On my bookshelf

bookEver since I was a child, I have loved reading.  I remember reading in the backseat of the car on many family road trips, straining my eyes as we drove into the evening hours.  I remember participating and winning the “Olympic Novels” competition at my elementary school.  We had 30 days to read as many novels as we could.  To verify completion and comprehension of each novel, we had to pass a 20 question multiple-choice quiz with a score of 16/20 or greater.  It gave me great satisfaction to see my row of gold stars up on our class chart in the library!

During my years of undergraduate (and especially graduate) study, my love of reading rapidly dwindled.  Piled high with textbooks and academic journal articles, I was left with little time to read for pleasure.  What little free time I did have, I wanted to spend as far from bookstores or libraries as possible!

Now that I have settled into a routine with my husband, full-time work, a very independent two year-old, and two dogs, my craving for books has returned.  Free time is scarce, but I want to make reading a priority, for both knowledge and for pleasure.  Last year, I set a fairly conservative goal for myself-  to read one book a month in 2012.  Anything extra was a bonus.  Below is my reading list, with my top recommendation highlighted.

  1. Twenties Girl
  2. Gangs in Canada
  3. I Have Your Number
  4. Betrayal
  5. Room
  6. The Hunger Games
  7. 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting
  8. Positive Parenting
  9. When in Rome
  10. Catching Fire
  11. Mockingjay
  12. The Hypnotist
  13. Shoe Addicts Anonymous
  14. Friday Night Knitting Club

My choices were a mix of “fluff” and substance, fun and facts.  This year I’d like to reach a total of 20.  Not as great of a feat as reading 30+ “Olympic Novels” in 30 days, but a good enough goal for me, given my multitude of other hobbies, projects, and commitments.  So, here is my list in progress:

  1. Christmas Inn
  2. Bossy Pants
  3. Heaven is For Real
  4. Life After Life
  5. Life of Pi
  6. The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist’s Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases
  7. Raising a Gifted Child: A Parenting Success Handbook (currently reading)

I would love your recommendations on what to read next!

Side note, I’m also working on completing Listology: My Life in Lists by Lisa Nola.  I’d recommend this for anyone who would like to journal, but has problems sticking with it.  It’s also great for all those obsessive list writers and record keepers, such as myself;)

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So, what are you reading?

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;

Brown paper packages tied up with strings;

These are a few of my favorite things.

Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels;

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles;

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings;

These are a few of my favorite things.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes;

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes;

Silver-white winters that melt into springs;

These are a few of my favorite things.

When the dog bites,

When the bee stings,

When I’m feeling sad,

I simply remember my favorite things,

And then I don’t feel so bad.

Well, Julie Andrews had a few of them right (like ponies), but I can’t say I’m in 100% agreement with her list (schnitzel with noodles?)  So, I will join the ranks of Ms. Andrews and Oprah and share with you some of my current favorite things:

1. OPI “You’re such a Budapest” nail polish.  Is it blue?  Is it purple?  Maybe it’s “blurple?”  Either way, I’m loving this colour for spring.  Had a pedi done in this colour, then had to go out and buy it for home.

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2.  “Through the Looking Glass” ring by Avon.  I bought the grey one for myself.  Currently priced at $14.99 and comes in small, medium, and large.  (Van Island peeps can contact me to order).

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3.  Any of Target’s fab spring dresses!  Most are around $30.  I bought two different ones.  My fave is pictured below.  Lots of fun colours and patterns, and so many style options to choose from depending on your body type and preference.dress

dress dress

4. Free 02 eau de toilette spray. Another great Avon product. I haven’t worn perfume in years, as I can be sensitive to some scents, but I LOVE this one. It’s a very subtle, non-flowery scent, somewhat reminds me of CK One by Calvin Klein, in that it’s almost gender neutral. Regular $20, sale $9.99. I just feel lovely when I wear it:)

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5. Anything in mint or seafoam green! Loving this trend for spring/summer. Just be careful to stay away from shades that resemble “hospital green” (think Grey’s Anatomy scrubs).

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6.  Whimsical print blouses and dresses.  Anything from elephants, to hummingbirds, to nautical prints!

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blouse bird print

7.  Summer drinks, bellinis in particular.  There is just something fun about an adult slushy drink!  Pair it with a night of gabbing with friends for best results;)

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So there you have it!  My lucky 7 list of favorite things for May-June!  What would you add?

Craft Wars, Sister Edition

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Ever since I can remember, my sister Ang and I have been B.E.F. Yes, you read that right. It stands for Best Elephants Forever. It was an inside joke between the two of us that dates so far back, that neither of us can remember its actual origins. Wait, I thought elephants never forget?! Anyhow, Best Elephants has stood the test of time, and last year, for Ang’s 30th birthday, we marked the occasion by getting matching elephant tattoos in Whistler that look like this:

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This past weekend, I took the ferry to visit my sister and have a girls’/elephants’ weekend. We had a fabulous time (obviously) doing some shopping, going out for dinner, taking a long and scenic bike ride, sipping numerous Starbucks bevvies, and crafting.

