Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to me! Oh yes, and Happy New Year too.....

Today is New Year's Eve, December 31st, and all the world will be celebrating my birthday tonight!  In honour of My birthday, AND the Eve of 2012, I am offering a giveaway to my blog readers!  Just post a comment here today, telling me how YOU will be celebrating my birthday tonight,  and I will randomly pic someone to win this:

You can learn more about this necklace here in my Etsy shop. It is available in different colours, you can choose the one you like best.    All  you need to do is post a comment here on the blog,  if you want an additional entry, go to my facebook page and like me.

This contest will close at midnight on Friday January 6th, in case you are too busy celebrating, and don't get around to posting on my actual birthday.  I will announce the winner of the necklace here on January 7th!  Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only. 

NOTE TO OTHER BLOGGERS:  If you are interested in hosting a giveaway on your site, please contact me!  One of my goals this year is to offer a giveaway somewhere each month.  Maybe we can do it at your blog!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Do they want him?


If you are a regular reader here (I think I might have at least 3) then you know that Limefreckle Jr. has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. I've written in the past about our struggles finding appropriate help for him. We tried the regular public school system in the beginning......I will never forget the words of a speech therapist I used to consult with (Dr. Jim MacDonald, find his website here) when I asked him if we should consider sending Limefreckle Jr. to kindergarten....he said "do they want him?".....well of COURSE they want him....that was my thought at the time. This is public school, he is entitled to go....every child is entitled to an education....that's what the Ministry of Education tells us.....what a silly question!

Fast forward several years, and much frustration later....Dr. Jim was completely right......in my opinion, the number ONE factor that will help to determine if your child succeeds, is if he is WANTED. It's been 3 years since we left the public system, and I realize that he was NOT wanted. No one would tell me that of course, that would be wrong......and while it might be the intent of our government that every child be integrated into the regular school system, the school that we unfortunately chose to attend, did NOT have that attitude. There were good teachers, don't get me wrong, some really GREAT teachers there....but the overwhelming attitude of the people that make the decisions, the school board, and the heads of this school, was that he should be sent off to a segregated class, something I fought vehemently against.
We finally ended up finding a private school that specializes in children on the spectrum. Switching to this school was one of the biggest decisions of our life.....it meant a 2 hour commute each day to get him there (we have since moved closer), it meant he would no longer be integrated with "regular" children.....it meant we had to pay for education, there were a lot of unknowns, but we took a leap of faith, and have never looked back.

Limefreckle Jr. is SOARING! Oh, don't get me wrong, it hasn't been easy. We've been there 3 years now, and there have been lots of bumps, and probably will continue to be bumps....but the one major difference, the one thing that I am CONVINCED is the reason he is succeeding, is because he is WANTED!  The public school put a whole lot of effort into trying to find reasons that he wouldn't succeed with them. We had meeting, after meeting, AFTER MEETING,  with a whole lot of people,  sometimes people I had never even met, nor do I think had my son,   to talk about all of his problems. We talked a lot about what we were doing for him outside of school.  I brought in experts, I hired someone to come and help me to deal with the school.  No stone was unturned.   The only thing we never really seemed to uncover was a concrete plan to help him succeed.  We were told that there should be further testing done, he needed a battery of tests actually, to determine what was wrong (I guess autism wasn't enough for them).  I am so thankful that I trusted my instincts and I DIDN'T listen to them.  I was confident that there was nothing further wrong with Limefreckle Jr.   I was very confident in the doctors and specialists that I had consulted with up until then.   What I did learn,  and it took me a few years away from the situation to learn it, is that the experts in public school really didn't know WHAT to do.....and it was easier for them to conclude that something more must be wrong with HIM, rather than to find out how to best handle the situation. 

Now he is in the right place, with the right people, who really know what they are doing, and who really WANT to be there.

This Christmas, the school surprised us at the Christmas concert, with a song recorded by all  the kids at a recording studio.  I can tell you my eyes filled up with tears when they played that song for us.   Each family was given a copy of the song, and a video of their child recording the song....here is Limefreckle Jr., a child that we once wondered whether he would ever speak.....the child you see here has some FANTASTIC teachers that really want him, and as a friend of mine said, clearly teach from the heart...... their dedication and love for him is unbelievable, and I truly feel  he will accomplish great things.....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ideas to file away for next Christmas

there are so many great blogs out there, I spend a good portion of every morning pouring over them, and getting inspired.  I decided to do a post today to show you all the great ideas I've found, and while I didn't have time for these projects this year, there is always next Christmas!

The first project is Outdoor Urns from  Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff. Her blog is a daily MUST READ, if only to get you laughing every morning.  And she's really talented at DOING STUFF!

Aren't her urns gorgeous?  My urns this year are really not that great, next year I'm doing this.   AND I'm going to follow her glowing orbs tutorial and add them to the urn.



I'm loving this simple wreath from Modern Jane. I think I might go with fresh wreaths outside next year.


Unfortunately I don't have a bare wall big enough in my kitchen to actually do this,  but I so wish I could. this chalkboard wall from Shannon at What's up Whimsy is great!


These gift tags from  Brooklyn Limestone look fun, although I couldn't get the link  to work to download them, maybe they are no longer available. But I'll check for them next year.....they may be up again....


I'm loving this little Christmas house I found at Restyled Home.  Putting this on next year's list for sure!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

3 months of no NON ESSENTIAL spending

While purusing all my favourite blogs, I came across this blog post from Stephanie at Full of Great Ideas. The challenge is to spend a month not spending money on anything that is not essential, no new craft items, no new clothes, makeup, you know, the usual stuff that eats up your budget and you don't know where your money went. Well I'm going to take this challenge a step further......I'm going to try to go for 3 MONTHS!  I know, crazy,  if you know me and my shopping habits at all  it's REALLY crazy...but I'm going to give it a try.

