Monday, January 31, 2011

Grocery Shopping

I went grocery shopping this weekend, 3 hours away!

I would love to know why Canada doesn't have some of the "cool" food that is available in the US.  Pop Tarts can be purchased here, but we don't have the funky flavors like Brown Sugar and Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie or Apple Strudel.  Coffee Mate Flavors like Cinnamon Bun, Caramel Macchiatto or German Chocolate.  Fruit Snacks for the kids in all the different television shows that they love to watch.  Most of these things I wouldn't buy in my regular groceries, but they are fun to have on hand for snacks.  We also managed to get Cheerios in different flavors.  Eggo Cereal and the Cheese and Milk is so much cheaper than what we pay here.

I know there are things here in Canada that aren't available in the US.  Smarties which are a favorite here!  Kinder Surprise Eggs that are great fun for the kids and I've even heard that you can't take them across the border. 
Here is a story about it from


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determined years ago that Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs did not meet the small-parts requirement for toys for children under the age of three, creating a choking and aspiration hazard in young kids. As a result, Kinder Surprise eggs are banned for sale and import into the U.S.

Photograph by: Canwest News Service, Canwest News Service


OTTAWA — U.S. authorities are urging Canadians to stop sending Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs to that country as gifts this holiday season because of a long-standing ban on the product south of the border.
A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection says officers noticed a spike in the lead up to Christmas this year, so are hoping the alert will reach Canadians who don't know the ubiquitous product in Canada is actually banned in the U.S.
"It's mostly personal amounts going down as a gift," Chris Misson, a spokesman for U.S. Customs, said Thursday. "This is an informational thing to make people are aware that they don't lose the Kinder eggs at the border."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determined years ago the product did not meet the small-parts requirement for toys for children under the age of three, creating a choking and aspiration hazard in young kids.
As a result, Kinder Surprise eggs are banned for sale and import into the U.S.
Health Canada has a different take on the product, available in Canada since 1975 and especially popular at Easter and Christmas, when the Ferrero Group manufactures themed treats.
The Kinder Surprise, deriving its name from the German word for children, has always been legal here because Health Canada has determined the tiny toy inside is not likely to be used by children under three years of age.
As a result, "the requirements for small components do not apply to the product," Health Canada said in a statement.
Health Canada determined infants and toddlers don't use the tiny trinket inside the Kinder egg based on a number of factors, including the manual dexterity required to open the plastic egg that holds the toy and the complexity of the toy design itself.
The toys, smaller than the size of an eraser, could be a 3-D puzzle, have multiple small pieces or small stickers for application.
Meanwhile, the outer wrapping on the product carries the international choking hazard symbol for toys. There's also a warning in bold that reads: "Toy not suitable for children under three years. Small parts might be swallowed or inhaled. Adult supervision recommended."
Mark Wakefield, vice-president of marketing at Ferrero Canada, said Kinder Surprise is a hit with consumers because it's a great product.
"Kinder is a well-loved brand. The Kinder egg and its toy have been enjoyed by adults and children for more than 35 years in countries including Canada, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom," he said in a statement Thursday.
The Kinder Surprise was first launched in Italy in 1972, but Ferrero Group has never been able to sell the product in the United States.
In 1993, the company asked U.S. authorities to permit its sale, but the government turned down the request, citing regulations that prohibit having an inedible product inside an edible object.
Ferrero Canada, which also distributes Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Tic Tac and Kinder Surprise in Canada, also offers a special Kinder Surprise Maxi, available only at Easter, and the Kinder Christmas Ball.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I've been busy!

My sewing machine has been busy!  Things aren't going as quickly as I'd like, but I'm learning as I go.  The only teaching that I had was in 7th and 8th grade Home Economics Classes!

I made a simple Tote Bag with a zippered pocket and another large open pocket and then I took the tutorial from Lindsay over at The Cottage Home and made a sleeve for my mom's net book. It turned out a little bit too small, but fit my iPad just perfect so I made a larger one this week.  The only thing I changed from the tutorial was the buttons.  My machine is new and I played around with the button hole attachment and wasn't pleased with the way the holes were turning out so I used Velcro instead!

My niece turned 13 almost 2 weeks ago and loves to draw.  I was very tired of watching her carry her sketch pad around in either a plastic bag or just by itself so I made her a bag as well and a roll to carry all her pencils, charcoal and pens for her drawing and sketching.

