Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Card Swap fun

Quiet sho ebox swap tonight as a couple of the ladies couldn’t make it but still came home with 3 lovely cards plus my own 💕

If you don’t know what a shoebox swap is it’s kinda like a Christmas cookie exchange but with greeting cards and you just bring the ingredients everyone gets to bake their own card 🤣

I love shoebox swaps cause I design and prep materials for one card for everyone to make and come now with 6-8 different cards for my stash depending how many of us are around the table! 

Plus it’s a chance to play with stamp sets or tools I might not have yet so kinda play before you pay option!

Cute little card featuring the Abstract Impressions stamp set  - a nice quick 'watercolor' look to the image without the mess! Paired with the Hexagon embossing folder for a nice bit of texture!

This card featured the In Every Season combined with the Rooted in Nature set for a nice quick and simple any occasion card!
I just love the Happy Tails bundle ... it makes quick and cute cards for the animal lover in your life!

This lovely design from Jenny uses a now retired thinlit set that for the life of my I cannot remember but it is stunning layered together like this to create a hydrangea inspired card!

Have an amazing day!

Live well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Day 2 Epic Life Challenge

Day Two of Reset is done! 

Started off the day with an early morning start cause for some reason my silly brain decided that it would make up at 5am and just start thinking about all the things I want to EVER do in my life!! So figured might as well get up and completed my last day of a double April Fitness Challenge I was doing before 6am! 

This challenge combo has been great for helping to improve my core muscle strength although my back has started barking a little at me for the effort of trying to do both either that or the weather is getting better of me this past week can never bee to sure!

 Rewarded my hard work with this breakfast of champions! 

Hazelnut Smoothie

What You Need

What You Do
  • Toss it all in blender and blend until smooth

 Perfectly balanced with a slice of gluten free toast and a small banana sliced up! 

Lunch was left over Curried Apple Tuna salad but served as a melt and had some cheese on it instead of the veggie dip cause red peppers are tasty without dip but a Tuna melt is not a tuna melt without cheese!

I was powering through my day feeling strong - no cravings and than my loving spouse comes home from work bearing THIS gift for me .... they are from a gluten free baker locally and apparently there is a Easter Cream egg hiding in the middle of it making it extra chalked full of chocolatey goodness. Normally I could easily convince myself that they look better than they taste because gluten free baking is hit or miss on the texture and taste factor but than he added that he ate one at work already and it was a chocolatey mouth orgasm ... so now I KNOW that they taste as good as they look! 
Cranked my willpower up to 1000x and powered through with the plan for dinner which was Asian inspired Lettuce Wraps

 What You Need  for one serving
  • 4 oz lean ground meat - I choose lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup each of diced onion, celery, sweet peppers 
  • 2 tsp low sodium or gluten-free soy sauce - I need to limit my soy so I use Coconut Secret it is a great low sodium no soy alternative to soy sauce and is gluten free
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought coleslaw
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Ginger Dressing just the dry mix
  • 4 leaves romaine or iceberg lettuce
 What You Do
  • Cook ground meat for 5 minutes in a non stick pan. Add in onion, celery and peppers and saute until el dente. Add in coleslaw mix and toss with the sesame ginger dressing and soy sauce. Just long enough to wilt the cabbage.
  • Scoop into lettuce leaves. Roll and enjoy.
 Perfectly balance with a grain such as whole grain rice you can add the rice right to the mix and  eat in the lettuce wrap or as a side dish! 

To get my mind of the evil temptation of the Chocolate Cupcake sitting on the counter I took myself to the gym early for a work out - got myself all changed into my swimsuit to do to the pool  and showered and went out to the deck only to find out a new schedule was released this week and there is now swimming lessons in the pool until 7:15pm so rather than going back home I went upstairs and did cardio workout! Thankfully I have been channeling my Girl Guide motto of always be prepared and have taken to keeping my gym bag packed for both cardio and pool options!

So far Day 2 is a great success! 

