Take Away Meals #thesearethedays #makeyummyfood #pinterestsuccess

I haven’t really mentioned it before, so only those who know me in real life know, but the Captain has a new job that often takes him away. I won’t say for how long at a time nor will you see me posting online about him being gone, because let’s be honest ~ The internet world can be a scary place. 

But, one thing I will talk about is the  yummy food that I send with him. He works long days and just because he isn’t home, doesn’t mean I can’t still take care of him. I try to send him different meals each time, so it’s not always the same thing. Here are just 4 of the many meals I’ve sent (all from Pinterest):

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts from Rock Recipes

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts

Photo from website 

**Incredibly delicious…my only change would be less honey in the sauce.It was a wee bit too sweet for us**

Meatball Sub Bubble Up Bake from Life With the Crust Cut Off

Meatball Sub Bubble Up Bake

Photo from website

**I couldn’t find Pillsbury Grands Biscuits here (maybe just a USA thing?), but the Country Biscuits were perfect **

Ground Beef and Tater Tot Casserole from Sweet Pennies from Heaven

Tater tot casserole is one of my most favorite comfort foods! This easy casserole dish has always been a favorite of ours and one that the kids love too! It's also a Gluten Free dish! This recipe can be made in bulk and frozen for quick dinners too!

Photo from website

**Just the kind of meal the Captain loves!**

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta from Yellow Bliss Road

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Photo from website

**I’ve made chicken and beef versions of this and both were delicious **

Hope you’ll try them too ~ and let me know how you like them! 

{My} Happiness Project ~ January #thesearethedays #happinessproject

IT’S JANUARY!!!!  So let’s just dive in then, shall we?

I really like how the author laid out her project, but once again, I’ll be modifying along the way ~ except for this month, which was completely perfect.

January’s Goal is to Boost Energy.

There are 5 ways listed to help achieve this:

* Go to sleep earlier

* Exercise Better

* Toss, Restore, Organize

*Tackle a nagging task

*Act more energetic

I can tell you right now that I need this month’s resolutions as much as I need oxygen. Since starting work two years ago and especially since Brent started working away (March), getting more sleep has been a priority for me. But it’s still something I need to improve on. Taking from my Twelve Commandments to *Say No*, I’ll be working to simplify my life even more so I can spend time on the things that matter and accomplishing some specific goals.

I can also tell that Exercising is going to be the biggest challenge for me, but I’m determined to find a way to make it a part of my daily life. Any time I have in the past, I’ve noticed huge positive changes. It’s a shame I ever got myself out of the habit. I think the best way to tackle this is going to be to set myself an actual, idiot proof schedule. If I don’t, and I leave things up to however my day plays out, I won’t accomplish anything.

I am going to have to decide what part of the day is best for me to exercise – will I get up early and exercise before work or wait until the end of the day? Or, because I work part time, is it something I want to fit into the middle of my day? I am pretty certain that before work is the best time based on all the other things I want to accomplish during the day, so I’m going to have to set a fairly early bedtime to set myself up for success.

Toss, Restore, and Organize – something I’ve been trying to do this past year anyways, but need to re-focus on it. This month will be one of major purging and honestly, I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

I already know which *nagging* tasks I’m going to tackle….so stay tuned for more details. 

And lastly, acting more energetic. For me, this will mean not succumbing to the trap of sitting down part way through the afternoon or evening, where I always end up with my energy being sucked out of me at a ridiculous rate. I need to remember that and use my awake hours productively. Something tells me that getting more sleep and clearing out some of the excess in the house will aide in this quite nicely.

What would be the most challenging part for you?

I’ll be checking in weekly (at least). I’d love to have some company along the way if you’d like to join me. :)

 **Disclosure: I bought this book impulsively in September and read it on my own. I am not affiliated with Gretchen Rubin (though just from this book, I totally think she’s awesome), and none of my posts come with compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.**



{My} Happiness Project ~ Secrets of Adulthood #thesearethedays #happinessproject

Okay, so I have my list of 12 Commandments - the rules to remember while I work to achieve each month’s resolutions. Next I wanted to list my Secrets of Adulthood. Once again, I liked Gretchen’s list, but for obvious reasons didn’t copy it. {ie. plagerizing her book is not only illegal, but also isn’t going to help me in this process}.

