Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No. 50: Re-evaluate My Schedule

And it is a crazy schedule.

A few months back, I became involved in the committee for VOBB (Voice of Bonne Bay) Community Radio.

Currently, VOBB airs only part-time (for example during the upcoming Trails, Tunes, and Tales Festival). The committee is trying to make the station more official and more ongoing. Great idea! Great Committee!

BUT, I just don't have the time and I really feel I don't have the passion or energy to continue with it.

So, this morning I "resigned" with the following letter:

Dear VOBB folks,

Thank you for welcoming me to your committee only a few short months ago when I expressed my interest. I appreciate your patience with me while I'm unable to attend the meetings in person and am often preoccupied on the phone-line with my crazy 3-year old.

With the summer approaching, business picking up speed, renovations happening at our store, agenda items piling up at the Town Council, that 3-year old to entertain, and baby #2 on the way, etc....I am simply finding I have neither the time nor the energy to commit to VOBB in the way I had hoped. I don't like to be involved in anything half-heartedly! And so, it is with regret that I must take leave of the committee.

As the Town Clerk in GBS and an active member in the community, please feel free to contact me should you need help and I will assist in whatever capacity I can. I believe I am scheduled for a little interview on the radio during the TTT festival - and I am hoping to attend some of the events this year.

Once again, thank you so much for the opportunity to be involved with VOBB. I wish you continued success and hope to see (and hear!) plenty more from you in the future.

Most Sincerely,
Myrna Hynes

Item No. 50 = DONE!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chocoholics Top 10

I'm working in the store today.
I am surrounded by chocolates and candies and sugary treats of all sorts.
My will-power is definitely losing the battle.
This makes me think:
"Self, it's about time you shared another list."
This one is actually in perfect relation to my blog title.
That doesn't happen too often around here.

My all-time FAVORITE candies!
(and by candies, I mean mostly chocolate, of course!)
In no particular order because I don't want to come off as having candy-prejudice:

#1. The one-cent sour candy that you can VERY RARELY buy anymore...sometimes at "The Bulk Barn". Seeing them makes my brain do sugary sommersaults and I have to do a little dance in the middle of the store. No lie. The purple ones are the best.

#2. Cadbury Easter Creme Eggs: Is it because they only come out at Easter that makes them even yummier? The fact that when March rolls around you remember sitting on your couch in October DYING for one...and then you have to buy by the dozen (just like REAL eggs)? My friend Vicki knows I love them so much she even put some in with my baby shower gift for baby #1.

#3. Lowney Cherry Blossoms. You can get these any time of year in the single bar-size (approx 45g) OR you can buy the mini ones in packages at Christmas. (Of course, I can eat the entire package). These are best kept in the freezer.

#4. Ferrero Rocher. My absolute favourite "holiday chocolate". I'm so happy they're not just out at Christmas in tree shaped packaging. But also in heart-shapes for Valentines and Bunny-shapes for Easter and just plain square packaging almost all year round. Mmmmm!

#5. Neilson Macaroons and Rosebuds: I'm grouping these together in the same category because I can't pick up one box without the other. And then I open both boxes and alternate between eating them. These are also best when refrigerated.

#6. Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Yes, I can sit and eat a hand-full of these, just the same as any other candy. Shameful? Yes, I know.

#7. Hazelnut bars. Hazelnuts being my favourite nut, if there's hazelnuts in it, it's definitely a favourite. If the hazelnuts are surrounded in dark chocolate, then it's even better!

#8. Creamy orange-filled or ganache-filled chocolates like the ones in Pot of Gold or at Laura Secord or Godiva. Yummy Yummy Yum!

#9. Mom's Recipe for Homemade Fudge...ooey gooey yummy. So yummy, in fact, I can sit and eat the entire batch. (shhh...don't tell anyone I just admitted that).

#10. Neilson Chocolate Chunks. Remember those? They were 25 cents back in the day and came in Solid, Caramel (my personal fav), or peanut. Where did they go? They were so awesome, I still think about them sometimes....sigh!
There is a facebook page devoted to "Bringing back Chunks" - Now there's a group worth getting into!

