Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Indigenous Canada Course

Like many Canadians I was appalled at the discovery of 215 indigenous children at a former residential school in Kamloops BC. 
 Healing Circle | University of Northern British Columbia
 It sparked my desire to become a better ally to my Indigenous friends as well as to ensure that in my early learning program I am using the correct language and a more accurate 'history' than the one provided to me by my heavily biased toward while settler or 'white washed history' via my public school education which seemed to have entirely glossed over many of the horrors that were inflicted upon the indigenous peoples!
I signed up for an course called Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.  
The Introduction session introduced the importance of recognizing that language and the words we use when talking about Indigenous peoples are not neutral. The classification and naming of Indigenous peoples has been a key tactic used in colonization. Three groups of Aboriginal peoples are recognized by the Canadian Constitution: Indian, Métis, and Inuit. Today, the term "First Nations" is preferred to the word "Indian" in Canada. "Aboriginal," "Indigenous," and "Native" are often used interchangeably. However, certain terms may be applied within specific contexts. In the context of constitutional rights, the term "Aboriginal" is appropriate. Non-Indigenous people are referred to as "settlers," and Canada, for example, could be referred to as a "settler society". Sometimes, the names of Indigenous groups commonly used are not the same as the names the people use to refer to themselves. We respect and honour these names by using the words people use to refer to themselves as much as possible. For example, Cree people refer to themselves as "Nēhiyawak;" we refer to Cree as "Nēhiyawak.

Stories are powerful pedagogical tools that help learners understand their history and the environment in which they live. The teachings from stories allow listeners to come to their own decisions and conclusions. They help demonstrate that there are many different ways of looking at problems, and solutions to those problems. Storytelling has been, and continues to be, a central part of our identity as people and as nations. We can generally distinguish between two types of Indigenous storytelling.

  1. Personal stories that include observations, accounts of places, and experiences. This type of story evolves over time, and is based on the needs and relevancy to the population.
  2. Creation or Teaching Stories also known as Myths and Fables. Many of these stories, which are spiritual in nature, remain unchanged over time.

 The speaker shared the Creation story about Turtle Island and how what we call North America is called Turtle Island to the Indigenous.


Abbreviated story of Turtle Island:

Sky Woman falls from the sky. And there's a whole story above that where she lives in the sky world, and why she falls through the sky, falls through the hole in the sky, and the animals help her. The geese help her land on turtle's back, and then the earth is covered in water, and so she asks some of the animals, the water animals, to help her. And so she asks beaver if he can go down and get, she just needs a handful, of dirt because, with that and her magical power, she's able to do something with it. So, he figures, beaver's pretty strong, a strong swimmer, and he says, "I can do this," and he slaps his tail on the top of the water, and he dives down, and he dives, and he dives, and he dives, and he dives, and he dives, but he just can't make it. So he struggles, and he swims back up, and he's kind of hanging on turtle's back, leaning on it, catching his breath, and couldn't make it to the bottom for that handful of earth. And so she asks otter, and otter's a very sleek swimmer and says, "I can do this. I'm a good swimmer. I'm in the water all the time," and he's swimming around, and so he dives down, and he swims, and he swims, and he swims, and he swims and, again, he runs out of air, and has to swim back up. He can't make it. So, again, he gets to the top, and has to rest again on turtle's back. And so then she asks little Muskrat, and he's unsure. He's not a strong swimmer, and she encourages him and gives him some, I guess that encouragement of what he needs, so that he musters it all up, and he decides he's going to try this. And so he swims and does his best. And he swims, and swims, and swims, and swims, and swims, and swims, and he's just about out of air, and he's able just to reach and grab just a few grains, and he swims back up. And he's just about depleted, he can hardly make it, they actually have to help him up for the rest of the way, and he catches his breath, and he gives her those two little grains of earth. And she's able to take those grains, and in her hand, because she has those magical powers, she blows on those and the earth begins to grow off of turtle's back. So, what we call North America today is Turtle Island, and so that's where that creation story comes from.

They shared the story of Wisacejak (wee-sak-ee-jack)  with us as another exmaple of the role of story-telling in the spiritual connection for Indigenous peoples.

