Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Better Me, Week 14

One more week to go...I can do it.  That's one more week to say I made it through the holidays without gaining weight.  
This morning's weigh in was a surprise.  I was positive I was going to have a gain despite my efforts to track and eat well.  Some how, the scale Gods were with me this week and I'm down 1.2 lbs.  That's 35.1 lbs total.  

I still can't believe how much I've lost in 3 months.  It seems so surreal.  I think the most shocking part was learning my nephew weighs the equivalent of what I've lost.  I've lost a little person.  That's just CRAZY!  I keep plugging along and I'm looking forward to seeing more results, one pound at a time.

I hope everyone has a healthy and safe New Year.  Thanks for following my #weightlossjourney to a #betterme.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Better Me, Week 13

Only 4 days until Christmas!  I love this time of year.  All the sights and sounds and those yummy treats I only see this time of year.
Of course, those yummy treats have been my downfall in the past.
This year, I've approached things differently.  I haven't avoided them completely; but, I take steps to ensure I'm not going to gorge myself with them. I try to stay away from the platters, positioning myself across the room from where they are.  I also survey the goodies first and make my selection based on the best option.  Of course, if it's something I really want, and I don't get often, I treat myself to one small piece.  
So far, it seems to be working as I'm down 2 lbs. this week!  That's 33.9 lbs total.  
My goal this holiday season is not necessarily to lose weight; but, I don't want to gain any weight either.  Only a couple more weeks before I can call this holiday season a success on my road to a #betterme.
Thanks for following my #weightlossjourney and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Better Me, Week 12

What a day!  The weather is definitely frightful.  We woke up to 10cm of white fluffy snow this morning and yet I still braved the elements in order to make my weekly weigh-in and meeting.

I'm happy and utterly surprised because I'm down 5 lbs!  Of course, that's a two-week loss; but, after Asheville last week I'm totally shocked.  I guess my brain was working after all and was helping me make better choices from the available options.  This puts me down 31.9 lbs so far and I've now surpassed my 10% goal!
I've set a new goal.  I try to keep them small and attainable to keep me going.  So another 15 lbs. will be goal number 3.  Here's to hoping I'm not a statistic this holiday season.  Studies show that the average person gains 10 lbs. between Dec 1 and Jan 15.  10 lbs!  That's a LOT of weight, that I hope I don't find.  In fact, as long as I don't gain over the holidays, I'll be happy.  Losses would be ideal, but I'll totally take maintaining my current weight over the statistical gain.

Well, I better sign off.  Lots to do on this snowy Saturday.  See you next week on my journey to a #betterme.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Better Me, Week 11?

I bet you are all wondering what happened last week?  Well, here it is...I don't know!  I didn't weigh-in last week as I was in North Carolina for Mr. Twingle's company Christmas party.

I'm a little scared for this week but I had fun.  Asheville, NC is a beautiful city on the edge of a mountain range.  It's artsy and touristy and full of amazing, rich food.

We had a fabulous time despite the fact that I came down with a cold the day after I flew down.

Here are some pictures.
This was the view from our hotel.

Me in my party dress!  Mr. Twingle isn't very good at taking photos, so please pardon the selfie.

Only in Asheville would you find the pub cycle!  Ride a bike and get a drink at the bar at the same time!

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend get away.  If I happen to gain this week it will all be worth it.  I have been on track since getting home so hopefully the damage from the weekend will be minimal.

Check in Saturday for a #betterme week 12!  Wish me luck on my #weightlossjourney.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#50BookPledge Update

It's December!  How on earth did that happen?  I guess it's crunch time.  I haven't done an update on my #50bookpledge in quite some time.  I bet you all thought I had abandoned ship!

I've been plugging along and I'm sad to say I haven't hit my goal of 50 books yet.  I still have a couple weeks to get there; but since I'm only at 33 I don't think I'm going to make it :`(
The good news is I surpassed my total from last year which was only 25.  So in that regard, I've done well!

Here is my list to date:

Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
James Potter and the Vault of Destinies by G. Norman Lippert
Hidden by PC & Kristen Cast
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilsen
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Neilsen
Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Dragon's Oath by PC Cast
Goddess of the Sea by PC Cast
Lenobia's Vow by PC Cast
Bared to You by Syvlia Day
Harry's First Christmas by G. Norman Lippert
White Girl Problems by Bebe Walker
Merlin's Gift by G. Norman Lippert
Petra's Getaway by G. Norman Lippert
The Colour of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe
Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
Chai Tea Sunday by Heather A. Clark
Wedding Night by Sophie Kineslla
Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
Entwined with You by Sylvia Day
Bitten by Kelly Armstrong
Stolen by Kelly Armstrong
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Industrial Magic by Kelly Armstrong
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Secret Santa by Fern Michaels

You'll notice a couple titles have links attached, those would be my thoughts on the books.  I'm hoping to actually compile a one-post synopsis on each of the books I've read.  Stay tuned to see how many more books I can cram in before January 1, 2014!

Happy reading!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Deals at Mabel's Labels

You all know how much I LOVE Mabel's Labels.  So I am super excited to share this awesome Cyber Monday deal from Mabel.

Don't miss out on your chance to get this amazing labels for your kids, youself and everyone else on your holiday list!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Better Me, Week 10

10 weeks, 26.9 lbs lost!  Woot, I'm feeling great.  I was down another 1.4 lbs this week.  I was worried since I had what I considered a bad week.  I wasn't drinking all my water and made some poor food choices.  Apparently, counting my points and staying active helped me make up for it.

I still can't believe how far I've come.  The road ahead is still long, but I'm not giving up.  