I'm ending at 10 because my chocoholism seems especially ridiculous after that - but trust me, I could go on.
What's your favourite?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Beginnings of my Stash

Since deciding to cloth diaper baby #2, I've become absolutely obsessed with ALL things related to cloth diapering. Seriously obsessed - just ask the hubster, he's worried about me, I'm certain of it!

I admit it was VERY overwhelming at first but I'm a research junkie so the constant online searching didn't bother me one little bit.
I've learned about all of the different varieties of cloth diapers out there - from prefolds to fitteds to pockets to AIO's and AI2's.

I've learned about the available fabrics - cotton, hemp, bamboo, flannel, terry - and the wetness barrier options - PUL, ZORB, wool, fleece.

I've learned about the best choices for newborns vs. infants vs. toddlers.

I've learned about liners and doublers and the bio-degradeable options.

I've learned about snaps and velcro and laundry tabs and wet & dry bags and washing instructions and laundry detergent.

I've learned that there are free patterns to make your own diapers and covers if you have the sewing skills.

I've learned about "mommy items" for breastfeeding and postpartum care.

I've learned it all and then searched for reviews on every imagineable brand-name on http://www.diaperpin.com/

I've learned that there are a ton of cloth diaper shops online, most of which host sales of overstocks and seconds and discontinued colours - great to grab up brand name items for super cheap if you don't mind searching.

And then I've learned that ETSY has a TON of Work-at-home-Moms who make most of this stuff for a much more reasonable cost than the brand-names...and there are fabulous reviews for them as well.

Best of all, I've learned all this will save me a TON of money in the long run since disposables cost $2000-$3000 and about 500 years in the landfill. Cloth diaper costs vary anywhere from about $250-$1000 and 2-3 extra loads of laundry per week.

Without further a-do, may I present to you my first online cloth diaper "samples". The hubster even agreed (after listening to my voice of reason -- that's probably the voice he refers to as "beaker") to letting me purchase sale items online so I can figure out what I like best.

Sarah's dolls and bears, my diaper models, have been loving all the attention.

Option #1: Prefolds with Cover

Pros: Cheapest option, easiest to launder and dry, cover can be used over several times unless it becomes soiled.
Cons: Requires pinning or Snappi making it more tedious than other options, Not dad-friendly

This one is a Chinese unbleached prefold in Infant size ($2.50 regular price) and a Stacinator fleece cover in size small ($10.00 on clearance)

And here is Sarah's stuffed dog with folded and Snappi'd prefold all ready for the cover. And honestly, it doesn't really take all that long once you get the hang of it. However, taking the time to fold and Snappi a squirmy toddler might be very tricky indeed.

P.S. The SNAPPI is the little white plastic gadget you see along the front of the prefold - for someone, like me, who's afraid of poking their baby with a sharp pin.
Option #2: Pocket

Pros: Can be stuffed to achieve any level of absorbency you desire, "normal" drying times as stuffer and cover remain separate in the wash, many come in one-size options from about 12 - 35 lbs making it a reasonable price option, velcro option can be dad-friendly
Cons: Don't fit newborns very well in the one-size options, stuffing can be a pain in the butt (particularly for daddies), both the stuffing AND cover need to be changed.

The red diaper on the left is a "BABY KANGA" ($15 on clearance - no liner included). I love that the pocket opening is a zipper in the front, meaning there's no touching the inside of the diaper to pull out a soiled liner. It is made in Canada - added bonus! The Baby Kanga shown is also in the one-sized variety (all those snaps have a purpose - they make the diaper smaller or bigger to fit your baby!)

The doggy print diaper on the right is made by Etsy mom "Lil Impressions". I love the fabric choices and the price ($13 including shipping and terry cloth liner). Note the pocket opening is inside in the back of the diaper. A very nicely constructed diaper and easy for Dad with a velcro closure.

Baby Kanga pulled out to its biggest size option.

