Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Book number nine on my #50BookPledge was The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey.  I was asked to review this book for the Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada book club.  They run a wonderful "she said" post featuring reviews on their upcoming books from members and fans alike.

I was interested to read The Flight of Gemma Hardy as it has been compared to Jane Eyre, one of my all-time favourite classics.

We meet our young heroine, Gemma, quite young; and it is evident that she is in for a rough road.  The first chapter captured my interest enough that I HAD to keep reading.  I needed and wanted to learn all about Gemma and her life.

Livesey is successful in painting beautiful, vivid landscapes and transporting her readers within.  Never have I been able to picture Scotland with more clarity.

The story continues over ten years and we see our heroine evolve.  She never loses sight of her quick-whit and sharp tongue, traits that made me laugh out loud several times; earning me worried expressions from my husband!

I absolutely loved following Gemma's journey to self-discovery and highly recommend this wonderful tale.  I saw many similarities between The Flight of Gemma Hardy and Jane Eyre as literary critics had proclaimed; which is perhaps why I enjoyed it so much.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Musings

Good morning and happy Monday!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

Our weekend was fairly quiet.  My parents came for a visit on Saturday and my mom & I took the girls out shopping.  We didn't really buy anything, just a few groceries; but, it was nice to get out of the house!

Yesterday, I spent eight hours cleaning the upstairs.  I know you're probably thinking, how does one spend eight hours cleaning one level of their house?  It's not hard, I tell you.  When you start scrubbing walls and baseboards, putting laundry away, changing beds, polishing furniture, it adds up.  AND, I didn't even get it all done.  I got the ensuite bathroom and main bath done, the master bedroom and Pretty's room are completely finished too.  I managed to get half of Boo's laundry put away; but it was then time for him to go to bed, so I'll have to finish his room and Pickle's room today.

I never realized how many muscles you use scrubbing, polishing and putting away.  My forearms and wrists hurt from all the activity and my back...well bending over all day doesn't make it feel good, that's for sure!

I guess I should be happy I'm getting a jump on Spring cleaning.

How about you?  How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Zax's Original Kids Bruise Cream

As the mom of three active kids, it's inevitable that there are going to be some bumps and bruises.  So when I learned of Zax's Original Kids Bruise Cream, I thought I'd give it a try.  
"Zax’s Kids Bruise Cream is a menthol-free version of the Zax’s Original Bruise Cream designed specifically for children’s bumps and bruises (ages two to eleven). The kid’s version uses witch hazel and arnica, the same active ingredient as the original cream. It is ideal for bruises from soccer, hockey, figure skating, any other sports and booster and flu shots." 

Zax’s Original Creams are widely available across Canada – Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, etc. and have an MSRP of $18.99

Of course, before I try anything like this on the kids, I try it on myself first.  Even though, I'm not within the recommended age bracket, I figured it wasn't going to hurt.  Conveniently, I had a bruise that was just appearing.  You know those ones that you can't yet see; but the spot on your body is sore to the touch.  I applied some of Zax's Kids Bruise Cream and I immediately felt it working.  The pain was dulled and I swear I could feel the bruise coming to the surface.  After two days, the bruise was noticeably lighter and fading fast.  By about the fourth day it was completely gone.  For anyone that knows me well, they know that I bruise easily and the bruise usually lasts 7-14 days!

I tried it on my oldest daughter after I noticed a particularly big bruise on her shin one evening.  Of course, the response I got from her was "it's fine".  But again, the bruise was all but gone by about the fourth day.  Like me, she takes a long time to heal from a bruise, so this was equally impressive.

I would definitely recommend Zax's Kids Bruise Cream and I will be getting the original formula to keep in the medicine cabinet for Mr. Twingle and myself!  Another note worth mentioning, Zax's Kids Bruise Cream is a PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) seal of approval winner!  Just another reason why I will continue to use this product.

Disclaimer: I received a sample of this product in order to complete the review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blog Awards!