I bought a dress to Mr. Twingle's Chrismtas party the other day and I was psyched to put on a dress two sizes smaller than I would have bought at the start of this journey!  It felt so good to put on that smaller size.  I'm looking forward to a fun weekend!  I also got my hair done.  It's been 9 months since my last colour so it was time to change it up.  I think a new colour, cut and dress will go a long way to making me stay focused on my path to a #betterme!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Better Me, Week 9

How has your week been?

I had what I thought was a really crappy week.  It started Saturday.  What should have been an amazing day, the twins birthday, it was spent in the hospital with Pickle.  We were on our way to the US to take Pretty out to dinner (Boo was at camp), when Pickle broke out in hives.  She was covered head to toe.  They were flaming red and hot to the touch.
After waiting 2.5 hours at the ER, she was finally seen by the doc.  They gave her some Tylenol for her fever of 103.6, then promptly diagnosed her having chicken pox.  Now, I don't typically question doctors; but, in my experience, chicken pox don't come and go.  They come, get worse, rupture, scab and eventually disappear.

Needless to say, we kept her home from school until her fever broke and we were able to get her into our family doctor for a second opinion.  That opinion was that she was breaking out in hives as a result of a viral infection; likely the same one that caused the cough she has now.  She's on the mend, but still has the cough and occasional break out.

What does any of this have to do with my week?  Well, I took those two days off work to stay home with her and I realized I have a harder time drinking my water when I'm home.  Where I would normally have all 8 glasses consumed by about 4pm at work, I struggled to get in 4 glasses at home.  I also didn't eat as much as I should have; lacking in my fruits & veggies.
Luckily, Wednesday, I was back at work and back on plan.

The result?  I'm down 3.8 lbs this week for a total of 25.5 lbs lost!  I earned my 25 lb weight (a charm that looks like a bar bell weight, marked with 25 lbs).  I wasn't expecting anything for hitting this milestone, and yet, I felt really emotional receiving it.  25 lbs is HUGE!  I still don't see a big difference yet in my appearance.  My measurements are decreasing, although the highest loss has been in the bust :\
My clothes fit better; but, they aren't too big...YET.

I'm excited to hit my next personal goal which will be 10%.  I'm almost there, only 2-3 more pounds to go before I hit that mark.

I couldn't do any of this without my partner in crime, Sharon.  I have her to thank for keeping me motivated.  We walked 9.18km last Sunday.  We won't be walking tomorrow as I'm off for a girls weekend in Buffalo; but I'm taking my pedometer and will track all the walking we do.

I am finally on my way to a #betterme.  Thanks for following me on my #weightlossjourney!

I'd love to hear how you're doing, drop me a line!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Better Me, Week 8

Woot, woot!  I have surpassed the 20 lb mark!  With this weeks loss of 1.8 lbs, I'm now down 21.7 lbs total.

I'm so proud of myself.  Even my clothes are starting to fit better.  I love this!

Sharon and I walked 9.18km this morning.  My legs are hurting, but I feel great.  Can't wait to do it all again this week.

I'd love to hear from you.  Join my on my path to a #betterme!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Better Me, Week 7

I thought I had a bad week and I dreaded the scale yesterday.  Turns out, I was wrong.  Down another 2.6 lbs this week...yay!

That's 19.9 lbs in total; not 20 lbs, but pretty darn close!

Sharon and I did a 8.5km walk this morning and today was 150 seconds for the 30-day Plank challenge.  I'm looking forward to another week and that 20 lb mark!

Wish me luck!

#betterme #health #weightlossjourney

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Better Me, Week 6

6 weeks in already? How did that happen?

It feels like only yesterday I started this journey and yet I feel great! I had another successful weigh-in on Saturday. I'm down 1.9 lbs or 17.3 lbs to-date! I'm really proud of myself. When I look at how far I still have to go, it doesn't scare me. I see how far I've already come and it keeps me going. When I started this journey I thought 20 lbs by Christmas wouldn't be possible. Now, that not only seems possible; but, I may even surpass it. Sharon and I have been walking 5km every Sunday and we've decided to try and increase that to 7km this coming week. We're also still on track with the 30-day plank challenge. Today was 90 seconds and OMG did it hurt. But I got through it, shaking, burning muscles and all. I'm not looking forward to the 120 seconds tomorrow; but, I'll still do it. I may drop my knees or I may be a rockstar; but, I'll persevere nonetheless. I hope you all have a fabulous week. Check in again next week for more on my plight to a #betterme.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Better Me, Week 5

Happy Saturday!  I was up bright and early this morning for my weekly weigh-in.  I am down another 3.5 lbs for a total of 15.4 lbs lost so far!  *Happy Dance*

With today's weigh-in, I also met my first goal...5% lost!  Yup, that's a huge achievement and I can't wait for the next milestone.

It's also Day 5 of the 30-day Plank Challenge, which means I get to rest; but I'll be back at it tomorrow for 45 seconds (yikes).  Plank and 5km walk all in one day- I'm gonna be hurting; but I'm sure it'll be a good hurting!

Well, gotta run.  Stay tuned next week for my next weigh in.  Have a great week!

#betterme #weightlossjourney #health

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Better Me, Week 4

I am four weeks, or 1 month in and I have lost 11.9 lbs!  This week's weigh in was another successful one.  I lost 3 lbs!  Not bad considering the trip to NYC and Thanksgiving.  I'm sure the 52,000 steps we walked in NYC helped.

I'm feeling better every day and choosing better options is becoming easier.  This past weekend I hosted Pickle's birthday party and then attended my niece's birthday on Sunday.  I passed on the cake one day and had a cupcake the next.  A slice of cake would have been 10 points, but the cupcake was only 5.  So while I still indulged, I made the wiser choice. 