So, while I kept a few of the ones she had on her list, this list is genuine and specific to me and my life.

Here are some things I’ve learned ~ My Secrets to Adulthood.

1. It’s okay to miss things

2. You are capable (or more specifically, I am capable)

3. You don’t have to agree to be supportive

4. It’s okay to be different

5. People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think

6. Trust your instincts

7. Helping doesn’t always help

8. It feels good to get the dishes done

9. You can’t do it all (and shouldn’t try)

10. Be the kind of friend you want to have

11. Hibernating has its place

12. Stained clothes are good for playing

13. Dress for the weather

14. When in doubt, fill up with gas

15. You don’t have to get mad to make a point

16. What you want matters

17. Cleaning the bathroom doesn’t take as long as you think

18. Anxiety is real

19. Sometimes all you need to do is listen

20. Dress the way you want to feel

21. Friends and Memories are more important than things

I feel like I could go on and on…the more I’m thinking about it, the more ideas come to my mind. But for now, I think this list is sufficient. In fact, each one I thought of made me smile.

What things would be on your *Secrets to Adulthood* list?

**Disclosure: I bought this book impulsively in September and read it on my own. I am not affiliated with Gretchen Rubin (though just from this book, I totally think she’s awesome), and none of my posts come with compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.**

{My} Happiness Project ~ As Inspired by Gretchen Rubin #thesearethedays #happinessproject

I love to read. But it’s something I have to give myself permission to do, because when I’m reading a book, nothing else gets done. NOTHING.

Which is why I haven’t read much in the past year, except for the times we are at the condo in Whitefish. In fact, one week we were there, I read SIX books. It was pure heaven. But this last time (September 2014), I bought and read just one book. One book that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

If you’ve read it, I’d love to know what you thought, and if you haven’t, I definitely recommend it. I tend to read quickly, so I don’t always remember much beyond knowing I enjoyed a story. Which is why I’ve decided to dive into this a little deeper and do my own Happiness Project, using this book as my template. In her book, Gretchen’s project is a year long, working on new aspects/resolutions each month. I figured starting in January made sense, so here I am…ready to jump right in.

Have you ever thought about what you want from life? Or wondered if what you were doing every day was helping you achieve those things? What are the things that matter? Are you enjoying your life? And ultimately, are you happy?

Well, are you?

I’d say I am, really and truly…and quite, but one thing I’ve noticed is that, like Gretchen, I’m not as happy as I could be. And my life isn’t going to change unless I make it change.

So first up for me was to determine what things were/are important to me ~ the things I want to learn, accomplish, and experience. I also wanted to follow suite with Gretchen’s plan and come up with my 12 rules for the year ~ or 12 Commandments, that will help in keeping each month’s resolutions.

Here’s what I came up with (Some are from her list because I felt they were applicable:

1. Be Hailey

2. Say No

3. Say Yes

4. Do it Now

5. Relax

6. Stop Talking

7. Be patient

8. Write it down

9. Be grateful

10. Get it together

11. Have fun

12. Pay it forward


I’m excited about this list, though it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I didn’t want to simply copy Gretchen’s list, though I thought hers was great. But I wanted a genuine list that was personal and applicable to me.

What would be on your list?

**Disclosure: I bought this book impulsively in September and read it on my own. I am not affiliated with Gretchen Rubin (though just from this book, I totally think she’s awesome), and my decision to do the Happiness Project comes with no compensation.**

On the Outside – On the Inside #adoption #thesearethedays

**Because this post is incredibly personal and such a sensitive topic for those involved, no timeline or names will be given. So, if at times it seems a little cryptic, please understand why**

I received the phone call shortly after he was born, and although my heart leapt and a huge smile spread across my face, I was immediately struck by something deeper. Something I hadn’t really considered ~ but knowing he was laying there, and although loved (SO loved), not yet belonging to anyone was so emotional for me. And suddenly I understood why.