I've also posted this here

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is
10 Favorite Health and Beauty Products

Here is my list
  1. Hot Wax.  I haven't shaved my legs in over a year and it's great for facial hair too!
  2. Arm and Hammer Toothpaste.  My teeth just don't feel clean unless I use that toothpaste.  In this house we all have our own tubes of what we like
  3. Secret Deodorant.  I have used this for years.  It's really the only one I like
  4. Conditioner.  We never use the same one all the time. Jo and I both have really thick hair and if we don't use it after it's been washed the knots are impossible to get out
  5. Blistex.  I have tubes and little jars.  Chances are that there is some in just about every room in the house.  Dry lips drive me crazy
  6. Mascara, foundation and concealer.  It's about the only makeup that I wear.  I'm not particular about brands, but I tend to use Avon and Covergirl
  7. Foot Cream.  It doesn't matter what kind so long as I have some!
  8. Baby Oil.  Dry skin in the winter is a bad thing.  After a bath my legs and anywhere else that is dry and itchy get a good coating
  9. Dead Sea Salt.  Great for exfoilating
  10. Clean and Clear.  Great for cleaning your face!  I've used some kind of astringent since I was a teen and this is the one I've been using for years
There's my list.  I like to think I'm pretty low maintenance!

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Thanks to Carole Knits for getting this organized every week!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Depression...Let's Raise Some Awareness

Over the last little bit, my depression has been up and down as is the case with many cases of depression.  What really got me thinking about it was an email from a friend of mine who I knew was battling it this year and then some of the responses from other friends who also "admitted" to having to take antidepressants.  It almost seems that mental illness is not to be talked about and that it is still taboo.  I have always been open and up front about suffering it and I hate the fact that so many others feel the need to keep it bottled up.  What people fail to realize is that those who do suffer from depression have no more control over it than someone with any other kind of illness.  So in my opinion, if you suffer from back pain, then you avoid doing things that might aggravate it and you take the proper medication to keep your back as pain free as possible.  For my depression, I avoid alcohol and try to keep away from situations that I know might trigger "a down" for me.  I also stay on my medication and see my Doctor to adjust dosages or change medicine as I tend to become immune after taking some of them.  I have been very fortunate that Wellbutrin has been working for years with some adjustments and in the spring my Doctor added Pristiq to the mix as well.  Both have been working well, but I still have times when I could sleep around the clock, have no ambition and can't be bothered to do any of the things I love to do.

Bell Canada has come up with an Awareness Campaign called Let's Talk

Bell will contribute 5¢ for every long distance call and text message its customers make on February 9, 2011 to support mental health related programs across the country. 

Clara Hughes has won Olympic Medals for Canada in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games and has partnered with Bell for this Campaign!

Don't be ashamed by the fact that you need a little help every now and then.  

Don't be afraid to say that you suffer from depression.

Don't be afraid at all, you aren't alone.

Help is out there.  There are support groups, there are medications and other treatments available.  Suffering from depression is no different than any other ailment.  It's real and it's treatable.  If we all work together we can erase the stigma surrounding mental health and hopefully everybody one day will realize that it just isn't going to go away!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Winter Walk

Friday we had no school so we went off to visit my mom out on the farm that she is living at.  We had a hearty lunch and then got dressed up nice and warm and headed out.  I think we were out for about an hour!  Here are some of the shots I got.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

We're in the midst of a cold spell here this week.  Right now it's -24C which translates to -11F.  Thankfully there is no wind today.  Yesterday we had a windchill of close to -40C which is equivalent -40F.

Yesterday I had some errands to do and made sure to park in the sun whenever possible.  Today I plan on staying inside and doing some sewing.  I managed to score some great deals at Value Village yesterday on some fabric and other notions so I will be sitting down there for the day!  I have some ideas to make a Passport holder/Travel organizer that I want to work on and I want to make a cover my mom's netbook.  I'll do my best to keep track of what I'm doing and if it works out the way I want maybe I'll post a tutorial here.  I can see it in my mind, I just have to figure out how to do it.  There is no school here tomorrow and so long as the weather is good I'll be heading out to the farm to spend the day with my mom so the sewing machine will be idle tomorrow.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frustration The Card Game

The Ten on Tuesday was 10 games from our childhood.  We used to play Frustration with 2 decks of cards.  I found the rules!!!

