Ideas Please!

Last summer one of my good friends was garage saling and came across an amazing find – 8 yards of beautiful Korean silk for just $20. She quickly sent me a text asking if I wanted her to grab it for me – and of course I said yes! The question now is… what to do with it?! 

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I was thinking maybe a table runner… but that won’t use up 8 yards. As you can tell it is a feminine colour scheme – stripes of pink, yellow, blue and red with various Korean symbols. 

Thoughts? Ideas? Please inspire me!

Cuba!

Last summer, Matt and I booked a family trip to Cuba! It was going to be our first trip south and our first trip on an airplane with Alex since coming home from Korea. Since Matt is a teacher and does not have any flexibility in his vacation schedule, we had to go prime time – over the Christmas holidays. We left our home on December 29th – expecting to depart at 3:20pm. Unfortunately due to a number of factors beyond our control… weather, delays, incompetency (did I say that?!), we were delayed until 10pm and then again until 6am - essentially losing a day of our trip :(  We got to know Terminal 1 of the airport quite… quite well… as we sat around for hours on end. Luckily we were put up in a hotel for the night.

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However… we eventually did get to Cuba! And it was sunny… it was warm… and it was fantastic.

I will say, on the way to our resort, we had a real eyeopener.  We knew Cuba was a relatively poor country, with people making approximately $12-20CDN per month. We had packed lots of children’s clothing, ladies clothes, hats, stationary, creams etc, that are generally difficult to get or are otherwise very expensive, to leave as gifts for the housekeeping staff and others that we came across. But when we saw the homes along the road… I know Matt and I were more than a little shocked. The homes were as well maintained as resources allowed, but compared to where we were coming from… let’s just say it was a different world.

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When we finally arrived at the Riu Playa Turquesa, we tried to relax. We were overly exhausted – with each of us running on about 3 hours sleep – Alex on about 6. We found our room, got our suits on hit the pool. Hola!  That night, we were in bed by 7:30.

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The next day, New Years Eve, was overcast and a tad rainy. However, we still hit the pool. Compared to Ontario, it was still very very warm. That night we headed to dinner with a wonderful couple we met on the bus to the resort – they were there on their honeymoon – thankfully they didn’t mind hanging out with a couple and their kid.  We stayed up quite late for us- until about 11:30 – attending the kids disco and the New Years Eve show. We didn’t make it to midnight thanks to the way Cubans measure their drinks… ;)

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The rest of the trip was amazing. We spent lots of time by the wading pool – mainly because Alex met a few nice kids that he wanted to play with every second of the day, but also because the pool bar was there for easy access to the slush drinks. Don’t worry – we weren’t drinking all day long – we were ordering the virgin drinks too!  It was very very warm which caused some crazy hair for me – I had no idea humidity would affect my hair as it did! I now know for next time…

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The beach was amazing. It was a coral beach – so finely broken up pieces of coral and tiny shells – so very cool. We snuck a few shells out of the country - don’t tell Castro! Alex wasn’t as fond of the beach – he was scared of sharks.

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One day we went to a tourist market in Guardalavaca by double decker bus – it was a wonderful way to see more of the country side. We picked up some souvenirs and some cigars and hoped back on the bus to go back to the resort since it looked like rain.

One of the very cool things about Cuba is their cars. The classic cars are abundant there since they don’t trade with the US. We got to see many pre 1960s cars – colourful, cool vintage rides – many as taxis. My dad had a ’55 Bel Air so it brought back a lot of memories. But we also, surprisingly, saw many Korean cars! There were a lot of newer Kias and Hyundais. 

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Matt celebrated his 37th birthday in Cuba. He spent the morning on an excursion fishing at a coral reef and then snorkeling with our new friends at the beach. He said he saw lots of very cool creatures. That night we all went to dinner together – we sang happy birthday over a selection of deserts from the buffet. After we went to the evening musical entertainment where Alex danced up a storm. The singer thought he was great!

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On our final day, I got to do the one thing I had wanted to do all trip – go to a swim up bar. I know – kinda silly – but I had never done it before!

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One thing people always comment on when they travel to Cuba is the food. And I will say, that while I was quite tired of the buffet and the offerings by the end of our trip, the food was pretty good. People have to remember that Cuba is a communist country with rations and often difficulty getting resources in. Some days there was no bottled water. Some days no eggs. But the Cuban people did whatever they could to make what they did have to offer the best they could They were extremely friendly, outgoing and happy people. That being said, I would recommend anyone going to Cuba to pack snacks in their luggage  We had some – but in the end, it wasn’t enough.

We had a great time and are already talking about where to go next! 2014 looks like Disney… then 2015 another trip south!

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Merry Christmas!

I know I know I know… a little late lady! But better late than never.

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Our holiday was a very nice one this year. Alex was really into Christmas as I’m sure most 4 year olds are. We had Sparky visiting our house every morning again this year – doing some fun and crazy stuff.

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Christmas Eve morning Mason got an early gift… a cone. He had scratched his cornea hunting and it wasn’t healing – so more meds and a funny new “hat”. He wasn’t impressed.