Tomorrow's goal is to take time to work out during quiet time because will not have time to do so in the evening! 
May also means a new 30 Day fitness challenge to try - going to do this duo with a few of the Epic Life challengers but will do a modified version of the first one because I cannot do a few of these moves due to knee and back injuries ... so the lunges I will do step ups instead, the plank thing I will do Bird Dogs and the squat thing I will just due normal squats! 

My other goal for tomorrow is to stay ON PLAN while dining out for a girls night out as we are heading out to a fundraiser for my friends loved one who passed away suddenly.

Have an amazing day! 

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Monday, April 29, 2019

Day 1 of 90 Day Epic Life challenge

Today marks Day 1 of my third 90 day Epic Life challenge starts today! Working my way towards my Fit for 50 goal!

While I tried very hard between last challenge and this one to stay on task admittedly I had a few slips of poor meal choices so it feels good to be back to being accountable! 

Perfectly Balanced Breakfast 

Raspberry Chocolate Smoothie

What You Need:
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt 
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 2 slices frozen beets
  • 1 tablespoon Torani Sugar Free Raspberry syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Torani White Chocolate syrup
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 splash of water to consistency desired
What You Do:
  • Place all ingredients in the blender.
  • Blend in high power blender until well mixed
  • Serve over additional ice if you like it really cold
Balance with a serving of fruit, grain and healthy fat of choice - I chose a slice of gluten free toast with peanut butter and an apple with some cinnamon sprinkled on it.
Perfectly Balanced Lunch Curried Tuna and Apple Sandwich

What You Need for Tuna Salad - makes two servings

  • 1 can (6oz/170 g) light tuna, low sodium packed in water, drained
  • 1 apple, cored and diced - I love the tart Granny Smith
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp 2% plain Greek yogurt, or dairy-free alternative
  • 2 tsp  Guacamole Dip Mix
  • 1/8 tsp  Curry Seasoning
  • Lettuce leaves - I love Romaine or Spinach 
  • 4 slices bread or 2 small buns - whole grain or in my case gluten free
What You Do: 

  • In a medium bowl, fluff tuna with a fork. Add apple, yogurt, Guacamole Dip Mix, and Madras Curry Seasoning. Stir to blend well. 
  • I like to prep this ahead so flavor can blend and meld together. Filling will last 2–3 days in your fridge.
  • Place lettuce on two slices of bread and spread 1/2 of the tuna mixture on top. Cover with second slice of bread. Cut diagonally and serve. Repeat for second sandwich.
  • If only making one serving store the unused tuna mixture in an airtight container in fridge.
Perfectly balance with a side of veggies and 2 tablespoons salad dressing or dip of choice plus a 1/2 cup of fruit of choice.

Perfectly Balanced Dinner - Butternut Squash Marinara with Caesar Salad

Nom nom nom look at this yummy plate - take that Eastside Mario’s cause right here is a healthy delicious Italian dinner on my table in under 30 minutes and perfectly balanced and under 500 calories 💕

Turkey Marinara Sauce over Butternut Squash

Turkey Marinara Sauce - serves 4

What You Need
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey 
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 2 cups spinach 
  • 2 cans of Low Sodium Tomato sauce - I like Hunts brand
  • 2 tablespoons of Epicure Marinara Spice
What You Do
  • Brown turkey and drain off any excess fat
  • Saute onion, celery, pepper until browned a bit.
  • Add in tomato sauce and simmer 25 minutes to meld flavors.
  • Toss in spinach a few minutes before serving to wilt a bit.
Serve over top of your favorite pasta or for a grain free option over spiraled butternut squash, sweet potato or zucchini
Caesar Salad

What You Need for Homemade dressing
  • 2 Tbsp Caesar Dressing seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, or Greek yogurt 
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/4 C (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 C (60 ml) milk
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves, optional 
 What You Do
  •  Whisk all ingredients together and let meld in fridge for a wee bit - will keep for 2-3 days prepped.
Or if you are in a rush or only want to make one serving at a time cause you do not eat a lot of Caesar I like to use the Walden Coleslaw as my base and just add the dry Epicure Caesar Dressing seasoning to it and mix one serving needed - bam done! 