Here they are from Associated Content

Maybe the player before you puts down their last card, and maybe you've been collecting Aces. Now these cards count against you. And maybe you've had the cards necessary to put down for a couple of turns now,
but you were cleverly holding on to them and collecting cards to play on other hands that are already on the table. Your strategy has backfired. How do you feel? But then the next hand you might be lucky. You're on the table and out before some players even know what level they're on.

The game of Frustration is an emotional roller-coaster, a thrill ride that appeals to the rowdiest teenage hooligans and their grandmothers, too. Frustration is the anti-card game. It lasts all night. It can be made up on the spot if you can't find the rules. The younger folk might have the advantage on endurance, but the older folk, used to life's ups and downs, might think more clearly, keep their cool.

There is no one set of official rules for Frustration, but this is the game as my family plays it. It requires two decks of cards and is best with three to six people. One person keeps track of the score and which level each player is working on. You graduate to the next hand when you put the required cards on the table, and your score is tallied by how many cards are left in your hand each round. The person who ended the round would have a score of zero for that round, so the lower the score the better. A round ends when one player runs out of cards. Each player begins with eleven cards, and there are eleven levels:

1. 2 sets of 3

2. 2 runs of 3

3. 1 run of 4 and 1 set of 3

4. 2 sets of 4

5. 1 run of 5 and 1 set of 3

6. 3 sets of 3

7. 1 run of 7

8. 2 runs of 4

9. 1 run of 6 and 1 set of 3

10. 2 sets of 5

11. 1 run of 9


3 to 8 = 5 points

9 to King = 10 points

Aces = 15 points

2's and Jokers = 20 points
Each turn must consist of a player picking up from the middle (either from the discard pile which is face-up or the unused cards which are face-down), and then discarding one of their own cards to end the turn.

Two's and Jokers are wild, so they can represent any other card in the deck. You can add your cards to those already laid on the table by other players only if you have already put your own hand down.

Some good strategies for Frustration include collecting only low cards so you don't get caught with a high-scoring hand, paying attention to which cards the other players choose from the face-up part of the center pile to have an idea what suit they are working in, and (as my family loves to do) joking around loudly and silly-ly in order to distract the other players. Just don't be surprised when you accidentally also distract yourself.

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten on Tuesday Topic for today is 10 Favorite Games from your Childhood.
This one should be fun!  I've been going back in my mind thinking about the games we used to play!

  1. Ants in Your Pants.  There were different colored ants that you had to flick into a pair of blue pants.  I found it this morning on the ToysUs website
  2. Don't Break the Ice.  We didn't have this game, but it was fun to play at a friends house
  3. Trouble.  My grandmother's favorite game.  We would sit and play forever.
  4. Clue.  It was Miss Plum in the library with the candlestick
  5. Kerplunk.  Jo has a new version called Honey Bees.  Same idea
  6. Mastermind.  One person hid a sequence of colored pegs and you had so many tries to figure it out
  7. Cards.  We used to play 31 for a nickle a hand with my grandparents.  It was lots of fun with 10 or more people at the table.  Frustration.  2 decks of cards and you had to get certain sequences of cards.  It is kind of like Rummy.  I'll have to see if I can find the rules
  8. Operation.  I think everybody played that one
  9. Hide and Seek.  There were times when there were 20 or more of us playing it at the end of the street!
  10. Perfection.  You were timed to get the pieces into the board and if the timer ran out your pieced went flying!
  11. Gotta add one more.  I think it was called DataMan.  My sister had it a few years ago and my nephew was playing it.  

      That really brought back some memories!  I'm going to have to try and find the rules for Frustration.  We played that one by the hour!

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      Sunday, January 16, 2011

      Sew....How did I spend my weekend?

      I played around online and sewed a little bit!  I managed to make one bag that I liked and one travel organizer that I'm not really happy with.  I plan to make the travel organizer again, now that I know what I'm doing.  I think a hike to the fabric store is planned for the morning.  I'll see what kind of remnants are hanging around and pick up some zippers too!

