Work and Play

BlogHer @ Home

My lovely bestie Nic and I are once again hosting BlogHer@Home this year.

I’m so appreciative to all our sponsors for their amazing giveaways (if you haven’t entered the prize giveaways yet, go now!)

BHAHPJs white BlogHer @ Home

For those that are here as part of our Blog Hop, welcome to my little corner of the universe!

If you don’t know me, I’m the mom to a special needs daughter, wife to an uber-geek, and I also do blog designs in my spare time.

Feel free to poke around.  You can read about how my daughter thinks cats taste like chicken, the time I schooled people on what people with a disability look like, or my reflections on owning my reputation as a bitch.

Or if you like a good ghost story, you can check out the tales of Sam.

Thanks for coming by!

Hard Core Canadian

It’s bloody cold here.  Again.

We’re expecting another snow storm here this weekend and it’s minus a-billion-and-seventy right now.

OK, it’s really only -22 °C (-8 °F), but still. It is COLD.

So, like any good Canadian, we go into hibernation.

That means cranking the furnace, adding a couple layers of clothes, and fattening up for the winter.

Which means making home made ice cream!

No, really!

This is a great winter craft. I swear.

Alright, maybe it’s not the *best* winter craft, but this is what separates the pansies from the hard core Canadians.

So, here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients Supplies
1 cup Milk 1 medium Ziploc freezer bag
1 tbsp Sugar 1 large Ziploc freezer bag
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional) measuring cup
6 tbsp Rock salt (or I just use Kosher Salt) measuring spoons
2 cups Ice cubes Mittens for the kids
  1. Into the medium Ziploc bag add the milk, sugar, and vanilla extract (if you’re using it). You can also add other flavorings like some Nestle Quick syrup or 1/2tbsp of cocoa powder. Or just use chocolate milk.
  2. Squeeze all of the air out of the Ziploc and seal it shut.
  3. Take the large Ziploc and add half the ice and half the salt.
  4. Put the sealed bag with the milk and other ingredients (now’s a good time to double check that it’s totally sealed) in the large Ziploc.
  5. Add the other half of the ice and salt.
  6. Seal the large bag shut.
  7. Double check to make sure it’s really sealed.
  8. Triple check so you’re not cleaning salt and ice off your floor.
  9. Put mittens on your kid.
  10. Hand them the bag of ice.
  11. Force them to shake it / roll it / smush it around for about 10 minutes so you they can have delicious ice cream.

Once the inner bag is becomes a frozen, solid-ish, ice creamy concoction, take it out of the bag of ice and salt. Wipe the bag down, or just rinse it quickly under the tap, so your ice cream doesn’t end up full of salt.

Cut the corner of the ice cream bag and squeeze it into cups for you your kids to enjoy.

Congratulate yourself on proving, once and for all, that you’re a total badass.

 Hard Core Canadian

I’ll Have What She’s Having…

I was chatting with Karen on Twitter last night when she told me about entering a sponsorship opportunity, hosted by An Island Life and on Barefoot Mommies, for BlogHer.

My jaw dropped at the amount. Energizer is offering $2000 sponsorship for BlogHer expenses. OMG. This is the stuff that dreams are made of!

My first thought was ‘Thanks Karen. Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into,” because, of course, now I have to enter it. That’s a lot of money when it comes to a conference on the other side of the continent and in another country. I know there’s no place like home, but who doesn’t want to experience NYC at least once?

So when I woke up this morning, I looked in the mirror and asked myself ‘Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”. Maybe.

But then again, what do I have to lose? I wish I had unlimited everything at my disposal, but it’s not like I’m Bond….James Bond or anything. And in lieu of a sports car with guns in it, $2000 would be awesome.

It would certainly help out more than just me. It’s not like I’m being greedy, even though greed, for lack of a better word, is good. $2000 would cover the room costs and give my three roomies some extra spending money too. Just think of how many martini’s $2K would buy (Shaken, not stirred, of course)

I could also use some of that money to buy a couple of Energizer Smart Chargers.  Because 4 people in a room, + 4 laptops, +4 cameras, + 4 cell phones, + 4 of a lot of other things = a lot of battery power.