I've also found that the Weight Watchers Mini Bars are AWESOME!  If I'm craving something a little sweet, they are the perfect go-to snack.  At only 2 points per bar, they give me that little something I need to keep going through the day.  I've actually started saving 2 points at the end of the day so I can have a little piece of heaven once the kids are in bed.  I especially love the Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Caramel bars...yum!

Sunday morning, Sharon and I met up to get our walk in.  5 km doesn't seem far; but you definitely feel it afterwards.  Especially since the path we used has an incline.  We weren't just walking a straight line the whole time.  We also decided to try the 30-day plank challenge.  It'll help strenghten core muscles which can only benefit in the end.  Yesterday was day 1, we had to hold plank for 20 seconds.  I got busy and forgot to plank, so I did it this morning.  My intention is doing day 1 this morning and day 2 tonight, so Sharon and I are working the same day.  I made it to 14 seconds this morning and I'm really hoping I can make the full 20 tonight.  Day 3 and 4 will be 30 second planks.  Eventually working up to 270 seconds or more by day 30...YIKES.

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it! 

Check back on Saturday for the next weigh-in results.

#betterme #weightlossjourney #health

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Pickle

My little girl is 4!  How did that happen?   I can't believe how quickly the time has gone.  It seems like just yesterday I was being sent to the hospital a week before my planned c-section only to be told they were going to deliver her early.

Our little Pickle, born October 16 weighing in at 7 lbs 6oz has turned into a beautiful, smart and loving little girl.  I can't imagine life without her.

Happy birthday, Pickle!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Better Me, Week 3

I meant to post this earlier; but in all the excitement I got distracted.  I weighed in early this week because I was going to be in NYC for my usual Saturday weigh-in.

I am down another .5 lbs.  I'm almost certain that had I weighed on Saturday morning as usual, the loss would have been a bit better.  But, a loss is a loss and I'm happy with that.

I'm down a collective 8.9 lbs so far almost reaching my first personal goal of 10 lbs.  I'm feeling good.  I can't see a difference yet; but I've had a couple people tell me they can see it in my face.  Right now, it's not even about appearance, it's about feeling better, and I do.  I find I'm sleeping better at night and I'm not sure if that's just a mental thing, or if eating better has something to do with it.  Either way, feeling more rested in the morning is a bonus!

This week's weigh in should be interesting.  I tried hard in NYC to eat well, but that wasn't always easy.  I do hope the 52,000 steps we walked (25 miles), will help the scale show a loss yet again.  I earned 50 activity points over 2 days and I haven't had to use any of them, so I'm guessing that's a good thing.  I guess only the scale will tell.

Stay tuned Saturday for the results of this week.  #betterme, #weightlossjourney #health

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Better Me - Week 2

I had my week 2 weigh-in yesterday and I'm down 2.4 lbs!  They also realized there was an adding mistake last week and what I thought was a 5 lb loss was actually 6 lbs!  So I'm down 8.4 lbs in 2 weeks! Woot, woot!

I'm not overly surprised by this weeks smaller loss and the way I figure, if it's not a gain I'm ahead of the game.  I know that a lot of the difference this week was due to hormones and water consumption, or lack there of.  That's not to say I wasn't drinking my water; but I definitely wasn't getting my 8 cups a day.  It's amazing how big a difference water can make.  It's enough that I made sure to hit my mark and then some yesterday and I'm well on my way to doing so today.

Even only two weeks in, I find I'm making better choices.  Mr. Twingle made homemade waffles this morning for him and the kids, and while they smelled REALLY good, I passed and made myself a fried egg with toast.  What would have been 16 points for 2 waffles turned into 4 points for my egg & toast (I don't butter my toast so I save points there).  It was a little decision, but it's one I feel AWESOME about.
Everyday, is getting easier to opt for healthy decisions.  That doesn't mean I don't have a piece of chocolate or some popcorn when I want it though.  I just make sure "if I bite it, I write it" and that's working so far.

Last night was a true test of my commitment as we had Thanksgiving dinner with Mr. Twingle's family.  I made sure to weigh my turkey and I passed on the mashed potatoes and gravy; opting for squash, broccoli, carrots, beets and coleslaw with dressing on the side so I could measure it.  I was completely satisfied, even if the turkey was dry.  I had enough points left over that I was able to enjoy a sliver of ice cream cake my SIL brought (we don't like pumpkin pie); and I still had points left on the day.
I am expecting the rest of this week to be more difficult.  Mr. Twingle and I are going to NYC for our 10 year anniversary.  I plan on making the best choices I can; but it's going to be hard when I can't control the portion sizes.  I will try my best and that's all I can do.

Stay tuned next week for another weigh-in result.  #betterme #weightlossjourney #health

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Better Me

Remember my post about taking responsibility and being accountable for the decisions I make regarding my eating and weight?

I wrote that post more than three years ago and I'm embarrassed to say I've done none of the things I set out to do...until last week.

I am FINALLY taking a stand and doing something to improve my health.  I joined WeightWatchers last Saturday with my good friend and together we are starting an incredible journey.  It's going to be hard and I've no doubt I'm going to shed some tears along the way; but the end result will be a new and improved, healthier, me.

I just got back from my first weigh-in and I'm down 5 lbs.  I feel stunned that I've lost that much weight in a week; and it gives me motivation to continue.  I know that a realistic loss is 1-2 lbs a week and I'm okay with that.  I even expect there will be weeks I don't lose anything and as frustrating as that may be, it should give me even more motivation to work harder.

I'm taking it one day at a time and not looking too far ahead.  If I look at my end goal, I get all sweaty and start doubting myself.  100+ lbs is a lot of weight to lose.  So for now, I'm taking it one day at a time.  Today is a fresh day and I'm going to continue tracking my food and activity.  My mantra is "if I bite it, I write it" and it's working so far.

