Friday, March 30, 2012

The Crayon Incident

Pickle loves to colour.  She will spend hours a day doodling on any piece of paper, or wall, she can find.  Thankfully, I've discovered Goo Gone will take crayon off walls with the gentlest of scrubs; and it won't take the paint off like those Mr. Clean Erasers.  Sadly, it doesn't take pen off the walls too; but I digress.

Last night, I had washed a load of Pretty's laundry in preparation for camp this weekend.  I put the load in the dryer and an hour later began to unload it.  But WHAT was that dark purple stuff all over her clothes?  It seems Pickle decided it would be a good idea to leave a dark purple crayon in Pretty's clothes and  it melted; it is all over EVERYTHING, including Pretty's Brownie uniform.

After a frantic Google search I discovered several responses, including one from Crayola, that said WD-40 would do the trick.  
I went to Mr. Twingle's tool box, pulled out the WD-40 and began spraying.  Word of advice?  That stuff STINKS.  Don't spray it in a tiny laundry room without turning on a fan and opening a window.  My poor head.  
After the WD-40 sat for 5 minutes, the instructions said to then spray affected areas with a stain treatment.  The only one we have is an Oxi-Clean spray, so I doused the clothes with that and let them sit for another 10 minutes.  
Next came the "cocktail".  I filled the laundry tub with HOT water...I didn't even turn on the cold tap.  Then I added Borax, laundry detergent, vinegar, dish detergent and some more Oxi-Clean; mixing it all together.  I set the clothes in the tub and let them soak overnight.

When I came down to check on the clothes this morning I was shocked to see that the water had a pinkish/purple tinge to it...a good sign, right?  I began pulling out the clothes piece by piece to inspect and toss in the washer for the [final] step.  The lighter soiled clothes seem to be okay.  But the pieces that were closest to the offending crayon may need another treatment of WD-40.  I'll have to see what happens after they finish in the wash.
The wash cycle is on "baby clothes" which sets the temperature at EXTRA-hot and a cold rinse.  I also made sure to set the soiled setting as HIGH and set the water setting for "water plus".  This is supposed to do the trick.  All the extra crayon residue is supposed to wash away...'s an hour later and the washer has just finished.  I went to inspect the clothes and my jaw dropped.  There is not a trace of crayon to be found.  Not even the worst of the stains has any sign that it had previously been victimized by a dark purple crayon.
The only thing I've found is a greasy black streak on a couple of pieces that appears to be gummed up gunk from the WD-40 and wax.  I'm currently running a tub clean in the washer and then I'll re-wash the clothes to make sure I get all the WD-40 out of them.

Needless to say I'm elated and flabbergasted all at the same time!  To recap, here are the step-by-step instructions for removal of dried, melted crayon.

1.  Spray affected stained areas with WD-40, let sit for 5 minutes.
2.  Apply stain remover of choice to stained areas, let sit 10 minutes.
3.  In laundry tub or sink, mix up cocktail of 2 cups Borax, 1 cup laundry detergent, 1 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup dish detergent and some Oxi-Clean in HOT water.
4.  Add clothes and let soak. (I soaked mine overnight, approx 9 hours)
5.  Wash clothes with colour safe bleach and laundry detergent with HOT wash, COLD rinse
6.  Ensure all stains have been removed.  Retreat if necessary.
7.  Dry as usual (make sure offending crayon & residue has been removed from dryer)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Countless Ways to Enjoy Nature at Pinehurst Resort

Sometimes there’s even more to nature than the stunning beauty of the great outdoors.  Places like Pinehurst Country Club are there to prove it. 
Enclosed within a unique mix of emerald hills, dazzling lakes and harmonious trees in Southwest Denver, this is a country club which turns a stay in such splendid scenery into a wholesome experience for you and your family.
Pinehurst spreads across 227 acres of ground and prides itself on offering a vast array of activities, each of them permeated by a great a focus on quality.
Perhaps the biggest delight of this Country Club, which used to be a gentleman’s farm in the 20th century, are the two golf courses carefully developed for all levels of experience. 
The Maxwell 18 is a challenging par 36 which spreads across the lovely hilly scenery, with greens differing in size and pitch and varied fairways which boast four lakes, 65 bunkers, and 5,000 trees.
The 9-hole course, instead, is a hit with the kids who want to learn the basics of golf and eventually join mum and dad on the Maxwell 18.
The courses at Pinehurst can also be competitive with events for men, women, couples and children, and it often hosts the Colorado PGA events as well.
For more fun on different kinds of grounds, this Country Club offers the best tennis facilities in Denver, with 10 hard and two clay outdoor courts, as well as four indoor courts.
All across these courts, which will appeal to all kinds of players, there are regular programmes and leagues, on top of which you’ll be able to enjoy clinics and social events, as well as junior tennis classes and a Ladies Tennis Association.
But it’s not only greens and courts that will be the background to your activities in Pinehurst: all the water lovers can enjoy an Olympic-sized pool with state of the art facilities. The pool will additionally be loved by your kids, who will be able to join swim training with certified swim instructors.
The pool here is the so-called icing on the cake, and it makes Pinehurst an ideal place for families and kids who like to engage in different activities and get the most out of time spent in nature.