Because he was me. That was me.

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One of the first photos of me – with my brother (also adopted at birth) and my Grandpa

34 years ago I was born, and for weeks I was loved (by a foster mom) but did not yet belong to anyone.

But my situation was also slightly different than hers….This new mom, soon to be *birth mom*, was involved in the entire experience. She was able to scour files and hand pick the family her son would call his own. She had the first true test of motherhood, being able to put her child’s needs above her own personal wants. That part was the same. But 34 years ago, adoptions weren’t open in most cases. So without knowing specifics, it is fair to assume that after giving birth, my birth mom had to walk away.

Walk away.

Not knowing where I was going or who I’d be raised by. Not even really knowing if I’d be loved and treated well. I was. Very. But she didn’t know that. And I can’t even imagine.

For this young friend, though, she did know. And still this experience…this decision, however right it felt, was pretty much impossible. And again, I can’t even imagine.

My heart and stomach were in knots for days prior to his placement. Not just for my friend , and the adoptive parents, who I have an incredible amount of love and compassion for,  but for him ~ this sweet baby with whom I identified the most with in this scenario. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him ~ and it was magical. I spoke with my young friend, who at this point had spent 3 days bonding with her baby and was now going to pass him off to someone else (Oh my heart ached). We talked about HOW she was ever going to be able to do this, what I would say to my birth mom now (another post), and how being so involved in the process was a blessing in an otherwise devastating situation. I also told her that I happened to know the family of the adoptive dad, and although this wasn’t my son or my story, knowing who his family would be brought so much comfort. Pieces fit together and my heart ached a little bit less. And I could tell her with complete confidence, that she had set her son up for a life of incredible blessings.

I know she wished things could be different. For her sake, I was wishing the same thing. But it was evident for several reasons that, while she loved him, it would be a life of struggle for the both of them. And she loved him enough to know she didn’t want that for him. Or her. And so she made the most heartwrenching decision.

I know many friends who have been blessed by adoption, and I see firsthand how amazing it is. I also know a few who have both placed a baby for adoption and chosen to parent – both decisions come with an incredible amount of lifelong emotion.

But to be this close and see it first hand, and to realize just how much I felt for and identified with this sweet little boy (who was nothing short of gorgeous and perfect), was amazing to me. For days I couldn’t figure out why I felt so out of sorts, and then he was born and my emotions took on a life of their own. 

I know it’s not about me, and I promise I wasn’t making it that way, but I had a connection to the scenario with a depth I could not have predicted. And being able to hold him and, in that short time try to infuse all my love and understanding into his sweet self, meant more than I could have ever imagined. It was healing in a way I didn’t know I needed. It was amazing to sit there in the hospital room and love on him, while offering love and support to his mom, who just an hour later would take on the title of birth mom.

I was driving the kids around to various activities at the time of the meeting and placement and it was all I could think of. Her and her family, the adoptive couple, and of course him. And I knew that room would be filled with the most incredible amount of emotions….on all ends of the spectrum. It would be devastating and hopeful, and I knew that seeing the joy in his parents eyes would somehow lessen the pain seen in hers.

For various reasons, nobody but my husband knows about this situation. Not even my closest friends and family. For these same reasons, it will remain that way. But I wanted to blog about it, however cryptically, and share my experience. These emotions are real and raw, no matter how much time has passed, and for me, writing is healing. The gift of adoption is not something that is taken lightly and I have a deep sense of what that phone call must feel like, especially after years of struggle. While my heart continues to break for my young friend, it also rejoices for this couple, whose prayers were finally answered. And for this sweet boy who I love so dearly, I feel joy. Already he is so blessed.

WE are so blessed.