Through stories and storytelling Indigenous societies transmit the central knowledge critical to survival, and provide a cultural framework for promoting happy, healthy communities. In this way stories hold a lot of power, think about it. Stories can elicit strong emotions from humans. They can make us cry and laugh, feel anger, relief, empathy, and love. Human beings enjoy telling stories as much as they enjoy listening to them. Wherever and whenever people meet and gather, you can bet there are stories being told. Outsiders tend to see these stories as legends, fiction, folklore, myths, or fairy tales. For Indigenous people, these stories function in essential and thoughtful ways. They work to instruct and educate on how to behave properly. They can also act as guides for how to live and engage with the world. Each nation has a creation story and it's own distinct oral tradition. There are four general components of storytelling for Indigenous people. First, stories connect the past to the present and to future generations. There are many versions of the Wisacejak Creation Story, but the meaning remains the same as it is told from great-grandmothers to their great-grandchildren. Stories are gifts to be shared and handed down generation to generation. As in Nehiyaw'iskwew, or Cree woman can be reassured that while she may not have met her great-great-grandmother. The Wisacejak story transcends time and connects her to her ancestors. This means that a story I hear from my grandmother is the same one that she heard from her grandmother and so and so on. These stories allow us to communicate with future generations in the same way our ancestors communicate with us. See how powerful stories can be? Secondly, while the sacred stories may not have changed much over time, the personal, everyday stories do change. They integrate new information and new knowledge. They may evolve with changing surroundings, food source supply and movement, landscape reconfiguration, and new encounters with foreign populations. It is important to know that even though Indigenous stories may be thousands of years old, some of the stories change to bring the past forward to the present. They change and evolve based on the needs of the population. The next thing to remember about stories is that while stories may sometimes be entertaining, there are also messages instructing people how to live and behave. Indigenous storytelling operates as a moral guide in a socializing mechanism. Stories teach the next generation how to behave and reinforce roles and responsibilities. We find many examples of this in the story of Wisacejak. Muskrat’s heroic action of diving for Earth demonstrates a lesson of perseverance and courage. While Wisacejak's laziness in keeping a peaceful community shows the consequences of being irresponsible. Finally, storytelling is a way to transmit the history of the land and cultural knowledge to the next generation. Many creation stories include specific geographical boundaries such as rivers, lakes, and mountains to define the territorial lines. For example, in the previous narrative, Nehiyawak described how Wisacejak made the land come to be. In some Wisacejak creation stories, features of the landscape to describe the traditional territories of the Nehiyawak are included. The natural surroundings of the land become the history book. We said that stories have power, and they embody complex worldviews associated with a particular Indigenous culture. For instance, the Nehiyawak or storytellers will only tell you the Wisacejak stories in the wintertime. Their worldview and belief systems are illustrated by this fact. Nehiyawak storytellers believe that because so many creatures and spirits hibernate and sleep in the winter, it is safer to tell certain stories. Invoking the stricter’s name Wisacejak in the summer is just asking for trouble.

 Image result for aboriginal symbols | Aboriginal art symbols, Aboriginal  art, Aboriginal dot painting

The role of language in their culture, beliefs and passing down of their history - it just breaks my heart thinking about how my ancestors tried to eliminate their native language and culture by taking children from their homes into the residential schools where they tried to convert them to Christian beliefs and speaking only English.

The following article is a nice wrap up of what was covered in the introduction to the course on the importance of language and stories to the Indigenous culture and faith!  I was amazed that there are over 50 different indigenous languages spoken across North America/Turtle Island.

The interactive learning about this painting and the history and stories contained within it were fascinating! If you'd like to learn too the upper left Idle No More, Middle is the Connection to Earth, the right side top is story of Metis Women, Left side under Idle no more is speaking of the Trauma of Residential schools, centre is symbol and story of Creation of the Turtle Island, right hand middle is history of Inuit woman, on the left side again Story of Berries, along the bottom is the story of the Connection to Water

U of A online course on Indigenous culture sees popularity surge amid Black  Lives Matter movement | Folio

 Excited for next weeks lessons!!

Live,Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Cheesy Low Carb Cabbage Casserole

 Nom nom - saw this recipe on a video on Facebook and had to give it a try! 
What you need:
  • 250 grams cabbage or if your lazy like me Coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup spinach, sliced
  • 200 grams Cream Cheese, softened
  • 50 grams Parmesan cheese 
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Epicure Marinara seasoning or swap for Oregano 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 
  • 4 ounces shredded cheese of choice - we like old nippy cheese
What you do:
1. Gather up all your ingredients - you want the cream cheese to soften so that it blends well so I let it and the eggs sit to room temperature first before getting my other items together. Preheat oven to 350F.
Next chop up your onion, tomato and spinach and set aside.

Mix the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs and spices until it forms a creamy sauce - than fold in the Cabbage and mix well so it is all covered in the sauce.

Gently fold in the onion, tomato and spinach to mix well.
Grease a baking dish with Extra Virgin Olive oil

Spread mixture into the dish and top with grated cheese of your choice - I did a mixture of the White Fox and 5 year old cheddar for this round.
Bake at the 350F for 30 minutes
Serve with your favorite protien option - or this is so tasty it would be lovely on its own for a lunch size serving.

Bon Appetite 
Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life 

*post contains affiliate link

Monday, May 31, 2021

For the Guys Kits!

