Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Review

It's time to say good-bye to 2010 and reflect upon the last year.

We've had our ups and downs over the year and I'm definitely hoping 2011 will be better for us.  

I think the best part of the year has been watching Pickle grow and develop her little personality.  She is so much fun and definitely loves life.  She can make anyone smile, even on their worst day.

We saw the twins' hit milestones this past year with each of them losing their first tooth.

We went on several excursions including Marineland, Canada's Wonderland and the Ontario Science Centre to see the Harry Potter Exhibit.  

I decided, with a saddened heart, to close my online cloth diaper store.
I started my blog to chronical my journey as a SAHM raising twingles.  I've written posts from the heart and hope you've enjoyed the ride.
I hope 2011 will be just as rewarding despite the trials and tribulations we may be faced with.
Wishing you and yours a very safe and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Going to Disney World!

Okay, not really.  Although, I'd LOVE to go.  Can you believe I've never been?

I digress.  One lucky reader is going to see Disney Live!  Mickey's Rockin' Road Show.  That reader is:

Janet (anonymous)

Anonymous said...
Hey Steph, 
My preferred show Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum Jan 23, 2011 3:00pm
Thanks, Janet Nielsen

Congratulations Janet.  I'll be emailing you the details on how to claim your prize.  Have fun at the show!

For those of you that didn't win, don't despair.  Don't forget you can still purchase tickets and enter code:  MINNIE for the London, ON show or BLOG for the other Ontario dates.  


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Well That Sucks...

As those of you that follow my blog know, I had started the project 365 a while ago and failed miserably at it.  Taking a photo every day turned out much more difficult than I had anticipated.  

I called it quits and decided that I would put forth a renewed effort starting January 1, 2011.  It seems my plan has hit a small snafu.  On Boxing Day during Christmas v2.0, I was in the process of getting ready to take pictures when the baby decided to put tape and wrapping paper in her mouth.  I lurched to get the paper out and dropped the camera, lens down, in the process.  

My poor little camera now has a lens that is extended; but has been jilted so one side is in while the other remains out :(

I guess the upside is that it was only a point and shoot camera and not an expensive SLR; but, it's still not in our budget to replace at the present time.

So, I'm still going to try to do the 365 challenge starting Jan 1; I'll just have to use my phone to take the pictures.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas & Out on the Ranch...

The following was published in "Regional News This Week" on December 22, 2010.  I thought I would share it with all of you as the message is clear and one that we may tend to forget in today's age of technology.

'Twas the night before Christmas & out on the ranch
The pond was froze over & so was the branch.
The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,
And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.
Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock.
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.
"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."
"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom.  "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."
The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room.
Uncased his old fiddle & started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.
Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew
Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.
They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
They stayed up till midnight - and would you believe,
They youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.
Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on.
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"
Said Grandpa - and no one suspected his trick.
Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Making Friends Monday - December 20, 2010

Good morning and welcome!

How is your holiday shopping going?  Have you finished or do you plan on doing it all this week?  I thought I had finished shopping for everyone; but, realized I still have to get stocking stuffers for the dog & cat.  I also have to take the gifts for my parents and grandmother to be bound at Staples.  I make them a family calendar featuring photos of the kids from the past year.

If you're still stuck for a gift idea for the kids, why not take them to see Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show?  I've got a great discount on tickets for you and you can enter to win a family of four pack of tickets.  See my post to find out more.

It's Monday and that means it's time to make friends.  The rules for Making Friends Monday are simple; but, must be followed if you want to be selected as the next featured blogger.

1.  Follow the Making Friends Monday hosts, listed as numbers 1 through 4 on the linky.  Leave them a comment so they know to follow back.
2.  Grab the MFM button and use it in your own blog post.  Grab the linky code to get even more followers!
3.  Start hopping and remember, following back is appreciated.

This week's spotlight blogger is Kim from Chubby Cheeks Thinks.  When you're done here; stop by her blog to check it out and say hi.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show

Those of you with children are probably pretty familiar with the stars of Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show.  I know the twins love watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny in the mornings while eating breakfast before heading off to school.

That's why I'm super excited to be taking them to see Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show in January 2011!

I'm even MORE excited to host a giveaway for a Family of Four Pack of tickets for the show of your choice:
Kitchener, ONCentre in the SquareJanuary 7, 2011
Ottawa, ONOttawa Civic CentreJanuary 8, 2011
London, ONJon Labatt CentreJanuary 9, 2011
Oshawa, ONGM CentreJanuary 13, 2011
Toronto, ONRogers CentreJanuary 14-16, 2011
Windsor, ONWFCU CentreJanuary 21, 2011
Hamilton, ONCopps ColiseumJanuary 22-23, 2011

But wait, there's more!  For those that don't win our giveaway, you can still receive a discount by purchasing tickets at and entering one of the following codes:  London, use "MINNIE" all other cities use "BLOG".  Tickets would make the perfect Christmas gift!

(please leave your email address with EVERY entry so I can contact you if you win)

Leave me a comment with your preference of show date, location and time.  (1 entry)

Follow me on GFC (1 entry)

Follow me on Twitter (1 entry)

Tweet about our giveaway (1 entry per day)
"I want to #win 4 tickets to Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show from @twinglegal #giveaway"

Buy tickets to Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show from and leave me the transaction code (3 entries).

