Saturday, October 31, 2009

ikaya webisode 2

Spooktacular edition. Kaya *loves* to read your comments about it, so please speak up (or type up or whatever)

And btw I've been trying to upload this all day and had so many errors. I'm so relieved it finally worked!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I heart faces - dress up

I haven't had time to join in I heart faces for a few weeks, but just now the older 2 are in the neighbors house and the younger two are napping! Wow. It's quiet!

So I get to play this week. It's "dress up" week. I don't have any good halloween pics, so I used this one of butterfly Lana baby.

Go check out more at I heart faces

Tot Talk Tuesday

Zoe was pointing up at the cupboard in the kitchen frantically requesting "chicken pox". I know she hasn't had chicken pox yet, and it would be preferable for her to get them in childhood...but why is she soooo desperate to get chicken pox right now and why does she think they're in the kitchen cupboard?

Through a process of elimination we finally determined that the chicken pox to which she was referring was in fact a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I guess it sounds similar...if you say it 3 times fast.

She also calls cheese puffs "cheese pox".

Kaya and I have been working on paper mache projects this week. When I announced, "I need to go put a layer on my paper mache", Zoe, the ever possessive one competed with me, "No, *I* want to make paper nap-say".

In a similar tone, when I was walking through the grocery store, reading my list aloud as I searched for cauliflower, Zoe misheard me and contested, "No, it's *MY* flower". Apparently I mumbled it because Rene also misheard me and thought I was looking for "Molly's Dower". He assumed it was some weird herb or homeopathic thing but was baffled as to why I was looking for it in the freezer section. D'Oh.

The paper mache I was working on was a dragon mask for Kaya's halloween costume. She is going to be the America Dragon. Her dad has been spending weekends at the sewing machine (I can't sew to save myself) while I worked on the mask. Zoe came up up observe me and saw how sticky it all looked. "Is that sticky?". "Yes Zoe, I'm making Kaya's mask. She is going to be a dragon". "Yeah. She's going to be a sticky dragon!"


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

And please do join in! The more the merrier!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mary is with jesus

Mary, who I asked you to pray for died today.

Please pray for her family, her 10 beautiful kids she left behind.

I have no other words right now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday

This time I wrote stuff down! woohoo.

First was just how Zoe call a light bulb a "white bald". Which it kind of looks like, so it makes sense.

Second, Zoe and Lana were playing a game where Lana was the baby and Zoe was the mommy.

Lana cries, "mommy, I want to go to bed"
Zoe tucks her in bed.
"Mommy, I need a kiss"
Zoe kisses her.
"Mommy, I want a story"
"Okay." She opens her hands out as a pretend book. "Once upon a time there was a wittle bug. Azzowitty a doo doo. Dudajiddy. Vee end."
Lana cries. "waa waaa. No, that was a short story. I want a long story".
"Okay. Once upon a time there was a wittle long. Azzowitty a doo doo. Dudajiddy. Vee end."


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

And please do join in! The more the merrier!

ikaya webisode 1

Kaya is on an icarly kick and wanted her own shot at fame. Her Uncle Doug has been enthusiastic to help.

Here's episode 1 for your enjoyment (the first bit is gross...)

One adult, two kids to Where the Wild Things Are please

I got to say that today.

We had a pretty busy weekend. Yesterday we went to the API meeting, then had a quickie burrito then out to the pumpkin patch with some lovely people and spent a few hours in the cold having fun and picking pumpkins. It was a great day, other than this one part where we went in a fake medieval castle, thinking it was some sort of play house, but when we got inside it was crowded, single file, the walls were narrow and hugging and it was so dark you could hardly see a thing. Rene wasn't there with us, Zoe ran off ahead and I couldn't find her, I was claustrophobic and Lana was so scared she was shuffling at baby speed. Zoe eventually comes back to me with Kaya, both are terrified and Kaya is freaking out. We get to this tilted room with strobe lights and you feel nauseated and like you're going to fall. You are supposed to go through this small doorway into some tunnel with spiraling strobe lights and (according to Kaya) a "Darth Vadery voice". But Kaya was about having a panic attack. And to be honest, I was about to as well.

Thankfully my friend is a take charge kind of gal and she managed to get all the single file folks to squash up in the dark tunnel while we squeezed our way back out the wrong way. I had Turtle in the sling and Zoe on my other hip. It was squashy. Then we got out and saw light and breathed oxygen and it was wonderful.

The rest of the day went well. We did some grocery shopping then went home, exhausted, just to find our neighbors were having a fire pit gathering and offering free beer. So the kids all played and we sat out and chatted and laughed for hours. It was fun.

