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 umbrella...so 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 in...my 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 one...do 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 http://kellysgiveaways.blogspot.com    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: 
"...by 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 http://www.allbarstools.com/Hillsdale-Furniture-4592-830-HF2390.html
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 Barstools.com.  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 Barstools.com 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"!