Follow me on Facebook (1 entry)

Grab my button and post on your blog, leave a comment with link for me to find it (1 entry)

Blog about the giveaway, leave me the URL (2 entries)

Giveaway open to residents of Southern Ontario.  Giveaway will run from December 17, 2010 until December 30, 2010.  

Good luck to everyone that enters.  Here's a fun colouring page for the kids.

Five Question Friday for December 17, 2010

Good morning!  I hope you're all having a wonderful week.  What are your plans this weekend?

I've got a busy weekend ahead.  I have to finish a very exciting blog post for all of you announcing our newest giveaway!  Tonight I'll be attending the joint Guides/Scouts Christmas party and then my Guide unit is having a sleepover.  Sunday will be spent hosting my brother and sister-in-law who will be coming over to do our Christmas together since they're travelling to Florida over the holiday itself.

So without further ado, let's get on with Five Question Friday.  If you want to play, head on over to My Little Life and link up!

1.  Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?
I have regifted in the past and no, I don't have a horror story.  I don't see anything wrong with it as long as you make sure to keep track of where and when the gift was received and from whom.  That way you're not going to end up with a regifting story.
I don't think you should have to keep a gift that you're not going to use.  To my thinking, I'm either going to regift it and save myself a few dollars in the process, or it's going to get donated or thrown in the garbage.  Why not take advantage of the fact that you have a ready-made gift to go?

2.  Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?
I'm going to have to say yes and no.

Yes, I know what I'm getting from my hubby and that's nothing.  We just don't have the budget to buy for each other and want to make the holiday extra special for the kids so we've spent our money on them.

No, I don't know what I'm getting from extended family members and I like it that way!

3.  Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?
I'd have to say that it's a tie.  Santa usually only brings one big gift and maybe one or two smaller items for the kids.
We usually try to have at least two gifts under the tree for each person.  Even if it's one gift wrapped in two boxes!

4.  What store do you love to buy jeans from?
I love getting my jeans from Reitmans.  Being a plus sized gal, finding jeans that fit well can be a challenge.  I've found through trial and error that the jeans at Reitmas have the best fit for my shape; and, they're affordable!

5.  Christmas meal:  Big, All Out Meal or Snacks & Apps?
It's gotta be a big, all out meal!  Usually through out the day we skip lunch and will just have snacks and apps so we have room for the big dinner.  Turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, three or four veggies, rolls and pie for dessert...YUM!

Okay, well that's all for today.  Now I'm off to bake for tonight's party.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do You Santa?

I've been reading a lot of blogs and articles lately about the Christmas season and about parents choosing not to do the "Santa thing" with their children.

It seems the argument is not just about consumerism; but, also about lying to your children and crushing their little worlds when they learn the truth about the man in red.

I've thought about what I've read and the arguments presented.  I agree that the focus of Christmas has become too commercial and kids feel entitled to big, elaborate gifts.  However, I don't believe teaching your kids about Santa is to blame; at least, not entirely.

Growing up, Christmas was a magical time for my family.  My dad who had never celebrated Christmas as a child due to his mother's religious beliefs, was like a child himself at Christmas.  Our holiday season started the day of the Toronto Santa Claus parade.  As I think I've mentioned in a prior post, there are very few years that we didn't go to the parade and line the streets with thousands of other families.  Those years we were unable to make it we sat home and watched it on T.V. while ordering in the Festive Special from Swiss Chalet.  We would spend the day before the parade putting up the outdoor decorations to be turned on during the parade.   My brother and I got so excited over the prospect of seeing the main man and giving our carefully drafted letters to the Canada Post workers who walked the parade route and delivered the letters to Santa themselves.  Of course, Santa was the whole reason for being there.

I remember being nine the year I found out the "truth".  I was upset until my Mom asked me one simple question "Do you believe in make-believe?".  Of course, I answered "yes".  My Mom, in all her wisdom, then told me "As long as you believe in make-believe, you can believe in anything you want".  And it is that one statement that I have carried forth with me into my adult years.  That one statement that made the non-existence of Santa easier to bear.

And so, now as a mother of three, we do the "Santa thing" with our children.  Seeing their eyes light up with wonder and excitement at the mere mention of Santa is truly heartwarming.  Mr. Twingle and I have set boundaries with the kids regarding gift getting from Santa.  You see, Santa has to make many toys for the children all over the world and so if they ask for too many, or too elaborate a gift, then Santa can't make gifts for other children.  The twins know that they can ask for three items and that Santa will bring one of them; providing they've been good of course!

We do make a point of teaching the kids about the meaning of Christmas, not just about Santa.  It comes naturally for Mr. Twingle as he's a PK (Preacher's kid) and has grown up in the Church.  Up until last year, we regularly attended Christmas Eve services and will likely resume this year.  The meaning and spirit of the holiday for us is more than just Santa and gifts.

One might ask if I feel bad knowing that I am lying to my children?  No, not at all; for the simple reason that I still believe in make-believe and NO one can prove that Santa DOESN'T exist!