I plan on keeping you up to date on my progress.  Just one more (or many more) person(s) to hold me accountable ;c)

Check back next week to see how week 2 has gone.  You can also follow my tweets using hashtags #betterme #weightlossjourney #health.

Friday, September 13, 2013

{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!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School Preparations

September will be here before you know it. In fact there are only 19 more days until the kids start school, yikes!

As always this time of year is incredibly busy. We're preparing for back to school, getting new backpacks, school supplies, clothes and more. This year, I have a third child to get ready for school, only this will be her first time, and I'm finding it difficult to get into the right mind set.

Pickle is definitely ready for school. She's been asking to go since last year and she is bored at home despite our efforts to provide her with educational stimulation. But she's my baby. The last of my twingles to head off to the wonderous world of eduction where her little brain will be filled with knowledge. It's a big milestone and while proud of my baby, it makes this mama teary. I know that the first day she gets on the bus, I'm going to be a blubbering mess. Yet despite it all, I'm trying to hide it all from Pickle. I know she's super excited and I don't want to take away from that because I'm being selfish in wanting to keep her little forever.

I have noticed that back to school has crept up faster than usual this year. I think it's because I'm back to work full-time, so I haven't been home with the kids everyday, counting down until that first Tuesday in September. It seems like I'm running out of days to get everything accomplished. There are still lots of things I need to do before the twingles head off on that first day. But the one thing I've already done is ordered my Mabel's Labels. I cannot live without these little wonders. I can't even begin to count the number of items that would have been forever lost if it weren't for a tiny sticky-mini label. I can't rave enough about Mabel's Labels. They have everything from clothing labels, to bag tags, to allergy alerts. And designs, they have a wide variety of images to choose from. I'm sure you'll be able to satisfy the wants of everyone in your family. Don't wait until the kids come home saying they've lost their beloved {insert item here}!

Okay, enough raving about Mabel's. I just can't help myself, I seriously love those things.
But I digress.
How do you get all your back to school preaprations accomplished if you're a full-time working mom like myself? Do you set aside a day and just do it all? Or do you pick up bits and pieces as you go? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks.

Wordless Wednesday for August 14, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Learning How to Parent

If you're a parent, you constantly second guess yourself.  You have moments of weakness and you give into the whining tantrum; or you are at your whits end with the incessant bickering and fighting so you yell at the kids to stop.
Inevitably you feel like crap and have a good, snotty, cry afterward.  Being a parent is hard.  There's no other way to put it.  You'll beat yourself up over decisions you make good or bad.

When you learn that your child has a learning disability and ADHD, everything you thought you knew about parenting changes.  First and foremost, the diagnosis in no way affects your love for the child.  If anything, it makes your love that much deeper and it brings to the forefront those instincts to protect ones young.  But how you parent this child is affected.

Mr. Twingle and I are now faced with this very challenge.  One of our babies has received a label that will inevitably help them in the long run.  But right now, there is a whole lot of growing and changing happening in the Twingle household as we learn how to parent all over again.  It's difficult, I'm not going to lie.  All the methods for teaching, learning and discipline we have been guided to use are now, effectually, useless.  The doctor warned us that kids with ADHD are hard to parent.  She didn't sugar coat it, she just told it like it is.  Of course, this is nothing new to us; but, it made us feel a little better knowing that the endless frustration we have felt now has a reason.   It isn't the child deliberately being obnoxious and defiant; it's a mental health issue that we can now work WITH instead of against.

The road ahead is going to be bumpy.  We know that some tried and true parenting techniques just won't work for this child.  But others, that we've never tried will work wonderfully.  We are all learning how to deal with this new chapter in our lives; and no matter how hard it gets, we'll do it together.

I'd love to hear from others who have gone through, or are going through similar experiences.  How have you coped?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting the birth of their first child and in celebration, Mabel's Labels is offering new limited edition Royal Baby Sticky Labels for only $9.95! 

The Sticky Labels are super durable, dishwasher/microwave safe and create a fun and easy way to organize all of your belongings. Plus, every Royal Sticky Label purchase gives you a 1 in 10 chance to win a delicious treat from Peter Rabbit Organics. Don't miss your chance to shop this great promotion!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Canada

Sending out a Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians.  I hope you have a wonderful July 1st!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Another Guiding year is coming to an end.  To celebrate our last "regular" meeting we took the girls to see the new, Fox, animated film "Epic".

Going in, I thought what a perfect movie to describe our year.  It truly has been epic with our trip to Great Wolf Lodge, 2 camps, many guest speakers and more.  Little did I know that the film would be fitting for more than one reason.

The movie was fabulous.  As an adult, it's nice to go to an animated movie and actually enjoy it.  Epic had Sunflower and I laughing out loud on many an occasion.  I absolutely LOVED Steven Tyler's character, Nim; and I was drawn into the story.

What I loved even more about this film were the hidden messages.  Messages of acceptance, belonging and solidarity.  These are all messages that we, as Guiders, try to bring home to our girls every week and in everything we do.  Inclusivity is a fundamental part of Guiding; and, this movie really hits that message home.  See a teenage girl who sees her father as an embarrassment.  See the same young girl learn that her father's quirks are what set him apart from everyone else and make him special.  It's subtle and it's only one part of the story that portrays the message.
My favourite line from the movie is "Many leaves, One Tree".

Think about it.

No matter who we are, or what we want to do and be, we need to work together to achieve something great.  Isn't that what Guiding is about too?  We're all part of the Sisterhood and no one is alone.

Just the thought of belonging to something so amazing gives me goose bumps.  I'm so proud to be able to take our girls to movies like "Epic" and have the message brought forth in a new and different way.  Guiding is more than just cookies and uniforms.  We are something much, MUCH bigger...we're Epic!

