Monday, December 15, 2014

MOMday: Another Week of Elf Ideas 2014

Paper Kids
This one ended up being a favourite of the twins...seeing their own mugs done up all elfy.  Priceless.  And all it took was a photo printed and some scrapbook paper to pull off.

Do you wanna build a snowman?
This one proved surprisingly easy to put together and crushingly difficult to find.  

Snap Crackle and Pop
This one was great for a lazy night.  I had something similar planned, but ran out of time to make it a reality so this worked great in a pinch.

Inside a balloon
This one is a bit trickier.  You first have to find a clear balloon (I finally managed to find one at party city) and then you have to streetch the balloon and blow a little air into ti.  Then comes the hard part - shoving the damn elf inside.  I opted to fold her up to as few limbs as possible and stretch the neck of the balloon wider with my fingers then I shover her inside until the whole thing looked a little embryonic.    Once she was in and I had pulled the neck of the balloon out - it inflated like a charm and a bot of jiggling unfolded her and got her into a workable position.

The beauty of this one is that you can suspend it anywhere AND there is no chance a kid can touch it.

Angry Birds
This one was SO MUCH FUN to put together!  My girls love Angry Birds so they got incredibly excited to see it.  They end up knocking it down and rebuilding the towers all day.

All you need is some print offs of the pigs.  If you have any angry bird toys, you can position them around your elf...or you can do what I did and glue google eyes onto pom poms.  They'll understand.  I used a pompom maker as a slingshot, but you could always invest more time to make something more authentic.

Lego Friends Makeover
Ok - this one was supposed to be a hostage taking by lego men...until I discovered we only have the girl lego people.  So makeover it was.

Unfortunately, now I can't get all the green eyeshadow off...

Santa's Workshop
Thank goodness for dollar stores.

I was planning to make an igloo out of packing styrofoam popcorn, but had no I improvised with a little paper playset of santa's village from Dollarama and hid it in an unlikely place.  

When the girls did finally find it - they treated it like a shrine to santa all day - leaving notes and drawings for Libby to take with her.

So there is another week of ideas for you.  Hope you are having as much fun with your elf this year as I am!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Reads: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

When a book is described as "genre bending", I tend to be instantly intrigued.  This one described the plot as being centred around murder, time travel and history, so I snapped it up right away.

If I had to draw comparisons, I would say this is kind of like The Immortal Nicolas Flamel by Michael Scott meets A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness with an oversexed musicologist thrown in for good measure - if unusual character development.

Sarah Weston is a Doctoral candidate in Musicology.  Her mentor, Sherbatsky, has been on a special assignment relating to Beethoven for a royal family in Prague when she is suddenly informed that he has died and that she is being summoned to take over forhim on the project.   She has been told that he killed himself, but she doesn't believe it.  A mystery grows around her and an unusual partnership/romance grows with the Prince who has an unlikely connection to her own past while battling power struggles in his own future.  Sarah is soon in the middle of the mystery as she tries to figure out those around her and to solve the alchemal bond she seems to have to Beethoven himself.

Alchemy meets time travel meets murder meets history twisting meets vpolitical intrigue meets strange romance...and set in a castle in Prague.  There's even a 400 year old dwarf (of course there is), but what comes out of it is a really rich cast of characters and a sense of never knowing who is really on whose side in the power struggle

I REALLY enjoyed this book.  So much.  And I was over the moon to discover it has a sequel so I won't need to leave this world quite yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Getting By With a Little Help from my Friends

For seven long months of 2014, me and running were not to be.  The fractured tibia sidelined me in more ways than one.  Not only was I cut off from the cardio I loved, I was also cut off from a very important social structure that I needed.

Luckily, my runner girls rallied around me and kept me from going insane - on 24hr standby most days.   They listened while I whined and bitch slapped me when I needed it.  I will be forever grateful to these two ladies for all they did to keep me from going insane - whether they knew it or not.

So, come September 1 when I was cleared to run again - I was looking very forward to hopping right back into the game.  There was one pretty big hiccup in my plans though - I forgot the habit part of it all.  And the fact that when you set aside one thing - other things move in to take over the time you used to spend on them.   My running habit was broken and everyone I knew was going too far and too fast for me on their own training plans.  I was sidelined again on the social side but I did it to myself in that I didn't want to slow them down to build myself back up.

Yeah - I got bitchslapped again.

And then I got my ass dragged out there.  My BRF, Tina, happened to have today off and she told me she would drive down to run with me - my pace, my distance..whatever...but we needed to get my head out of my ass and my ass onto the road again.

Luckily - the weather also happens to be unseasonably warm right now.  Slush city, but capri weather nonetheless.

And that slush - probably exactly what my shoes needed...they were still caked in mud from, I mean the after party at RNR Van.

Tina was a little late, but we were soon on our way, making our loop of Southwood

The first sign of how out of shape I am was when I had to walk up the hill on Southland.

Once we were on Elbow, however - it was mostly smooth sailing.  We had to single-file it to get past the icy bits, but it was all good.  The hill down Sacramento was fairly clear, but once we were at the bottom - it was treacherous.   Coming into the homestretch - I took a lovely fall that managed to bonk my left ass cheek and my right knee simultaneously (See - still got talent!) Not even sure if you can see the red mark in the pic, but I pouted.

