Friday, January 29, 2016

An Extraordinary Kind of Day

Today was one of those ordinary but wonderful kind of days. We didn't have any scheduled activities so we just went with the flow. We had a lazy breakfast with no "hurry ups" and then we finally got dressed and headed out for groceries. Since it was Friday morning the store was very quiet and calm. We were both in a good mood, singing and laughing as we made our way through the aisles. Link was saying hi to everyone we passed! We got our groceries bagged and paid for them with no fussing at all, what a treat! I needed to get some sealer for a coffee table I'm refinishing so we popped in to the Hardware Store. Since we didn't need much and weren't in a rush we didn't get a cart and I let Lincoln walk, he loves wandering through the aisles! They didn't end up having what I needed so we headed home. 

Link always wants to go for a walk when we get home, he usually heads out down the sidewalk and I have to chase after him. More often than not we have things to do so I carry a protesting boy into the house. But today the sun was shining and we didn't have anywhere to be so I quickly put away the fridge stuff and we grabbed the wagon and headed out. It was so nice, almost like spring! The sky was so blue and the birds were singing. We ended up walking around the nieghborhood for an hour looking for buses, trucks, and pinecones and just enjoying the day. We came back home for smoothies and quesadillas and an episode of "Chuggington." After lunch I remembered that we had a rebounder in the basement and I hauled it upstairs, Link was pretty excited. We wound up bouncing around and reading books on it until nap time. 

He's now sound asleep while I reminisce about our day of fun. Things don't aways go so smoothly and sometimes we're just too busy but I love when we can take our time and just "be."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Meal Planning Tips and Free Printable

I wouldn't say that meal planning is fun but it really helps me stay on track each week. I find if I have everything planned out at the start of the week we save money by not eating out or splurging on convenient foods. Another plus is that grocery shopping is way less stressful and quicker when the list is organized by location.   Many planners plan for specific days of the week but I like to just plan the meals and decide what to make as the days come based on our schedule or how I feel. When I can't decide I take requests from the list:) I also only plan five meals as we usually end up going out to a restaurant, eating at someones place, or having leftovers. When I tried planning for 7 days I ended up wasting more.

When deciding on what meals to make I like to stick with mainly tried and true recipes adding only one that is new or more time consuming. I also choose my recipes based on the current sales and coupons and items that I have on hand. The night before or morning of I'll take a quick look at the recipe and do any prep that I can such as measuring out ingredients or chopping. I sometimes adapt things for Link by taking out a small portion before adding final spices or sauces. Often I'll do a double batch so I can freeze it for another dinner or my husband has lunches to take to work. I've created the following printable to keep myself organized and thought it might help help you get started too!

Friday, January 22, 2016

DIY Face Cleansing Pads

I've been on the search for the perfect face cleanser and I think I've found it! I have oily skin that's prone to breakouts and have been a long time user of Oxy pads. I know that they are quite harsh and full of chemicals but they seemed to work the best for me. I am very sensitive to perfumy scents and they are unscented and the ease of the pad meant I stuck with it. I've tried many different brands of wipes and pads but they either irritated my skin or were quite pricy and they all seem so wasteful when you use them twice daily.  I've been trying out some different homemade cleansers and I tweaked them until I found what worked best for me. I now had a perfect cleanser but that still left the problem of being wasteful. Then I came across these Reusable Face Scrubbies and asked my talented sister-in-law over at Tara & Tamara Crochet Mamas if she could whip me up a batch and luckily she did. 

So far I am very pleased with the results and since I rarely wear foundation I skip make up remover altogether and these have become my one step skin care regiment. I just throw them in the wash once a week and pop them back in the jar. I've included the recipe below so you can give them a go too, let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

8 Toddler Approved Recipes

Toddlers can sure be picky! But despite my sons best efforts to despise everything that I put in front of him I have found some recipes that he actually enjoys. It doesn't mean that he gobbles them down every time I serve them but more often than not he'll end up finishing them. Even if it means leftovers for lunch the next day. I find the key is that the veggies are very small and mixed with things he loves. It's not rocket science but it works for us!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Yup, I'm a Shy Introvert.

I've been this way as long as I can remember and it's even earned me the nickname "NFJ" A.K.A. "No Fun Jamie." It's plagued me since my early 20's when going out and partying with friends was considered the norm and staying in to read a good book was "totally lame." Now that I'm a mom in my mid 30's, spending a Saturday night at home is more acceptable but I'm still living up to my moniker. Here are the signs that support my self diagnosis.
1. I never answer my phone. I feel put on the spot and need at least a few minutes to think and prepare before returning the call.