So my question to you is "do you Santa"?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saved by a Time Machine!

Let me begin with a brief history.

I have only been a Mac user since September 2007.  Prior to my iMac purchase I was a PC user.  I would never have even considered going Mac until my husband got his MacBook Pro and showed me just how wonderful Macs could be.  I was quite happy on my PC despite the numerous viruses, crashes and freezing until it happened...the crash to end all crashes.  In the middle of working one evening the computer shut down and wouldn't restart.  We tried everything to get the computer to reboot and were unsuccessful.  The worst part was I had recently dumped all our photos of the twins onto the PC and didn't yet have a back up of all of them.  We took the PC to a data recovery specialist hoping they would be able to find our photos and any other files; but, despite their efforts, they couldn't recover anything.  I was devastated to have lost those precious memories of the twins' milestones.  Things like crawling, trying solids and more have been lost forever.

Fast forward to this week.  I decided it was time to clean up my Pictures folder and free up some space on the hard drive.  I have a lot of clip art images I downloaded for one-time use that I could get rid of and not worry.  I guess I got a little too over zealous in my cleaning as I accidentally deleted my iPhoto Library folder!  Picture me freaking out that I was stupid enough to have done that and I've lost all our photos from 2007 to present.

That's when I remembered Time Machine!  I have an external hard drive and run regular scheduled backups through Time Machine.  I quickly found the most recent back up; which is November 2, and restored the file.  Unfortunately, I did lose a month's worth of photos; but, I'm okay with that as I didn't lose them all!

My precious memories have been located and I'm now in the process of freeing up space on my external drive so it can run a full backup and I won't lose any more photos.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Five Question Friday!

Thanks for stopping by this first Friday in December!  I awoke this morning to a VERY light dusting of snow.  It wasn't really anything spectacular; but, it made it seem more festive.  I'm totally getting into the holiday spirit and even started my holiday baking this week.  I'll post my cookie recipes for Molasses Spice Cookies and Cinnamon Polar Bears later this weekend.

I hope you'll join up with me and My Little Life for Five Question Friday.  Head on over to My Little Life to link up!

1.  What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?
What I would like more than anything this Christmas is to win the lottery.  We've had a rough year, like many families, and it would be nice to be able to catch up and to also give our families some financial cushions too.

2.  What is your favourite Christmas gift from the past?
This one's easy!
My engagement ring.
Mr. Twingle and I moved into our very first house together at the end of November.  We had agreed not to get gifts for each other; just stocking stuffers, since we had just spent so much in closings costs, etc.  Of course, neither of us stuck to that agreement.  I bought him a George Foreman grill and in keeping with a childhood tradition, pj's to be opened on Christmas Eve.
He also knew about my tradition and so he woke me up to open my gift.  Inside was a housecoat with a pocket.  In that pocket was my engagement ring.  Mr. T got down on one knee and proposed in our new master bedroom.

3.  If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?
I would become the lawyer I always wanted to be; but got talked out of.

4.  When do you put up your tree?
Our tree usually goes up the first Sunday of Advent.  We're late this year though as Mr. Twingle is out of town and I need his help to assemble the tree.

5.  What is your favourite Holiday?
Anyone who knows me, knows that my favourite holiday is Christmas.  I love the whole idea of it.  The sights and sounds.  The scents and foods and goodwill towards men.

Okay, so those are my answers.  Now what are yours?

Musings of a SAHM

I've been very fortunate to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) since the twins were born in 2004.  At the time I was running a home-based online business; but I was and am a mom first and foremost.

What I have learned in those six years is that though rewarding, being a SAHM is not without it's unique challenges; and it's hard.

I listen to my friends that work outside of the home complain about this and that aspect of their job, commute, etc and how I couldn't possibly understand since I'm no longer in the work force.  While I sometimes find their statements totally unfair I sometimes envy them.

You see, it's a rare occasion when I get adult conversation on any given day.  The hellos and good-byes in the school yard just don't count as quality conversing.

Most of my days are filled by wearing different hats.  On any given day I may wear some or all: chef, chauffer, doctor, playmate, teacher, referee, psychologist, psychiatrist, maid, photographer, musician, comedian, judge, jury, volunteer and I'm sure there are more; but, I just can't think of them right now.

More often than not these days, I wear the referee hat most of the day.  The twins are at an age where they are trying to exert their independence and test their boundaries.  They argue and fight with each other and me.  Somedays it takes every ounce of strength I have not to scream and yell at them.  I'm not perfect by any means and somedays I do yell.  But then I feel that horrible mommy guilt afterwards and usually have a good cry once they're all tucked in and "I love you's" have been said and hugs issued.

There are people around me who look at my life and think "what is she doing, I wouldn't want to be in her shoes", and you know what?  I'm okay with that.  Motherhood, or even parenthood, isn't for everyone.  However, don't look down upon me and the life I've chosen simply because it's not the life you would choose for yourself.

