School ends in just a few weeks and I am forced to think about that age old question, who and what to gift? My kids are still pretty young, so I am new to the whole 'gifting' scene. I know I have gifts to give, but the list seems long!
This year, I have one child in Kindergarten who rides the school bus, and one child who attends Preschool with speech issues. Here is the list of people I think I may owe a little something to:
- One Kindergarten Teacher. Do I get something for her aide too?
- One bus driver.
- Two Preschool Teachers.
- One Preschool Speech Aide.
- One Home Speech Aide.
ACK - If I do roughly $20 per person, that totals $120.00 ! While I am extremely thankful for all their wonderful help throughout the year, this might really hurt my pocketbook.
What are some wonderful (but cheap!) ways to say thanks without spending a lot of money??
Our stay in San Diego was very relaxing, yet full of adventure! I know that is an oxymoron but we only had one 'theme park' day on our itinerary, so we had plenty of opportunity to find out more about this beach town. We stayed on Mission Bay, across from the Rowing Club and nearby Sea World. Since we were vacationing with another family of four, we opted to try VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). Not only is it a cost effective way to stay for multiple days, it offers up many comforts of home. Most of the time you will not be disappointed. I'd encourage giving VRBO a try... it was nice to come 'home' at the end of each days travels.
Our view on Mission Bay.
Any time you have the chance to see a city by water, you should do it. Driving around a city does not offer the same excitement. You'll often see how the people who live there use the water and that can teach you so much; about the history of the city and about the recreation available. We decided to rent a little fishing boat for the day to take on San Diego by water.
It was sunny and warm.
MommyO may have forgotten her own sunscreen- oopsy!
Beebo takes her turn driving the boat. Then Xman.
Both have become very proficient drivers over our last few vacations.
It is nice for them to be the chauffeur for a change.
(By the way, have I mentioned we are a boating family?
Many adventures coming up this summer, on our very own tin boat!!)
She was a little annoyed that they wouldn't wave back at her,
but would you let go to wave???
Our day out boating was so much fun! We rented the boat from a nearby marina and it did not cost a lot of money at all. If you are capable of driving a 9.9hp motor, you're all set to go! (Only a Drivers License was necessary.)
Last Saturday, Heather and I were fortunate to host a 'Social Media Tweet-Up' on behalf of Vesta Properties, at the new community of 'Williamstown' in Airdrie. We shared some chit-chat and omelettes with Calgary's finest Ladies, then spent the morning viewing beautiful show homes. It had been awhile since I purchased my home (2006), so I was a little worried about falling in total love with the layouts and designs of these show homes. And guess what? I did indeed fall in love.
I loved that these 'Williamstown' houses all had huge upper levels! Lots of light, extra sitting areas, or a playroom-- the upper levels of 'Williamstown' are not a hallway with doors.
***I will warn that some of these pictures came from my cell phone, as I gleefully professed my discoveries all over Twitter! Feel free to click on them to see in better detail.***
When I found the above 'bonus room' upstairs in the Trails, I was enamoured with the textured wall. A grass-like wallpaper, I ooh'd and ahh'd - it added the right amount of 'nature' into the room while remaining modern in feel. Little did I know that I would admire many more walls throughout the 'Williamstown' show homes...
I am not much of a wallpaper gal, but I realized I could definitely explore the possibility. I really, really loved the wallpaper in the bedroom HERE (top picture in Merry's post), but did not seem to capture it for myself. Ooh'ing and Aah'ing can make one a bit forgetful in all the excitement! ;)
The best thing about visiting a show home is the ideas provoked. Even if you are not looking to buy a new home and are in reno-mode, a nicely decorated show home can host an array of modern/classic treatments in home decor that you otherwise may not have thought of. The designers at 'Williamstown' were also creative enough to show off some non-traditional room uses:
My little girl would go nuts for this 'Ballet Room'.
So creative and so easy to do!
And... it doesn't get more Canadian than having a floor hockey basement! Some boards, some paint and voila- inside hockey complete with penalty box (not shown). I know my kids would love this rink, but I imagine many husbands would too.
On the more practical side of 'needs', this kitchen really had me wanting to cook up a feed!
MommyO would be in heaven in this kitchen. I already spend enough time in the kitchen, it should at least be pretty right??
I may also have drooled over these place settings, noting the lack of plastic dishes or kid-crap anywhere. ~Sigh~
How about DaddyO's... wha'cha think of this Man-Cave?
Pretty swanky eh?
Here is the other half of the Man-Cave...