But then I realized, Houston, we have a problem. I have to come up with something interesting enough to grab their attention.

I’m not the type to jump up and down on a couch screaming ‘show me the money!

I really don’t have any special amazing talents. It’s not like I see dead people (that’s Vista’s forte).

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

So, I’m really hoping An Island Life and on Barefoot Mommies read this post and immediately think “You had me at ‘hello’”.

But even if I don’t win, we’ll always have Paris NYC

**I’ve hate asking you guys to retweet anything for me, but I’m asking now, cause, OMG, $2000!  Could you let Kailani and BarefootMomma know that they should pick me for one of the sponsorship opportunities and use the hashtag #energizer?  I’ll love you forever!  xoxo**

 Ill Have What Shes Having...

Dollar Store Whore

A few weeks ago I threw caution to the wind and signed up for The Dollar Store Challenge hosted by JustOneMiss and DrawingCowboys. The challenge: Take $20, hit the local dollar store, pick out the coolest stuff you can find, send it to another blogger.

I drew Carrie’s name and so after a wee bit of research, off I went, with Vista in tow, to help pick out stuff (because I wanted to make the challenge a little more challenging).  There was a lot of V throwing stuff *she* wanted into the basket and me either getting a few more for Carrie’s girls or throwing it back on the shelf as soon as Vista moved on to some new treasure she had to have.  Yeah, my daughter is a dollar store whore like her mom.

Now like the perfect idiot I am, I totally forgot to take pictures before sending her parcel off to Carrie. I’m not so brilliant sometimes.  But I did manage to get some great stuff for her and, oh who am I kidding…95% of it was all for her girls. icon smile Dollar Store Whore

Today, I popped over to our mailbox, and what was waiting for me? My parcel from Nicole!!

We rushed home and tore the paper of the package.

The first score was the cool box she sent it in.  Vista loves boxes.  She collects them.  And she kept telling me how ‘pretty’ this one was (translation:  This is my box.  Throw it out and you will live to regret it)

thebox 229x300 Dollar Store Whore

After tearing the lid off, Vista immediately latched onto the ball that was in the box.  Because the only thing Vista likes better than boxes are …. yeah… I’m totally not finishing that sentence.

ball 299x300 Dollar Store Whore

She also tried to claim the coffee cup that Nicole sent.  We’re in negotiations over that one right now.  I say she’s too young for coffee.  She says she can ‘pretend’.  I guess she may as well start learning to fake it while she’s young.

coffeekid 247x300 Dollar Store Whore

There was a ton of wonderful stuff in the box for both V and I.  A huge box of chalk (which has already been dutifully dumped in her chalkboard tray), dominos, a travel Connect-4 game (I loved that game as a kid.  One of my favorites because I would always win.  Hey what’s the point in playing if not to win?), stickers, a little treasure box to decorate.  And my personal favorite?  A can of silly string.  It was so tempting to hit Bil with it when he walked in the door from work today, but somehow I managed to restrain myself.

loot Dollar Store Whore

There was one thing in the package that was undeniably for Vista, and that was the puzzle.  It had her name all over it.

vistapuzzle Dollar Store Whore

So a huge thank you to Nicole for all the wonderful stuff.  Love every bit of it.

This was a ton of fun and I’m hoping Miss and Kat do it again next year.  I’ll definitely be signing up.

OK, I Did It

I finally put together a site to showcase my website creation portfolio. I’ve also added some stock templates for sale.

Right now I only have WordPress templates, put I’ll be adding Blogger templates too.

So if you’re looking for a new blog design, you can look at the templates I have up. I’ll be adding more all the time.

That was a Vacation?

Every summer we take a week off to go camping with my parents, aunt, and uncle.  Each year we pick somewhere different to go and explore.

This year we decided to head out to McLeese Lake in BC.  I haven’t been there in twenty years or more.  This is the lake I was taught to canoe on, where I caught my first fish, where I first learned to drive a motor boat.  I have lots of good memories of being out there.