Malibu’s Minions #thesearethedays #puppies #photooverload

Despite numerous google searches, I totally missed it and didn’t know Malibu was in heat. #rookie 

But she was – and Axel did not miss his chance(s). Consequently she became large with child  puppies. We were coming home from the condo on her 8 week due date and our friend texted to say she was showing labour signs. So we prayed we’d make it in time. 

And we did. Because she went to 9 weeks. 

I came home from work Thursday around 1pm and felt like something was starting. Nothing major, I just felt like it would be worthwhile to keep an eye on her. I put Axel in the kennel because he was ANNOYING to me – wanting to rob her of any attention and snag it for himself. lol Within half an hour I could see a clear improvement in her relaxation – and a clear progression in her labour. I got the kids to bed and settled in because I was certain that this was the night. 

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A photo with Malibu before going to bed.

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Because I’m cruel and it makes me laugh

Nesting, Pacing, Panting, etc. She was also incredibly snuggly and calm, which surprised me for being so young. Miss Malibu laboured like a champ, and as a result, we got to share some amazing bonding time. 

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Just breathing her way through

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Trying to get some rest                           

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No doubt vowing never to let Axel near her again

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I sure love this pooch

I stayed up with her all night and into the morning. At about 3am I was feeling sleepy and chilled so I went into the house and watched from the table. Malibu was restless by this point, but not quite settling in to deliver. I dozed at the table off and on, desperate not to fall asleep for fear I would end up missing the whole thing. But somehow I looked up at 5:15am, just in time to watch her birth pup #1. A black male. She was a little slow to use her mothering instincts, so I helped out to ensure all was well, and she took over from there.


Displaying photo 2.JPGWithin an hour she had birthed 6 puppies – 1 black male, 2 chocolate male, and 2 chocolate female. A cute little family indeed, and how many I had hoped she would have. I didn’t want her having a large litter (Axel is one of 13, 11 surviving) because it was her first AND she is just over a year. 

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Malibu and her sweet little girl

But 6 hours later, it all changed. 

I was on my way out to a school function and went outside just to check on her. My friend, who stopped in for a bit when she grabbed the kids for school had suspected there was maybe 1 or 2 other pups (you could feel at least one still), so I was a little nervous to leave her. When I went outside, Malibu was noticably concerned….panicked almost….pacing quickly and searching. I worried there was something wrong with the pup and she knew it, so I prepared myself for a stillbirth. But the truth is, I had thrown away the torn up birthing blanket after puppy #6 and I think she was simply looking for HER birthing place. #oops

She finally settled into the pool where her other pups were and birthed #7. Then #8,9,10, and 11. 

I never did make it to the school function, and I’m glad I stayed as I had to help deliver #11 who got stuck head out. Malibu was just so tired by then that even her biggest pushes just could not do it. 

She has been amazing. We’ve had lots of company and she’s been perfect. There have been a few times she seemed a bit agitated while trying to get comfortable and probably still adjusting…and the times she closes herself off and you know she’s just sick of having ALL these puppies sucking on her every minute of the day. But she has taken to mothering and is calmer than I’ve ever seen since we got her a year ago. 


I love puppies

If you follow on Instagram you will know that we did lose two puppies – #10 (chocolate girl) and #11 (black, who originally was labelled as a boy, but turned out to be a girl…I’m blaming sleep deprivation). And as expected, it was devastating and still is. But we are moving forward and making sure the 9 remaining puppies are as healthy as can be. 

And of course, I’ll be watching her future heat cycles like a hawk…


Why I love and accepted the #ALSIceBucketChallenge

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen at least one , if not a hundred videos of people you know all the way to celebrities voluntarily pouring ice water on themselves. Seems crazy, no?

Well it may seem so, but really it’s for an excellent cause and purpose.

