Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking Care of Mama Mondays! Please join in!!!

Todays post fills me with shame...it shames me to no end to even admit to this, but I am obese, (my GOD how I hate that word)!!!  Around Christmas time, when I had my revelation that I needed to get onto the never ending "to do" list, I felt awful.  I was pretty darn close to the heaviest I've ever been.  I've never been attracted to junk food, but put a plate of cheese, crackers and bread in front of me and I'll eat the whole darn thing.  I've always been an emotional eater...when I'm troubled, bored, stressed, tired...and let me tell you, I've been pretty darn troubled, bored, stressed and tired these past few years.   I've spent my whole adult life being overweight...the weight I carry masks some pretty serious pain in my life, but I'm feeling like this is the time to come to terms with myself and I need to make the time to do this!

sorry folks...I'm not feeling brave enough to post my "before" pic tonight!

On Boxing day I cleaned my fridge...not just cleaned, but I had it sparkling clean.  I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards, (again to a sparkle), and then I filled my home with good, healthy food.  I joined an online weight loss group, (called Spark people), for support, and I started exercising again...putting myself up there on the "list".   In a month I'm down 12 pounds and soon I'll be classified as "overweight"...I have about 38 to go before I'm at a healthy weight.  The best part of it all is that I'm relearning how to eat...what a serving size looks like, making cooking wholesome food a priority, (and by taking care of myself, my family gets the benefit of some pretty amazing meals)! 
Taking care of our health is one of the most important things we can do as mamas. 

Please leave your link below if you're joining in this week.  You don't have to do it on a Monday to play along, just link to something inspiring that you do for yourself.  It can be as simple as carving out some time to knit or read, cleaning out your craft nook...something, anything that is for YOU and you alone!
Be brave mamas...take some time, (guilt free), to find yourself again!

xo maureen

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hanging Hearts!


Here's a super easy Valentine's inspired craft! 
Hanging hearts!


First make some heart templates.  Cut out hearts of varying sizes.


Trace onto cardstock...one big one and one slightly smaller...in 3 sizes, (and 2 of each size...a front and a back)
Cut them out...


and sandwich some tissue paper in the middle...put glue around the heart and press...


Put some string in between all the hearts...for hanging and you should end up with a little something like
THIS!


Don't be limited by red and pinks...go crazy with your colours...these are easy and really pretty to have hanging around the house...I think I'll keep them up until spring...we're deep in the heart of winter here and I need all the colour I can get!!

Happy Heart Making!!!
xo maureen

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Giving Tree ~ A Valentine For The Birds!




We have been in a deep freeze in our part of the world lately. It has been dipping down to -40 during the night and our daily goal is just to keep our wood heated house warm!
Brrrr.....
We have a feeder outside our window and enjoy watching the birds come to eat all winter long. With this crazy cold though, we decided to make them a more elaborate and rich gift of food ~ a "giving tree" with a Valentines flare!


We made pine cone feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and then rolling them in birdseed.
Be warned ~ this is a crazy messy craft and should (as I learned too late) be done on newspaper with old clothes on!


 We made birdseed hearts.
We created these feeders by cutting hearts out of corrugated cardboard, slathering them in peanut butter and then sprinkling on birdseed. Again oh so messy ~ seems the messier the merrier though ;)


We re-used our Christmas tree in the backyard ~ so much fun to decorate it all over again!
  
All smiles despite the cold. A true Canadian girl!


We  put on baskets of love ~ a grapefruit half filled with cranberries.


Seedalicious hearts


Bread hearts


   Pine cone feasts

There is is...

~ Our Giving Tree ~
         Naming our tree was inspired by the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ~ one of         my most loved stories growing up and an absolute favorite in our home!



Together we are enjoying the array of friends finding their way to our tree. Luna loves waiting and watching for a closer glimpse of our beautiful friends ~ flying and feasting on our offerings!

Here's to feeding our fine feathered friends

~Shanti~







Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking Care of Mama Monday! Please join in!


