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Alberta Heritage Day, British Columbia Day, New Brunswick Day, Nova Scotia Natal Day, Saskatchewan Day, Yukon Discovery Day

Are you ready for your summer long weekend? Most provinces in Canada declare the first Monday of August a statutory or civic holiday. Yukon Discovery Day is the only exception which celebrates on the third Monday of August. While Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec choose to not participate at all.

Who doesn't love getting a day off from work and enjoying a long weekend with family at the height of the summer season? Summer barbeques, fun outdoor games and sports and just good old-fashioned time spent with family and loved ones, that's what the first Monday of August provincial holiday is all about.

If this Summer season continues to be a hot one, you can be sure many Canadians will be spending their First Monday August holiday in the swimming pool, like this guy in Oshawa, Ontario...


Underwater on Video.ca

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Get out your sewing projects!

sewing month contest logo.jpeg

September is National Sewing Month, and NationalSewingMonth.org is hosting a contest to showcase your most creative use of your sewing talents! Their theme this year is "Reuse, Remake, Restyle" and the contest is to see how you have re-purposed an existing project or piece of clothing. Or, as they say it better, "We want to see your most creative ideas for how you implement environmentally-sound sewing into your life."

You can enter only once, so make sure it's your absolute favorite piece of work! The entries are accepted until the end of September, and you can enter two photos of the project.

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National Sewing Month

September is National Sewing Month - a celebration that I can get excited about! Unfortunately, although my grandmother was a phenomenal seamstress, I never took the time to learn from her, and now that I'm actually interested in learning myself, her skill has diminished with age. Although I am very grateful that she is still around to help give me pointers, I wish I had taken advantage of her knowledge when I could have benefited from it more. But, I guess that's a lesson learned too late!

However, I have recently found a love for sewing, although m skill is somewhat lacking! I have to say that it doesn't help that reading pattern instructions is something akin to reading Greek, and the measurements are made for the perfect body, which 99% of us do not have! Seriously, I measured my waist and it told me one size, and by my hip measurement, I was 3 sizes different! And, going by the bigger size (just to be safe) when I put my first attempt at a skirt together, I had to take over 10 inches out of it to get it to fit!

But, despite my rough start, I have to say I'm not deterred. Discouraged at my lack of sewing savvy, maybe! But, heaven help me, I've already picked out a shirt pattern to make next!

You know, it's kind of sad though. I came to realize while I was making my skirt that there is a very good reason many people don't sew any more. With the prices of fabric and all the notions you need to go with the projects (buttons, zippers, interfacing, etc.) plus the time and skill it takes to actually make the item, you could have bought the finished piece at the store for less than you'd spent making it yourself! Although, there's something very satisfying to know that I made the skirt that I'll be wearing to the wedding we're attending this weekend. And, maybe when my kids get older, I can be the "cool mom" that makes their Halloween costumes "to order" and makes sure my daughter has a very special, unique prom dress... but I'm getting waayyy ahead of myself! But still, it's a nice thought!

Enjoy your sewing projects - this month and always! And if it's been a while, dust off that sewing machine and give it another try! You just might surprise yourself. I know I sure did!

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National Eye Exam Month?

I guess that even though eye health doesn't garner the kind of attention as, say, breast or heart health does, it deserves a month of it's own for recognition and education. So, as August ends, if it's been a while for you, make some time and get your eyes checked for National Eye Exam Month. After all, there's no denying how important taking care of your eyesight is. That's why it's kind of ironic that this month I've started to wonder if my new-and-improved eyesight (thanks to my recent pregnancy) isn't going back to it's former not-so-great state.

I've called around various places (since, also ironically, my optometrist has closed up shop) to get an appointment, and everyone is booked for weeks out! I never knew eye doctors were so busy... So, I've given up following the recommendations of friends and am taking the quickest appointment I could get. Now, the question I have is, does it really matter who you see, as long as they're a licensed O.D.? Meaning, should I question the care I'll get from a doctor who practices in an office adjoined with the local Super Wal-Mart? Now, I could wait until the end of September to see the doctor in the fancy office down the street who probably charges twice as much, but does it matter and is the cost difference really indicative of the care I'd get? I kind of doubt it. But, the great thing about it is that if I don't like the treatment I get at the one office, it's not like I'm making a lifetime commitment or anything! In the meantime, if it turns out that I do need glasses once again, hopefully the price difference will also include the frames and lenses!

