Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Be careful what you wish for...

 Lots of big feelings going on in early childhood educator groups right now! Lots of talk about unions and walk outs and advocating for the poor treatment ECE face in the field! 

With the current model of childcare I just want to share that ECE need to be careful what they wish for!

The College of ECE is also a prime example of the advise “be careful what you wish for”! 

ECE had fought for decades to get one cause the field thought that is what we were missing on the path to being valued and respected like Teachers - Teachers have one so should we they argued. It will raise the bar and prevent unprofessional ECE from just moving centre to centre spreading their negativity and poor behaviour! We will finally be seen as professional. Yet the reality is that majority of public has no clue we even have a College more than a decade in and when it comes to regulating the industry if you look at the disciplinary records you have to basically REPEATEDLY abuse children to have your ability to practice completely removed - too many brought up for having slapped, dragged and sat on children to manage their behaviours and they get a tap on wrist of a suspension, a fine and behaviour and guidance training and back to the front line they go  because there are so FEW of us left they want to keep trying to raise the bar with people who shouldn’t really be working in the field at all but when other RECE keep seeing these people returned to the front line they just stop reporting because they don’t see the point cause it’s stressful to report a colleague and the drama that’s created in ones program 😞 Plus in my view many centres management still do their best to sweep problem staff under the rug because they don’t want to publicly be on record for having  hired people that turned out to do crap like that under their nose so they still quietly let those types go and move on to be someone else’s problem. So now we are all paying $160 for a College we feel failed in providing what we thought it would. 

Be careful what you wish for  is the same feeling I get in my gut when I see so many ECE advocating to get a Union in their centre or thinking they can just unionize the entire industry despite that not being how unions work - they can only unionize those under one employer so each individual centre would be a tiny little union of their 5-15 RECE depending on licensing capacity  - so they need to truly be careful what you wish for cause union dues are gonna be way more than the College fees they hate paying and the reality is that a union cannot get blood from a stone! 

Look at how poorly EA and ECE working in a unionized school board setting are treated - they are unionized and still paid barely a living wage, still not getting adequate prep time and most are constantly keep on contract vs getting full time permanent cause it saves boards money - been over 10 years of negotiations for RECE there and not much progress despite the huge dues they have to pay 😉

Fact is we are not poorly paid because we are like the auto industry where some CEO is off making millions off us and share holders need their piece of the pie too and while we do similar work the reality is we are not like teachers working in the public school system  where they have the collective pockets of tax payers to cover the rising cost of teachers wages and other perks they’ve fought decades for   .... the stone cold fact is that childcare is funded primarily on the backs of the families we serve and THAT is why we are low paid because families with young children are already stretched so thin with rising costs of living including that of childcare that a household income of $80,000 is now the cut off for being able to access fee subsidy towards childcare! More than double it was in the past decades cause I remember when it was $30,000 that was the cut off to access it. 

Go ahead and form a union at your centre but go into with your eyes open that until there is a HUGE change in the way that childcare is funded you could be spending hundreds in dues annually for no real gain OR you can find that your program administration decides that it’s just not a feasible option to remain open and find yourself closed .... look at how many unionized childcare positions have been lost over the past 30 years! When I was an ECE student EVERY college and university campus that offered early childhood studies had their own on site lab schools with unionized well paid educators as part of their staff - how many are left in Ontario? So many regions also had their own childcare programs they ran with unionized staff - how many are left in Ontario? When local regional governments decide that they cannot continue to run a region funded childcare program that had unionized staff so pays fair equitable wages and benefits  because it’s constantly in the red and having to take money from other places cause they can’t raise fees to clients any higher than they have without parents just saying “might as well stay home and provide care myself” than how are small individual childcares or even the chains that unionize going to be able to magically do better 😞 

Do they still require ECE students to design and build and formulate a realistic operating budget for opening a childcare in College - cause when you do that you quickly see there is no PROFIT in childcare programs - your revenue is capped by licensed capacity and the wages you can pay by the overhead required to provide the program including paying whomever “oversees” it be it a non profit director or an owner and wage that makes taking on that kind of responsibility and risk viable for them! Non profits do have an advantage to typically pay better because being a charitable organization they can often get reduction in rent, phone and other utilities as the service providers can claim that reduction as a charitable donation. But reality is that despite the demand for childcare very few people are willing to donate the time, energy and resources to open new childcare spaces because the fact is it’s TOO HARD and most people don’t want to “volunteer” the time it would take to fundraising and sit on committees for the non profit sector and for the private sector you can invest the same money in opening a Tim Hortons chain and it provides an actual return in investment and profit - which is why there is a Tim Hortons on every corner and not a childcare centre 😞 

Early years matter but is there just possibly a better system we could be advocating for?