Unfortunately, that castle really scared Zoe so much she had night terrors about it all night. She kept waking up saying things like, "it's too dark", "Mummy scared me" and "buzz lightyear scared me" (there was a painted buzz lightyear in one of the dark rooms). I feel very badly for her.

Today Rene stayed home with the two littlest monkeys while I took the bigger monkeys out for a girls treat to Where the Wild Things Are. I have been soooo looking forward to this movie. And it didn't disappoint me. I felt a bit naked without Turtle and his noisy big sis, but I also really cherished having time with just the older two. My mum was a single mum for a while to my brother and I. I remember her asking for, "one adult, two kids" frequently. There was such a novelty in it today, peaceful, quality time with the big girls.

And I was happy to come home to my hungry little babies who missed their mum, and completely, utterly trashed the house while I was gone. I mean seriously, how much damage can a 1 year old, 2 year old and almost 31 year old really do in a 3 hour span? A heck of a lot of damage. It will take me all week to clean it up. Oh well. I hope they enjoyed the process.

We got a few other things accomplished today (like making an amazing pumpkin custard recipe mmmmm and starting some sauerkraut) and I'm so pooped now. It's after midnight. Darn, I still haven't got round to editing photos. I haven't finished August yet never mind Sep or Oct. It was on the agenda today. I guess it'll have to be later...I'm going to bed. Don't come visit me tomorrow because I plan to be in my jammies all day thank you very much.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smile at the kids

You know how in life we find people we sort of idolize and admire and strive to be like? And then we also find people who...well, we learn how not to do things.

I won't name names here, because that would be nasty. But back when Kaya was a little cutie and Lana was a teeny baby and I had no idea what was in store for me when I grew up, there was a family at our church full of kids with attitude. These kids were..what's the euphemism again these days...spirited? They were that. And the mother was perpetually running around after them, giving them a row (for you Americans that means yelling at them).

I remember occasionally they'd do something I thought was sweet, like they'd stand up on their chair during the songs and sing at the top of their lungs and clap their hands and I'd turn around to smile, thinking it would be good to encourage them. But as I turned around I'd see their Mum snapping at them and making them sit down and shut up. I guess she perceived the loud singing as mischievous. And the kids fed off the negative attention and went berserk. And I wondered to myself if she had responded with a smile and encouragement, maybe they'd stay on their seats and sing, albeit noisily, instead of running all around the church hall and unplugging the amplifier speakers. Because it seems that reacting to your child as though they are being malicious places a label on the child, and a role that goes along with it which the child will most certainly oblige to fulfill. I told myself I'd never fall into that trap.

Fast forward 5 years or so and here I am with my own "spirited" family. And all too often I find my kids doing something they believe to be innocent and giggling away, and I respond with snapping and yelling and warning and then spend the rest of the day scratching my head and wondering why the kids are so mischievous today. What possibly could have set them off?

So my challenge for this week, which will hopefully help form a lasting habit, is to simply smile at my kids more.

Whenever I make eye contact with them, smile. When they ask me a question, smile while I answer. When I serve up a meal, smile at them. When I catch them taking dirt out of the plant pot without it occurring to them that I might not be entirely pleased with such antics, first smile at them before correcting.

The theory is that by smiling I am firstly calming myself down and reminding myself that it's not as big a deal as I think it is in the moment, and in doing so I am modeling positive behavior and self control and peaceful outlook.

Secondly I am giving the kids the benefit of the doubt by smiling. I'm assuming they are innocent and just need to be reminded of the boundaries. Most often that is the case. And children and adults alike respond much better when they are given the benefit of the doubt. It's the whole catch more flies with honey thing.

Thirdly I am setting up the tone of the dialog that's to follow. If I notice Kaya and Lana have pulled off my freshly made bedsheets to make a tent in the dining room (as a random example) and I approach them waving my arms and pointing fingers and complaining that "I just made this bed and now I'll have to do it all over again!", they are likely to respond in two ways, since they have two very different temperament types. Kaya will start yelling at me in the same tone I used on her. She'll find some (usually valid) accusation to throw right back at me and then she'll storm off and slam the door. Lana will feel dejected and scared and will go to her bed sucking her thumb and twisting her hair until she falls asleep. Neither are very desirable. It won't make it any easier for me to make the bed, and we'll all feel like losers.

If however, I see what they're doing and I make myself smile. They will see that I accept them and will welcome what I have to say. I will be more likely to say something calm like, "I'm glad you are having fun. In future though, I wish you wouldn't use my bedsheets without asking first" and they are likely to say, "ok mum". I might follow it up with, "Could you please help me to make it again as soon as you're finished your game?" And they will probably agree. The smile makes a nice warm starting point, reminds me to be more accepting and gentle, and it helps my children feel more accepted and are more likely to react positively to my suggestions.