I can't help but wonder also, since both my husband and I wear glasses, will my kids end up needing them also? If so, let's hope they can find a better set of frames...

3 August 2009 031.jpg Oh, and don't worry, these aren't anything he'll be wearing for real! I'm not that mean of a mommy! These are some old glasses he found at my grandmother's house - he was cheesing it up for us. He's such a ham!

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Enjoy that fruit while it's in season!

As we get closer and closer to fall, the time for fruit to be at it's best and easily found due to being "in season" is coming to an end. August is "Peach Month," and a girlfriend of mine put me on to a neat site with recipes for Peach Honey, Peach Jam, and even directions for canning peaches. What a great way to enjoy the fruit year round!

The funny part about all of this is that there are several reasons that this has really peaked my interest. My sister has just finished her first year of having her own garden, and apparently she really enjoyed it. Also, seeing the pride she had in the vegetables that came out of HER garden that SHE grew was nice. On top of that, I've just finished a book as part of my book club called See You In A Hundred Years, a true story of a family who left "modern civilization" and spent a year living in a self-imposed 1900 era. (A good read and worth the time if you're looking for something interesting to read!) It was really neat, especially since it was true, but one of the things they talked about was canning. Both of these things have made me want to try my hand at it, and this site (conveniently) also sells equipment for canning.

I also just read an article the other day about how home gardens are making a comeback. Whether or not that has anything to do with saving money and the state of the economy, who knows. But the bottom line here is that it seems to me that more and more people are embracing skills and ways of life that it almost seemed were dying out. And I have to say I'm glad for that. Making your own honey, preserves, butter, or canning fruit and vegetables sounds like a great use of time and resources, not to mention you can cater to your own preferences by doing so. I can imagine that it would also be a great family activity (although probably not so much for a two-year-old, but who knows, he loves helping, so I'm sure there's something he could do!)

peaches.jpg

Anyway, the girlfriend that gave this recipe a try said that her Peach Honey turned out really "yummy," so much so that she's planning to go buy some more peaches and make some more. Must have gone well. Considering a lot of this conversation took place on Facebook, there was a lot of buzz among her friends, and I think she's turned a lot of others onto canning and Peach Honey!

So if you're looking for more ways to enjoy your peaches, check out the site and maybe try your hand at some peach honey!

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Relax! That's what weekends are for, right?

This Saturday, August 15th, is Relaxation Day. What a perfect idea for a Saturday! But for some reason, don't we all tend to cram our Saturdays full of our list of "things we needed to do but didn't get done" over the week? And how many of you are guilty of bringing work home? Hmmm? Yeah, that's what I thought.

In a world that is so technology-centered, it's hard to even take a vacation any more. I know, I speak from experience. I'll never forget a "vacation" I took with my husband before we had kids. We went to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend, and much to my irritation, he got a call that something was wrong with one of the computers at the office and he had to remote-in to fix it. Granted, it is neat that he could do that - that in his job if something goes wrong and we aren't at home, he can (most of the time) fix it from a remote site. But, that little "fix" he did took several hours during the best part of the day. Now, fortunately for him, his company is great and he got comp time for the work he did, so basically he didn't lose any vacation time. But what about me? Nope, sorry, I couldn't call back to my office and say "Hey, my husband had to work today, so I didn't really get a real vacation day - can I have an extra?" Yeah, they probably would have laughed me right off the lumpy hotel couch!

And that's just one of many examples. I'd like to try a Bed and Breakfast sometime, but the rule of the house is "if it doesn't have internet access, we can't stay" - also due to his work. And, just in case, he has one of those annoying cell phones where it texts, emails, notifies, blah blah blah him every time something goes up or down at the office. Some of our friends joke that his computers send him text messages at night telling him that they miss him...