I'm feeling very humbled this morning as in the past week, I have received blog awards twice!

Both RaeBeth from The Writing World and Jen from Momology gave me the Kreative Blogger and One Lovely Blog Awards.

Thank you!

Kreative Blogger Award Rules:

1.  Link back to the one who gave you the award.

2.  Share 10 random facts about yourself.

3.  Pass the award onto 6 other people.

4.  Follow the person who sent you this award.

10 Random TwingleGal Facts

1.  I love pigs.  I think they're adorable.
2.  My thumb is double jointed.
3.  I no longer know what my natural hair colour is.
4.  My favourite colour is orange; but it has to be a specific shade for me to really LOVE it.
5.  I can say the alphabet backwards.
6.  I love the smell of libraries and book stores.  While I like eBooks because they are saving our trees and lowering our carbon footprint; I'll never stop liking the old fashioned, ink on paper, books.
7.  I love when people read my blog and leave me comments.
8.  Nothing rejuvenates my soul like a good bubble bath.
9.  I hate spiders.
10.  I have 8 ear piercings.  3 in one ear, 5 in the other.

I have received this beautiful award in the past; but I'll continue it along with the Kreative Blog award like the others!

One Lovely Blog Award Rules:

1.  Link back to the person who gave you the award.

2.  Pass the award onto 15 other bloggers.

3.  Follow the person who sent it to you.

So without further ado, I'm passing these two wonderful awards onto the following people:

1.  Life of a Sippy Cup Mom
2.  Crazy about my Baybah
3.  Obviously Marvelous
4.  Taking it All In
5.  5 of My Own
6.  Tales of a Ranting Ginger
7.  Sweet Tea & Giggles
8.  Mom-a-Logues
9.  Mommy Time Out
10.  Musings of a Modern Mom
11.  This Little Family
12.  The Not so Secret Confessions of a Second Time Mom
13.  The Best Mom on the Block
14.  Taming Insanity
15.  Eccentric Delirium

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#50BookPledge Update and Review

Well, I just finished book number eight of my #50BookPledge.  It seems like it took forever to get through this one compared to my first seven books; but, I attribute that to it being a non-fiction novel.  Unlike the fiction books I normally read, I wasn't able to just get lost in the book like I usually do.

The book was How the Girl Guides Won the War by Janie Hampton.  I've written the following review for the Girl Guides of Canada blog.  I hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I did; and don't forget to link up your #50BookPledge blog posts below.

"For great occasions, such as visits from the District Comissioner, there was a Grand Salute. 'The Brownies form a circle and squat on their heels...with both hands on the ground beneath their feet. When the important person comes in they howl very gently all together . "Tu-whit-to-who-oo-ooo. Tu-whit-to-who-oo-ooo, " the second time raising the voice and gradually rising to a standing position. "Tu-whit-to-who-oo-ooo." The third time it is louder and the forefinger on the right hand is placed to the lips and made to revolve, the noise getting louder and louder until it ends in a shriek, a leap in the air, and a clap of the hands. The clap comes as the feet reach the ground... then the Brownies are absolutely silent and raise their hands to the full salute."
The Grand Howl, as we called it, was one of my favourite Brownie moments!  I joined Girl Guides of Canada as a Brownie.  However, I joined late, in what would have been my third and final year.  The other girls all talked about being able to “fly up” to Guides at the end of the year, having successfully completed their Golden Bar, Golden Ladder and Golden Hand requirements.  I too wanted to fly up to Guides and worked feverishly to earn that honour.  Somehow, I managed to do it and my wings were proudly worn on my Guide badge scarf.  Yet somehow after reading this book, my accomplishment seems pitiful and lack luster in comparison to what Brownies and Guides accomplished during WWII.  What struck me most was incredible ingenuity and bravery shown by these young Brownies and Guides.  Many girls mentioned throughout the book were refugees or interned in Concentration camps.  These girls lived by the Guide law and did everything in their power to do a Good Turn each day; even if their meetings had to be run in secret to avoid execution.
The girls often risked their lives in incredibly dangerous situations.  They were forced to step into the roles of homemakers, nurses and even messengers of top-secret information.  Not an easy task for a child.  Yet despite the atrocities they faced, they managed to find time to work on badges, complete their second and first-class tests and even earn their All Round Cords.  I find it truly amazing that in the face of adversity, these incredible girls were able to find some normalicy in their lives; and I want to offer a huge hug of thanks to the many young women that risked their lives to provide Guide and Brownie units for the children.  In fact, some of the unit Captains were executed for their roles in running units, or aiding the Allies & PoW’s.    