Whether the girls "got" the message, I don't yet know.  We'll be sure to have a brief discussion about it next week at banquet.  But in the meanwhile, if there are any other Guiders or parents out there contemplating this movie, I say run, don't walk, to your nearest theatre!  You won't be disappointed.

Wordless Wednesday for May 29, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

popchips Giveaway!

Everyone loves getting something for free and we're teaming up with popchips to give one lucky reader a one-month supply of new tortilla popchips!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

popchips and the Esperanza Resort have teamed up to bring Metro shoppers across Ontario a chance to jet off to snacker’s paradise! 

The #snackersparadise prize sends the lucky winner and a guest to the world-renowned Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico….a weekend of self-indulgence… without all the guilt! Check out the complete prize information below. 

How it works: With the purchase of any 2 bags of popchips for $5, shoppers can swipe their AIR MILES card and be entered for a chance to win!
popchips #snackersparadise giveaway includes:
·         Airfare for 2 guests
·         3 nights, 4 days at the Esperanza Resort with an ocean view  casita
·         Two 60 minute massages at the award-winning spa
·         Complimentary fitness classes
·         Daily breakfast
·         $500 U.S in spending money
·         Total value of giveaway: approximately $7,000

The contest began on April 26, 2013 and ends at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on May 30, 2013.
·         Check out the complete contest rules and regulations: snacker’s paradise
·         Twitter: @popchips
·         Hashtag: #snackersparadise

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the Fourth Be with You

The force is strong with this offer because for one day only, on 5/4, Mabel's Labels is offering 50% off Robot and Rocket Sticky Labels in honor of May the 4th be with you! May 4th celebrates the Star Wars Trilogy that has entertained thousands of fans from all over the world. Don't miss your chance to shop this great offer! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Affordable Family Vacation Idea

The warmer wearther will be here before you know it and many families, mine included, are looking for things to do and places to go with our families.  If your family is like mine, affordable vacations are a top priority; which is why we love to camp!

If you're a regular reader (thank you) of my blog, you'll know that I love to camp.  I've been camping since I was 3 years old and I don't think the love of the outdoors has ever gone away.  Some of my best childhood memories come from family camps and Girl Guide camps.
Now that I have my own family, I want our kids to experience the wonder of the outdoors and build memories they will remember for a lifetime. 
We took the twins camping for the first time when they were just under 2 years old.  It was busy and challenging, and I was exhausted by the end of the weekend; but, in spite of all that we had a blast.  The kids got dirty and disgusting and it was awesome!

This year, may be the first in a long time that we won't be able to go camping.  Now that I'm working full-time I'm uncertain as to whether I can get the time off.  I don't want the kids to miss out on these wonderful camping experiences which is why I'm considering Muskoka Woods.  Mukoka Woods is a camp just for kids.  They have over 1000 acres of property and 2800 feet of shoreline on lake Rosseau in Muskoka.  I've spent many a summer in Muskoka, on Skeleton Lake, so I'm familiar with lake Rosseau as we would make day trips out that way.  The summer camp program offers 50 different programs and activities for kids 7-17.  Some of the activities include tennis, beach volleyball, a rock climbing wall, high ropes course and much, much more!
The kids stay in fully-enclosed cabins with bunk-beds; my kids will love that!  Meals are buffet-style, 3 times a day, with snacks throughout.  The staff at Muskoka Woods are happy to accomodate any dietary requests as well; and, the camp is nut-free.

Check out this great video from Muskoka Woods.

To learn more about Muskoka Woods or to sign up for a memorable experience, click here.  I can't wait to hear about your camping experiences!  See other Muskoka Woods posts by searing #MuskokaWoods2013.

Disclosure - I am participating in the Muskoka Woods Blogger Campagin by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tacos in a Bag

Tacos in a Bag are my new favourite camp food.  In all my years in Guiding, I had never come across these until Jenn, a fellow Guider, mentioned them on Twitter.  Of course, I had to know what she was talking about and am I ever glad I asked!

If you're like me, you are probably reading this thinking "What the heck are tacos in a bag?"  Let me enlighten you!

Individual serving sized bags of Doritos (I like the original, but you could also use plain Tostitos)
Taco meat - Ground beef seasoned with taco mix (prepackaged from the grocery store or homemade)
Grated cheese
Fresh tomatoes - diced
Fresh lettuce - shredded
Grated carrots
Green onions
Sour cream

Brown your meat and add your seasoning.  Add spoonfuls of your toppings to the bag of doritos.  Eat with a fork and enjoy!
I gotta tell ya, not only is this my favourite camp food; but my Guides love it too.  So much so, that we created our own version of Tacos in a Bag camp hat crafts to swap during our Girl Guides at Great Wolf Lodge trip a couple weekends ago!

So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and try Tacos in a Bag.  You don't have to wait for camp to make this fun meal.  It's bound to be a hit with your family at home too!

National Volunteer Week

It's National Volunteer Week which means it's time to recognize those individuals who give of their time and energy selflessly.

A huge thank you to all the women and men around the world that take time out of their busy lives in acts of civic participation.  You are valued beyond recognition.

To all my sisters in Guiding, I couldn't do what I do as a volunteer without wonderful women like you to model after and work with.  Thank you for the outstanding programming you offer my daughter and girls across the country.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Puke-fest 2013

I have been such a slacker in my posting and for that, I apologize.  I would love to blame it on "Puke-fest 2013", but really that only lasted about a week.

I gotta tell ya, in that short time when I thought I was dying, I had a new appreciation for single parents.  You see Mr. Twingle was out of town and the stomach bug hit the rest of us...HARD. 