Anyway, I realize that these days it's hard to cut the ties to the office, but don't we all deserve a break now and then? This Saturday is officially "Relaxation Day," and considering I'll be out of town visiting family, I fully intend to take advantage of the role grandparents play! I look forward to handing my kids off to relatives that love to indulge them and play with them and answer every call of "MawMaw!!!" immediately. I also am going to embrace being away from the craziness of my own home where laundry and dishes and chores call my name from ever corner but never seem to end no matter how often I tend to them! I even *hope* to get a pedicure!

Every place I look online about "relaxation" seems to mention massage - and although I can't afford the time or cost of one, that does sound like an ideal way to relax. I guess I'll have to settle for the little foot/ankle/calf massage you get with the deluxe pedicure! I wonder how much a hair salon would charge just to shampoo my hair and massage my scalp?

So whatever you enjoy as a relaxing pastime, make a point to do it on Saturday! Even if it's just for a few hours - take some time off to enjoy yourself and forget about all the stressful stuff that normally drives you nuts. I know, I know, easier said than done. But don't you owe it to yourself?

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Family Fun Month?

What a weird thing to have as a "month celebration!" Shouldn't every month (ideally) be Family Fun Month?

But honestly, that's NOT the first thing I thought of when I read that August was Family Fun Month... I'm sitting here on the couch, watching m two-year-old torment my 7-month-old, and she's enjoying every moment of it. I had to take a car away from him because he kept hitting her with it. I am continually having to tell him to giver her her pacifier back. And I've got to keep my eyes on them to make sure she's not going to be hurt by whatever new thing he can come up with. But somehow, through it all, she's all smiles. I guess it's about having someone's undivided attention. (And there goes one of her socks - by his hand, not hers.)

Isn't that a big part of having fun as a family though? Really spending time together? Paying attention to each other? (And yet, as I type that, I think I would pay someone to spend time with my kids so I could have a break. I just had to pry a loan chocolate chip out of my two-year-old's fingers that he found on the floor. We're fighting the battle of "you DON'T eat stuff off the floor - I don't care how yummy it is!")

We just recently had a BIG weekend of spending time together as we started off the long weekend with a trip to a local water park. It was a big hit with everyone, and my son keeps asking to go back. AND, it was some serious "family time" since it was my family, my sister's family, and the grandparents! However, after the pool was a playground where my son was injured coming down a slide. Long story short, since it was the weekend, we couldn't get in to see a doctor to get a diagnosis, and so we spent the weekend keeping him "quiet" and off of his foot. LOTS of together time!

Now that we've seen three doctors and he has a partial cast on his right ankle, I have the feeling that the next few weeks are going to be abundant in "together time," although I can't help but wonder at the end of it all if I won't be begging for a break from all the extra time together by the time it's done!

Anyway, I digress... Family Fun Month. I suppose I still have plenty of ways to celebrate that idea this month. We're taking a trip to see family this weekend, to celebrate my husband's grandmother's 80th birthday and while we're there, we'll see lots of family we haven't seen in a while. Add to that the fact that all but two of that side of the family haven't even met our daughter yet - that should be some family fun!

Then, in two weeks, we go back to get our son's cast off, and I know that should be fun! (In one way or another! HA! If you could only have been there with us to see how it went...) And of course there's the return to school... although my kids aren't affected by it, it does mean that places we usually go during the day won't be as crazy, so yay for us! (For example, going to Chick-fil-a or Burger King for lunch and having big kids run over my toddler in the play zone - not a problem with school back in! Sorry, maybe that's not nice...)

So, Family Fun, here we come!

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Indoor picnic time!

August is National Picnic Month, although I can't help but think that we'd be better served to have chosen a month in the early spring or late fall when it's not so hot! Also, in my area, it's rained every few days, and on the days that it hasn't rained, it's been nice and humid out. So, not nice picnic weather.