But it was so good to be out with a friend.

I have only run 4 times since I was cleared and I need to do better.  If for no other reason that i need the run-therapy that co es with running with friends.   And in that almost 4k today - I think we got in a little run-therapy that each of us needed so badly.  Time to build momentum.

Monday, December 8, 2014

MOMday: A week of Elf on the Shelf ideas 2014

Yep - Libby is back and is up to her usual mischievous tricks again.   So here is a peek at what she did this past week.  Perhaps it will help you come up with ideas for our own elf in the coming weeks.

She came back to us in a hot air balloon made from a balloon, pipe cleaners and a plastic drinking glass.

The next day, she tried her hand at some slinky bungee jumping from the second floor.

Apparently the toy dogs around here haven't been getting walked Libby decided to be helpful

What good is a tree without a treehouse...

Selfie Time! She stole hubby's instax camera to take a cute selfie!

Then there was her slightly different take on singing in the rain.

Nothing quite like Smores and a cozy campfire...

She must have made the trip back from the north pole in a flying gift...good thing it was easy to break out because I couldn't help but notice the lack of air holes...

If you want to follow along with Libby's adventures day by day - check out my Instagram.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Reads: Bridget Jones - Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding

I clearly remember reading the first two Bridget Jones books.  Devouring thema nd laughing my way (usually aloud) to every page in my little apartments way back when.   Her neurosis made for a great read and there is always something about feeling like you are intimately involved in a characters life when it is written as a diary.

It's been a long time since Bridget was a singleton.   Now, she's a 51 year old widow with two small children to think of and a four year dry spell her friends think it is high time she ended.

Oh - you caught that widow bit.  Yeah - I can't avoid that part of the book.  Spoiler alert - Mark Darcy passed away in a tragic accident (of course it was tragic) and now Bridget, while well taken care of by his estate, has the task of being a mom and a woman and trying to finally get her life back together again.

I do not want to share any other spoilers so I am just going to write about my feelings as I read this book.

1) While it is laugh out loud funny - it is also heart breakingly sad.  Both in how lonely and heartbroken she is, but also in how the old Bridget is still inside there and she is trying the old tricks in a much older body.  Some of it works.  Some of it doesn't.

2) Helen Fielding MUST be a mother.   The way the passages around Bridget and Mark's children were written and the thoughts about parenthood - oh my gawd, I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face.

So for both of these - this is NOT the chick lit that used to be Bridget Jones.  Jonesy is older, if not exactly wiser, and she is operating in a much different world than she used to - one with social media and toy boys and, more importantly, impressionable young children with commitments of their own.

I really enjoyed the book, but I am quick to say it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Reads: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

For my review of the first book, The Rosie Project, Click here.

This book picks up a year or so after The Rosie Project.  Don Tillman and Rosie are now happily married and have moved to New York for Rosie to study and Don to participate in some research studies at Columbia.  In Don's eyes, their little work is perfect...until the day Rosie unexpectedly announces they are pregnant.

BLAMMO!  Don's world is set into a tailspin.  His brain cannot comprehend becoming a father so, in true Don fashion - he constructs ways for himself to wrap his mind around it...and hilarity ensues - particularly when he ends up getting arrested after observing children playing in a playground.

Unfortunately, he forgot one little thing in this...the fact that this pregnancy is not a science project or something he can control and Rosie is having nothing of it.

Their marriage feels a strain that Don doesn't understand but that Rosie feels is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I can't give away too much without spoiling the book, but let's just say that they learn a whole lot about family, friendships, love and loss...and Don might yet become a socially capable person.  Maybe.  Guess we'll need to see.

This book was just as quirky as The Rosie Project - though I found Don to be a bit much to take this time around.  I still really enjoyed the book and it was definitely laugh out loud funny...Don was just a bit more rigid than I remembered him being.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday

My birthday was a couple of days ago and I am surprisingly chill about turning 38.  Talk to me in a couple of years when I am knocking on 40's door LOL.   Anyway - that's just an's my three things this Thursday:

1) My efforts at NaNoWriMo have seemingly failed this year - not for lack of content and inspiration...but for lack of time.   I simply do not have time to write this year.  So, unless this coming weekend proves otherwise and I suddenly pump out 30K words - I am going to need to let this one go.  No biggie.  Some years are just like that.  Maybe next year will be better.


2) I've determined that my superpower is buying holiday gifts for kids.  Not bragging - I just talked to my brother last night and every time he gave me an idea for my nephew and niece - I checked it off the list that i had already bought.  I'm just going to call it my superpower.   I just wish I could be with them when they open them.


3) I have had some seriously crazy luck thrifting this week.  Like new wardrobe for $100 luck.  I still can't believe some of the amazing finds I had at 50% off day at Value Village - designer names that fit perfect for a couple of bucks apiece.  It's nice to have some more colour for my winter wardrobe and is doing wonders for my mood.

Have you had to let go of something recently?  If you could say you have a superpower, what would it be?  What is making you smile these days?  Please share in the comments!  I'd love to know!