It started with Pickle about 1:30am Tuesday, followed by me an hour later and Boo around 4:00am.  Knowing that Pretty was very likely to become the next victim I kept her home from school too.  This turned out to be a blessing because I was pretty much flat on my back the entire day.  Granted, so were the two kids so there wasn't a whole lot happening.  Turns out Pretty did get sick, just not until around 7pm Tuesday night.  Yep 4 out of the 5 in less than 24 hours!  I haven't been ill like that in a LONG time.  But seriously, trying to look after three puking kids when you're puking yourself...I don't know how single parents do it.  I bow down to them.

Mr. Twingle came home Wednesday afternoon and promptly stripped all the beds and did mountains of laundry trying to prevent Puke-fest from continuing.  Too bad he didn't let me deal with it though as in all his handling of the germ infested sheets, he came down with the bug on Sunday night.

All in all, I'm still standing.  It's been a week and I still have moments when I feel utterly run down and want to crawl into bed.  Nonetheless, the Twingle family survived Puke-fest 2013.  Here's hoping we don't have a repeat anytime soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

{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!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunny Saturday Smiles

I'm having an amazing day.  It's Easter weekend and there's a whole lot of hustle and bustle.  Lots of cleaning and preparation to do, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

So far today, I've put away 4 baskets of laundry, washed & dried 3 more loads to be put away, scrubbed the kitchen and mopped the entire main floor.  For those of you wondering, we have hardwood and ceramic floors over the entire main floor; the only carpet is upstairs in the hall and bedrooms.

To top it all off, it's a beautiful sunny and warm Saturday.  I've had the windows open all day and that winter smell has been replaced by cool fresh air.  I think it has definitely affected my mood!  I even bought myself a bunch of tulips at the store this afternoon.  I thought they'd make a great centrepiece and add to my cheery disposition today.

There's just something about sunny Spring Saturdays that make me smile.  

Wishing you all sunny Saturday smiles and a very Happy Easter!

Blessed Be.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Question Friday 3/15/13

Woo Hoo, we made it!  It's finally Friday! 
After a rough night last night; sick kids, arguments and a migraine, I'm ready to start the weekend.

To get things rolling, here's Five Question Friday!

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!

1.  What is the one thing you wish you did not have to teach your children?
I expect many parents will say "the birds & the bees", but I don't think that's the one for me.  Yes, that talk will be awkward, but it's one that needs to come from me and not someone else be it a teacher or peer.
However, what I wish I didn't have to teach my kids is that life is hard.  People can be mean and cruel and they will make you cry.  You will second guess yourself and your decisions; and often you will feel like shit.  But it's within that same lesson, that I'll teach my kids to be strong and caring, compassionate and empathetic.  Life is a bitch.  It'll build you up and knock you down; but, it's how you pick yourself up and brush yourself off that makes the difference.

2.  What are you going to use since Google Reader is going away?
Google Reader, what's that?  No, seriously, what is it?  I'm going to wager a guess that it's an RSS reader?  I've always used News Gator (Net News Wire for Mac), and I will continue to do so.  It's easy to use and houses all my RSS feeds in one neat space.

3.  British comedy; hilarious or strange?
I find this category hit and miss.  Some British comedies are utterly hilarious; Mr. Bean, for example!  Rowan Atkinson just makes me roll with laughter. 
However, more times than not, I find British comedy strange.  I just don't get that brand of funny, I guess.

4.  Do you prefer card games or board games?
I LOVE me some Euchre, Asshole or a good game of Bullshit! 
In case, you're not familiar with those games, they are all card games.  Growing up, we rarely played board games, so that's likely where my love of card games comes from.  It started with simple games like Go Fish and Crazy Eights, eventually graduating to Rummi or Gin and finally Euchre or Poker. 
My all-time favourte is Euchre.  Some of my fondest highschool memories are of the 6-man Euchre games we had in the caffeteria on spare or lunch. 

5.  Will winter ever end?
Of course, it will!  I just don't know when, LOL.  Not that I mind.  I like the snow and I don't mind the cold, as long as it's not that bitter cold.  I'm Canadian and proud to enjoy our four seasons no matter how long or short they may be.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mean Girls

Every night, we enjoy a family dinner.  We all sit at the kitchen table and eat together.  It's our chance to catch up with each other and what's happened that day at school, work, etc. 

Pretty mentioned she had spent recess walking with her teacher, so I asked if her friends were off ill?  She responded with "I don't have any friends any more".  What?  Pretty has always had an outgoing personality and has surrounded herself with many friends, so to hear she didn't have friends sent off a warning bell.  I probed a little further asking why she thought this.  She informed me that Jane's mom told her she couldn't play with Pretty anymore; which seemed very harsh.  I gently asked Pretty if she had done something to Jane  that might make her mom say this and Pretty said she hadn't done anything.  But, Pretty's friends have chosen "sides" and play with Jane at recess leaving Pretty to fend for herself.  The upside to this is that Pretty seems indifferent to it all; however, I'm not sure that's really the case.

Now, I know kids can distort the truth and be hurtful.  Perhaps Pretty and Jane had a disagreement or maybe something has happened that I don't know about.  I would hope in the case of the latter, Jane's mom would contact me to let me know.  I did email Jane's mother this morning to clarify things.  I would rather know if Pretty has done something, so I can deal with it accordingly, than have her wonder what happened to her friendship(s).  I somehow have a feeling that this is just the start of girl adolescence.  Girls are mean.  Plain and simple.  I don't know why and I certainly don't agree with it; but, there it is.  I have definitely been a victim of mean girls, and I would by lying if I said I didn't dish out my fair share of meanness too as kid.  But why do we become mean girls; is it survival of the fittest?  Is it learned behaviour.  Do we feel a need to put others down so we feel better about ourselves?