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post and does not reflect the opinions of  Life of a Twingle Gal.  Compensation was received in exchange for publishing this post.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Girl Guides at Great Wolf Lodge

This past weekend my Guide unit went to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls for an overnight adventure! We were told we couldn't officially get our rooms until 4:00pm; but, if we got there around 1:00 we could check our bags and get into the waterpark while we that's what we did.

Sharon, my co-leader, and I planned to arrive around noon. We figured that if everyone had the same idea to get there at 1:00, it could be quite a while before the girls actually got to the fun. As it turns out, there wasn't much of a lineup when we got there at noon and they even let us check in a bit early. So we were in the waterpark by 1:00 and ready to have fun!

It seems like everyone had been to GWL before, except me. I excitedly tried to take it all in. The lobby was fantastic with a very modern rustic feel. The talking tree and animals were a tad disturbing; but, I'm sure younger kids just adore them.

We went the waterpark where we gave the girls a few ground rules like they always had to be with at least one other girl and they couldn't leave the water play area, then set them free! Sharon and I set off for our first ride, Wooly Mammoth. I'm not a huge fan of waterslides but I had a blast. I think it's that all the slides involve tubes of some sort.  Sharon and I tried out a few different slides before heading to the "adults only" outdoor spa.  Yep, you got to swim under a little flappy door into an amazing hot kids allowed!  The weather was perfect for this too.  It was cool with a light drizzle to help regulate our temperatures from the hot tub.  It was pure heaven and I didn't want to leave.  I think Sharon and I may have spent most of our time here.  The girls were able to get to us if they needed us as there were patio doors that they could see us through; but, other than a couple waves we didn't see much of them during their allotted slide time.

Around 4:00, we gathered the girls and finally got our rooms.  We had brought dinner with us: pizza, carrots & dip and juice.  We ate then went back down for some more water fun before campfire.  Since there were many Guiding groups participating, the organizing unit hosted a campfire for everyone on Saturday night.  It was an informal event with each unit leading their chosen song(s).  Lots of laughs ensued.  Girls then had a snack of milk and cookies, got to do some swaps if they had them and just hang out with the other girls.  By 10:30, they were complaining they were tired and we headed back to the rooms.  It turns out, they weren't really tired at all and we had some snacks while watching a movie on ABC Family.  Girls pulled pranks on each other, causing fits of laughter, and we  got a noise warning from security...oops.  We had the girls to sleep by about 2:00am, not horrible for a Guiding event.  
We were awake by 8:00, fed and back at the waterpark by 9:00, when it opened.  We had a couple hours of fun before we had to say good-bye to Great Wolf Lodge; but, the girls are already asking to do it again next year!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Works® Giveaway!

As a mom, I'm always looking for green products to use around the house when cleaning.  I hate all the chemicals that traditional cleaners contain.  

Green Works® products are made with plant and mineral-based cleaning ingredients. These ingredients are biodegradable and are naturally derived.  They don't use animals to conduct their product testing and Green Works® products are acknowledged by the EPA's Design for the Environment Program!

I'm offering you the chance to try out Green Works® products for yourself!  Enter for your chance to win a gift pack from Green Works®!
Simply leave me a comment below telling me which of the Green Works® products you're most excited to try.

The Giveaway will run from March 26, 2012 - April 14, 2012 and is open to Canadian residents only.  Readers may enter across multiple blogs; but, may only collect one prize.

Don't forget to check back to see my take on the Green Works® products after I've had a chance to use them!

Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Get Kids to Eat Green Vegetables [Guest Post]

How to Get Kids to Eat Veggies

When I was little, I refused to eat green food. It didn't matter if it was asparagus or a green M& was NOT going in my mouth no matter what the consequences.

Now I am blessed with a munchkin that will not eat crunchy or cold food...of any kind. This isn't too bad and I just make sure the veggies are served cooked and warm.