 So yesterdays blog post shared some fun new information about the Kits! Today I am going to give a sneak peek of the 'For the Guys' Kit!
This kit will come with this adorable stamp set ... perfect for all the men in your life!
 Than it comes with everything you need to create 10 cards!


Includes instructions to be able to follow along with the design teams designs OR you can think outside the box and create your very own designs using the materials! 


Cannot wait for these kits to go live! Hope you enjoyed the little sneak peek!

Happy Stampin' 
Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life!

*post contains affiliate links


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Kits, Kits, everywhere Kits!


Our NEW Kits Collection is an exclusive collection of choreographed, all-inclusive kit products curated and created for the new customer and beginner crafter! This collection is unique because it was designed with the beginner crafter in mind. Its intent is to inspire creative confidence and introduce new crafters to the joy, simplicity, and fun of creating with Stampin’ Up! Not only does it give you a taste of what Stampin' Up! is all about, especially if customers join with others to share a creative experience using the kits via a girls night in person or virtually, but it also allows you to enjoy some relaxing fun in a low-stress environment.

Of course, kits can also be completed outside of a gathering for those who like to craft on their own, and we know that more than just beginner crafters will love them too. 

This type of kit is perfect for those who . . .

  • Value creative and social experiences more than specific projects or products
  • Have limited time or space and would not be interested in collecting products to support a hobby.
  • Don’t consider themselves to be creative.
  • Aren’t ready to invest in a new hobby. 
  • Are looking for a unique 'girls night in' experience where you can create your own projects to take home at the end of your social gathering.

Ordering Details:

Customers can order directly online HERE or if you are wanting to join in a kit class or create your own 'class' with your friends please email me directly for upcoming kit class socials and so that I can get you a class codes to order from.

The perk of ordering online is that you can:.

  • See the available kits and order in one step. 
  • Become familiar with ordering online directly - ships direct to you so you have it to bring with your in person or to complete virtually depending on how your event is being hosted.
  • Payment is easy and private with use of a credit card direct paying to Stampin' Up!.

Important notes: 

  • These kits will not go into backorder. If a kit is not in stock online, it will not be orderable as these kits are sold while supplies last.
  • For those who do not care to order online I can place orders for kits via Order Entry Express (OEX) on my demonstrator website on your behalf - you would need to provide me your credit card number for payment OR EMT the total in advance and I will pay with my credit card. However, a word of caution: If you order a kit in this manner, there may be a risk that it could go out of stock between when you choose it and when I am able to place the order for you—and so that risks disappointment or having to change your choice.

Kit Overview

Kits come with everything one needs to enjoy creativity and not feel overwhelmed.

  • All-inclusive
    • Our kits come with everything required to complete the specific projects. Supplies include a block and ink spot(s) if applicable, plus any necessary adhesive—like Glue Dots, Stampin’ Dimensionals, etc.
    • Benefit: No worry about not having something to complete the project or needing to make extra purchases.
  • Pre-cut pieces and elements
    • Benefit: The projects are planned, designed, and prepped so the customer can just enjoy the experience of creating with confidence without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Less complicated projects with more straightforward stamping and/or assembly
    • Benefit: Forgiving, easy to achieve success and feel confident in the creative process.
  • Instructions are included
    • The instructions are in color and show completed projects and digital, step-by-step renderings. Instructions include a QR code pointing them to a video that will help them make the kit (if needed).
    • Benefit: Customers making kits on their own or in a virtual setting have the information they need to help them recreate the projects.
    • See the instructions PDF for current kits at the bottom of the page.   

Kits Contents: Product Details
  • Each kit contains:
    • Card bases & pre-cut pieces: Most card bases are pre-printed to create a beautiful look with less work; in part, this is why the cardstock is not the same cardstock offered in a regular catalog. It also allows us to keep kit costs low.
    • Adhesives: Adhesives included vary based on the project.
    • Stamps: The stamps in our stamping kits are photopolymer. This allows a new stamper to see where they are stamping, and that helps inspire creative confidence.
    • Clear block: All stamping kits include a clear block. It is thinner than a catalog block, has rounded corners, and measures 2-7/8" x 2-11/16".
    • Stampin’ Spots: A Stampin’ Spot is a small ink pad. This size of ink pad is perfect because, again—this is an “experience in a box” so fits perfectly and many beginners may not want to collect large amounts of crafting supplies. 
Low price point 
  • Stamping Kits
    Price: $19.00 USD | $26.00 CAD
  • Non-Stamping Kits
    Price: $12.00 USD | $16.00 CAD

Important note: tax and shipping not included and varies by region shipping to

Benefit: The affordable price allows for low-cost entry to try the Stampin’ Up! experience, low risk investment, and they offer a great price point for gifting.


Everything fits in one box.