I have to say, I’m not a history buff.  In fact, history was the one subject in school in which I had to work for a decent grade.  Yet somehow Hampton was able to hold my interest.

As a Guider in the movement today I can see how different our expectations for the girls have become.  I look at the girls in my Guide unit and think “could they do these things if another war broke out?”  I hope we never have to find out.  I do like to think that Guiding principles today are the same as they were 100 years ago; and as such, our girls and women would step up just like their sisters of the past.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Musings

It's Monday...again.  I don't mean that the way it sounds though.  I actually like Mondays.  The start of another week.  The kids are at school and I can enjoy quality time with Pickle.  It won't be long before she's in school full-time herself and I'll be back at work.

Right now, I fill my days with reading, crafting and just "playing" with Pickle.  Of course, there are moments of housework and meal preparation to break up the day; but, I enjoy my special time with my littlest and last child.

If Pickle is co-operative, I can usually find an hour or two to blog or prepare for my weekly Girl Guide meeting.  I know I've mentioned before that I volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada/Guides du Canada.  I work with Guides, girls aged 9-11 and I'm the Community Guider of PR for my area.  It's a rewarding and challenging role; but, I love it.  

Contrary to popular belief, I don't get paid for my time as a Guider.  I do it because I enjoy it.

I'm often asked why I work with kids when I have three of my own at home.  The honest answer is that I like what I do.  These girls offer me physical, emotional and mental challenges that I don't necessarily get at home.  I also love being able to introduce them to things that they might not otherwise get to experience.  "Like what?" some of you might think.  

Well, for starters, Guiding offers girls a safe environment to be themselves.  It is an all-inclusive organization that focuses on empowering girls to be and do anything they want.  There are many girls who want to try new things; but, don't out of fear of being made fun of by their male classmates, family or friends.  Guiding gives them a way to try these things, without fear of judgement.  Guiding also runs a girl-centred program.  We get the girls input into everything we do.  For example, this week we are having a Valentine's Day party...and the girls planned the whole thing.  They only thing I need to do is buy the few needed craft supplies and snack.  They will decorate, organize the games, crafts and snack and essentially run the whole meeting.  We are there to simply provide guidance when needed.  Allowing the girls to plan and run meetings gives them self-confidence, teaches them leadership and tells them that we believe in them and their abilities.  How many other organizations do that?

I firmly believe in the Mission and Principles Guiding has set forth and I'm proud to be a member.  I hope that Pretty and eventually Pickle, will share my enthusiasm for Guiding someday too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Welcome the Dragon, RE-Draw

It turns out our lucky VH Sauces prize pack winner, won on another blog as well.  Since the rules clearly state you can only win once, we're drawing another winner!

Drum roll, please...

Congratulations to:

We don't introduce much culture into our meals, but love reading the ideas. We do however, try different sauces and dips with different foods!

Welcome the Dragon WINNER!

Thank you to everyone that participated in our Welcome the Dragon, VH Sauces giveaway!  We had a great turnout and I'm so excited to announce the lucky winner!

Without further ado:

Daily Tweet:

You will have 24 hours to contact me in order to claim your prize.  If I do not hear from you, I will draw another winner.

#IronKids FLASH Giveaway!