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Be Totallyawake4-life

Gluten Free Pumpernickel Bread

 I make this for Paul cause he doesn’t need to be grain free just gluten free! 

Moms Gluten Free “Pumpernickel” Bread

1 cup each Brown Rice and Tapioca Flour

1 cup Chickpea Flour

½ cup each Buckwheat Flour and Carob Powder

¼ cup Flax Meal

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 teaspoon Xanthum Gum

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 Tablespoons Instant Milk Powder

1 ½ cups warm water

1/3 cup dark molasses

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 Eggs, beaten

Bread-Maker:  If using this method, thoroughly mix all the wet ingredients and place in pan.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients except the yeast, and put into centre of liquid.  Make a dent in the top and add the yeast.  Bake on the instant setting for a large loaf.  Maybe it’s my bread-maker, but I find this method leaves the loaf slightly under-done.

Manual Method:  (My preference).  Heat oven to 150 degrees F.  Thoroughly whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the yeast, in a large bowl.  Thoroughly mix all the wet ingredients, then add to the dry ingredients in installments until evenly mixed.  Do not over mix. Turn into a lightly greased 9” round spring-form pan or large loaf pan.  Turn oven off and put pan in oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours to rise.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees then put pan back in to bake, about 1 hour or so.  Let cool completely before attempting to slice.

Bon Appetite 


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Be Totallyawake4-life 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Oscar's Happy Day!

 Margaret here guest designing for the Scrapbook Nerds Online store - make sure to come and join us in their Facebook group for daily inspiration, weekly challenges and giveaways from the amazing owner Joy!


Today I am playing with the adorable Oscar from Bella Blvd! Seriously how stinking adorable is this little sticker bundle?

 Bella Blvd - Cooper - Bella-Pops - Oscar

 I used up all the pieces with this one and adding a little bling to Oscar because its 2021 and Oscar can identify however she'd like! I think she looks lovely with her bow and some added Rhinestone's coloured with my Stampin' Blends to match the bow!


This set paired perfectly with the Lawn Fawn - Lawn Cuts Happy Heart Day!

 Lawn Fawn Happy Heart Day Line Border Lawn Cuts Dies

 I used the 'negative' image from the die on a slip of scrap Bermuda Bay cardstock!


And look at how perfectly the heart from Oscar's sticker bundle fit perfectly inside the negative image left! Added some additional tinted rhinestones and whola the perfect card to congratulate a friend who just added a little puppy to her family!

 Happy Stampin'

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Be Totallyawake4-life

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Make a Wish

 Margaret here guest designing for the Scrapbook Nerds Online store - make sure to come and join us in their Facebook group for daily inspiration, weekly challenges and giveaways from the amazing owner Joy!

Today I used inspiration from the TGIF Challenge #TGIFC310


I used  Flirty Flamingo cardstock as my base and than using the Pinkfresh Studio Slim Stitched Rectangle dies to layer with Pool Party, Blushing Bride and Whisper White cardstock from Stampin' Up!


Using this adorable little Doodlebug Make a Wish sticker set I mounted the cake on the one side and added some rhinestone 'bling' to it by colouring the clear rhinestones with a Flirty Flamingo blends marker.

Doodlebug Design - Doodle-Pops - Make A Wish

I chose a Happy Birthday sentiment from the All about You stamp and die bundle from My Favorite Things. And die cut out the You in Pool Party. 

 My Favorite Things -  All About You - Stamp Set

I finished off the it off with some turquoise bakers twine and some additional rhinestones tinted with the Flirty Flamingo Blends marker!  

This is going to make a perfect card for my granddaughter's 1st birthday next week! Cannot believe it has been a YEAR already and Covid is still poo pooing on celebrations for her!