I may not be wealthy.  Hell, I may not even have money for a coffee; but, I get paid something a lot better than that.  The unconditional love that I get from the three kids, even on those horrible days where I want to beat my head against a brick wall, is worth more than even the highest paying job or deepest adult conversation.

{this moment}

Inspiration taken from SouleMama {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Wishing you a beautiful weekend!
I couldn't decide on a photo, so I hope you enjoy my little video!  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Random Rant...

When the twins were in JK two years ago, a new student moved to town and joined their class about 1/3 of the way though the year.  Pretty and the new girl have become BFF's and want to do everything together; which is great.

EXCEPT, this child drives me crazy.  She is an only child and her parents separated two years ago (the reason for the move), so I understand she's adapting and probably acting out as a result of what's going on at home.  However, she has a blatant disrespect for authority.  She has had letters home from school about her behaviour (I have become friends with her mom through the girls); and on several occasions when she has been a guest in our home, she has deliberately gone against my wishes and done what she wanted to instead.

Today, was just another example of this when Pretty came home with her new umbrella broken because this child had deliberately stepped on it bending the spokes.  Her reasoning?  Pretty wouldn't let her hold it.  Seriously, kid?  Of course, now I'm in an awkward situation because I am friends with her mom; but, I have a very good mind to ask her to purchase a new umbrella for Pretty.  I mean, her kid throws a temper tantrum and deliberately breaks my kid's NOT cool!  

Gah!  Some days I really wish Pretty was not friends with this girl; but, she does have her sweet moments and like I said, likely has issues as a result of her parents separating.  But still does she have to deliberately wreck my kids things and not take responsibility for it?  

Thanks for listening to me rant.  That is all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making Friends Monday - November 29, 2010

Welcome back!  It's Monday and that means another instalment of Making Friends Monday hosted by the wonderful Living on Love and Cents, The Thrifty Things, Reviewed by Mom and Coupons are Great.

The rules are simple but VERY important!
1.  Follow the MFM hosts (#1-4 on the linky).  They will follow back; but, you need to leave them a comment so they know to do so.
2.  Grab the MFM button, put it in a blog post.
3.  Link up to THAT post.
4.  Start hopping and remember following back is appreciated.

This week's Spotlight Blog and Guest Host is Brett from This Momma Loves Her Bargains.  When you're done here, pop on over to see Brett's blog.

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I hope you'll leave me a note to say you were here.  Have a great week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Laugh of the Day!

My parents came for a visit today and brought along their Golden Retriever, Sadie, who isn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box.  The dog also has terrible manners, even for a dog.  If someone is eating she is right there under their elbow and slobbers all over you.  At least my dog will lay down on the floor at your feet and stare at you intently as she mooches.

We all had a lovely roast beef dinner and got the kids to bed.   Mom, Dad and I then sat down and enjoyed a piece of President's Choice Red Velvet Cheesecake.  Of course, Sadie was right there beside my mom, practically in her lap, mooching.

Here's where my laugh of the day comes mom finishes her cheesecake and then uses the sign for "finished" at the dog saying "all done, Sadie".  I couldn't help but laugh.  Mom has taken signing with the baby and transferred it to the dog.  The worst part is that Sadie actually got up and walked away after mom signed at her.  Sadie might not be the smartest dog; but, I guess it's good to know that signing isn't just for hearing babies or the hearing impaired.  It can be used for your dog too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Five Question Friday for November 26, 2010

Today is Black Friday for our neighbours to the south.  It's the day that marks the start of the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday has become synonymous with great deals and steals; but, traditionally it referred to businesses being in the "black" and turning a profit for the year as a result of this busy shopping day.

While our friends in the States celebrate their Thanksgiving weekend, I'm happy to answer this week's Five Question Friday!  I hope you'll stop by My Little Life and join in the fun!

Rules for Five Question Friday:  Copy and paste the following questions into a blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky and link up!

1.  What is your favourite part of a Thanksgiving meal?
Oh my, do I only have to pick one part?  I love holiday meals as a whole; but, I guess my favourite would be the mashed potatoes smothered in turkey gravy.  So bad for you; but, oh so delicious!

2.  Are you a host or a guest for Thanksgiving this year?
Both!  We hosted my side of the family on Thanksgiving Sunday and then we went to my in-laws for dinner on Monday with Trevor's side.  In a perfect world, I could host both sides at once; but who has a dinner table that big?

3.  When you think of one Thanksgiving tradition, what comes to mind?
As odd as it sounds, we don't really have any Thanksgiving traditions.  We don't have a family football game while the turkey is cooking and we don't have a parade to watch on t.v since Canadian Thanksgiving is the first Monday in October.
Thanksgiving does have a special place in my heart though as Trevor and I were married on Thanksgiving Sunday seven years ago.  While our anniversary may not fall on Thanksgiving weekend every year, it still makes me remember that very special day.

4.  You have two pieces of pie in front of you and you HAVE to eat you choose pumpkin or pecan?
Pecan hands down!
I despise pumpkin pie.  I can't stand it.  Yet I bake one for Thanksgiving and Christmas as Mr. Twinlge and all three kids will eat it.  Not to mention most of my guests will eat pumpkin too.  At Thanksgiving, I usually make an apple pie to go along with the pumpkin pie since our Thanksgiving falls during prime apple picking season!