How can we teach our daugthers that it's okay to have disagreements and differences and still be friends and that differences can actually help us forge stronger bonds?

Sigh, as a mom I want to jump in and fix it; but, I know Pretty has to work this out on her own.  I can at least find out if there is a problem that I need to deal with or if it's simply girls being girls.  In either case, it's not going to be easy. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pop, No Pop

If you were to look in our fridge on any given day, you would find countless cans of Coke.  However, on my quest to a better me, I've decided to give up this guilty pleasure. 
In reality, I don't drink a whole lot of pop to begin with; maybe one can a day.  But the amount of sugar in one can is enough to affect my overall health. 

I'm on day two of no pop and I can't say I miss it.  If I want a fizzy drink, I've reached for a Perrier water instead.  I can't say I "feel" any better having cut out the pop; but, I know in the long run I'll be all the better for it.  And, that's not to say I won't or can't indulge every once in a while.  I may treat myself to a glass on the weekend or if I'm at a party; or when that pesky migraine won't go away without a dose of Advil and Coke.  I won't be drinking pop every day.

Now, if only I can get Mr. Twingle on board with this plan, we may be able to cut down our grocery bill if we're not buying so many cans of Coke :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Musings

Happy Monday!  Here's hoping your week is off to a good start.

It's a cold, yet gorgeous sunny day in my neck of the woods.  There's something about the sun in the winter that makes me smile.  It's almost like it sets the mood for my entire day.  Does anyone else feel like this?

Come to think of it, I draw a lot of positivity from nature.  I've always loved the outdoors.  Camping, hiking, swimming and even just sitting reading a book will soothe my soul.  There's something about a crackling fire, the fresh warm breeze, the coolness of water and the smell of fresh cut grass that call to me.  In a moment of boredom, I googled "nature affecting moods" and found that many people feel and draw power from nature.  These people are often Wiccan.  I'm not talking witches and warlocks, though there are some that practice Magick. 
I'm intrigued by Wicca and how those that practice it, use nature to draw energy and positivity into their lives.  I don't really know enough about it though, so I think I'll add researching it to my, ever growing, to do list. 
I will report back my findings when I finally find time to dig deeper.  In the mean time, I hope you all have a wonderful week and don't forget to "spring forward" this weekend. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

#50BookPledge: James Potter and the Vault of Destinies

Book number two on my 2013 #50BookPledge was James Potter and the Vault of Destinies.  This is the third book by G. Norman Lippert in the James Potter series, a fan-fiction spin off from Harry Potter.

I found the first of the James Potter series on Goodreads.  I don't even really remember how I came upon them; but, there they were for the reading.  You can actually read the books right from the Goodreads site on your desktop/laptop or mobile device.  I was skeptical about the books going in, I mean really how good is fan-fiction? 
Obviously, I enjoyed the first book enough to read more.  Before I started into the rest of the series, I googled Mr. Lippert and found his James Potter world.  It was here I learned Mr. Lippert writes these books and makes them free for download in either EPub or Mobi formats.  There is a disclaimer at the end of each of the James Potter books asking that readers purchase the other works of fiction written by Mr. Lippert so that he may continue writing the James Potter books we have come to enjoy. 

Like the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling, the James Potter series sees each book tying together the story of the young Mr. Potter.  Without giving away too much from the previous books, the third book, James Potter and the Vault of Destinies was, by-far, my favourite.  James reconnects with some original characters and really seems to come into his own.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the American wizarding world and meeting new characters that I wouldn't be surprised to find in future James Potter books.
For every similarity between the Harry Potter series and the James Potter series, there is an equal difference that makes the reader want to continue reading and following James along his journey of self-discovery. 

I have just learned that a fourth book in the series is due to release this Spring. I'll be sure to add it to my reading list as I'm quite intrigued by the challenges ahead of Mr. James Potter.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns Ten