Why do some kids hate veggies?

It could be worse; there are lots of different reasons for kids to refuse their vegetables, and other kinds of foods (like my gotta-be-squishy eater).

Texture: My child isn't alone in her distaste of anything that makes noise when she chews it, this is common, as is the opposite...children who won't eat squishy, mushy, or sticky food. Texture is actually a big reason for kids to refuse what's for dinner. I can't blame them and I don't eat cooked onions for the same reason! They're just slimy!

Smell, taste, and color: You can't change these things about most vegetables (although I did once manage pink cauliflower once with some red food coloring), but you can add them to things the kids already like. Pizza and pasta are great places to "hide" veggies! Yogurt is also a good fruit combo.

How can I get them to enjoy their vegetables?

There are a few tricks you can use to make veggies less troublesome...

Add them to old favorites: Cut-up veggies can be disguised in pasta or casseroles. Maybe it's not ideal to hide them from your kids, but you can make them less prominent on their plate. Your little ones might even deal well with a choice..."would you like carrots or peas in the casserole tonight?"

Let them help: Picking out fruits and vegetables when your shopping is something the kids could help with, as well as washing and peeling, and slicing and dicing (older kids). This might make them more interesting to your picky eaters.

Change it up: Instead of just piling veggies on the plate, try grating carrots on top of pasta salads, or adding chopped tomatoes to burgers instead of slices. Anything different might make vegetables more fun. If all else fails, make broccoli landscapes and funny faces out of carrot slices.

Don't make it a fight: If you make your child eat every vegetable that crosses her plate, she will grow up despising them. Let some things go, and offer alternatives. Not every kid likes every veggie...carrots instead of corn is not a bad thing to have to accept.

Make them available: Instead of a cookie jar, have a veggie bowl in the fridge...maybe with little cups of ranch or another vegetable dip. When you're cooking, cut up the veggies first and let your little one "graze". Hide the junk food in a place where it's less convenient for your child to grab.

Keep trying: Even if your little one didn't like carrots last week, that doesn't mean she won't eat them this week. Kids change their tastes often, and you can take advantage of these swings to try out things that were shelved once. Sometimes it takes a few tries.

Invite adventurous friends to dinner: If your child has a friend that will eat anything, by all means let that child be an example. Kids might try something new if a friend tries it first.

Eat your own veggies: Why would your kiddo eat green food if you won't touch it? Try to set a great example, and recruit grandparents and other adult relatives to do the same. Sometimes that's all it takes!

Amy Brown, a stay-at-home mom, is an editor of Livesnet, a site offering baby gear reviews and parenting tips. She's surely willing to share her own experience and tips.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Will it Last

The beautiful weather I mentioned before, has lasted all week!  It's wonderful to be able to open all the windows and blow some of the winter stink out of the house.

I have to say though, I'm not entirely certain that we're not going to get one last winter storm before Spring finally arrives with normal seasonal temperatures.

We have had a very odd Winter in Southern Ontario this year.  There has been very little snow and the temperatures have been quite mild.  It's actually had me thinking about what it would be like to be somewhere north, where the snow is falling silently around us and we end up trapped in a cabin deep in the woods.  For most people, I think they'd probably panic or freak out.  But, I don't think that would be me.  I think I would embrace the serenity of it.  Good old fashioned board games, cards and charades would keep us entertained.  We could sip wine or hot chocolate snuggled up by a fire and take a moment to appreciate the solitude and wonder Mother Nature bestowed upon us.  I think I would probably get a little stir crazy depending on the length of the storm; but, overall, it would be nice to unplug and unwind.  I imagine the kids and Mr. Twingle would be with me and we would build a village of snow people and maybe even a fort.  A good ole snowball fight would ensue and we'd all end up in the snow in fits of laughter.  Sounds highly romanticized doesn't it?
Of course, if we had had a proper, snowy, cold Canadian winter, I'd probably be singing a different tune!

What about you?  How would you survive if you were snowed in at a cabin deep in the woods?  Would you embrace the chance to appreciate the gift it provides or would you panic and try to figure out the fastest way out of there?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Great Outdoors

The AMAZING weather this week has got me thinking about getting outdoors.  The hiking trails and campgrounds are calling my name!