MikeAndV That was a Vacation?We left last weekend and started the 11 hour drive out to the lake.  Because we’re not sadists, we decided not to do the whole drive in one day.  Maybe we should have though.  Within an hour of being on the road, both Vista, and Bil’s son, Mike were sound asleep in the back of the car.  We stopped over night at the Best Western in Sicamous.  A very nice, clean hotel and, much to the delight of of the kids, it had a pool and hot tub.  Unfortuantely the resturaunts in Sicamous left something to be desired (meaning there’s not a decent one in the whole town).

We got up bright and early on Day 2 (thanks to Vista and her urge to wake up at 5am).  Just as we started bringing the suitcases back down to the truck when I looked at Bil.  “Did you unplug the cooler from the truck last night?”  “Shit.  No did you?”  Yeah…we drained the truck battery.  *headslap*   Thanks to roadside, they had our truck boosted before we even finished bring all the stuff down to the truck (why is it, once you have kids, you luggage quadruples?  More bags, toys, clothes, teddy bears, play pens and the list goes on and on and on)

VinLake That was a Vacation?We pulled into the campsite just before dinner.  We decided to stay in a cabin, rather than tenting it again this year, just for ease in dealing with a two year old.  Next year, we’ll be back to the tent, though.  Vista immediately made a beeline for the “big water”.  She spent most of the vacation there, throwing rocks in or wading and splashing.  She was in heaven.  She got quite the kick out of all the little minnows that would swim up nibble on her toes too.  I was surprised how good she was.  She was careful not to wade past a certain point unless one of us was holding her hand.  And she never wandered down to the lake without an adult.  She wasn’t however crazy about wearing her life jacket.  We’ll have to work on that. (BTW, if anyone’s looking for a very nice, barely used pink and purple life jacket, sized 20 – 30lbs let me know)

My cousin had brought her kids out for the week, so her son Richard and Mike buddied up and spent the whole week paling around which worked out great.  They decided to sleep out in a tent, which meant we weren’t tripping over a 16yr old in our tiny cabin (win!).  They spent most of the week charming the local kids and hanging out on the dock which kept them busy and out of trouble.  I may have laughed at him, though, for falling asleep on the dock one day and getting a nice sun burn.

Our first ‘crisis’ of the trip came when we discovered Vista’s DVD collection was missing.  While this might not be a big deal to other kids, when you have a child who is a creature of habit it was a major hitch.  Bil searched the truck.  I searched the truck.  My mom even came over and searched the truck.  No sign of them.  I finally resorted to downloading some episodes from Vista’s favorite shows onto my iTouch.  We did end up finding the DVD case eventually on the way home (somehow the had become wedged down bewteen the seats where we couldn’t see it).  We will now be backing up ALL the DVD’s, just in case.

Our real thrill though was getting capsized in the middle of the lake.  Yeah… as in falling out of a boat.  Vista had been asking to go for a boat ride, so my Dad grabbed a canoe and decided we would take her out for a ride.  I insisted Bil come with us, though and hold onto her in the boat.  I’m glad I did.  We had paddled around the lake, visited the loons (the birds, not the locals), and were headed back in when we encountered an asswipe driving a motorboat, who looked like he should be in an episode of Magnum P.I.  The Tom Selleck wannabe sped by us way too close going way too fast.  It was like slow motion as we realized there was no way we had time to swing the canoe around to face the wake.  The first wave rocked us as we continued to try in vain to get the canoe turned.  The second wave hit and then all you heard was a chorus of “Oh shit” as the canoe tipped and sent us all flying into the water.  Luckily Bil didn’t lose his grip on Vista (despite banging his arm on the canoe hard enough to leave a pretty good bruise).  And luckily we were all wearing life jackets.  The canoe was completely swamped, so we had to swim in.  Bil handed Vista to me and helped Dad drag the canoe back to shore.  The jerk in the boat?  Never even stopped to help.  People from shore saw what happened and ran for help.  I have to give huge props to my mom.  She hates lakes.  I mean hates as in refuses to even wade or get her feet wet.  And this lake starts getting weedy  about 10 feet out.  Another thing she can’t stand.  But when she saw I was starting to get hung up on the weeds while trying to tow Vista in she and another bystander ran into the water fully clothed and helped us in.