The first night, I had an idea. We would each complete a Best Elephants themed craft on canvas. But, to give things a fun twist, we would do so without seeing what the other was making until The Big Reveal! We put up a divider between us so we could craft, snack, and chat, but not peek. It was neat to see how different our final creations turned out.

Kim

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Ang

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We had so much fun playing our version of “Craft Wars,” that we did the same thing the next night after dinner out. This time, the theme was spring. Mine is the first pic, Ang’s is second:

Kim spring

ang spring

I truly love my little sister. It is so comforting to know that there will always be someone who shares so many childhood memories with me, laughs at my jokes, tolerates my quirks, and is always up for some B.E.F. (and B.F.F) fun:)

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Toddler Nap Mat

napIf my recent posts about shopping and exercise have left you wondering, “What happened to the crafting and sewing?!” look no further. I’m still at it;) Last night, I finally finished a travel nap mat for my daughter. I started it months ago, first aiming to complete it in time for Christmas, then later for her birthday. It wasn’t that it was a difficult or overly time-consuming project, but simply that I lost interest and/or got distracted by other projects when I was about 3/4 finished.

The nap mat features an attached blanket and built in pillow, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. The mat rolls and buttons up for easy travel, and has a strap to carry it on your shoulder. Surprise surprise, I chose a purple unicorn fabric;) The body of the mat has a piece of 1″ foam inserted inside, and the pillow is made nice and “poufy” with polyfil stuffing.

When I completed the project, Kay was already asleep for the night. Fortuitously, she woke a short time later and was calling for me. It was like she knew I had made something for her, and she wanted to see it right away! She loved it so much that she went to sleep in her new nap mat on her bedroom floor:)

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If you would like to try this project for yourself, you can find the tutorial I used here:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=221179.0#axzz2TTQ9OuuM

Happy napping everyone!

Target Extravaganza!

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Today is the day of our local Target’s much anticipated, hush-hush “soft opening.” It is sort of a trial run for the store, to work out any kinks before the grand opening in two week’s time. Despite the lack of advertising and media coverage, there has been much rumour and speculation circulating on the various Moms’ and women’s Facebook groups. We all worked together to unravel the mystery, and learned that today is the day! I am sad that I have to work, and could not be there when the doors opened at 8:00am. I had visions of charging the doors ahead of all others, like a bull seeing red, a rather appropriate analogy. I am even sadder to have heard that there was a special opening last night for employee friends and family. Clearly, I’m slipping and need to work on my connections in this town;) So, I guess I will have to settle for my two-hour extended lunch break and shop alongside the good old general public, or “the masses” as my Dad liked to refer to them in his superior tone. (Thinking of you today, Dad).

My coworkers have been hearing about today for weeks. I even marked my time off in red in the scheduling binder. One of my coworkers tells me, “I think you have a problem.” I feel slightly sorry for her, for she has not had the fortune to experience the special kind of joy/inner peace that comes only with shopping nirvana. By
11:50am, I am waiting impatiently at my desk, having already changed out of my fabulous sample sale studded heels into my no-nonsense power-shopping black flats. Just then the phone rings. My daughter’s daycare is on the line. Seriously? Seriously. Apparently, she has a fever and needs to come home, today of all days. I call my friend to cancel our shopping date. Her toddler was up at 5:00am and is currently having a meltdown, so she is OK to reschedule.

I make the 20 minute drive home to pick up Kay. I call my Mom to tell her about my failed plans. She and I believe that my brilliant and eerily intuitive daughter is obviously faking sick so she can come along to Target. I bring her home, give her some milk with baby Tylenol, then some ice cream to cool her down. I tuck her in for naptime, and wait, nearly vibrating at this point, and hope that she will be good to go in a couple of hours. I know my girl, and there is nothing that would cure her more than a shopping trip!

We are finally en-route, and the now 30 minute ride seems to take forever. As we pull into the parking lot, I see the familiar bullseye logo. My last shopping trip to the States was an unacceptable four months prior tsk, tsk. I pause to take in the sights and sounds before we enter the motherland of good deals. I mentally promise to keep my purchases in check, as I will be travelling to visit my Mom this weekend, where Kay and I will spend some fabulous Mother’s Day bonding time with Grammy, at yet another new Target store;)

Target did not disappoint. While the prices weren’t as low as in the States, they were on par with our Walmart and Superstore. The selection was fabulous- all the things I had “previewed” on the American website, were indeed right in front of my eyes in the store. For around $80, I came home with a spring dress for myself, as well as two complete outfits for Kay, and a pair of Dora the Explorer rain boots that she insisted on. The clothes were bright, colourful, and right on trend for this season. I didn’t have much time to check out the housewares section, as Kay was getting hungry and a tad cranky, but we shall return!

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Happy shopping to all, and to all a good night!

Can’t Wait to Meet You Neighbour!

Today is the day, my friends! Two years in the making and Target finally arrives in my Canadian hometown:)
I’m counting down the minutes til my (extended) lunch hour! Stay tuned for exciting details from my inaugural visit!