Serve with Romaine lettuce, bacon bits and Parmesan cheese ... since I am Celiac and so croutons are hard to come by I love to add Whisps to my salad - locally you can get them at Costco or Walmart! This are awesome low carb 'cracker' replacement cause basically its just 'cheese' that's been baked into cracker form!

So basically that was my day of goodies so far! It is a 3 day reset for first 3 days so no 'dessert' after dinner for first 3 days.

I have also had my 8 glasses of water as well as herbal teas between meals for liquid! 

Feeling vary satiated and so far making it through today without any chocolate cravings - ever since Easter and a little slip I have been struggling with cravings! 

Have an amazing day

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Paint Pouring Night

One of my continued learning goals for my Continual professional development for the College of Early Childhood Education professional development is:
  • Ensure that I continue to maintain my passion for my work in face of the isolation of working alone at home.
  • Ensure that I practice self-care strategies and take time to recharge myself with things I enjoy doing.
  • Help organize and attend monthly professional development with home childcare colleagues to help each other with self care and reducing isolation.
To help ensure that this goal is met I regularly get together with fellow home childcare providers to network and engage in a fun night out connecting. Sometimes we do fun things to recharge and other times we engage in professional development and sometimes like tonight we combine the too .... Krisy has gathered us together in her home to host a paint pouring night so that we can learn how to do it and than bring our new skills back to the program with the children.

Here are some collages of our amazing night of collaborating and connecting over creating some cool master pieces! As you can see we are masters of reduce reuse recycle and did not want to waste the paint as we poured so used some stamped coasters that were duds to repurpose into poured paint coasters!

I am really looking forward to sharing this technique with the kiddies and have added the supplies needed to my wishlist to budget for in the meantime I picked up a cool spinning tray to use with art and just tempera paint for pouring with them!

If you are in the London area and would love to try out the paint pouring Krisy has a page on Facebook called Pouring Abstract that you can check out. She is great with both adults and children's parties! 

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Corrugated Cardboard technique

Love the corrugated cardboard technique for adding a shabby chic look to a paper crafting project! 

Reusing your corrugated cardboard boxes are an awesome way to reduce reuse recycle while adding some vintage gorgeous grunge look to your project! Cut the cardboard box down and then use your paper cutter or scissors to cut the piece to the size desired for your project. If you want more than a simple square you can even run the cardboard box piece through the Big Shot with dies – old style Sizzix work easy the thinlits dies take a couple runs through! 

Once you’ve cut your cardboard box to desired size and shape for your project carefully use a paper piercer or craft knife to peel back and remove the very top layer of the cardboard paper and continue removing layers to reveal the corrugated portions you want! You can peel away as much as you want for your desired vintage or worn look that works for you. Then you can add any inking around edges and add it to your card and complete design as desired!

For Aprils card making class we enjoyed making the following treasures!

We got it one last chance to play with the Dragonfly Dreams before it retires in June! Definitely a set that I am not sure I can part with when I have to purge my supplies to make room for new goodies!

I just loved how this dragonfly turned out - I stamped it on the Granny Apply Green paper using Versa-mark and sprinkled with gold embossing powder and than sponged in some night of navy to give it an iridescent look. Photos never do cards a true justice!

 Used a retired Happy Birthday sentiment

Love themed card ... playing with a soon to be retired Sunshine Wishes bundle using the heart die and love word with the Sale-a-bration Lovely Lipstick foil paper - which I just loved and stocked up on with all my extra Sale-a-bration earnings! 

The Stitched Be Mine thinlit's cut through the cardboard with ease and love how the card came together using up a piece of retiring DSP as well.
Final card of the class featuring the Animal Outing and Animal Friends die bundle ... card came together so adorably!