It's about stopping the vicious cycle of complaining and moaning and yelling before it even starts.

Plus, smiling is good for you. It exercises the muscles on your face, lightens your mood and makes you feel good. It makes you look prettier too. So join me in smiling at your kids, or your customers or even...(gasp) your husbands this week. :)

I was trying to find a clip from Ally McBeal when John Cage does his smile therapy but I can't find one. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Please pray

Let me tell you something about my friend Mary who I met online a year or two ago.

When most people read about an injustice in a news story they shake their heads and tut and maybe post about it on facebook. Mary looks up an address to write to and takes action.

When most people see poor families struggling in their town, they feel badly for them. They might try to find time to donate clothing to the goodwill store then pat themself on the back for a good deed well done. Mary starts up an organization to help feed and clothe and shelter needy people of all ethnic backgrounds and works her darndest at it and does amazing things as the hands and feet of Jesus.

When most people are diagnosed with advanced lung cancer...ok most people do not ever receive such bad news. Most people have no idea what they'd do in such a situation. But I can imagine they'd feel gutted and defeated and scared. Mary is in this situation now. But she refuses to accept defeat. She has a strong faith in God and she believes in miracles and believes He has another plan.

Mary has 10 children and is pregnant with number 11. The cancer has spread violently. The have no health insurance. They have young children who need their mommy. And you could never imagine a better mom than Mary. She is attached, loving, giving, gentle and patient. She models how to be an amazing Christian servant.

I debated with myself whether to even make this post. Because Mary is adamant that we not feel sorry for her, and that we stay positive. And because I don't want to seem to be sensationalizing a very real situation in this beautiful family's life. But she does value our prayers, particularly prayers for healing. And the more people are moved by her story, the more people will pray! And that has to turn some heads in Heaven. Please join me in praying for Mary, for a miracle, and for strength for her whole family right now.

Updates posted here

Matthew 18v 19
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. "

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Tot Talk Tuesday

Ok, shame on me. Yet again, I haven't written stuff down. I've got to get the whiteboard up again and start writing them. I know Zoe had a whopper for me this week and I remember thinking it would be perfect material and there was no way I could forget it...but then I did.

So instead I'll talk about how much a tot can express without using any words at all.


My darling little cutie baby boy. He doesn't have very many words yet. But he's a typical boy who loves his sound effects. He makes this one sound effect...I can't figure out how to type's the satisfied "ahhhhh" sound you make after drinking a nice cold drink. Like right before you wipe our mouth with your sleeve. You know the sound I mean? (How do you spell that?)

It's absolutely adorable when he pops off after a big drink of Mummy milk with a drunken look and does the *insert satisfied ahhhh sound here* noise. I know he has a full tummy and he enjoyed his milk.

But he does it in other circumstances too. Like if he's been trying to communicate that he wants his jacket off, but we've had a hard time figuring out what he wants. Then we finally work it out and take off his jacket and he'll go, *insert satisfied ahhhh sound here*.

Or if he's fighting with Zoe and he manages to get the toy from her (usually back from her, since she probably stole it from him in the first place) he'll celebrate his success with a *insert satisfied ahhhh sound here*.

His latest terrorist activity has involved pulling my power cable out from the back of my laptop. He knows it winds me up and knows he's cute enough to totally pull it off. And he rubs it in with *insert satisfied ahhhh sound here* while he waves the cable about.

And darn it, ya know, he's right. He is cute enough. He can pull my cable out any day, with a face like this.


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

And please do join in! The more the merrier!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So many things I want to blog about

...but don't have the time.

Like, I wanted to post about the screaming and fit throwing my daughter (no prizes for guessing which one) did at the homeschooling co-op today, while everyone else's kids seem to manage to just sit and make crafts quietly.

Or about how Turtle had his first temper tantrum today because I cut up his sandwich and he apparently wanted it whole. And how it was such a boyish temper tantrum and was so cute I had to do all I could to stop from laughing. About how he was thumping and rolling around on the floor, flopping around. Of course I was respectful, and didn't laugh, and gave him the sympathy and comfort he needed (although it was Kaya who was successful at calming him in the end. She's my mini mom).

Or about how I sat for an hour today untangling a kite string and then took the kids out to the park just to get chased off by a massive mob of bees after just a few minutes.

I wanted to post about how incredibly far behind I am with photo editing, because I've had too many other projects to do, and how much I miss just taking photos and editing them. Just for me.

But I can't just now. Because it's almost 1am, I'm having an unplugged day tomorrow, and I'm absolutely exhausted.