5.  Are you a Black Friday shopper?
Nope.  We don't have Black Friday in Canada and even though I'm only about 45 minutes from the boarder; I'm not crazy enough to attempt to cross for the sales.

{this moment}

Inspiration taken from SouleMama {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

Monday, November 22, 2010

In With the New! In With the Old?

The holidays are quickly approaching and I've been in the Christmas spirit for a few weeks now.  The Christmas season is my favourite holiday.  I love the hustle and bustle; the sights, sounds and scents and I love watching the faces of my children light with wonder as they take it all in.

For me, the Christmas season is laced with traditions.  Some I have brought from my own childhood.  Some have been brought from Trevor's childhood and some we have created new to our family.

I think it's important to have family traditions.  It's those memories you create in your traditions that your kids will take with them when they move out and start families of their own.

Growing up, the start of the Christmas season was always marked by the Toronto Santa Claus parade.  As a child, and even into my adult years, there were very few years that we missed going to the parade in person.  We braved bad weather, year after year, to welcome Santa and the holiday festivities.  On those rare occasions we didn't make it to the parade, we would stay home and watch the parade on television while enjoying the Festive Special from Swiss Chalet.  I looked forward to that Toblerone bar at the end of my meal (and was really disappointed when they switched to Lindt chocolates)!
The Toronto parade was also the day that our outdoor Christmas decorations would go up and lights be turned on.

Now, with my own family I've kept these traditions alive.  Our outdoor lights and decorations get put up and turned on the day of the parade and we take the twins downtown to see Santa's arrival.  We have sadly missed the past two years, as Pickle has been too little to take out in the cold for that length of time.  But, I have followed in my parents' footsteps and we have watched the parade on t.v. with our Swiss Chalet dinners!  I am looking forward to the 2011 parade already as Pickle will be old enough to withstand the cold and I have every intention of taking the three kids!  I can't wait to see the look on her face when she see the parade live for the first time.

Old traditions are great; but, new ones that you create with your own family can be equally as wonderful.  One such tradition that we've started with the twins is building mini "gingerbread" houses.  Only, we don't use gingerbread, we use graham crackers and melted white chocolate!

The kids can each make their own, decorated anyway they like and they can eat it afterward!  It's the perfect snowy (or rainy) afternoon activity and one the kids look forward to.

We've also started the tradition of making an ornament for the tree each year.  Last year, we made these adorable snowman ornaments.  We gave them as gifts to the aunts, uncles, grandparents and even to the twins' teachers.

They're super easy to make and everyone that received one LOVED them.  Purchase any coloured ball that you like.  Get some non-toxic acrylic white paint and a foam brush and coat one hand with the paint.  Carefully roll the painted hand onto the ball.  I found that if I started at the palm and rolled toward the fingers, the kids were less likely to wiggle their fingers and smudge them.  Let the paint dry, then using Sharpie markers, draw on your hats, faces, and accessories.  Pickle was too little last year to do the handprint, at only two months old, so we did hers using her footprint on smaller balls.  It worked very well.

We included the following blurb with each ornament we gifted:

 "These aren't just 5 snowmen, as anyone can see... I made them with my hand, which is a part of me.  Now every year at Christmastime, when you deck your halls, you can look back and remember Christmas (year), when I was just this small!  Merry Christmas!"

So whether sharing traditions passed down from generations past, or building new ones; make the most of your holidays.  Show your kids that Christmas isn't about consumerism or about getting gifts; show them it's about so much more:  love, goodwill, compassion and family! 

Making Friends Monday for November 22, 2010

Good morning!  Did anyone watch the American Music Awards last night?  What did you think?  Personally, I was disappointed by all but one performance last night.  They all seemed so off last night.  That is, all but the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys (or NKOTBSB as they are calling themselves) performance which was smokin'!  I'm so glad I got to see them on the AMA's last night as it's highly unlikely I'll be able to go to their live show(s) in June.

Seeing how the two biggest boy bands of all time were able to get together and make friends, I thought it would be perfect to participate in this week's Making Friends Monday; hosted by Living on Love and Cents, Coupons are Great, The Thrifty Things and Reviewed by Mom

The rules to Making Friends Monday are simple yet VERY important!
1.  Follow the MFM hosts, listed as #1-4 on the Linky.  They will follow you back; but make sure you leave them a message so they know to do so.
2.  Grab the MFM button and include it in a post.
3.  Link up to THAT post.
4.  Start hopping and remember, following back is appreciated!

Each week the MFM hosts will select a blog to spotlight.  This week's spotlight blog is Kelly from    Kelly is new to blogging and is awesome.  She is #5 is this week's Linky.

I hope you'll link up and hop along with us!  Wishing you all a very good week ahead.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five Question Friday for November 19, 2010

I can't believe we're half-way through November already and that the twins turned 6 this week.  Time certainly flies when you're having fun.  I'll get a post up about their birthday party with some photos from Cosmic Bowling!

Speaking of fun, it's Five Question Friday!  When you're done reading my answers, why not pop on over to My Little Life to link up with your own FQF answers!  I hope you'll play along and link up!