Happy Stampin'

Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Vicki Boutin Storyteller creations

Margaret here - its been a while since I have been in the craftroom -  apprently I managed to compress 3 disc in my neck and one of them keeps hernating anytime I have a flare in my arthritis which has made doing anything that involves holding my head up for too long excrusating painful - but we finally have a medication mix that seems to be working and I am having my first good day in months! 

So I am back in the craftroom guest designing for the Scrapbook Nerd and their Facebook group - if you are not a member please come on over and click the join for lots of creative inspiration!  We have fun challenges each week from the design team and there are regularly prizes from Joy the owner of the Scrapbook Nerds online shopping website!

This week I am playing with Vicki Boutin's Storyteller collection because I just love all her designs!

Makes my heart happy that she has a grid paper as part of her collections - they are amazing inspiration for both quick cards and pocket scrap-booking!  

I also used the TGIG challenge #TGIFC309  to jump start my creative juices!

I used the Concord & 9th Little Love Tags stamp set to create my own DSP background on the whisper white cardstock base in Pool Party.

I than cut out one of the grids from the Storyteller DSP and mounted in on Bermuda Bay cardstock, wrapped that with teal bakers twine and mounted it with dimensionals onto the base. I added a little 3D popped up butterfly from the Storyteller Butterflies layered stickers.I left the inside blank so I can use this card for any occasion when the time comes.

I also made a second card to use up the other half of my base paper cause I tend to create in 'twos'. For this one I used the Storyteller stencils to create a textured background on the base by sponging Pool Party ink. Chose the sentiment Happy Birthday to ... from the My Favorite Things - All About You stamp set placed perfectly in the banner and than adored with a retired sparkly ribbon and some iridescent pearls to complete the card front.


Inside I stamped the bold You in Pool Party to finish the card. 

In my humble opinion this stamp set is a must for both cardmaking and using in scrapbook layout titles as it is so versatile for sentiments included fitting so many of life's moments!

My Favorite Things -  All About You - Stamp Set
Thank you for stopping by to check out this weeks designs! 
Happy Stampin' 
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Be Totallyawake4-life
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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Happy Birthday Bouquet

 Margaret here guest designing for the Scrapbook Nerds & Friends over on Facebook! 

Today I am offering a cute little Birthday Card featuring the Winter Wonderland collection from Doodlebug Design Inc.

The Winter Wonderland Odds and Ends Snowflakes has so many fun little 'winter flowers' which were perfect to form a collage for this birthday card!

I used the Happy Birthday from the Altenew Hug Me stamp set.
Happy Stampin' 

Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life
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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Life’s to Short...

 Anyone else love this mug as much as the mani it’s showing off?

GelMoment palette;

Just cruise on all nails

Wavelength chrome mixed with clearly frisky using the dotting tool on pointer finger

Wavelength chrome on half of ring finger

Photo credit: Jé Roque-Cabral

#gelmoment #gelmomentnails #gelmomentaddict #gelpolish #nailart #nails #diy #manicure #homespa #homesalon #nontoxicbeauty #nontoxicliving #glutenfreeproducts #5free #lifestooshorttowaitfornailstodry 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Challenges of being an ECE in 2021

Vent in the Comments Talk About What's Bothering U Help Each Other Go Ahead  Vent in the Comments We Will Help You | Help Meme on ME.ME

OK so despite being forced off the front line due to Covid this past year, not having yet secured a new job, or being eligible for a Vaccine to allow me to return to work on the front I opted to renew my registration with the College of ECE for one more year to see if I can secure a 'next stage' career option in that time that is not directly on the front line but still in the field I have dedicated 30 years of my life too. It was not an easy decision  - I am feeling burnt out and defeated with the handling of Covid-19 in relation to the early learning and care sector! In my humble opinion the Ford government threw Early Childhood Educators and small business operators who operate early learning and care programs under the bus!

Financial Hardship Stock Illustrations – 202 Financial Hardship Stock  Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

So with that decision comes a $160 bill payment for my dues at a time when I am not working and not eligible for social assistance for unemployment as I was self employed and the CERB ran out and the new program is confusing as to whether eligible for it as in 2020 I likely did not make the $5000 in self employment income due to loosing all but one client in March but still having all the same overhead of 5 children so actually am in the hole 'income' wise and than having to make the hard choice to formally close indefinitely in September in order to seek more secure income source because meeting the new Covid protocols in a home based setting is prohibitive and fear that in another lock down Ford would reinstate an Emergency fee order for anyone working from home and not using childcare as a result! . 