Option #3: AIO's (All-in-Ones)
Pros: Goes on exactly like a disposable, no extra stuffing or covers needed, VERY dad friendly, nice fit for a newborn.
Cons: Takes longer to dry because of the layers all-in-one, more expensive since it is a SIZED diaper, meaning your would need to purchase sizes for each stage your baby is in.
Doggy is wearing an AMP Made in Canada diaper in a beautiful chocolate brown colour, sized Newborn. $20. Super easy. I love this one the most!
Option #4: FLIP (that's the brand name as opposed to the style, as I'm not really certain which style this one falls into -a hybrid perhaps?)
Pro: Cover and insert are separate making wash times reasonable, cover can be reused with a new liner until it becomes soiled, a one-sized meaning it fits babies approximately sized 10 - 35 lbs meaning less diapers to buy.
Con: Still on the pricey side at $20 per system (diaper cover and insert together), not a big colour range (yes, that's a con for me)
This flip is my least favourite that I've received so far. Personally, I find the way the liner goes in a little awkward. I'm not sure it would actually stay in place with no snaps or velcro.

To end off, I have to say, I obviously cannot make a really informed decision or give a precise review on ANY of these styles of diapers as I've no baby yet to try them out on. My opinion is based merely on discussions with the hubster after trials on ease of snaps/velcro, construction, fit on stuffed doggy (lol!), etc.

I'm still waiting on a few more samples to come in the mail - including a fitted and a trainer from another Etsy mom, two more cover types (a berry plush and a bumkins), and two more fitteds (an AMP and a Happy Heiny's).

I would love to hear your recommendations and advice! Stay tuned for Cloth Diaper post #2.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

101 in 1001

Christa did it.
Jody did it too.
And now I've gone and done it....FINALLY! After taking forever to complete it, here's my:

101 in 1001

Start Date: Monday, April 19, 2010
End Date: Monday, January 14, 2013

Vacations/Sightseeing/Family adventures
1. Take another trip down southApril 12-19, 2011 Went to Dominican Republic for Steph and Ed's wedding
2. See an iceberg August 7,2011 Saw my 1st iceberg at St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL en route to St. Anthony
3. Visit Lanse Aux Meadows August 7, 2011 Loved it!
4. Meet a puffin in person
5. Visit a castle (hopefully somewhere in Europe)
6. Go snorkelling
7. See Cirque du Soleil
8. Take a ride on a horse (horseback or wagon-drawn)
9. Climb Gros Morne Mountain
10. Go snowshoeing
11. Take my Dad ziplining
12. Do a cave tour
13. Visit a museum August 8, 2011 Visited the Grenfell House Museum & Interpretation Center in St. Anthony - Absolutely beautiful & Educational.

On the Home Front
14. Renovate our bathroom - add a soaker tub, new tile, updated cabinetry
15. Hang pictures/decorative items in the master bedroom (currently there are NONE)
16. Complete the downstairs guest room
17.Paint the kitchen and dining room in BRIGHT colours (Red for kitchen/Purple for dining room perhaps?)December 2011 - my kitchen and dining room are now both bright purple! Yay!
18. Put up new curtains
19. Plant a flower garden
20. Add some plants to the house and keep them alive!
21. Frame and hang one of my own sketches/paintings
22. Fix the pull-down stairs to the attic so I can access it better for storage
23. Purchase a climber/slide set for the backyardSummer 2010 - Sarah is very excited about her new slide and swing set :)

Get it Together
24. Sort and purge bins of old clothes - give it all away or yard-sale itMay 23, 2010
25. Mail Vicki's VERY LATE Christmas 2009 (Yes, I said "Christmas") present August 1, 2010
26. Organize the kitchen cupboards
27. Burn photos onto disks
28. Organize Sarah's toys into binsMay 23, 2010
29. Sew buttons back on to that stack of pants