1.  What Christmas song do you loathe?
You know, that's a hard one.  There are so many wonderful Christmas songs out there, new and old!
I guess the one that appears on a lot of Christmas albums; but, isn't a traditional Christmas carol is Ava Maria.  If it comes on the radio, I change the dial.  I just don't like it :(

2.  Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?
Often times we will snuggle for 5 or 10 minutes then roll to our respective sides.  However, not because we don't want to snuggle.
Mr. Twingle is a tv in bed person and I'm not.  So while he's watching Myth Busters or some other awful show, I roll over and try to block out as much sound and light as I can.

3.  Have you ever had surgery?
Six years ago, I would have been able to say "no".
In those six years since I have had four surgeries.  Two D&C's due to miscarriages and two caesarian section deliveries.

4.  When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?
In past years when we haven't been on such a tight budget, I would be done by now.  I tend to shop throughout the year grabbing a gift here or there.
However, the past couple years we've really limited spending to only essentials so I don't even start until November and will likely finish the first or second week into December.

5.  If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?
Goodness, where do I begin!
Besides the obvious cars, mansions, etc  I'd have to say I would LOVE a little place in France that I could escape to with hubs.    

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Communication with Baby

When the twins were babies, we were introduced to the idea of baby sign language for hearing children.  At first I was indifferent to the idea.  I wasn't sure why anyone would want or need to teach their hearing child to sign.  I quickly changed my mind and decided that teaching the twins to sign would be a valuable tool.  Some of the reasons for my change of mindset can be found in this wonderful article, written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas.

Early Childhood Education – Acquiring Sign Language
One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf. 
At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.
Signing Before They Can Speak
A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well. 
This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate. 
In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands: 
" 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children 
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children 
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces 
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves 
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)
The author also cites study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).
The Best Time To Start
Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.
Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas
Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the Zionsville child care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of Indiana child care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.

The twins, Boo especially, got frustrated when they couldn't communicate what they wanted ending up in meltdowns and a flustered mommy.  So around 8 or 9 months we purchased some sign language tools from mocoBabies and began teaching the twins signs like eat, milk, finished, cookie, more, bath, ball and others.  It didn't take them long to figure out the sign for cookie and soon were signing their wants and needs.  It made a huge difference to how we interacted with the twins and all but eliminated the meltdowns.  

It was a given that we would sign with Pickle too.  We started much earlier with her, probably around 3 or 4 months knowing that it would likely be several months before she started signing back.  At 8 months Pickle signed "all done/finished"; but, didn't use it consistently.  In fact, she would much rather sit in her chair watching us repeatedly sign in hopes of her signing back, then lean forward in her chair and say "ahhhh duhhhh" (translated: all done).  It's almost as if she deliberately refused to sign and chose her words instead.  We continued to use the sign with her even if she did use her words and now, at  12 months, she is signing up a storm.  She can now sign "all done", "fish", "banana", "milk" and "more".  We're working on "please", "thank you", "eat" and "water" as our main signs.  She's even beginning to string signs together.  For example, this morning at breakfast I had given her a banana which she devoured.  I asked her if she wanted more banana and she signed "more" & "banana".  While the signs were prompted, she still did them in succession; something the twins never did.  

It's wonderful when your child can communicate with you, even though they don't have the words.  As a mom, I hate to see my kids upset or frustrated so any tools I can give them to help them avoid such upsets are tools that important to me.

Here is a short video I took of Pickle.  I was trying to get her to show off her signing repitoire; but, she had other ideas.  I did manage to get her to sign "all done" though.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Remember

Today is Remembrance Day.  A day to honour those who have fought for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.

I proudly wear a poppy upon my left lapel, over my heart, to show our Veterans that I do remember.

I am very fortunate that I did not lose my grandfather's in the war(s).  My great-grandfather had one leg that was 1/3 of the diameter of his other as he had to have shrapnel removed; sad, but at least he lived.  I have photos of my grandfather looking very dapper in his dress uniform.  Mr. Twingle has a lamp, that I think is hideous, that is full of history.  You see it's made from a shell casing from a canon.  A casing his own grandfather brought back from the war.

We remember.

I think no better sentiment sums up Remembrance Day than the poem by John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
- John McCrae

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CSN Giveaway Winner!

Without further ado:

Tim said...

I like
NOVEMBER 3, 2010 9:34 PM 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Heart Warming Moments

Mr. Twingle and I both have an age gap of five years with our siblings so we both know that the five year age gap between the twins and Pickle will come to light eventually and the twins will want nothing to do with their pesky little sister.

That is why moments like the one I captured between Pickle and Pretty the other day are so special.  I was in the kitchen making dinner and Pickle and Pretty were in the living room.  I could hear Pretty giggling and so I went to see why.  That's when I found the two girls playing together.  Pretty had taken the throw blankets off the couch and draped them over the coffee table.  She then climbed into her fort and Pickle was laying down on the floor peeking under the blankets to find her.  It was such a sweet and simple moment that I had to capture it on camera.