Grace is rounding the curve to ten.  I am not sure how this is possible. I feel ever more aware of her girlhood and looming adolescence, and of all the things I want her to know, as if I could somehow instill values and beliefs into her, like pressing a penny into soft clay.  I know I can't; the best I can do is to keep saying them, keep writing them, keep living them.
Ten things I want my 10-year-old daughter to know:
1. It is not your job to keep the people you love happy.  Not me, not Daddy, not your brother, not your friends.  I promise, it's not.  The hard truth is that you can't, anyway.
2. Your physical fearlessness is a strength. Please continue using your body in the world: run, jump, climb, throw.  I love watching you streaking down the soccer field, or swinging proudly along a row of monkey bars, or climbing into the high branches of a tree.  There is both health and a sense of mastery in physical activity and challenges.
3. You should never be afraid to share your passions. You are sometimes embarrassed that you still like to play with dolls, for example, and you worry that your friends will make fun of you.  Anyone who teases you for what you love to do is not a true friend.  This is hard to realize, but essential.
4. It is okay to disagree with me, and others. You are old enough to have a point of view, and I want to hear it.  So do those who love you.  Don't pick fights for the sake of it, of course, but when you really feel I'm wrong, please say so.  You have heard me say that you are right, and you've heard me apologize for my behavior or point of view when I realize they were wrong.  Your perspective is both valid and valuable.  Don't shy away from expressing it.
5. You are so very beautiful. Your face now holds the baby you were and the young woman you are rapidly becoming.  My eyes and cleft chin and your father's coloring combine into someone unique, someone purely you.  I can see the clouds of society's beauty myth hovering, manifest in your own growing self-consciousness.  I beg of you not to lose sight with your own beauty, so much of which comes from the fact that your spirit runs so close to the surface.
6. Reading is essential.  It is the central leisure-time joy of my life, as you know.  I am immensely proud and pleased to see that you seem to share it.  That identification you feel with characters, that sense of slipping into another world, of getting lost there in the best possible way?  Those never go away.  Welcome.
7. You are not me. We are very alike, but you are your own person, entirely, completely, fully.  I know this, I promise, even when I lose sight of it.  I know that separation from me is one of the fundamental tasks of your adolescence, which I can see glinting over the horizon.  I dread it like ice in my stomach, that space, that distance, that essential cleaving, but I want you to know I know how vital it is.  I'm going to be here, no matter what, Grace.  The red string that ties us together will stretch.  I know it will.  And once the transition is accomplished there will be a new, even better closeness.  I know that too.
8. It is almost never about you. What I mean is that when people act in a way that hurts or makes you feel insecure, it is almost certainly about something happening inside of them, and not about you.  I struggle with this one mightily, and I have tried very, very hard never once to tell you you are being "too sensitive" or to "get over it" when you feel hurt.  Believe me, I know how feelings can slice your heart, even if your head knows otherwise.  But maybe, just maybe, it will help to remember that almost always other people are struggling with their own demons, even if they bump into you by accident.
9. There is no single person who can be your everything. Be very careful about bestowing this power on any one person.  I suspect you are trying to fill a gnawing loneliness, and if you are you inherited it from me.  That feeling, Woolf's "emptiness about the heart of life," is just part of the deal.  Trying to fill that ache with other people (or with anything else, like food, alcohol, numbing behaviors of a zillion sorts you don't even know of yet) is a lost cause, and nobody will be up to the task.  You will feel let down, and, worse, that loneliness will be there no matter what.  I'm learning to embrace it, to accept it as part of who I am.  I hope to help you do the same.
10. I am trying my best.  I know I'm not good enough and not the mother you deserve.  I am impatient and fallible and I raise my voice.  I am sorry.  I love you and your brother more than I love anyone else in the entire world and I always wish I could be better for you.  I'll admit I don't always love your behavior, and I'm quick to tell you that.  But every single day, I love you with every fiber of my being.  No matter what.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Painted Girls

Late 19th Century Paris, a family struggling with circumstance. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan tells a story of three sisters, forced to make moral compromises when their father dies and Maman turns to absinthe, dooming them to a life in squalor.

The story is told from the point of view of Antoinette and Marie. Antoinette, the oldest of the three sisters, feels it is her duty to look out for the younger girls. She knows that their best chance of survival lies in the ballet and having attended the school herself, she manipulates an audition for the younger girls. Marie and Charlotte are both accepted in the dance school much to Antoinette’s delight; but, while waiting for her sisters she meets Émile Abadie and her world begins a downward spiral.

Marie, reluctant to leave her studies, joins the Paris Opéra where it becomes evident she has an incredible gift for dance. It is there, that she encounters Edgar Degas and begins modeling, often in the nude, for a meager yet vital income. Marie’s intelligence and strong spirit are what guide her. She refuses to become another statistic and works diligently to build a better life for herself; until one fateful day when she is faced with a decision that ultimately becomes her undoing.

The Painted Girls will capture the reader from the start. Buchanan dives right in painting a scene that leaves the reader wanting more. How will the girls survive? Will they be successful at the Opéra? Will Marie succeed in creating a better future for herself, and will Antoinette finally realize Émile for what he really is?

As a work of historical fiction, Buchanan does an amazing job of incorporating tidbits of reality making it easier for the reader to relate to the characters and their circumstances. We bond with the girls and find ourselves routing for them and wanting to help them. The ending is, in my opinion, exactly what it should be. It closes off the story nicely and the reader feels complete, not left wanting more.

This book is suitable for young adults, ages 14 and older, and may contain mild uses of violence and/or profanity, sexual content and/or mature themes within the context of the story.

I would give this book a 4 star rating.

*Originally written for publication on the Girl Guides of Canada blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fitting In

Why is it that we always feel the need to fit in? How do we empower our children to be themselves when we as adults are untrue to ourselves?

Just the other day, one of my Guides came in to our meeting a little early.  Since she was the only girl there, she took the time to share with me that she's been having difficulty at school with people she thought were her friends.  Apparently, she didn't have the right kind of shoes and so she didn't "fit in" with their group anymore.
Of course, I gave her the best advice I could think of, that being true to herself and not giving into peer pressure will make her a better, stronger person.  That liking herself and her sense of style is more important to her self-being than the thoughts of her friends.  Though, as much as I know those are the answers I should be giving; I couldn't help thinking that I'm guilty of changing to fit in too, even now. 

Being a kid is hard.  Being an adolescent girl can be even harder.  So what can we, as society, do to help our young girls, and boys, have the confidence to be themselves and not struggle with this timeless plight?

These are just some of my thoughts as I look at my own children and think about how I can give them the tools to be secure enough with who they are that they won't feel the need to change to "fit in".  What are your thoughts?  Do you think adapting to the situation is important?  Should we be teaching our kids that fitting in is more important that self-confidence?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My 2013 50 Book Pledge

For those of you that follow my blog regularly, you know that in 2012, I took the Savvy Reader/Harper Collins Canada #50BookPledge.

I didn't meet my goal so I'm doing it again!

Yep, I've set a goal to read 50 books in 2013.  I'm not sure if I can do it.  I certainly hope I can.  With the help of their new website, I can track the books I've read, books I want to read and even track my reading pace.  I think that alone will help me along the way.

So, will you join me?  I'd love to learn about the books you're reading or want to read.

I've completed book number one, The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan.  I really enjoyed it and I'll post my review shortly.

I can't wait to hear from you all.

Happy reading!