But I've been thinking, my kids haven't been on a picnic this summer. Not really. I mean, we took them to a water park and we took lunch with us and sat in their picnic area and ate. But that's not really a picnic - not like just being outside and enjoying the day without the allurement of a theme park of some kind. Since my son recently had a playground accident and has a partial cast on (more for precaution than due to the certainty of a break) we haven't been able to play outside much in the past three weeks. It occurred to me just the other day that we should have an indoor picnic.

And, honestly, for a temperature and bug wimp like me, that is the ideal kind of picnic. Spread a blanket on the floor, turn the TV off, and have lunch in the middle of the living room instead. My only concern would be that my son would want to start a habit of eating on the floor instead of at the table! But, I remember little things like this from my own childhood. Well, kind of like this.

When my sister and I were little, my grandmother kept us in the summertime. Occasionally, she would get out her "good" dishes and we would have tea parties in her living room. It was never anything fancy - cheese sandwiches, crackers, grapes, and sweet tea, but it was so much fun and it made us feel special and grown up. I think it was a combination of using the "good" dishes and that Granny was actually playing with us that made it so memorable. But, those are the kind of memories I'd like my kids to have.

So, maybe a picnic in the living room is a pretty good idea after all...

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Betty Boop is is 79!

79 years ago, on August 9th, Betty Boop made her very first appearance in a cartoon called Dizzy Dishes. Cartoons sure have come a loonngg way, but you've got to appreciate the accomplishment for the time... (Although I have to admit I'm not missing this genre of film!) Watch below:

I've got to say, Betty girl, you certainly got better with age!
Betty_Boop.jpg

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July update... just a teeny bit late!

Many apologies for not posting during the month of July - I feel like it's been a bit of a whirlwind month for us! It's kind of almost been one long party or one long celebration for our family with everything we've been into... Here's a quick rundown of how we've celebrated our summer vacation!

We started the month out with a quick dip in the pool - which we haven't been able to enjoy too much due to rain or threats of rain. (And when it wasn't raining, we were out doing other stuff!) And by the way, these aren't all my kids - I've got two, the others are my sister's two boys and one of my many cousins.

in pool.jpg

Then was cousin Keith's birthday - he turned 3 on the 4th of July! (My sister's kid, my kid's cousin!) We had a cookout at their house, complete with Pokemon cakes & cupcakes! (For my first attempt at cake decorating, I was proud, although I have to admit, as a fan of "Ace of Cakes," it was totally amateur!)

Keiths bday.jpg

And if a birthday party wasn't enough, later that night the kids came up to our house and we shot off fireworks and the kids did sparklers. Just the other day my son remembered the sparklers and told my husband he wanted to do them again! It's all about making memories!

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Next, we had a visit from Mawmaw and Pop. It's about a 4-hour drive for them to come to visit for the weekend, so we cram as much fun as we can into the long weekend visits we get!

playing with mawmaw.jpg

Since then, we've been to the fair - which was a HUGE hit between the rides,

ride at fair.jpg

the food...

funnel cake at fair.jpg

even the area where you could just sit and rest was a big hit!

resting at fair.jpg

We went to a mom's group playdate/picnic where we got to play in the creek - which was really funny - typical mommy and toddler story here. I loaded up the car for what seemed like forever, packing everything but the kitchen sink. We got there and I realized I had forgotten his sandles to wear in the creek, so he had to wear his tennis shoes. Thank goodness they weren't his new ones! Now he calls those his "creek shoes!" Then, once we got to the creek, at first he didn't want to get in and then later didn't want to get out!

playing in creek.jpg

There was also the "Touch a Truck" day that our county held, where there was all kinds of trucks and construction equipment parked that the kids could get in and play on, honk the horns, push buttons, etc. There were even a few firetrucks - one spraying water for the kids to play in and one spraying foam that they could get in. Also, of course there was a dairy truck with ice cream, which was nice since it was so stinkin' hot!

touch a truck.jpg

Of course we've had a few days when we just hung out at the house and played... but those have been few and far between!

play with blocks.jpg

We've helped daddy with finishing a room in the basement, mommy by sewing curtains and Seth by helping "hammer in the screws..."

helping daddy in basement.jpg

And we took a trip to the local zoo, which was a lot of fun for everyone!