I managed to get a sample of it on video towards the end, before Pickle lost interest.  Enjoy!

Five Question Friday for November 5, 2010

Good morning!  I hope you've all had a great week.  I know mine was a little "off" this week and I have to attribute it to the sugar consumption, or at least I hope that's all it was.

This weekend, I will be taking the twins to a Remembrance Day service where their Guiding and Scouting units will lay wreathes on the war memorials.  I think it's important to teach them about Remembrance Day and why we remember those who have served to protect our country.  While I know November 11 is the appointed day to remember, I hope you're all remembering and sharing the importance with your own children if you have them.

On a happier note, it's Five Question Friday time!  I hope you'll pop over to My Little Life to link up and play along!

1.  If you could have any talent and turn it into an occupation, what would it be?

Okay, don't laugh.

I would love to be magically inclined and be able to remedy the world of their woes.  You don't like your nose?...snap my fingers and instant nose job.  Need to lose weight?...snap, you're now a perfect size 2!  

Just think of all the money to be made if I could snap my fingers and rid people of their body image grievances or medial ailments that don't have cures?  You've got cancer?...snap, now you don't, you're healthy as a horse!

The possibilities are endless!

2.  Would you rather have a house at the beach or a cabin in the woods?

Can't I have both?  I would like a cabin in the woods but with a waterfront.  Ideally it would be in the Muskoka's.  Fishing, swimming, boating could all be done on the lake and then you could retreat to your cabin in the woods when the weather was crummy or just to snuggle by the fireplace on those cool summer nights.

3.  Is there any meaning or reasoning for the names you chose for your chilren/child?

For the twins there was no reasoning or meaning at all.  I went through a name book and picked out the ten boy and girl names I liked best.  Trevor then went through my list and crossed out the ones he didn't like.  By process of elimination, we ended up with their names.  Our only criteria was that they were "different".  They didn't have to be off the wall like celebrity babies; but, we didn't want them to be common either.  I think we succeeded with that.

For Pickle, I loved the show Charmed and actually wanted to use the name for Pretty; but, Mr. Twingle was totally against it.  I never lost my love of the name and so when we found out it was a girl, I started to refer to her as Pickle and the name stuck!

4.  What is your guilty pleasure?  (I know we've done this one before; but, I'm guessing people's "guilty pleasures" change frequently.)

Right now I'd have to say my Guilty Pleasures are Christmas movies.  I dug them out about two weeks before Hallowe'en and I've been watching them whenever I can.  I love Christmas; not the commercialism of it; but, the feel good sensation and spirit of the season.

5.  Do you live in a house that is deep cleaned or straightened?

Deep cleaned?  With kids?  I don't think so.

We straighten daily to keep the toys and fur bunnies from the cat and dog at bay.

I would love to deep clean, you know, get down on my hands and knees and scour the floors and baseboards, scrub windows, etc...but realistically with three kids, that's not going to happen.  Or at least, not frequently.  We do mop the floors and vacuum and all that on a fairly regular basis; but, it's definitely not a deep clean.  It's enough to get the surface dirt and make the floors less sticky!

Maybe when the kids are older, I can employ them to do the deep cleaning!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway!

We have lived in our current home just shy of three years now and in that time I have been on the hunt for the perfect counter stool for the island/breakfast bar in the kitchen.  

I have gone into expensive furniture stores, flea markets, liquidation centres and more and have not found anything I like, until now.  I recently discovered All  Not only do they carry barstools; but, they have every imaginable style of stool you could ever wish to find, including my counter-height ones!  

Now my only dilemma is which stool to order!  I'm torn between two:

We do have an eat-in kitchen with a table, so I don't want anything too big or bulky.  It needs to tuck away which is why I like option one (in a dark cherry, not the oak).  But option 2 just has nice lines and looks super comfy!

While I'm trying to make up my mind, the wonderful people as CSN Stores have offered one lucky reader $35 to spend at any of their 200+ stores!

Mandatory Entry:  Visit All and tell me which stool you like.  Leave me the link (2 entries)

Please leave your email address with each entry so I can contact you if you win!

Optional Entries:  Follow me on GFC on the right hand side (1 entry)
Follow me on twitter (1 entry)
Like me on Facebook (1 entry)
Tweet about the giveaway and leave me the link.  One entry per day (2 entries)

Giveaway runs from November 2, 2010-November 9, 2010.  Open to US and Canadian residents.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Making Friends Monday, November 1 edition

It's November, which means only 8 more weeks until Christmas!  I'm so excited!  The kids had a great time last night, despite the cold; but I'm glad it's over.   Now I can focus on my favourite holiday!

Mondays mean it's time to link up with Making Friends Monday hosted by Living on Love and Cents, The Thrifty Things, Reviewed by Mom and Coupons are Great.

The rules are super simple but VERY important!
1.  Follow the Making Friends Monday Hosts (listed as #1-4 on the linky).  They WILL follow you back, but be sure to leave them a comment so they can do so.
2.  Grab the Making Friends Monday button and include it in a post on your blog.
3.  Link up to THAT post.
4.  Start hopping and remember following back is appreciated.  