 Years ago at a womans gathering I recall one of our older mama friends musing about her feet.  There were tears in her eyes, as she talked about having calloused and rough feet, because she just never found the time to take care of herself.  I always remember this moment, because I'm so guilty of not taking the time out of my day to pamper myself in little ways.  I can feel the toll of neglect on my feet...my big toes have huge callouses on them...I have foot pain, (that comes and goes), and my toenails are in a horrendous state of disrepair, (and also have remnants of nail polish on them from the summer of 2010)!   These feet of mine carry me through my day, they help me run after my children, play and dance...they've carried the weight of 2 children and have helped me walk endless miles.
So...my new committment to myself...start taking care of these beautiful feet of mine. 


Here's a recipe I found for a basic foot scrub...it made my feet feel heavenly and soft!
1/4 cup ground oatmeal
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp sea salt
3 drops peppermint oil, (optional)
*Mix with water to form a paste and massage it onto your feet...get it between your toes and all over, love those feet up!


Afterwards, rub in your favourite moisturizing cream and put on some thick socks!  This took about 5 minutes out of my day, but I'm feeling some serious self love here!

"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art."
-Leonardo da Vinci

Please join in our Monday linkalong!  You don't have to do this on Monday to play along...be kind to yourself any day of the week, or every day of the week because darnit...YOU deserve it!!!

xo maureen




Friday, January 21, 2011

Love n' Acorns

With Valentines day approaching...
 I wanted to share these nature inspired ~ love offerings.
Hope you enjoy!

To create you will need
Modeling beeswax
Fimo clay
Acorn tops
Walnut shells

We created some of our love filled acorns with modeling beeswax ~ warming it in our hands until it became malleable ~ then shaping it into acorns and adding our acorn caps.

  
The beeswax is so lovely to work with.

We also created them with fimo clay, following the same idea of warming the clay in our hands and then shaping.


After they were shaped to the acorn cap, we took the cap off and baked (according the the package instructions) then glazed. When all was dry we glued on our caps. This clay is incredibly durable after the baking and glazing process.


We roasted our walnuts at 225 F for about an hour ~ works like magic for easy opening! Next we scraped out the meat (and nibbled...nibbled...nibbled...so good!)

We placed our love acorns into the hollowed walnuts shells...


 adding a small sweet love note to the other half of the shell.


We then tied up our walnut acorn treasures for valentine gifting.
Love to spread the LOVE!


Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.  To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.  To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Big love to you all

~ Shanti  ~

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Gnome" is where the heart is!

Valentine's day is around the corner...time to bring out the love inspired crafts!  Last night I decided to make some little Valentine gnomes!  So so simple.  Using the Wee Folk Art gnome pattern, and some red and pink wool felt, I simply embellished, sewing a little heart onto their body. 


Of course they need some toadstools to dine on...using wooden hearts for plates, and then wooden plugs, (found at home depot), I painted wee little toadstools...just perfect for a romantic gnome feast!


This was a quick and easy craft to whip up for the kids...a sweet little addition to the nature table, or playscape!

And...here's a bonus...I just discovered this song the other day...if you're a gnome enthusiast like me, it'll make you smile.
David Bowie's "the laughing gnome"
here's a version with the words...so you can see the clever little things the gnomes are saying!
enjoy!


xo maureen


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yarn Along


I LOVE participating in the Yarn Along...I'm a bit of a slow knitter, so I don't participate weekly, but every now and then when the stars are aligned properly I have a chance to knit & read something new and exciting!
Okay...knitting hats is getting kinda old...but I'm knitting a new hat!  I'm not using anything special...plain 100% wool bought from our local V&S Stedmans.  It's going to be a touque for a friend, probably with a stripe in the middle somewhere.  I swear to you all, this is the LAST hat I'm knitting for awhile. 
And books...
Ruby is reading the Meanwhile Adventures by Roddy Doyle...she says it's a great read...every few chapters she needs to stop to keep me up to speed...trust me, that means it's good!
And for Mama...Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.  Recommended by my blog partner Shanti, (as one of those life changing reads)...I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm hooked, and I think this will be one of those books that will help open me to the possibilities of my life. 
Can't wait to see what you're all reading and creating!
xo maureen


Monday, January 17, 2011

Taking care of Mama Monday!!! Please join in!