The only caveat that I'm giving myself is that I'm NOT totally giving up lunches and or coffee dates with the girls......come on, my friends are my lifeline to the real world.....I'm going to set up a monthly budget for that, and when it's gone, it's  gone......I haven't figured that all  out yet,  I'll get to the particulars of this mini challenge during the Christmas break. 
I follow a blog called 365 day Fashion Rehab and these girls really blew me away when they spent an entire YEAR,  spending NOTHING on fashion, makeup etc.  Now I'm not suggesting we go for a whole year,  I'm not sure that's for me....but I can handle 3 months.  I think!  I hope! No, I WILL!!!  I've written it here, for all  the world to see.....so now I have to follow thru!  Please join me and if you are participating in a similar challenge, let me know!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Goodies!

Wow, what a fantastic Christmas this year!  Limefreckle Jr. got an ipad, he has been asking for one forever, when his grandparents are here he is constantly borrowing theirs, so now he has one of his own!  I'm looking forward to getting to play with it myself!

Here are some of the great gifts I got this year!


I can't wait to fire this up and watch a movie during the Christmas break!




I got these gorgeous boots that fit like a glove!  Yay!  I had given up on getting new boots this year, seeing as I am taking the no spending pledge in January.......

I got this new lens for my camera, and I'm already seeing an improvement in the quality of pictures I'm taking!

and with this flash I will be a professional photographer in no time!

And of course Santa always brings me some ornaments for my tree.....these 2 are so ME!!



I hope Santa was good to all of you!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Let the Boxing Day mayhem begin!

Boxing Day in Canada is like Black Friday in the US.....sales, sales, and more sales. Here are some of the things I'm coveting:

I saw this horse head recently, and would LOVE it for over the fireplace in the family room.


While my chiropractor might not agree with this choice, I LOVE Uggs -- what other boots can I walk around all winter in Canada barefoot in and keep snuggly warm?  I love this new style.

Still looking for a nice pair of Chocolate brown boots.

I'm so in love with the Kiehl's products I've been using, I think I'll check out this scrub. 
UNFORTUNATELY, all this shopping is going to have to wait until March because I'm doing a 3 month NO SPENDING challenge.  No buying ANYTHING that is not an absolute necessity.....although I'm sure I'm going to be having a few arguments with myself about what constitutes necessity.   I hope you will follow along here.   

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!  Here's  hoping your holiday wishes all come true, and you are home celebrating with your loved ones!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve favourite appetizer

Because Christmas Eve is usually such a busy night, church,  trips to see friends etc., our family has often just had appetizers for dinner.  I like this tradition, and while Mr. Limefreckle's family is coming over this year,  I decided to continue.  I'm NOT sticking with the no meat rule....it's not been something we have traditionally followed every year,  but there will be plenty of fish  for those that do choose to abstain.  One of my very favourite appetizers of all time is Rumaki- ever heard of it? 

Well, it's bacon wrapped goodness....here's how to make it:
1 package bacon, cut in half
2 cans whole water chestnuts
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup  brown sugar

secure  1 whole water chestnut in 1/2 slice bacon with a toothpick.  Cook these for about 10 mins. at 350 degrees. Mix ketchup and brown sugar, and pour over bacon wraps, and return to oven for approx. 20 mins., more or less depending how crispy you like your bacon.
That's it!  If you want to prepare ahead of time, you can precook the wraps for 10 mins, then coat with sauce and refrigerate....cook for 20 mins or so when you are ready to serve.

There are other recipes out there that include soy sauce, which would be good too....but I find this recipe quick and easy!

** edited on December 26th -- I realized when I was cooking this on Christmas Eve, I wrote the wrong quanity for ketchup....although if you go a little overboard it will still be fine....but you should use 1/2 cup ketchup....not a cup**

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Favourite Christmas Music Mix

It's not feeling very Christmasy here in Ontario.....yesterday we got a lot of rain, and there hasn't been any snow in sight, but thankfully we have Christmas music to get us into the spirit.  Here are my top 10 favourite Christmas songs:

The Chanukah Song -Adam Sandler
The Coventry Carol - Alison Moyet
The Christmas Song - Dave Matthews Band
Please Daddy, don't Get Drunk this Christmas - John Denver
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
That Spirit of Christmas - Ray Charles
I Believe in You - Sinead O'Connor
Thank God It's Christmas - Queen
Jingle Bells - Barenaked Ladies
Santa Claus is Back in Town - Johnny Lang

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Decorating wrap up

In case you missed any of my previous posts, here is a wrap up of the decor around the house:



















Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Front entrance


Our front entrance is pretty simple.....a wreath on the door, a  couple of urns that light up at night, and these cute lanterns stacked with ornaments....they will do double duty as candle holders on the back patio next summer.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Den

This is our Den:


I have a pretty big collection of Santa's.....in our old house, there was so much room to display them in our family room....now the rooms are smaller, and I've spread them out a bit.....but the majority of my Santa's ended up in our den, and I think they look great!




The ferns that normally live in this plant holder weren't looking that fresh, so what a perfect time to add in some holiday Poinsettas:

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Living room

I didn't do too much decorating in our living room  this year....a trio of trees on the sofa table behind the couch light up the room, and look nice from outside.


I added a few of my Santa's around the room, a few ornaments here and there, and a cluster of trees.   I hung a wreath on my plate wall, and I can't decide if I like it or not.....it's going to stay, for this season anyway...I'm thinking it might be too busy though.....