Help spread the word and get more followers:
-Put the same linky list code on your blog and you'll have the exact same list!
-Your blog visitors can add their blog to your list and it will show up on all lists!
**Don't forget the rules so you have a chance to be the "Spotlight Blog of the Week"!

Friday, October 29, 2010

{this moment}

Inspiration taken from SouleMama {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

Five Question Friday!

Good morning and welcome!  It's the last Friday in October and I know my kids are super excited for trick or treating on Sunday.  Of course, the Hallowe'en festivities have already begun with their Beavers and Sparks units having Hallowe'en parties.  Today at school they will also be having a class party and the school does a costume parade.  While I'm glad they are getting use out of their costumes, I think I'm going to be all Hallowe'ened out by the end of it!

It's Five Question Friday again, yay!  I love linking up at My Litte Life and playing along.  I hope you'll join in the fun too.  The rules are simple:  Copy and paste the following 5Q into a blog post of your own, answer them and link up!  Feel free to answer the questions in a comment here if you don't have a blog.

1.  If you could be a fly on any wall, which would you choose?

Hmm, this is a good question.  I think I would say a political or celebrity person's wall; but, I can't decide who at the moment...maybe Prince William?

2.  Do you budget your Christmas shopping or just get it done without budgeting?

I've never really budgeted although I probably should.

No, I don't think that's actually true.  While I might not sit down and say "I'll spend x on this person", I do know we're on a budget and limit what I would buy.  In the past, each person may have received 2-3 gifts. Now, each is only getting 1 and whenever possible, Mr. Twingle and I, make the gifts or use our Aeroplan miles to get gift cards to pay for those items.  It makes the budget go a little farther and I don't end up with guilt over not being able to afford Christmas.

3.  What is the craziest fad diet you have ever done?

Oh my, where do I begin?  I've struggled with my weight all my life so I've tried many diets over the years.  The only "fad" diet I can think of is the grapefruit diet, which is hilarious since I don't even like the stuff!
In highschool I decided that I couldn't eat breakfast because it made me feel sick and then I stopped eating lunch and would only have dinner.  This worked well for losing weight; but, when I started eating properly again I gained it all back and then some.

4.  Is there a TV show that you have seen every episode/season of?

Charmed!  I loved Charmed while it was on and it was my Sunday night solice, never missing a week.  I now have the entire series on DVD which I have watched in its entirety at least twice.

5.  What one song always pulls at your heart?

I'm going to have to say my wedding song, "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk.  Everytime I hear it, it brings a tear to my eyes.

Well that's it for this week.  But now that you're finished, why not pop over to 3 Moms in One where I'm the Friends 2 Follow featured blogger for the week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Camp with the Girl Guides

Girls and women around the world are often members of Girl Guides/Scouts at some point in their life.  As the largest organization for girls led by women in the world, Girl Guides/Scouts provides unique opportunities for its members.

As a girl member myself, I loved to go to camp.  There was nothing better than being in a tent with my friends being silly.  Trading stickers and jelly bracelets, talking boys or about the latest on the music scene are just some of my fond memories.

I also loved the hikes, the crafts and the various activities.  Of course, the campfire itself always held a magical draw for me too.

Now, as an adult member, many of those memories are true today.  The sisterhood of Guiding never really goes away.  While I'm not sitting in my tent being silly and talking boys, I enjoy listening to the girls do just that.  I enjoy the company of my fellow Guiders as we sit around the fire sipping on hot chocolate or apple cider making good conversation.

This past weekend, my Guide unit had it's first Fall camp.  We have a very small group of girls this year, just three; but, I was happy to have them all come out.

We totally lucked out in the weather department.  The evening before our camp, temperatures had dropped below zero with the windchill and I feared it would be a very long, cold night.  Thankfully, Mother Nature, warmed things up a bit making the night cool; but bearable.

Our theme for Friday night was CSI.  The BC Girl Guides have put out a CSI challenge and we did may of the activities in order to earn their crest; but, we were able to put a spin on things since the other Guider in the unit is a police officer and was able to bring out actual forensics kits for us to use!

After our CSI activities and some silly songs we had Mug Up and made s'mores, hot dogs and hot chocolate over the fire.  YUM.  Surprisingly, the girls went to bed at a decent hour and we were able to get a somewhat good sleep; well, until the planes started coming in at 4:00am.  We were directly under their flight path, so sleeping in a tent about 300ft below them, is enough to wake anyone out of the deepest sleep!

The girls were up and ready to go by 7:30 and we got breakfast going: pancakes and sausages cooked over the campfire with fruit salad on the side.  We finished eating and clean up and went on a hike to complete our wildflower badge.  Even in the fall, the girls were able to identify three wildflowers and find edible wildflowers!

We finished up the morning with another craft for their camp hat and daylight taps.  Even though it was a short, one night camp, it was a great way to start another Guiding year.  The girls are already asking when we're going on our next camp!

I love being able to see the excitement on the girls faces when we tell them we're already working on plans for the next one!

There is nothing better than being the one to help these girls obtain memories like those I have had growing up.  Guiding/Scouting is truly a remarkable movement and one I'm proud to be part of!