March is the perfect time to get outside with the family and head to the Sugar Bush.  There's nothing better than learning about how maple syrup is created and getting to sample the sweet sap that becomes our sugary pancake topper!  I remember going to the Sugar Bush as a kid on school trips.  Many times, there was still snow on the ground, not the 17°C weather we're having this week.  The Sugar Bush employees would pour syrup in the snow and we'd have maple delicious.  Sadly, in the past five years that we've taken the twins to the Sugar Bush, there hasn't been enough snow to make maple taffy and they have yet to experience this treat; but, there's always next year!

But it's not just in March that I want to get outdoors.  I'm looking forward to the summer and camping with the kids.  One of my most favourite things to do.  As a kid, my family didn't have a lot of money for big family vacations to Disney.  Instead, we camped or visited a friend's cottage.  I LOVED this.  These summer trips probably make up 75% of my all-time favourite childhood memories.  My goal is to instil a love of nature in my kids and create memories for them that will last a lifetime.

One memory that is vivid in my mind is from the summer I was three.  We were camping at Glen Eden (aka: Kelso Conservation Area) and I was roasting my last marshmallow of the night.  This gigantic raccoon walked right up, through the fire, and grabbed the marshmallow of my stick before he turned and sauntered away.  I was so shocked that I stood there with my mouth open for a good minute before I started crying that he stole my last marshmallow.  My parents and aunt were also stunned at this bold creature who braved the fire to steal the fluffy white glob.  Needless to say, we were very careful with our food from that moment on.  If that raccoon was going to walk right up to us, there was nothing that was going to deter him from visiting our campsite and raiding our coolers when we were sleeping.
I've never forgotten that moment and I honestly don't think I ever will.  At the time, I was terrified.  Now, I look back and laugh and wonder at the gall of that bloody raccoon.  How dare he steal my marshmallow!

Do you have a love of the outdoors and if so, a favourite memory?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Romance Books

Given my love of reading, you would think I've read a few romance books in my past; and you would be correct.  Though, I do have to say that most of the "romance" books I've are usually end up being closer to erotica than romance.  I definitely don't intend that to be the case, it just seems to happen.

I was thinking about the most romantic book I've ever read and I had a really difficult time coming up with one.  Maybe that's because my definition of romance isn't the same as the author's.

There is one book that comes to mind and that is Fine Things by Danielle Steel.  It's not a traditional romance.  In fact, it's actually quite sad.  But I loved it.  From the whirlwind romance at the beginning to the life altering events at the end, it captured my heart.  It's one of those books that I can go back and read time and again and still get goosebumps.

What is your favourite romance book?  I'd love to hear about it and maybe add it to my #50BookPledge!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pictures from the Past

I came across this lovely picture of me & one of my besties today!  I'm fairly certain this was taken after her high school graduation and we had gone out to celebrate.  That's Mr. Twingle on the right, playing NTN!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hunger Games Giveaway

Many of you know that I'm participating in the #50BookPledge by Harper Collins Canada and The Savvy Reader.
The first book I read for my pledge was The Hunger Games.  I wasn't sure if I would like the book given that I really don't like futuristic, sci-fi type books.  However, I was wrong.  I LOVED this book, and devoured the entire series in a week!  Yep, that's right, three books in one week!  Those of you that have read my posts in the past know that I'm incredibly busy with three kids, Guiding and momstown Hamilton. I don't have time to read.  So the books must have been good if I stayed up until 4am reading them!

The motion picture adaptation of The Hunger Games will be released on March 23.  I'm super excited by this and already have my movie date picked out; I'm going with my daddy.  Mr. Twingle doesn't have any interest in seeing the movie, nor does my mom.  So Dad and I are going together for a daddy/daughter date!

I'm even more excited to share with you a fantastic giveaway from Kobo!  
Any customer who purchases any of the Hunger Games titles through Kobo during the contest period will be entered into a draw for the following prizes.

What's up for Grabs:
Grand Prize (1)

  • One (1) Kobo Touch eReader,
  • One (1) The Hunger Games Gift Pack, and
  • One (1) $50 Movie voucher
  • (Approximate retail value of $310 CDN).

Secondary Prize (1)

  • One (1) The Hunger Games Gift Pack
  • (Approximate retail value of $310 CDN).
Simply click on the image below to learn how you can enter to win this great giveaway.  Good luck!