 Képtalálat a következőre: „too much paperwork meme” | Paperwork, Desk, Envy

Yet this decision has not only meant direct financial hardship it also meant that I spent the better part of today engaged in completing my Year One CPL paperwork for the CPL process for the College in order to renew and check the box that yes I have 'complied' with the process because this past year has been emotionally and physically HARD on me and I just have not had the mental or physical energy to sit at the computer and deal with it when I was unsure if I was gonna renew at all. So in addition to the unpaid time I spent engaged in hours upon hours of actual PD this past year and writing many blog posts to reflect on said PD or to advocate for our field and protecting choice in childcare I got to loose another 5 hours of my time because Early Childhood educators now have to participate in cumbersome paperwork around 'self assessments to identify goals tied to our professional standards and code of ethics, create learning plans for the 3 goals we identify and than engage in record of learning with reflection on how we plan to incorporate what we learned into practice' paperwork for the college in case we are ever 'audited' and need to prove to the CPL committee that we did indeed engage in said continuous professional learning process because sadly our 'word' that we engage in PD is not good enough for the government that mandated this process in their new Education Act! 

 Nap time, after too much paperwork. | Kittens cutest, Cute animals, Cute  cats

I am also a sucker for additional punishment because in an effort to help educate the general public and as part of my CPL itself for trying to maintain my passion for the field by networking and collaborating with peers I have documented my CPL journey on my website and here on my blog to try to help raise awareness that we A) have a College of ECE in Ontario in the first place as most of the general public have no clue that ECE have to belong to this organization in order to even work in the field including those of us who work in unregulated sector and graduated from college with an ECE diploma even though our peers with no diploma can practice offering home based childcare with absolutely no training or belong to a regulatory body and B) to help raise awareness on the increase expectations that the government and employers have for us despite the very LOW wages that front line ECE make these days and the lack of funding set aside to support childcare in general! 
 Advocacy Matters - Home | Facebook
I do this above and beyond on my blog so when the public is complaining about the lack of quality childcare they can hopefully make that connections that it is only going to continue to get WORSE unless something changes drastically as recruiting ECE to enter the field is increasingly hard but now we have ECE who are fleeing the industry in droves because the reality is that most ECE can easily work in the retail or service sector for the same wage now and actually keep more of their income in their pocket because it comes with NO additional education required, without having to pay $160 annually in order to work plus the cost of CPR and First aid recertification required annually and often out of pocket plus and on all the cost of actual attending many professional development workshops and seminars out of our pocket but than add on the unpaid time it requires taken away from our families while engaging in said PD and now on top of all that having to spend hours more in bureaucratic paperwork so we can 'prove' that we have done it like we are ALL a bunch of untrustworthy children vs actual professionals! 
 Why Professional Development Matters – Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

I have engaged in PD my entire career, voluntarily, because I do see the value in it to myself and those I serve. I also know that there are SOME ECE who graduate from college and NEVER do any continual professional learning and therefore become outdated and engage in practice that is no longer 'best' practice for the field and in an effort to raise the bar in the field we need to find a way to motivate those ECE to engage in the CPL process. However many of us are feeling punished with the level of expectations here and the College needs to find a way to lower the fees for membership because it is prohibitive for those who are often making just on minimum wage themselves to come up with another $160 annually on top of other costs of being in the field but to also simplify the CPL process for educators. Otherwise, in nothing changes, than I predict fewer and fewer are going to even enter the field as those in it steer them away from it and many ECE already in it are going to continue to look for ways to LEAVE it as fast as possible because we are just exhausted with the continual increase in the responsibilities and expectations of society for ECE with the ever shrinking resources and support to actually do our jobs all while being constantly bombarded in the media about the 'cost of childcare being too high' like the assumption that we are all rolling in the dough with those high fees!  Reality is offering quality early learning and child to children is EXPENSIVE and the costs just keep rising while the wages shrink!
 50 Thank You Messages for Preschool Teachers with Quotes |
If you have an amazing ECE in your life PLEASE take a moment to THANK THEM for all their hard work! Small acts of kindess can make a HUGE difference in an ECE who is battling mounting burnout conditions in the field!
Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life

Sunday, February 21, 2021

SBN Sunday Sketch

 Margaret here guest designing for the Scrapbook Nerds & Friends over on Facebook! 