      I spent a bunch of time browsing the webs and have discovered all kinds of sewing blogs and crafting blogs too!  I have a few ideas in mind for this week and hope I can spend more time at the sewing machine!!!

      I also ordered a Stitch in the Ditch Presser Foot this weekend too!  Looking forward to getting it!

      How did you spend your weekend?


      I often day daydream about renovations and new furniture!  I've been browsing for ideas and have been looking at modern dining room furniture There are so many things to choose from. I am loving this set. I found it at CSN where they have over 200 different stores where you can find anything! I have spent hours looking at everything they have!  Amazing!!!

      Modus - Hudson 7 Piece Counter Height Dining Set with Wine Storage in Mocha

      I have some great ideas for some kitchen renovations and this would is what we are looking for.  I like the storage underneath.  I think it would be perfect for napkins, salt and pepper and the everyday things you need during meal times, but don't need on the table all the time.

      Prepac - Black Sonoma Captain's 4-Piece Platform Bedroom Set


      I dream of an organized house with some actual style.  I love the Modern Look with all the sleek lines.  I would love to have this in my bedroom

      Wednesday, January 12, 2011


      I decided to do some sewing after my errands this morning were done.  I started playing around and then Jo came in from school and I was the worst mother ever because I wouldn't let her go and play.  She fussed and finally was content to watch a movie....until......

      She thought sewing might be fun to try!  She made 4 purses!!


      Getting a little braver

      Both hands now..No fear


      Turning it right side out


      Tuesday, January 11, 2011

      An Update on B's Progress

      B is in Toronto at Mount Sinai Hospital and told me today that he had almost everything done there in one day that it took to get done in a week here. I chatted with him twice today.  Once texting and the second time on Facebook!

      He has been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma

      It doesn't look like the cancer has spread.  It is not on his spine, but on his ribs.  They are going to do 10 Chemotherapy Treatments, 3 weeks in between and they might start radiation half way through that.  Once the treatments are done they will consider surgery to remove what is left of the tumor.  They are hoping that it will shrink considerably.  He seems to be in good spirits and is regaining feeling in his legs.  He said it feels like he is defrosting.  It's almost like when your foot falls asleep and you get the pins and needles feeling.

      Last week I went up to the hospital on Wednesday knowing that I wouldn't be able to get into the ICU to see him, but was able to sit with his parents and other family to keep them company during the wait times to go in to see him.  I went again on Friday and because he was no longer hooked up to anything they put him in a wheelchair and he was able to come and visit everyone in the waiting room.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but he is one hell of a kid!! I laughed at his hair and he asked me what I expected...he hadn't had a shower since last year!  I spoke to his dad about freezing some sperm so that when he beats this he may still have a chance at having kids.  This was something that they hadn't thought of and they were going to talk to the Dr's about it and see what they thought.  When I hear of someone young undergoing any kind of cancer treatment my mind automatically jumps to their fertility.  I don't see cancer as a death sentence at all.  I just know far too many people that have been rendered sterile due to invasive treatments for cancer. 

      I took hubby up to see him on Saturday night.  By this time they had put him in a regular room and all kinds of people were able to visit him.  We then picked up some take out burgers and went over to help his folks get ready for their journey by car to Toronto the next day.  We didn't so much physically help, but we laughed, joked and talked.  Maybe just kept their minds busy for the few hours we were there. 

      I am hopeful for him and he and his family are constantly in my thoughts.  I will keep in contact with him via the internet and texting and we can only be supportive and loving.....This can be beat!!!

      Ten on Tuesday

      Today's Ten on Tuesday is Ten Way to be More Organized

      This one comes at a great time!  After the Holidays Purge and Sort is under way.  It's an annual event it seems.......

      1. A place for everything and everything in it's place.  Easier said than done
      2. Calendars.  I try to keep track of appointments and such on one big calendar above my desk
      3. Dealing with mail as it comes.  I am terrible at stacking the mail and then having to spend too much time all at once opening and sorting it.
      4. Stick to routines.  Also easier said than done
      5. I should use the features on my Blackberry and Computer to remind me of things
      6. Plan.  Plan meals for the week, plan errands so that only one day is spent running them
      7. Tidy as you go.  This is something I really need to work at
      8. Stay on task.  I get sidetracked way to easily
      9. Avoid Facebook.  Nothing gets done with Facebook open on your computer
      10. Hire a Professional Organizer to whip you into shape.  I would need one on a weekly basis.......

