Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lucky, Lucky

This week, I've had some crappy days.  Not over-the-top horrible, nothing life threatening or catastrophic.  Just a run of little things to drive me batty or leave me frustrated.  And even though it's been a productive week because of the amount of work I've accomplished, it's been a non-productive week because I've been setting things aside to finish when I'm not ready to just tear it all apart!  So half-accomplished projects, but many on the go...

Earlier in the week, I entered a contest on Facebook.  I have NEVER, EVER won on FB, but figure if I want people to support my small business page, I should do the same.  And in the world of social media, activity is activity is activity, no?

Well.... I WON!!!!  Sarita Baby picked me (randomly) as the winner of their Sock Monkey clutch.  Which is absolutely perfect because I have two little monkeys who will think it's adorable (although they're not so little any more!)

I don't think I'll carry it around on it's own, but it will make a cute little pouch to toss in my bag when I'm on the go.  I'm thinking an activity pouch for the boys.  Some pencils, notepads, small toys, etc. - you know, a boredom bag.  I'm so excited!

And.... this morning, as I begrudgingly stumbled through my chilly house in the dark, mumbling under my breath about silly early start schools, I picked up my phone and absent-mindedly checked my emails.  I skimmed and saw:  "Congrats - you are a First Reads winner!"  as the subject line of a nice little email from Goodreads - super start to my day. 

Again, I've entered a ton of times for First Reads (ARC or for-review copies) on this site, but this is the first time I've won.  I'll be adding a copy of And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry to my bookshelves soon. The title might not be my very first choice of books to win, but it could be a good story and a FREE book is the best book!   If it's a bust, I'll just pass it along. 

In my head all day I've been singing (in my best Franz Ferdinand voice, of course!)

Lucky, lucky, you're so lucky;Lucky, lucky, you're so lucky:Lucky, lucky, you're so lucky:
....Yeahhh!!

I can't wait for the day my mailbox yields it's special prizes.  More than makes up for the crappy moments.  Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket!





Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Integrity

This verse caught my eye, or perhaps my heart.  It was my verse of the day today from the handy Bible Android app I use (www.YouVersion.com).  (Side note:  my not-so-handy Android Blogger app keeps crashing so I've rewritten this 5 times!)

Proverbs 28:6 NKJV
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

In a society awash in mediocrity, ready to sugar-coat scandal, slingers of spin, where a little white lie doesn't matter unless your caught, in a society devoted to success at any cost, where status is based on wealth and appearance rather than accomplishments or character, this statement kinda makes you go, "Huh..."

Some days it's hard to remember that your actions speak louder than words.  Integrity & character go hand-in-hand along with honesty, truthfulness, principles, and being incorruptible (this sounds like a great group of superheroes... can you tell I have boys?)

I like the blurb from Wikipedia:  Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions.... The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete).[2] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character."

Ralph Waldo Emerson was attributed with saying it best: "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."  It doesn't matter what you say or how much you have... if you're lacking integrity, you don't have anything!  A reputation soiled is hard to repair and you can lose it all if your thought to be lacking basic prinicples or honesty.  

Here's a quote from Harper Lee in To Kill A Mockingbird:  ...before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”   It doesn't matter what's popular, it doesn't matter how the rest of society lives, when you ponder upon your own integrity, is your conscience clean?  Do your actions and beliefs align?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Etsy Ecstasy

I love Etsy.  I could waste soooo much time just browsing and dreaming and bookmarking.  Never mind the time I could invest in curating treasuries, looking for specific products, or making my own Etsy store.   It's fabulousness at it's best!  You can't imagine the shriek - yes, I shrieked - when Kevin said, "You know they have an Android app for that site you're always on?"  Eeeeek!

I know friends, acquaintances, friends of acquaintances, and random strangers I've bumped into at craft fairs who operate as Etsy vendors.  (...aaand when I can find the time to finish the craft-room overhaul, Wisdom & Whimsy will be venturing onto Etsy as well!)  Here is my round-up of ecstatically exciting local favourites - Etsy style - from those friends, and friends of friends, etc.  

Sarita Baby.   I was first introduced to Sarita Baby at one of the local consignment shops when Kaleb (or maybe Justin) was first born.  I fell in love with their designer fabric minky bibs. They wash up well and look super cute!  Check out the pretty pink Guitar Peasant Dress (I bought the matching bib for my niece at Christmas), the Modern Moustache Baby bib for any little men in your life, and the Black & White Chevron Zipped Clutch for you.  Adorbs!