2. I make lists, lists, and more lists. I don't like feeling unprepared.

3. I need alone time to recharge and feel refreshed. It's the time I look forward to the most each day.

4. I am never bored when I'm by myself. I can always come up with something to do whether it's reading, organizing, browsing Facebook, or making lists ;)

5. I value my down time. I rarely schedule more than one or two social outings per weekend. And more often than not they're with family.

6. I prefer writing. If I have something important to get across I prefer on paper as as I have a chance to gather my thoughts.

7. I hate anger. I don't like expressing it or being the recipient of it.

8. Schedules are my friends. I like seeing what I have coming up so I can mentally prepare. A last minute change throws me for a loop. I prefer an actual paper planner too, I have tried digital but it's not the same.

9. I've been misunderstood. I had a girl once tell me that she thought I was a total snob when we first met because I was quiet and didn't engage. When actually I was probably just trying to figure out what to say and not be dorky.

10. I don't go on vacation to meet people. I just want to enjoy who I came with and rarely engage with fellow travellers beyond a quick and casual hello.

11. I'm uncomfortable entering an empty store.  And I most likely won't enter if there are numerous sales people gathered together.

12. I. HATE. SLEEPOVERS. And I always have. I feel trapped staying in someone else's home, I don't have my own space to retreat or escape. Sharing a hotel room is the same. It's nothing personal, I feel this way about everyone except my husband and son.

13. I don't like open ended visitors. I sometimes avoid having people over as they may overstay their welcome. Again, not personal. I remember as a young teenager one of my friends would sometimes just come home with me without being invited and it felt like she would never leave! She was my best friend.

14. Visiting leaves me drained. After a few hours I feel more tired than if I was physically active.

15. I'm always early. I prefer to be one of the first to arrive so I'm not entering a full room and can find a comfortable place to plunk myself down. Even better if I can grab an ally to walk in with.

16. I sit on the aisle. I do my best to not have to use the washroom on planes or during movies.

17. I can't think on the spot. If I feel pressure to figure something out or explain something my brain freezes.

18. I lack confidence with new people. I struggle with working with new clients and it rarely instills confidence in my abilities. Things go much better when I am on the sidelines at the beginning while getting to know them but I much prefer to deal with the technical stuff behind the scenes.

So there you have it. I'm not a snob that hates fun I just have my own way of making it! It's been working out pretty good for me so far. So if you know a shy introvert and would like to break through their barrier check out these tips:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I don't know if you have heard about Skillshare but I just did and I'm feeling very motivated! I don't know how I didn't know about it but I'm excited to try out some of the classes so I signed up for a free trial. The classes cover many topics, I'm mostly interested in Design and Photography but am going to branch out into some writing ones as well since that isn't my strong point. The coolest part is that anyone with a skill can be a teacher on Skillshare, so if you have mad skills  you can create a class and earn an income. I'll report back and let you know what I think and if I learned anything useful. Or maybe you'll just be able to tell from how awesome my posts will be ;) Stay tuned.

If you want to try it out for yourself click here for a free trail!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Books I've Read in 2015

I didn't have time to read for what seemed like forever after Link was born but by the time 2015 came around I was back in the game. I now read every night before I go to sleep, it really helps me wind down and distract my brain from the craziness of the day. I often wake up with my Kobo underneath me or on my pillow! Since switching to ebooks I sometimes had trouble finding new ones as you can't flip through them like you can in a bookstore but since joining Goodreads it has become much easier! I can connect with friends and see what they're into or check out lists created by other users.  Here's a list of the books I've read this year and what I rated them. 

The Girl on the Train

 Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared. 
     Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage. 
     A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.
Life Fling Review 4/5

Dark Places


Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
Life Fling Review 3/5

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.
Life Fling Review 3.5/5


Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Life Fling Review 4/5

The One & Only

In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.
Life Fling Review 3/5

In the Unlikely Event

The new adult novel from the beloved and best-selling author Judy Blume
When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey within a three-month period in 1951–1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. “These events have lingered in my mind ever since,” says Blume. “It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified.” Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. But life goes on and Blume digs deep into her characters—we see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent’s love, a widower’s hope, and everything in between. . . . Most important, In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of readers of all generations.
Life Fling Review 4/5

Looking for Alaska