So...I hope some of you feel compelled to join me for my "Taking Care of Mama" Mondays!  I'm thinking we'll do this for the next 6 weeks...starting today!  The whole idea is to take some time out to do something wonderful that is just for YOU!!!  This doesn't mean that you will neglect your children, or your spouse, or family pets.  I know that you can do it all, (and then some).  The whole point of this is just to put yourself on the map...maybe you already do this well...in which case you can guide some of us along...or maybe, like me, this is a new thing for you...explore it and share your adventures in self care. 

This is Rubys drawing of me running...I know what you're thinking...nice butt!!

One thing I think we so often don't talk about on our blogs is the importance of exercise, (not just for our children but for US!!!)  Trust me...I've thought of every reason in the world to not exercise...little energy, too much to do, guilt of leaving my family to do something for me!  These are also JUST the reasons TO exercise!!!  I've recently started back on the road to feeling good and getting fit, I now make exercise a priority.  After supper, when Keith is home and I have the freedom to leave the house, I put on my coat and boots and head outside for a 30-40 minute walk, run or cross country ski, (depending on the mood and the weather)!  It's just me and the world.   Not only is it a chance for me improve my physical health,  but I return home feeling refreshed and renewed!   
I used to feel so guilty about leaving Keith after he's just come home from work to go out to be by myself...I would stay home and be grumpy and irritable, because I was at home all day being consumed by the busyness of little ones.  How silly?!   Now I declare my evening exercise times a guilt free zone.

To thyself be KIND!

xo maureen

If you plan on playing along, please leave your link below, (or a comment)...it can even be a picture of you doing something truly kind for yourself...and even if you don't link along...I just want to plant the seed of self kindness...to let you know that it's alright, THIS is your permission slip!





Friday, January 14, 2011

Toadstool Plant Pokes


With the depths of winter fully upon us here ~ I have been craving some "new life" for our indoor space.

These spun-cotton toadstools that the crafts dept. inspired, seemed like the perfect fit!

To create you will need

Thin cardboard (an old cereal bow works great)
Low-loft cotton batting
Tape
White and red paint
Bamboo skewers
Modpodge

 ~ To begin ~
 For the toadstool cap, cut a circle from your cardboard, then cut a pie wedge out of the circle. 


Fold the circle onto itself at the wedge and tape. 


To make the toadstool stem ~ roll a rectangle of cardboard and tape to secure. Next tape the stem into the toadstool cap (be forewarned it seemed to take quite a bit of tape to get it secure!)


Place loose cotton stuffing on toadstool to build up the top of the cap.
 Tear a circle shape from cotton batting, leaving a long tail. Place circle on cotton batting and pull around the cap; wrap batting tail tight around the top of the stem (tucking when needed) to secure ~ this seems to give your toadstool some great gills! Continue wrapping the tail down the stem adding more batting if necessary. 




Insert a skewer into the stem.  
Mix your white acrylic paint with a little water and paint the toadstool.




Let it dry ~




 Then paint your cap red, followed by the white spots when the red is dry.
Finally add a coat of modpodge for sheen and strength.

There it is ~ a ray of spring to cheer us along in this season of cold and quiet.


Poke it into your favorite potted plant and await the fairies that will be enticed to come frolick...

 ~ Thought I might try out some other mushrooms ~ 


The toadstool still has me smitten though!


These now live among our indoor plants, reminding me that spring shall be greeting me with her fresh face soon...

Wishing you
 where ever you are in this big wonderful world
a season of warmth and wonder!
~ Shanti ~ 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Money Saving Craft Project!