Dixie Crochet.  These are my cousin's creations.  I love the ones I own (boot cuffs, headbands) and I want to custom order a super-slouchy hat.  Check out these boot cuffs (just like mine!),  pretty crocheted baby blanket, or these tech-friendly fingerless texting gloves.

Designs by Vicky VK.  Vicky is another distant relative.  Her shop features handmade bags, jewellery, and redesigned clothing.  I've bought some jewellery from her before and love them!  Check out the stylish and cozy Nordic Fleece Infinity Scarf, the urban chic Black Twisted Onyx Bracelet, or her sparkly blue Bubble Tank Tunic.

Felicia Colenbrander Designs.  Felicia is a distant cousin, too!  We're a large & creative family, apparently.  I ordered some crocheted critter hats for my boys (sock monkey & a puppy) and they both still love them.  I think they're just way too cute.   She's branched from the crochet to include sewn items perfect for baby.   I'm loving the White Crochet Beanie Hat with Interchangeable Flowers,  the flannel Riley Blake Alphabet Soup Gift Set (so cute!), and the soft & minky Blue & Green Zoology Cuddle Blanket.  

Crazy Baby Accessories.  I met the owner through a local mom group.  Her handmade dolls, plushies, and accessories are AMAZING!  Definitely worth the investment as a keepsake baby toy or if you want to avoid commercial "crap".  This boy-friendly Gumdrop Kid comes with clothes (including underwear), this Baby Monkey is perfect for my littlest monkey, and she has a fun destash/scrap pack section... oh, if only I could sew.

I'll take one of each, please!  I'm sure there are others that I know of personally, but my brain is no longer functioning today.  Off to do laundry, then cuddle up with some tea and my Kobo (I'm reading Simple Wishes by Lisa Dale - I love Beatrice so far!).  As always, feel free to share your Etsy faves & current reads. Have a happy weekend!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brainstorming: Holidays 2013

The holidays are all wrapped up... and I'm on a mission!  I have to admit I was horrible at sticking to my budget for Christmas 2012... I didn't use lists, I didn't track my receipts, and I'm paying for it (well Kevin is, much to his chagrin) now.   I resolve (yes, that's right - a resolution from one who procrastinates and never, ever keeps a resolution.  Maybe I'm just not so resolute in my resolving as I should be.)  But, yes, I resolve to stick to a plan... think beyond commercial... and stay in a budget for 2013 gift-giving.

So where does a girl begin?  I begin with plenty of time!  No last minute hmm-hawing a week before family gatherings.  Thus a brainstorm one night in January.

We buy gifts for the nephews and nieces.  On my side of the fam, I like to include a book in every gift because everyone should love books as much as Auntie Lindsey.  Everyone.  Unfortunately, I'm realising as the kid's are getting older, they don't want books - they want toys, or money, or gift cards.  Still, we also tuck a little something into the stocking and a book is just perfect for tucking.  

Beyond that, when they're small enough, I also try to create something personalized or homemade.  Again, the older they get, the less this thrills them.... so we'll really have to exercise our brains and if we can't do homemade, maybe we can still think outside the box.  This year (technically last year), I created a footprint canvas for my littlest newborn niece.  It was a knock-off of this canvas her sister already had - customized to suit her purpley? purplish? nursery colour scheme.  I designed it using digital papers and my own imagination in Adobe Illustrator and had it printed through the family business.  I'll post a picture when my sister-in-law snaps one for me.

For my second youngest niece, I created a chevron & dahlia Pinspired Etsy knockoff... which I feel kind of bad about because the lady on Etsy asks that her designs not be recreated, but I was already half done when I read that.  Whoops!

Other than that, my homemade gifts were minimal - some cards, some gift card envelopes, some k-cup sleeves, a barn board established sign for my parents.  I stole the barn board from my dad... ha!

We don't do gifts for the siblings, but we do contribute to ginormous stockings if we desire.  I ordered hand-stamped jewellery for the girls t- a WagJag/Groupon deal, but still purchased through a small local business, Rustic Metal Creations (Angus).  The boys got some barbecue sauces and the like.  Nothing exciting.

Sooo... this year (holidays 2013), I would really, really like to tweak my stocking stuffing routine and come up with some DIY ideas.  I'm giving myself plenty of time and plenty of ideas to mull over, test, perfect, and tweak.  Doesn't hurt to come up with some Wisdom & Whimsy craft show ideas either!

