars Cake", all Tias could ask was, "What kind of cake are you making Siah??" Oh. Right. YIKES. So ... after a few different convesations about some ideas I had, I decided to do Mack from the Cars movie ... Siah LOVES car trailers, and I thought I would "disect" the side of the cake, and place little cars and voila ... the perfect cake.

WELL - HE loved it ... crazy loved it. And that's what mattered. But I definitely did some things wrong ... like, WHY I chose to ice the side of the cake in brown instead of red, I'll never know. I wasn't even going to ice it - just so you could see the 4 layers of cake with chocolate frosting inbetween. But then, I thought, "Ohhh - the cake will dry out!". So then I started icing with the chocolate frosting. Thus. The 2 toned, wacked out cake.
I used a toy Mack Truck for the front - and cut two 9x13 cakes down the middle and stacked them with icing. I only used 3 levels ... Then, I iced and cut little caverns out to place the toy cars. I was SO frustrated when I couldn't find the whole set we have ... just my luck. It would've looked cuter with a stack-load of cars. Then, I couldn't figure out where to put the "Happy Birthday", so I just melted some chocolate in a ziplock, cut the corner off, and piped the wording. Done.

So, FAR from perfect, but as I said - HE loved it. Here are some pics of the Mack Cake.

05 February 2009

[make: Black Bean Mexican Salsa]

Ok. So I made the name up ... I really have NO CLUE what this recipe is called *grin*. And it's not mine - a GF of mine made it during a weekend away with our families, and I was HOOKED. I'm not usually a black-bean-kinda-person ... but this is SO dang good. I memorized how she made it - and it's burned into my memory.

I tried looking for a jpeg of it - but I couldn't find this exact recipe anywhere - thus, no pic. I'm warning you. Don't make too much, or you'll make yourself sick with gluttony *GRIN*. Thanks, LM, for such a FANTABULOUS recipe.

Black Bean Mexican Salsa

1 tin black beans, rinsed
1 tin sweet corn, rinsed
2 diced avocados
2 diced tomatoes
ranch dressing
taco seasoning


Mix beans, corn, avocados and tomatoes in a bowl. Add ranch dressing, a little at a time, until coated with desired amount. Sprinkle taco seasoning (I like to add a fair bit, about 1.5 tbsp) and toss. Place in fridge, covered, and let set for about 30 minutes.

Serve with multi-grain tortilla chips.


I'll be making this for Siah's birthday party this weekend ... at least the moms can eat something other than hotdogs!! Speaking of which, I better get on to planning, huh ...

02 February 2009

[organize & talk: THANK YOU and Easy Local Dinners]

First off ... I have been literally OVERWHELMED by the wonderful response I've received about my new website and business: www.redhandedphotography.com . So THANK YOU to you all. It was a much scarier thing than I thought, putting myself out there - with a price tag to-boot. And I'm NOT hoping to be everyone's photographer *smile*. Many of you have a love for photography yourselves, or have someone who already does your photos. Please, please - don't ever think that I would be offended by NOT being your official photography *grin*. I'm sure there's enough business out there for all of us! I already have a number of events lined up now, and am really excited about a new creative outlet.
NOW - onto my exciting find today, and I tell you this whilst eating the YUMMIEST cheese and broccoli soup. And this is all thanks to my friend, CW. I was muttering to her today about that lack of cooking I've been doing while my husband's been away - that I haven't been eating healthy and how hard it is to cook for one adult and 2 wee ones.

She told me about a place in our neighbourhood called "FRESH GOURMET TAKEAWAY." So, I went while my eldest was in preschool and found it to be the GREATEST place!! There was a place where kids could colour while I looked around - LOVED that. And what they do, is they prepare a set menu (of about 15 entrees) each month, and they're made FRESH. Here's a couple of the entrees for February: Citrus Marinated Tuna Steaks, Almond Chicken, Chicken Mama Mia ... just to name a few. They come in large ziplock bags, made FRESH and you cook them at home. No preservatives. Essentially, they just do the grocery shopping and preparing for you.

But what I REALLY loved, was the fresh "t.v." dinners they had in their freezer. These are dinners for one with SO many choices ... freshly frozen, to simply be reheated. Today I bought "roasted Turkey with cranberry stuffing and fresh veges" and "Orange Marmalade Chicken with basmati rice and veges". These will be PERFECT for those nights that Lu's out and the boys are happy with fresh veges and dip with a tuna sandwich.

The "t.v." dinners were $7.95 each.

SO - if you live in my neck-of-the-woods, I SO recommend this place!! It certainly won't replace my own home-cooking, but for those nights when I'm like, "WHAT???" - I now know where I can go to get a HEALTHY choice for my family.

Isn't this GREAT??