Like countless other families we are struggling with debt issues...we live paycheque to paycheque and there is no room in our lives for when things go wrong, (and when they do...like the time our car just refused to start...we panic).  I've decided that I need to get a good solid handle on our finances.  I am starting to tackle our debt one debt at a time.   Part of this plan of mine means that I need to set limits on our spending...it means that I need to set an amount that we can afford to spend on gas, groceries and fun money.  The problem with using your debit card is that unless you keep meticulous records, you have no idea how much money you're spending.  I need to get control...so I came up with a craft that can help me!


These are my new money wallets.  I made one for "groceries" one for "gas" and one for "spending"...the "spending" one is basically whatever we want that doesn't fall beneath the other 2 catagories...magazines, movies, books, yarn, etc...  As soon as we get paid I'm going to fill these with what we've decided we can afford...and when the moneys gone...well, so be it!  Livin' on cash baby!!!!

Now...I'm going to give a brief tutorial on how I made these, but I am not the worlds best sewer...I am not the ideal person to teach you how to install a zipper!  There are other wonderful sewers out there who have tutorials on how to do such things...if you need  the extra help, google can be your best friend!  You could also run out to the dollar store and buy some plain pencil cases and embellish to your hearts delight, (but since we're trying to save money here, and you probably already have fabric, zippers, thread, etc...here's the DIY)!


First I got some lovely prints out of my stash...I wanted each wallet to have a different print.  Then using a business envelope, I traced a rectangle onto the fabric.  Taking an iron I pressed down a 1/2 inch seam at the top.  Then I pinned on the zipper...like so.  You will need to use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to sew on the zipper.  Good luck!!!


Next I got out some plain white ribbon from my stash as well as my alphabet stamps.  I stamped onto the ribbon the words, "groceries", "gas" and "spending".  Of course you can stamp on whatever works for your family.


Then I blanket stitched each one onto the wallet.


Sew up the side seams and bottom, I'm sure you can do it straighter than me!


And your fancy new "wallets" are ready to use!  I plan on keeping mine in my purse, as I'm the main shopper in the house.  I plan on giving Keith my debit card too, so there will be no impulse buying going on, (oh, and the credit cards will be chillin' on ice)!  I would love to start a discussion on how to curb personal debt...I know I'm not alone in this! 

Spending in moderation
xo maureen



Monday, January 10, 2011

A Year of Self Kindness...


I've deemed 2011 my year of self kindness.  Perhaps I should urge you to do the same.
Like most young women, (and women in general), I am usually at the bottom of the priority list.  I make sure that everyone else in the house is taken care of, have what they need, and I typically do without.  By the time December hit, I felt totally burnt out...I realize that I'm overweight, unhealthy, angry, impatient and just plain "fried".  I was haunted by the image of my own father, who died from a fatal heart attack, (this heart attack came after a prior heart attack years earlier...he refused to go see a doctor, or get healthier).  Needless to say, I'm having what we call a "mid thirties crisis", or what I like to call "a wake up"!

Now, if you're wondering what a new hat has to do with this journey of self kindness, I'll tell you!
I've knit everyone in my family a hat...including my own mother...I even knit her a scarf to match.  I decided that I am worthy of a lovely hand knitted hat myself, and so I took my best yarn and knitted myself the hat of my dreams.  I have been wanting a "slouchy" hat for some time now...here it is slouchy...


And here it is as a tight fitting hat, with the rim rolled up!


I LOVE my new hat.  If you're wondering what I used it was 2 balls of Noro...Silk Garden, Colour No 211.
I have been hanging onto this for about a year now...thinking it was too nice to just make a hat out of.

Oh...we are so silly sometimes.  So, this year I urge you to take some time out to take care of yourself.  I've realized that the old saying is so true...if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. 
I'm thinking of starting a self kindness link every Monday...I hope you'll join me!  It will be a space where you can link to your own posts about being kind to yourself...let's start a revolution mamas!

Here's to a brand spankin' New Year!!!
xox maureen

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