Firsts for Sarah
30. Take Sarah on her first amusement park ride (kiddie coaster/ferris wheel)
31. Teach Sarah how to do "Cats Cradle"
32. Video Sarah singing May 4, 2010
33. Take Sarah berry picking September 2011 at Lomond Farms in Stephenville and we got poured on!
34. Teach Sarah to swim
35. Take Sarah to a show or movie
36. Teach Sarah how to print her name
37. Teach Sarah how to tie her shoes
38. Have a dollhouse built for SarahCouldn't find a dollhouse builder so we purchased a wooden dollhouse for her, Christmas 2010

For Offspring #2
39. Choose a name August 31, 2010 Charlotte Joy
40. Design and paint the nursery Summer 2010
41. Breastfeed for at least 6mths Ended breastfeeding April 2010, just over 7 months
42. Record baby's first steps (I missed Sarah's)
43. Have maternity photos taken Done by Christa Hann Photography
44. Find a vintage children's book to use as wall art for the nurseryJune 2010, Found one at the local library, scanned and copied the pages - I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to do that :/
45. Photograph baby #2 with 4 generations

Me, Myself, and I
46. Get contacts
47. Wear a bikini again April 12-19, 2010 during our trip down south - and I didn't look half bad ;)
48. Finish reading the "Outlander" series
49. Get another tattoo
50. Re-evaluate my busy schedule - drop what I don't love April 27/10
51. Buy a good nursing braMay 2010
52. Paint my toenails red
53. Have a girls night out
54. Try a new food
55. Write a poem
56. Visit Clayton's grave
57. Open up my Etsy shop again
58. Win a contest
59. Get natural tan lines (no fake-n-bake)April 12-19, 2010 during my trip down south, got tanlines galore and burn-lines in some places...ouch!
60. Try a new ice cream flavourMay 27, 2011 while in St. John's tried the Laura Secord super dark chocolate ice cream at Laura Secord, yum!!
61. Research to educate myself on a new subject matter

The Hubster
62. Go out for dinner to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary
63. Make a habit of greeting the hubster with a kiss/hug when he comes home from work
64. Put together a 1000-piece puzzle - together
65. Complete Jamie's family tree
66. Watch a movie together for each letter in the alphabet
67. Surprise the hubster with "something" he's been wanting Got him that new bbq that he really didn't need but wanted soooo badly...it's a nice one :)
68. Buy hubster a new pair of Mavi jeans (they fit him best and only has the one pair)

Family Stuff
69. Apply for native status
70. Turn off the TV for an entire weekend
71. Pay off credit card debt
72. Open a savings account (education fund) for each kiddo
73. Interview my Nan about her life
74. Attend my Nan's 80th birthday party (if I'm not in labour at the time) Unfortunately this could not happen - Nan got very sick at the time and had to be hospitalized.
75. Send a card and note to a loved one to tell them how much I appreciate them
76. Mail Christmas cards December 19, 2010 better late than never (my life motto)

Health Stuff
77. Lose 25-30 lbs February 3, 2011 have officially lost 30 pounds!
78. Go an entire weekend without chocolate
79. Eat the required servings in all categories on the Canada Food Guide for at least ONE day
80. Organize a fitness/leisure group specifically geared to Seniors in the community

Being Green
81. Sew cloth "non-paper" towels and baby wipes
82. Set up backyard compost
83. Plant a veggie garden
84. Cloth diaper baby #2 Started September 2010
85. Use Low VOC when painting the nursery

"Work"ing on it
86. Take a full year off for maternity leave
87. Learn a new cake decorating technique
88. Make a wedding cakeJuly 10, 2010
89. Renovate the store front - counter/windows/paint
90. Learn how to make bread

91. Get Isabella's and Olivia's scrapbooks up to date
92. Complete a wedding scrapbook for Mom
93. Complete a scrapbook for Clayton's mom January 2011 Clayton's mom started attending my scrapbooking class herself and, therefore, is doing the album herself :)
94. Learn more about my Nikon & implement to take better pics of my family
95. Complete my crazy quilt
96. Host a full day of scrapbookingScrappy Sunday: May 16, 2010

Being Charitable
97. Donate my hair to "Locks of Love"
98. Send a gift to my sponsor child
99. Purchase a chicken or rabbit or seed packets at World Vision or Samaritans PurseDecember 2010 purchased guinea pigs as Christmas gifts for Papa and Poppy from Sarah and Charlotte.
100. Donate $1 to Charity for every item not completed on this list

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What Shows

I met a girl. Someone I could be friends with. When I first saw her I have to admit I was thinking, "My goodness, what a slob!".