Luckily everyone was OK.  Vista was a little tramitized by the event.  She spent the next few days saying “I fall in water” and getting upset.  She refused to go down and play in the lake.  We decided we had to get her back in a boat and show her it was OK.  We didn’t want to use the canoe and risk it going over again, so my dad’s cousin brought thier pontoon boat over.  Vista was most unhappy about this at first, but once she realized it was OK and we weren’t going ‘swimming’ again, she settled into it.  By the time we got back she was feeling up to playing in the water again, so yay.

It wasn’t nearly as relaxing as I was hoping it would be.  Vista was fairly clingy (especailly after the dip in the lake), and so our plans of leaving her with my parents for the day and taking off on our own for a few hours went out the window.

All and all, though, we did have a good time.  It was nice to have Mike join us this year.  He was wonderful with Vista and very helpful in keeping an eye on her.  Now to start planning next years trip.

Yes, it’s Still Me

Yup.  New look.  Very different.  I was bored.  Deal.

Not sure this is exactly how it’s going to stay, but for now it’ll do

Thanks to Kellie for the new tagline!

The Princess is in Da House!

Last nights BlogHer@Home kicked off with some great giveaways and some amazing people.  And some really stupid trolls.  But we’ll continue to ignore them.  (FYI, we’ll be password protecting the chat tonight.  Details to come)

Thanks again to everyone who’s come out to support us in that.  We’ve had so much fun doing it. And a huge thanks to all the amazing sponsors.  Without you guys our party would have been really booooooooring.

Welcome to all the BlogHer@Home people doing our Blog Tripping party before chat kicks off tonight.  *waves*

I was hoping to put up my own blog design before y’all came a callin’ but sadly ran out of time.  So you’re stuck with stock templates instead.

A bit about me, for those who haven’t been privy to the whining for the past few months.  I’m a WAHM (work at home mom).  I have a 2yr old daughter who keeps us on our toes constantly.  My hubby is Bil.  If you want to know about Sharepoint, go talk to him here.

That’s about it in a nutshell.  Yeah, I’m really not that interesting a person.  I just play one on Twitter.

Oh, and too all those people who said I have an accent…. DO NOT  *PFFFFFFFTTTTTT*

(yeah, I’m also real mature like that)

Still Alive

“…Now these points of data
Make a beautiful line.
And we’re out of beta.
We’re releasing on time.”

“Still Alive”
Jonathan Coulton

That pretty much describe what I’ve been up too for the past week or so.

Nic and I have been working like mad on our BlogHer@Home site.  What is BlogHer@Home, you ask?  Well, first you have to know what BlogHer is.  Simply put it’s a community for women who blog. Every year they have a big conference that sells out.  Tickets are coveted, flaunted, and fought over.  This year it’s the place to be if you’re in Chicago on July 24/25.

Well, Nic and I aren’t going to BlogHer.  And that sucks.  Hearing people talk about it constantly was a total bummer until Nic came up with the brilliant idea of creating BlogHer@Home.  So we whipped up a site, and have been working to get our BlogHer@Home gals some AWESOME giveaways (can you say 5 pairs of pearl earrings and a new laptop five times really fast?  No, me neither.  But I do know where you can win both those things for free!)

In addition to keeping all that straight, I’ve been helping Heather and Megan get their Friends of Maddie site up.  This is a wonderful charity dedicated to the memory of Heather’s daughter, Madeline.  Their mission is to provide support to the families of critically ill babies in an effort to help ease the transition into NICU life and to be an ally until the end of their child’s hospital stay.  As a mom of a child who was in NICU and Special Care, I know how invaluable this support can be.  If you have a moment, please take the time to visit and support this important cause.

I’ll hopefully have another post up soon, assuming I can find time to write and be in bed before 1am.

Hugs to you all for all your wonderful love and support.  It really means the world to me.

Wordless Wednesday: Heritage Park

BilAndV Wordless Wednesday: Heritage Park

VOncarousel Wordless Wednesday: Heritage Park

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