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      Thanks to Carole Knits for getting this organized every week!

      Monday, January 10, 2011

      Picture Post Today

      My Project 365 has fallen by the wayside, but I'm still using my camera!  I'll start it again another day I suppose.  Until then here some new shots from the last month or so.

      Thursday, January 6, 2011

      Bad Blogger, Cancer and Depression.......

      My blog seems to have been ignored lately.  Between having Hubby and Jo home for 2 weeks and not having much "me" time, I just never got to it.

      My depression was very up and down over the holidays.  One minute I was fine and the next was a near panic attack.  I have survived and was ready to take on 2011 when we got word that our friend's 18 year old son was in emergency surgery.

      This kid is one tough cookie.  He plays hockey, lacrosse and all kinds of other sports too.  He was complaining about a sore back and went to the hospital on Sunday, had an Xray and the Doctor told him there was a spot he didn't like, but he couldn't read the films and there were no radiologists in the building and that he was to follow up with his family physician in a week to 10 days.  They gave him a shot of morphine and sent him on his way.  When they gave him the shot his feet started to tingle and because he had never had morphine before he thought it was from that.  He then went to spend the night with his grandmother who did her best to keep him comfortable and when he tried to get out of bed at 4am he fell and couldn't walk.  The ambulance was called, his parents were called and he was en route to the hospital.  They did an MRI and only got part way through it when they pulled him out and decided that emergency surgery was needed. 

      By 11am when they took him to surgery he had no feeling from his chest down.  The Doctor went in and discovered a tumor that was between an orange and grapefruit in size that was pressing on his spine and was starting to take root in his spinal column.  Because the surgeon doesn't specialize in cancer (he's a neurosurgeon) he left the tumor and relieved the pressure on his spine, took a piece for a biopsy and closed him back up. 

      He is now in the ICU and so far hasn't regained feeling from the waist down.  He did move one of his toes yesterday and is frustrated and very scared.  They are hoping for more mobility each day.  The biopsy results might be available today, if not if might be some time next week before they know what kind of cancer they are dealing with.  Then it will be decided if he will be treated here or in Toronto.

      One of the hardest parts about all of this is that he is 18 which makes him legally an adult and all the information is given to him first and then to his parents.  If he was just a year younger his mom could be with him 24/7.  As it is now the visitation is only at certain hours during the day, 2 people at a time and is limited to immediate family and no visiting at all during the night.

      I can't imagine what his parents are going through.  Hubby and B's father have been friends since they were kids.  We joke that they have been friends so long that B's father was taller than hubby when they started hanging out.  (Hubby is 6'2")  All we can do is offer our support and be there to help out whenever needed.

      It's crap like this that bothers my depression.  It takes a hold of my thoughts and takes over.  My mind goes a mile a minute wondering about diagnosis, prognosis and long term effects.  I try so hard to be positive, but it's damn hard....

      My project 365 has missed a few days and the last month my photos have been terrible anyways.  I'll still work on it and the days that I've missed I'll make up at the end I guess.  There is nobody keeping tabs except me.  I just don't have the desire or the ambition to take out the camera and try to be creative.  My focus is gone.  My sewing machine is sitting idle and I started to knit a pair of mittens and had to start over 3 times.

      I think for today, I am going to go and have a nap and instead of baking a cake for hubby's birthday today, I will go over the grocery store and buy one.  Jo gave him his gifts this morning in bed so that part is done!

      Please keep B and his family in your thoughts....he's got a long fight ahead of him..........

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      Ten on Tuesday

      Ten on Tuesday today is......
      Ten Things You Wouldn't Want to Live Without

      1. Sunshine
      2. Snow
      3. Books
      4. Music
      5. My Camera
      6. My Computer
      7. Creativity
      8. My Grandparents Home
      9. Flowers
      10. Pepsi

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      Thanks to Carole Knits for getting this organized every week!

      Not much of a list.  I have learned today that I could totally live without a few things...Cancer was diagnosed in an 18 year old yesterday....The surgery may have left him paralyzed..they are taking things one day at a time....He is the son of the couple who stood for us when we were were married....I changed the boy's diapers, wiped his snotty nose, teased and love him....