Benefit: You don’t need a lot of space or supplies to enjoy a creative experience. Kits are also portable so they can go where you do!

Not a subscription

Benefit: You can choose the kit(s) that appeal most to you, thus reducing uncertainty. It also allows a creative experience without the commitment of a subscription.


Happy Stampin' 

Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life 

*post contains affiliate links



Thursday, May 13, 2021

Throwback Thursday!

 Having some fun over in the Scrapbook Nerd & Friends group on Facebook today in preparation for the weekend of crafty time!


This was one of my layouts from my first ever crop at the Scrap & Crop weekend retreats   at the Festival Inn in Stratford - I used a sketch from Pinterest to help get me inspired and love how it turned out - the little grids are a great way to show a sampling of papers and use up scraps!


Does anyone else have a photo of themself sitting on the toilet that their parents took - the good ole days when parents use to try to toilet train at like 14 months old by putting you on the thing every 10 minutes for a half hour thinking that was being trained!


Like you can even see my moms hand with a cup trying to force me to drink more fluids in order to get me to pee - hate to break it to you mum but it was YOU who were toilet trained at this stage in my life not ME!

 Happy Stampin' 

Live,Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Meal time Favorites!

 Table time Thursday - what’s on your plate tonight?

I made Parmesan crusted chicken and roasted veggies for the fam jam tonight! 

I love it cause it’s so easy - just mix Parmesan cheese with homemade or store bought mayo and a bit of Epicure Herbs and Spices. Make a paste with it and spread over the meat. Bake 400F for 30 minutes along with your roasted side veggies choice! We had diced tri colour sweet peppers, sliced radishes and wee bit onion. 

Bon Appetite


Live, Laugh, Love

Be Totallyawake4/life

#foodporn #whatsfordinner #lowcarb #grainfree #glutenfree #keto #paleo #mealideas #recipes #autoimmunedisease #cleaneating 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

No one will 'fall behind' if we just revisit how we measure the finish line!

Health, academics, and balance – The Varsity

In a world wide pandemic I wish that every government wasn’t so focused on children and schools “falling behind” and instead focused on children, teachers and parents MAKING IT THROUGH so at the end of this they can return to normal with a healthy body, mind and soul and able to “continue on and slowly catch up” to where they ‘should’ be by graduation. 
Right now I worry so much about the role this past year is taking in mental health and how we’ve made that so much worse putting so much focus on what children are “loosing” because they cannot be in school, and how burdensome it is for parents to have to support remote learning and so forth! This is not conducive to having a strong mental health in order to actually learn and retain anything for academic success moving forward! The rise in anxiety is so high right now!

 Teen Mental Health Collaborative Joins to Serve Communities - Jewish  Healthcare Foundation News - JHF
I get academics and benchmarks are important but in the grand scheme of what life is like right now the added stress and anxiety trying to make everyone do stuff that’s not developmentally appropriate especially in the under 12 age group with the “online classroom” is just insane - asking parents and teachers and everyone to try to multi task so much and trying to figure out how to make children not meant to sit still in front of a screen for 180 minutes or up to 6 hours depending on their age and not just zone out or loose control of their emotions in the frustrating effort! 

Play Based learning
At 51 years of age I consider myself a life long learner - I love learning but barely remember what I learned in elementary school and what I needed to actually know academic wise I know I RELEARNED when it finally became relevant to me in my life because I had the building blocks for life long learning because of the teachers who took the time to make learning meaningful and not mundane! 
If the choice is between mental health and academic benchmarks mental health should ALWAYS come first and not sacrificed on the alter of “falling behind” - if it’s too hard take a break, get outside, cook or bake, curl up and read a book your child actually LIKES not one their forced to read cause curriculum says so - reading should be FUN not FORCED! Spend time doing hands on stuff like art , music or fun science experiments. Walk barefoot through the grass! Watch clouds go by and play the what do you see in them game!  

 Quick Thought: Play to Learn (Not Just Cute) | Learning quotes, Play quotes,  Preschool quotes
What I DO remember most about elementary school - the school trips to African lion Safari or the farm or the science centre, playing with friends at recess on playground and the made up games we created with things like a nylon and tennis ball or a skipping rope, the science fair, book fairs, the school plays and fall carnival fundraiser - basically the stuff where any learning was also HANDS ON and involved all my senses and where I made positive memories and so the learning was reenforced by the social emotional connections I made so that formed long term memories from them to recall and later build on! 
IMO right now we would all be better off if we removed the academic pressure and just focused on social emotional health and learning through hands on play activities. Turn OFF the screens! Provide children PLAY PROMPTS using materials found in any home regardless of socio economic privilege! Children won’t “fall behind” if we just take a year off and revisit the way we measure success in these formative years - they can easily catch up if they return to normal routine with their mental health and well being still in tact!
Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life