Here is the beginning of my whirlwind plan to create - obviously with some edits as we go along!


As I brainstorm, I realise that femme-friendly gifts are much easier to find than man and kid friendly ideas. So we (me, myself, & I) will continue our search... and leave lots of time to get things done!   As always, feel free to share any and all ideas or sure-fire hits you might have.  We love to grab ideas where we can :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Monday: 2013

The craziness of the holidays are over.  Our family vacation is complete.  We've battled the flu (and various other ailments).  Last week my kids even made it through a whole week of school (a miracle, it seems this winter.)  With the craziness of life, we've been reaching for convenience - shopping without a list and thinking what's easy?  Our budget (and mealplan) have gone way off track.

Now that things seem to be settling into routine again, I took the time to write a grocery list and plan our meals for the next 10 or so days.  I always feel so much better when I have a full fridge, full cupboard and know we won't be eating pizza!  My latest grocery shop won't get me through completely - I'll have to run out for a top-up at some point - but the bulk of it is done and there is no pesky wondering about "what's for dinner?"

Here is our menu (in no particular order) to bring us through until next pay period:


  • Spicy Cashew Chicken with Cucumber Salad and jasmine rice
  • Skinny Enchiladas, salad on the side
  • Fish fillets (gross!  This is a buy Mommy some peace meal.  The boy's love fish - in any form - and frozen fillets are easy, if not the healthiest option.) I'll serve the fish with mango melon salad, and home fries or homemade hashbrowns (because the only way they'll eat their potatoes without complaining is if we pretend they're not potatoes!)
  • Lasagna Cupcakes, caesar on the side
  • Tomato Tortellini soup.  I've not tried this before, and the males in my family are anti-soup.  I'm hoping if I throw pasta in, I can trick them and everyone will be satisfied.
  • Crockpot ribs, brocolli slaw, and whatever side I feel like adding that particular day.  I'll probably make cornbread muffins.
  • Roasted turkey breasts with sundried tomato gravy, rice pilaf with sugar snap peas, salad on the side.
  • Salami Spinach Roll Ups.   I don't know what to call these - they're an adaptation of a spinach bread recipe I was given from one of my mom's friends.  I'm too lazy to make the bread myself most of the time, so I just use a package of pizza dough - the unbaked kind in the deli department.  I'll post the recipe one day - it's delish!  Pretty much just salami, cheese, frozen spinach, assorted spices layered on the dough, rolled up like a jelly roll, and baked with a buttery sesame top.  Soooo goood!  Of course, some veggies and dip or a salad on the side.
  • Corn & Chicken Chowder
  • Bratwurst, Uncle Ben's 7 Grains Medley, salad or mixed veggies on the side.
I've lost 15 lbs. since the fall... and I want to keep it off.  So we're trying to drink more water, eat healthier snacks... and reach for less-processed, less-convenience foods without actually dieting.  I'm not giving up on all the yummy things I love, but trying to make wiser choices while enjoying them.  I don't believe in a lot of low-fat or diet products (with the exception of my not-very-good-for-you diet pepsi addiction!)  I figure the "wholer" the food, the better for you.  I still enjoy my butter, my yogurt, my chocolate, my iced caps.  I think it's just everything in moderation - smaller portions, fresher foods, regular exercise, staying hydrated, reduced salt, etc.  We're going through a seedless orange phase right now as our go-to snack!

All that said... I want to start eliminating some of the condensed and cream-of soups from our pantry.  We don't use them often, but it's just a change I'd like to make.  Does anyone have a good tomato soup recipe they'd like to share?  I'm also trying to add new recipes to our rotation, instead of the same-old same-old.  I figure soups and salads are a great place to start!  Speaking of salads - they might just be my favourite veggie side - quick, easy and I can change them up regularly.  My kid's don't care for them - they don't like the leafy stuff  so they tend to get raw fruit & veggies as sides.   I've also started eliminating store-bought dressings (although I still love my Renee's caesar and a renee's sesame one I use on brocolli slaw).  Otherwise, I mix my own using whatever I have on hand (usually yogurt based) to suit whatever I'm adding to my (most-often) spinach-based salads.  

Here's one more recipe I'd like to try this week - maybe for breakfast on Saturday:  


Roasted Banana Chai Baked Oatmeal

It sounds tasty, filling, kid-friendly - and I'm a sucker for warm-my-belly meals.  We'll tweak it using ingredients on hand, but overall, I think it sounds delicious!