Now, I'm certainly not always put together, tucked and tidy, makeup and hair in order. No Sir-ry, I am not!

But I'm talkin' out and about in the drabbiest, slouchiest clothes, hair greasy and unkempt, teeth clearly unbrushed.

And the first impressions part of me wrote her off. And I learned how terribly superficial that was because this girl is really a wonderful person, super nice, friendly, a good mom.

I want to say I learned my lesson - that first impressions don't matter. But they do! I want this girl to realize how wonderful she is. I want her to care about her appearance so that people don't look at her the wrong way. I'm a firm believer that we outwardly reflect how we feel about ourselves on the inside. And sadly, if you don't care about you, then how can someone else care about you?

I know I can't go up to this girl and say, "Ok, you seriously have got to do something about that hair...those terrible mom jeans...the yellow teeth." I just can't.

But I do know what works for me, even when I'm not having a great day:

1) I try to take care of my skin. I cleanse, I moisturize, and I use SPF. I don't do tanning beds (although I did a few sessions to prepare for my wedding). My daily makeup routine is simple and natural looking. I always make sure the makeup is scrubbed away before bedtime.

2) I keep my hair and nails clean. No, I don't always wash my hair every day, I don't need to. You may need to. My nails are not done in a salon or tipped in the most fashionable of polishes. But I like to do a nice hand scrub, keep my nails evenly trimmed, and use clear polish. And if it's sandal season, my feet are scrubbed, nails trimmed and polished. Am I perfect at this ritual? Absolutely not. But are my hair and nails dirty? Not unless I'm in the middle of digging in the veggie garden!

3) I get dressed in the morning. Story: When I had my first baby, I thought how easy it would be to sit around all day in my comfy pj's. I decided right from the start that THIS - this mommy thing - was my new job. Just like I had to wake up and get ready for the office, I now had to make a point of getting dressed for my daughter. There were days when it didn't always happen right away, but it really helped me feel better on the "down" days. Even if I felt sad, I didn't look sad. Was my hair always "Done" - No! Did I break out the dress pants and button-down shirts? - No! Ponytails - yes, lots of 'em! Comfy yoga pants with a decent shirt - yes, lots of that too. But was I out at the store in my pj's with a giant 80's scrunchie in my hair - absolutely NOT!

4) I Smile. I brush and floss and rinse. I visit the dentist. Do I do checkups often enough? No. But I do recognize the importance of having clean and healthy teeth. I don't have what I call "nice" teeth, they naturally have grooves and yellow quite easily. But I try to do the best with what I have.

5) I don't wear the hubsters clothing. I don't care what shape you are, there is apparel out there for you that will fit...in the womens section! Saggy-assed jeans and square-shaped Reebok t-shirts are a huge no-no unless you are painting your house! I went through a grunge-phase in grade 9. I snapped out of it. End of story!

I don't think those things are hard. They are common sense and most basic to me. I'm not the most stylish. I don't have the most funky updated haircut. I don't visit the spa for treatments. I don't purposely buy brandnames. Do I have a problem with people who are/do all these things? My goodness, no! I even envy them sometimes... because do I need major overhaul once in a while? Definite YES!

And I also want to note that going crazy in the opposite direction with TOO much emphasis on "looks" puts one at risk of seemingly lacking in confidence as much as the girl who doesn't give a crap what she looks like. Because let's face it, beauty IS only skin deep and layers of makeup and the latest fashions can only cover up so much.

But at the end of the day, I like who I am. I like how I look. I like what I wear. Not always - but mostly, I feel good about me. And I hope it shows. What about you?