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And those are just the highlights!

I hope your July was just as wonderful and fun-filled as ours. School starts back soon, and while my kids are still too young to be heading back, my sister's oldest with be starting his first year. We're hoping to have one last hurrah before then, just to celebrate. Enjoy the rest of the summer and we'll be looking forward to some awesome fall holidays and things to celebrate!

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Happy 4th of July!

Holy cow! How is it time for July 4th already? I realize how stupid that must sound, especially considering my nephew's birthday is July 4th and I volunteered to make his cake - and the party IS tomorrow (on the 4th) and I've been working on the cakes pretty much all evening (as my own kids allowed!), but somehow it seems a little surreal... Maybe it's because for the past 3 years all we've done to celebrate the 4th has been a birthday party for the little guy. Maybe it's because now that we have kids ourselves, we can't just pack up and stay out all hours of the evening to watch fireworks. Not to mention the fact that for some reason, my son has decided that he's afraid of fireworks, although I don't think he's ever actually seen any... but any really loud noise and he'll say "Mommy! Fireworks scare me!"

But today, (before I got started on the cakes), as I was running errands with my grandmother, she said something about the local fair - which always falls the week of the 4th. For a moment, I was a little shocked. I grew up going to the fair. It was part of a summer ritual. The fair, the 4th of July, fireworks, funnel cakes, rides... although I'd never go back to being a teenager, sometimes the memories are a little tempting. And it is nice to be able to pick up and go without the fear of keeping eagle eyes on a toddler and carrying around an infant, not being able to ride anything and feeling guilty that you fed your kids popcorn and ice cream for dinner... Why is it okay for us to eat the kind of crap they sell at the fair but for some reason NOT okay for us to feed our kids? Even now, thinking about it, the thought of fried Oreos crosses my mind. Yum!

I've driven around town for the past few weeks, watching people set up those big white tents with the signs for "Fireworks!" all the time knowing that the ones they're allowed to sell aren't the really fun fireworks. I've thought of a friend of ours who has been known to cross into another state where you can get better fireworks. I've even *briefly* remembered a year pre-kids when my husband and I drove into downtown Charlotte one evening to watch the fireworks display. But still, somehow the fact that THIS Saturday was July 4th seems to have snuck up on me.

fireworks.jpeg

I realize that it's about so much more than cookouts and fireworks or fairs or birthday parties. One of these days I hope to teach my kids that the holiday is really to celebrate Independence Day. But now, as the mom of a two-year-old and a six-month-old, somehow I think that the cookouts, the family get-togethers, the birthday parties, and hopefully sometime soon, the fireworks will be just fine. Besides, aren't these the things memories are made of?

I hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful holiday, however you choose to celebrate. Be safe and have a great 4th of July!

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Hope your Father's Day was as good as ours!

I think one thing all our family traditions has in common is food. Of course, it makes sense. You've got to eat, so why not enjoy a meal together? For Father's Day this year, we went to lunch after church at Texas Steakhouse. We expected a serious wait and the place to be packed, but we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as chaotic as we had thought it would be.

Once seated, (we take up several tables with all 10 of us), we were able to enjoy a pretty nice meal, and all three of the dads had a nice time. I can't say what my brother-in-law enjoyed as part of his Father's Day, or my dad for that matter, but my husband got a new handprint/footprint shirt from our kids, had a dad's trip to Lowes, and enjoyed some time working outside.

Brian & Kara.jpg Here he is with last year's Father's Day shirt - this one only had our son's footprints on it, so I did a new one with our son's handprints and our daughter's footprints.

My dad seemed tickled with his Father's Day shirt, although technically it was more of a grandfather's day shirt... My sister and I had our kids do handprints on it for him. They're lined up in order of age - all 4 handprints!

dad shirt.jpg

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