No Man may ever return from the depths of this basement. ;)
The show homes in 'Williamstown' are all amazing, lovely and reasonably priced. (Hello, I so need to clean my house thoroughly after all that viewing!) There was a style to suit the needs of anyone at any age. I am excited for those that do live or will live in this community. (A school is currently under construction.) Vesta's 'Williamstown' has everything- including 66 acres of greenspace and trails! "The Amenities Centre" (pictured below) acts as a community centre, designed to provide party/function space to those living within the community. Even if you only have a townhouse, you can still throw a HUGE birthday party-- complete with a playground area!
Head out to 'Williamstown' in Airdrie, where real community living begins. The Ladies and I had a wonderful time at the Grand Opening, exploring this new community from one end to the other. There was loads of free family fun that day with a BBQ and music by Sarah Beth Keeley. We even met a few Olympians who were there to help welcome 'Williamstown' to the neighbourhood too! (Carol Huynh-Wrestler & Denny Morrison- Speed Skater)
Special thanks to all Ladies who attended this 'Williamstown' event!
I believe I need a new blender. I made this smoothie yesterday and the blender made horrible sounds and the room smelled like something was burning when I finished. It has done this the last few times I've used it. This Cuisinart blender is well used and has 10 years under its belt, it has served me well. I could simply buy a new blender of the same, but I'd like to explore what other blenders are out there these days. We'd be using the blender for smoothies and daiquiris/margaritas primarily.
Hunger affects everyone and IS a problem in Canada. Over 40% of the Canadians using food banks are children! This is your chance to help out your local food bank, by encouraging your MP to submit their favourite chicken breast sandwich recipe to the 'Everyone Wins With Chicken' contest.
Simply Tweet them or Email them! You can find your local MP's Twitter handle on the list HERE.
"Hey @MP, our local food bank needs $10,000. Please submit ur best chicken sandwich recipe to http://bit.ly/HNm9Gh #WinWithChicken"
3 prizes available: $10,000 for 1st! $5,000 for 2nd! $2,500 for 3rd!
The winning recipe will make its debut on Canada Day, served to more than 10,000 people at the 20th Annual Great Canadian Chicken BBQ in Ottawa! A fine way to celebrate Canadians helping Canadians!
JOIN ME: In support of Hunger Awareness Week (May 7-11), pop into the 'Tw-eat In' Twitter Party, May 9th from 8-9:30pm! Join in the discussion and win some fabulous prizes too! Hosted by: She's Connected, The Chicken Farmers of Canada, Maple Leaf Foods and Food Banks Canada. RSVPHERE.
Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada program by She's Connected. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. As always, the opinions expressed on this blog are my very own.
Sitting here starring at the calendar for May, I thought that March and April had me in a dizzying swirly haze, but I see roughly the same ahead. In planning all things a family of four may need to do in a month, I am fairly good at making sure nothing conflicts with something else; however, I have yet to find the happy medium that doesn't make me feel like I am going to die~!
This month, on top of it all, I thought: "Hey, yeah, let's just coach some Under 4 Soccer too!"
I was surely possessed or intoxicated when I said yes to herding cats , because I really, really do not have the time, nor the patience to endure 8 weeks of rainy, whiny Soccer. In any case, I've committed and that is that. Please let it be a magical experience that is not filled with tears (mine or theirs) and for the love of God, please let the weather be warm and pleasant for Soccer. I know that making my kids play Soccer in dreary conditions teaches them to suck it up and get it done, but convincing myself seems to be the harder chore.
I do have some new events going on in early May that I am quite excited about! This weekend DaddyO and I will be venturing off to Banff for the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival! I can hardly wait to whet my palate with yummy sips from the vine and to sample food delectables from Banff's finest restaurants. I was very lucky to win tickets to this event and can't wait to tell you all about it! Thanks to Grandma Roe for helping us out with the kids so we can enjoy an evening away.
Like these boots?
Me too! I am in love with my new 'Riding' style BOGS and have been testing them out on our acreage filled with mud and gardening chores. Good to -20C, I have a feeling these boots will become a staple for any season. Look for my review in upcoming weeks!
On Saturday, May 12th Heather and I will be hosting a social media brunch to welcome 'Williamstown by Vesta' to the city of Airdrie. It would be terrific if you joined us for an afternoon of free festivities for all ages (12pm to 5pm), including: a bbq, live country music and the chance to snag the autographs of a few Canadian Olympians! Contest: Pop into the Williamstown Facebook page (be sure to 'like' the page too!) to enter to WIN a $10,000 shopping spree at The Brick! Who doesn't need new furniture/appliances?
Ciao for now...
Have a super week!
PS... in a few days I'll tell you a really good reason to go meet your local MP!