Night night all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday

First, a brag. Turtle is starting to say rudimentary versions of "mum", "bye", "what's that" and "more"

Zoe, I can't remember any specifics. She's mostly just been screaming this week rather than actually doing the civilized talking thing. (Going through a bit of a rough phase - please God, let it be a phase!)

But I did want to give instructions on how to speak Zoe.


There are 2 main rules and 1 overwrite rule.

The 1st main rule:

Add "I fink" before you say something. Even if it's an objective statement, adding "I fink" pads out the sentence and makes you sound bigger.

For example. Don't just say, "we're going to the park", but rather, "I fink we're going to the park". Replace, "Dora is on the tv" with, "I fink Dora is on the tv".

If it doesn't quite fit in to the structure, be creative: "Wook at dat squishy bug" can be rearranged as such, "Wook. I fink dat's a squishy bug".

2nd main rule:

To make you sound more like a grown up, stick the word, "today" on the end of as many phrases and sentences as possible. Even if you don't actually understand what the word today means. It doesn't matter, it still sounds good.

For example, "I fink dat's the kitty, today", or, "I fink I can't find my shoes today", or "I fink I want some cereal today".

You're well on your way to talking just like Zoe! Now if the above two methods fail to make you sound like Zoe, there is one overwriting rule. It's all to do with intonation and volume. Any sentence you speak, especially if it's a request or demand, raise your voice increasingly until the end of the sentence is at a peak for volume (see Fig 1.1 below). This will take skill and practice to get as good as Zoe. But she practices a lot, many many times a day.

Fig 1.1

You've got to ration it out perfectly, so think about your sentence in advance of vocalizing it. It really is an art form. Start of soft, and smoothly increase volume in even increments, so that by your final word, you have reached peak decibel, and you're sure to get some sort of reaction. It's very effective, particularly when out in public somewhere with your mum, where she's feeling embarrassed or flustered.

So there you have it. You now know how to speak just like Zoe. Have fun rehearsing.


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

And please do join in! The more the merrier!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Layouts - with purchase incentive

I went from making about 5 digital scrap layouts per year, average, to making 7 just today. I'm a bit wiped out now!

I was using my 2 new kits to make these layouts, to help promote the kits and give some examples for how they can be used.

I also wanted to give some incentive to buy said kits, by offering a freebie if you purchase one of my kits and make a layout. If you send me ( e-mail a layout you make using my Tree Hugger or Scribble page set any time through October 09, I will send you a free one of these:

The first 5 will also get a free one of these.

Good deal, right? Spread the word about it. Post about it on your blog or on a digi scrapping message board. The offer is only good this month.

So, here are the layouts (you can view the larger sizes here if you so wish). Then I'm going to bed and having an unplugged day tomorrow, so don't bother to try to call me. :) I'm just giving the kids my undivided attention all day, then my brother is coming over in the evening. Should be fun.

Have a good weekend, peeps.

Designing again! Look at the pretties

I've been really nervous about this....

I used to design digital scrapbook kits. Back when they were first coming out. I designed with Scrapbook-elements for a long time and then moved on to designer digitals, with a break in the middle while I ran a different design business. Then I retired when I moved to the States and has another baby. I figured it was a good time to just focus all my energies on my young family.

Anyway, I was recently given the honor of being asked by the wonderful Stacy Carlson of Gotta Pixel to be guest designer for the month of October.

I thought, sure, it can't be that difficult, right? But man, it's been a while since I've done this and it was a lot harder than I remembered. I've stayed up late a whole bunch and ditched loads of ideas and things I worked on because it was just not looking right. The industry has changed so much in just a few short years, and it's been a real challenge for me to come up with 2 kits.

But eventually, I did. These are digital scrapbooking kits, containing things like papers, brush sets and little elements to help you make your own digital scrapbook layout. It's all downloadable, no physical papers or anything. I put a lot of work into these, and I'm satisfied to see them up for sale here .

This one is Tree hugger. Earthy tones, greens and browns, lots of eko friendly symbolism and word art phrases.

And scribble. A cutesy, pinky, girly kit with a kid's art theme. Also some chalked art background papers. This kit includes a quick page that you just slide your photos into and add text if you want and voila, an instant layout.

The kits only $3.50 each. Which won't break the bank. Buy here

If you buy the kit and make a layout, please send me the link. I'd love to post your layout on here, and throw in something free for you. I'm not sure what yet, but something digital scrapbooky.

I'm also working on a couple of cute things for their Gotta Grab it October sale, which is well worth getting in on. Watch this space.

Anyway, this has been exciting and fun, thank you Stacy for the opportunity.