Over 2.5 Million eBook titles

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Success in the City

Friday, I attended the first annual Hamilton, Ontario "Success in the City". 130 women entrepreneurs got together for a day of networking and lunch!
I was invited to attend as part of the momstown Hamilton team; and, I am so grateful for the incredible opportunity. I feel like I came out of the day with understanding and inspiration. I was totally enlightened after the days event.
I think what resonated most for me was listening to Jennifer Blakely, from Alphabet Photography, describe her successes and failures. Sharing her failures with us made me realize that part of being an entrepreneur IS failure. You can't be afraid to fail or you'll never succeed. Not every idea is going to be a good one; but, unless you try you won't ever know.
Jennifer summed up her presentation with the following key points "do what you love, be smart about it and think BIG".
At one time, I too was an entrepreneur and sadly I had to close my business. It was the hardest decision I made as a business owner and it left me heartbroken. Yet after Success in the City, I no longer feel like a failure. The business may have faltered; but, I did not fail. I have learned from my experience and if I ever decide to venture down the entrepreneurial road again I will have that experience and a network of other successful women to look up to and ask for support.

Monday, March 5, 2012

K5 Learning

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Watch for my updates as I blog about the program and how the twins like it!

Monday Musings

Happy Monday!  It's the start of yet another week and right now, the sun is shining making me happy!  It looks like a beautiful day out, though there's nothing beautiful about -14°C (6.8°F).  Yup, it's freakin' cold out there.
The twins gave me some pretty good attitude this morning because I told them they had to wear their snow pants.  You would have thought I told them to start WWIII based on Pretty's reaction.  If her attitude is this bad at seven, I'm going to be in some serious trouble when the teen years arrive.  I shudder to think of the battles we're going to have.

Front row, from left, Stooge #2, me, Stooge #1
We had the best weekend, this past week.  On Saturday, I spent most of the morning cleaning...the joys of domesticity!  But, I did it happily because my two bestest friends in the whole world were coming for dinner.  These two incredible women and I have been friends since grade ten, high school.  We were known in our circle of friends as the "Three Stooges".  We all played clarinet in the school band, we all worked for the same Canadian Tire store, we all love Bryan Adams and more.  We all share the same morals and beliefs and we have a great time together.

As we've gotten older and started our own families; it's been more difficult to see each other regularly and so we've decided to fix that.  We are going to start having monthly dinners, rotating houses.  Our spouses & kids come too making it one big, LOUD, happy evening.  This past Saturday, I hosted everyone for the first dinner...and it was amazing.  Good friends, great conversation and a pretty good meal made the weekend perfect!  I don't think it would have mattered what else we did the rest of the weekend, I would have followed the high from Saturday night.  To say I can't wait to do it again next month would be an understatement!

Oh yeah, I also finished book number 11 of my #50BookPledge; but, I'll write more about that later.

Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Simple, Satisfying Dinner

It's funny; but, when you're a kid you don't really appreciate the meals your parents provide.  I remember many a dinner where I begrudgingly ate something I didn't like.  Things like spaghetti or meatloaf.  Actually, the latter I still don't like.
My mom used to make us this dish of breakfast sausages cooked in a pan, then topped with diced tomatoes and served over rice.  At the time, it seemed odd and while I would eat it; I never really enjoyed it.

Fast forward 20 years and I now have my own family to feed.  On a whim, I decided to try this simple meal that I turned my nose up at as a child; only to learn that it was really good.  The best part?  Mr. Twingle and the kids like it too!

Wait, what?  EVERYONE likes it?  Who new a simple and satisfying meal could be so loved.  In fact, I often have them fighting over second and third servings!  

For an affordable, simple and satisfying meal, I suggest you give it a try.

For my family of five here is what I use:

3 packages plain breakfast sausages (approx 30 links)
1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes (you can also use fresh)
1 package Uncle Ben's garlic & butter rice; but any rice would do.

Pan-sear breakfast sausages until cooked through, approx 7 minutes on med-high heat.
Add in tomatoes, stir, cover pan and reduce heat.  Simmer for 10 min.
In separate saucepan, make up rice according to package directions.

Heap rice onto plates and top with sausages & tomatoes.  Serve with your favourite vegetable side (ours is a tossed salad) and voilĂ , a delicious meal for under $20.

In Like a Lion?

I'm a sucker for old adages and old wives tales.  I don't necessarily believe or buy into them; but, they're always in the back of my mind.
Today is March 1!  Growing up, I was taught "If March comes in like a Lion, it'll go out like a Lamb".  This meant if the weather was nasty at the beginning of March, the end would be calm and beautiful.  However, the reverse could be true as well.  If the weather was nice at the beginning, it would be lousy at the end.

Today, the weather is gloomy with freezing rain warnings over much of the province.  I think it's safe to say March is coming in like that nasty old Lion.  Here's to hoping it goes out like a Lamb!