Have you tried IronKids Gummy vitamins?  My family loves them.  All three kids devour them and ask for more every morning; but, before I discovered IronKids, it was a challenge to get the twins to take vitamins at all.

We try to eat a balanced diet; but, I know that there will be gaps and that's why I like IronKids vitamins.  There is a variety of formulas to choose from, and I can cater to our specific needs to ensure those gaps are filled.  IronKids vitamins are also manufactured in a nut-free facility and are allergen and gluten free; BONUS!!!

I've even made the switch myself since they offer and Adult dosage on the bottle!  I love their fruity flavours and I can honestly say, I've been sick far fewer times since taking IronKids vitamins over my previous brand.

Want to win $100 CAD and $100 worth of IronKids products?

I thought so!  That's why I'm happy to share with you this flash giveaway!  The giveaway starts Feb 11 and will run for five days; and it is open to both US & Canadian residents!

Good luck everyone!

Thank-you to IronKids and Influential Media for hosting and organizing this giveaway".

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Post: Things to Consider for Expecting Parents

by: Katie Moore

Nine months go by fast and before you know it your baby's due date is right around the corner. Thinking ahead makes your pregnancy, your labor and your delivery much more enjoyable because of the peace of mind it provides.

Labor and delivery classes are very important for both parents. These specialized classes educate and prepare couples on the labor and delivery process, as well as teach helpful breathing techniques for mom-to-be.

It’s good for the baby's father to attend doctors’ appointments with the mother, when possible. This provides comfort because you are both building a relationship and a trust with the doctor. There are also important things to discuss such as birthing options, possible complications and blood cord banking. Blood cord banking is the process of saving the baby's blood from the umbilical cord and banking it as a valuable resource of stem cells. The stem cells could potentially be used in a future medical treatment. . This is not a routine practice in most hospitals and is a procedure that must be planned in advance. One of the main reasons parents choose this procedure is because of family history of diseases that can be treated with cord blood stem cells.

Touring the hospital before the expected due date is also a good idea. This ensures that you know where everything is from the nurse’s station to the admitting department and everywhere in between. It reduces stress and fear of not knowing where things are and familiarity gives comfort to both parents.

It’s also very important to have the proper things packed for your stay in the hospital. It’s not just a bag for mommy anymore. Now that expectant fathers are allowed to stay with the new moms most all the time, it’s important to make sure he has his essentials as well. Sleeping clothes, toothbrushes, deodorant, and changes of clothes/undergarments are necessary for both parents considering no one knows how long the hospital stay will last. Books, magazines and movies are also good things to consider bringing since they provide things to do while in the hospital. One of the most important things to pack is the camera and video camera along with fresh batteries. You’ll want to be sure to capture every moment of the new baby’s entrance into the world.

It’s hard to prepare for the unexpected but just thinking ahead and planning as much as possible will make all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

5-Minute Retreats for Women

Several years ago, as a thank you for my contribution on a Guiding project, I received a copy of Sue Augustine's 5-Minute Retreats for Women.

The book had been tucked away in a cabinet, forgotten, until today.  I just came across it while looking for another book and I began reading.  The following anecdote, from PLAY MORE, stood out for me and I thought I'd share.

"Do you know how to play?  Children do it intuitively, but many people leave this innocent pleasure behind on the path to adulthood.  Some become too mature and dignified.  Others play only to win, not to simply have fun.
Playing "just for the fun of it" is hard for most adults."
"Playing for fun provides extraordinary freedom and a temporary escape from reality - crucial for creativity and well-being."
"Children have the capacity to plunge into life with a sense of awe and wonder.  Perhaps it's time to reactivate those marvelous feelings of childlike pleasure."
"In fact, good, frolicking, let-down-your-hair fun is essential for mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health."
"As Mae West reminded us, 'You're never too old to become younger!'"
Taken from 5-Minute Retreats for Women by Sue Augustine

Do you know how to play?  Do you take time to engage in play on a daily basis?  What types of things do you enjoy?

Friday, February 3, 2012

{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!