Happy Stampin'

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

From Teaching to Thinking - Webinar anticipation

I love FREE professional development because well being self employed my PD budget comes directly out of my pocket! 

I am a huge fan of Ann Pelo and Marge Carter two amazing role models in early childhood education. I have seen Ann a couple times present seminars on her inspirations from Reggio - my favorite about a block project still sticks with me about the benefits of 'risky play' for children and the use of ladders in her program to allow children to build really tall structures!  I have also read several of Marge Carters books - so am excited to see them collaborating on one together! From Teaching to Thinking looks like an awesome reflective book and I am totally adding it to me reading list! You can purchase it here from Childcare Exchange.

I n the meantime I am looking forward to tomorrows webinar - likely wont be able to tune into the whole thing live cause working with the little's and wishful thinking that quiet time will last that long but will catch the rest on replay later on
You can register for the FREE webinar here:
They offered three pre-reading articles that are lovely to get the thinking going! 

This quote from Ann's story in the above article really resonated with me:

“You’re smart,” she said, “and you’re going to waste your intelligence and your education by working with children. Do you really think you’ll make an impact on children’s lives by working in child care? Stay in the academy and do research; that’s the way to make a difference.”

I can still remember my high school councilor having a similar conversation with me trying to talk me out of going into Education at all let alone into Early Childhood Education ... even at 17 the irony of this coming from someone who they themselves were working IN the Education system!
Early Childhood Education 30 years later is still very undervalued field that people try to talk those passionate about entering into it to think long and hard about. A vocation that most people think 'anyone' can do and yet there is an extreme shortage of skilled early childhood educators because while many people 'enter' the field few REMAIN in it for their full career. Most of those I graduated with 30 years ago have long since moved either entirely out of education or into more lucrative branches than early years!  
30 years gone and we are continuing to advocate for our profession and push for the realization  that working with children takes a VERY strong skill set that not just 'everyone' can do and to do it well and for a sustained period of time it is paramount that you be engaging in continual professional development as key to not only continued passion but the emerging understanding of the REAL importance in the work we do as we discover just how formative the early years are on brain development and life long success in children!
A vocation that is worth far more resources for those engaged in it than are allotted to it by government and stakeholders!  

Yet the work out of Reggio Italy and other European neighbors give us hope all across the world that making early childhood education a priority and investing in those who work in the early years is achievable -  change is possible!

Love this quote from the Re-imagining our Work  article and look forward to reading more from this series too!

"Even with expanded national attention to the importance of early childhood education and multiple state initiatives funding preschool, it is still a very challenging time to work in the early child-hood field. After some initial excitement, we ‘old timers’ wonder if perhaps things were better before people recognized the value of our work. That recognition hasn’t significantly increased wages, only the stress and requirements (Carter, 2014)."
Another resonating quote from the above article .... I worked for 17 years in publicly funded preschools before choosing to leave and work in my own small private home-based early learning centre for EXACTLY because of some of the points touched on in this article - the increased expectations specially for amount of PAPERWORK in order to prove program requirements and benchmarks being met in order to be able to justify funding to stakeholders was exhausting! The bureaucracy and politics of the large centre work environment was increasingly stressful and the rising ratios and reduced resources due to funding 'shortfalls' was hard both emotionally and physically on ones state of well being!  

Sometimes the saying 'bigger is better' is a true oxymoron and for me none more so than when it comes to childcare - after 17 years of working in increasingly larger 'bigger is better' childcare programs after moving away from that setting to work from home in a small personalized setting I have become a huge advocate for HOME BASED childcare as an untapped resource in our communities that could truly be the solution to the childcare crisis we face here in Ontario and I imagine other regions if we just looked at ways to directly license and support this sector to ensure that 'quality early learning' was front and centre everyone's programs we could create so many 'licensed' childcare spaces and at a fraction of the cost to both create and maintain than the larger counterpart programs! 

After reading the above articles I really am looking forward to tomorrows webinar! Hope you can join me and than we can talk more afterward!
Have an amazing day
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life