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Christmas Eve we went to the children’s service at Church – a short, yet lovely service geared for kids 10 and younger. Then we went to Matt’s parents place for dinner and presents. It was so nice that everyone could make it this year. Since there are four police officers in the family often that isn’t the case. We had a nice toast to Matt’s dad who had prostate cancer surgery earlier in the month and had received the good news that he didn’t need radiation – Hurrah!

Santa came that night, bearing lots of gifts for our little boy. He received leg*, playm*bile (police tactical unit toys of course), police man and firefighter figurines, and a bleacher creature of Carey Price (goalie for the Montreal Canadiens). 

I swear Alex was excited – just not impressed to have to wait and have a picture taken.

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After lunch it was naptime.

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And obviously time for chocolate…

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We had dinner with my mom, my brother and his boys. It was nice to spend time with them – we really don’t get together with them enough.  Alex got more presents – including a cool pirate dress up kit!

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And then it was back to reality… for a few days… then we went to Cuba for vacation! Post to come.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! 

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And so it begins…

On Saturday we went to the Mall to have “Breakfast with Santa”. It seems so early to be doing this – but I guess the big day is just 5 weeks away!  We met up with one of Alex’s little friends from school which was fun – especially seeing how they interact.

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The lineup to see Santa after eating was ridiculously long, so after Alex and I did a little shopping, we went back and after two people, Alex got to see the big guy.’

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He asked for batman toys and a real T-Rex. This should be interesting.

Happy Halloween!

It was a dark and rainy night….

To say Alex was excited about Halloween is an understatement. He was sooooo excited – counting down the number of sleeps for the last 2 weeks. All he could talk about was his potential Halloween candy. Yes, this child is obsessed with candy.  Wednesday started out with a black and orange day at school and then some grandparent time after school. I was concerned that Alex was going to fall asleep on the way home since it had been such a long day already, but like any good parent, I jacked him up on some sweets to keep him awake :)

After we go home, Alex sat in the front window, watching for trick or treaters. I had to threaten no trick or treating to get him to eat his dinner. So after a few bites of pizza, Alex got into his Dark Knight outfit and we went out.  It literally was a dark and drizzly night as we were still getting some spin off from Hurricane Sandy. Alex would have nothing to do with a coat or hat, but I did get some mitts on him to keep him somewhat warm. We went down the street and back – considering the weather – it was hopping! Lots of little ghosts and goblins out (well actually more like superheros and princesses).

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After we sorted the candy… and did a little taste testing.

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Surprisingly, our batman was in bed by 8:30. Hurrah!

Yesterday we did something new. There is a local farm that raises wild boar and they invite people to come and do a “pumpkin toss”. So you literally recycle your pumpkins by feeding them to the wild boars. It was pretty cool – until we noticed a few had escaped the pen and were wandering the yard… It was a little nerve racking for a few minutes until the owner came out. Turns out, like most wild animals, they are more afraid of you than anything. So she scared them off with a branch and all was good.

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Snow!

Like clockwork, November 1st hit and so did the snow. On the 1st there was just a few flakes here and there. On the 2nd, there were small blasts of flurries. 

Alex, not wanting to wear his winter coat…. decided he needed an umbrella to evade the flakes. 

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This kid cracks me up!

Mother of the Year

Last night after dinner, I suggested going to Dairy Queen. I had been wanting to get the Pumpkin Pie blizzard before our DQ closes for the year on Oct. 31. The DQ is literally 4 blocks from our place, but since it was 6:45pm and Alex had been at school all day, I wasn’t surprised that he fell asleep on the way there.  We ordered him a sundae anyhow – in case he woke up. He didn’t. Instead I carried him up to bed where he slept until 7:04am – the regular wakeup time. By 8:30 he remembered the ice cream. Since he had already had breakfast… I took the sundae out of the freezer and let him have a taste.

Well… Alex would say I’m Mother of the Year for allowing this. Others may look down on me… but really – does it matter? Look at this goofy smile!

 

 

Midweek Ramblings…

Finally. Last October I bought a bike for Alex. On Sunday he finally decided to take it up and down the street. On Monday he rode around the block. Just like everything Alex does – all in his own time. Maybe we will have  family bike ride after all this year!

Thanksgiving has come and gone here in Canada (without a blog post – oops! Enjoy the pics in this post from the weekend) – but I wanted to share a book that would be nice for my American readers – it’s called “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson. It’s a lovely story in rhyme about saying thanks to your friends – perfect for before Thanksgiving Dinner.

Speaking of books, I’ve finished a few good ones recently: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (sort of like Room, but through the eyes of the woman), Bared to You by Sylvia Day (50 Shades read alike – not as much character development, but written much better), and Insurgent by Veronica Roth (second in the Divergent trilogy… so hard to  wait until 2013 for book 3!)

Just over 2 months until our trip to Cuba! The count down is on! So excited. Especially since I scored a bathing suit on clearance at Old Navy for $4.

I’m having fun pinning Christmas pics and sites to my Pinterest page. Hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner.  I must admit, if a Christmas tune sneaks into my random playlist on iTunes that I’m no longer skipping the song. I’m singing along :)

The Handmade Culture craft show I organized turned out really well. The number of people through was down from last year, but I think everyone sold one or two items which is good. I’m now trying to get rid of the stash on Etsy.

I’m the worst at Thank You notes… It’s something I’m working on.  So S, you will be getting come goodies in the mail soon!