 Today I am offering up a SKETCH CHALLENGE of my own for everyone!

I choose the gorgeous plaid paper the Winter Wonderland 6x6 paper pack from Doodlebug Design Inc. and paired with with a coordinating Highland Heather purple cardstock from my stash!  

I cut out the My Favorite Things Photo Strip in the purple.

Again making use of the 6x6 paper to choose cute little squares to insert into the photo strip.

And for a pop of sparkle the Winter Wonderland Glitter Sprinkles from Doodlebug Design Inc.


Finished it off with some Baker's twine!

 Happy Stampin' 

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Be Totallyawake4-life
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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Testimony Tuesday’s

 Testimony Tuesday

“Okay ladies let me show you how well fortify is working on my nails!!! I only started last August  and I used to bite my nails super short 🙃...since using GelMoment and Fortify in between my polishes I cannot belive how long my nails grow and fast and they are rock solid hard!!! I used to go to nail salons for beautiful fake nails !!! Well no more and all natural now ...I am so happy for these products and how they actually work of the many reasons why I am so passionate about GelMoment!!!” customer and now distributor Filippo Ashley Fonzo 

#gelmoment #gelpolish #diy #manicure #nailcare #cleanbeauty #nontoxic #5free #homespa #homesalon #glutenfreeproducts #veganfriendly #nailbiting #selfcare #pamperyourself 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Chocolate Mousse- yes please

 Nom nom - looking for a quick low carb treat for your Valentine today!


8 oz - Cream Cheese

1/4 cup - Allulose or Erythritol

1 cup - Sugar-free Dark Chocolate Chips  (I use Choc Zero brand)

1 cup - Heavy Whipping Cream (keep it cold)

1/2 tsp - Flaky Salt 

Optional: Berries for garnish


Leave the cream cheese out on the counter for about an hour to fully soften. Otherwise, soften your cream cheese in the microwave. In a mixing bowl, use a spatula to whip the cream cheese with the sweetener. Mix well, until the mixture is nice and fluffy. 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave by zapping it in 30 second increments, stirring each time until it’s fully melted. This takes my microwave a total of 90 seconds, but yours might take a little more or less. Don’t over cook it. As soon as its mostly melted, just stir it to finish the melting.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add the heavy cream. Beat the cream until it forms a thick whipped cream (stiff peaks). Add in the cream cheese mixture. Turn mixer back onto high and beat the cream cheese with the whipped cream for about 15 seconds. 

Then, with the mixer running on medium speed, SLOWLY drizzle in the chocolate in a steady stream. 

Once all the chocolate is combined with the cream mixture, pour the mousse into 4 ramekins. Let them set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Then garnish with flaky salt and berries. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe from here:

Bon appetite


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#lowcarb #glutenfree #grainfree #sugarfree #dessert #chocolatelover #celiacdisease #autoimmunedisease #cleaneating #healthyfood 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Let's Snuggle!

 Margaret here guest designing for the Scrapbook Nerds & Friends over on Facebook! 

Today I am playing with a Slimline card design! The Pinkfresh Studio Essentials makes a great starter die for slimline cards! 

 carousel image 0

I just love the larger work surface for designing with on the slimline card! 

I again chose paper from the Winter Wonderland 6x6 paper pack from Doodlebug Design Inc! This paper stack is SO CUTE and great for winter birthdays and Valentines alike! 

 The little Bingo card paper is perfect for these little square accents! I chose the Let's Snuggle and Hot Cocoa weather squares and than the back side squares that spelled S N W that I wouldn't use!

 I also love the Winter Wonderland Odds and Ends Snowflake from the Doodlebug Design Inc!

 You get so many adorable little snowflakes and accent pieces in the package - amazing value!! I love that there is a mix of texture too from paper to acetate designs! The snowflakes added a perfect added pop to my squares!

 Happy Stampin' 

Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life

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