First, the cause:  (from the website) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. To find out more, please visit www.alsa.org

Second, the purpose: It’s simple…To Raise Awareness

While the money raised is insane and amazing (last I heard, over 80 million), it’s awareness that first fuelled this campaign. Here is the story:

Now I’ve read a few articles in the past few days criticizing this campaign (it doesn’t take long for the haters to surface, does it?), but I can’t jump on that wagon. Some claim it’s not an urgent enough disease to warrant such massive fundraising – tell that to Peter Frates. Or really anyone suffering or watching someone suffer from this disease.

Nevermind that, does a disease or illness need to infect the masses to warrant awareness or incredible fundraising? Why?

I not only love the campaign, but support the cause. I was anxious to be nominated for the challenge as was Jonah, because he wanted to get involved. Which is one of the main reasons I love it – people are getting involved. We are willingly dumping buckets of ice water over our heads to participate. We are also nominating people to spread awareness and we are donating. It’s really the recipe for a most perfect campaign and I am happy to support it. And I am thrilled to see my friends and family, and especially our kids getting involved.

But please know this, it is not the only cause I am in support of, nor do I think it’s the only one worthy of my (or your) donations. There are so many, some well known and others not so well known, that are in need. And what’s important to you may not be important to others – it’s based on our experiences – nobody is wrong. None are better or more important than another and all have value and purpose. Raise awareness and donate where you feel best doing so.

For me and my family, ALS was one that we felt drawn to.

So for your viewing pleasure, here we are (I have no idea why I was speaking so strangely):



(Hopefully they work – but if they don’t, just head over to Cute Like Me on Facebook and watch there. I had to do it this way because they uploaded sideways)





New Technology House Rules #thesearethedays #greatideas

I recently came across an article that really made sense to me, but do you think I can remember where I saw it? I was certain it was on Pinterest, but now I’m wondering if it was on Facebook….even a google search isn’t helping me this time.

Anyways, the post was about the amount of time the author allowed her kids to have with technology. And she found a way to limit their time by giving them as much as they wanted.

Sound outrageous?

I can see why you might think so, but in truth I think her method is really quite genius.

She simply created a list of tasks. Tasks that must be completed prior to any time on iPods, iPads, TV, Computer, etc. But her list is what I loved the most. Since I can’t find the original, I’ll do my best from memory. It was something like this:

You may have as much technology time as you want, after you have completed the following:

1. at least 20 minutes of reading

2. at least 45 minutes doing something crafty

3. Bedroom must be cleaned

4. There was one other one, but I don’t remember it because it was one I didn’t think was relevant to us

Here’s the thing about it…the theory (in my opinion) behind it is that it gets kids busy doing other things…in some ways, the things they should be doing more of anyways…and not only passes the time, it also has a way of limiting their unlimited availability of technological devices. And also puts the accountability on themselves….the rules and list are clear.

So today was the first day. Brooklyn would happily be on her iPod for 10+ hours a day if I let her….though we all pay for it at some point because she becomes an absolute zombie. It completely affects her energy and mood…not to mention wasting away at her motivation. I don’t have a problem with technology (hello, I’m on a computer right now), nor do I have one when it comes to kids…but I am aware of the impact it can have on each of my kids. I know their limits and because they don’t always know them, it’s my job to help teach and manage that. This list seemed like the perfect fit to aide in that.

Our list, which I reserve the right to add to at any given time is as follows:

1. Read (or something educational) for at least 30 minutes

2. Something crafty for at least 45 minutes (LOVE this one)

3. Rooms and Playroom have to be cleaned

Simple list, but I really think that’s key. Short and simple…to the point…and easy to follow.

If you follow me on Instagram you know that the morning started like this:

Photo: Adopting an awesome idea from Pinterest, we have changed our technology rules: as much time as they want AFTER at least 30 minutes of reading, 45 minutes of crafting, and their bedroom and play area must be clean. As a result, this is how they are spending their Saturday morning and I love it! #thesearethedays #craftykids #rainydayfun

Jonah painted while Brooklyn drew (Hermoine Granger in pony form). They had a blast while the Captain (Brent) cringed at the glitter. He HATES glitter because it gets everywhere. lol

I found an old wood picture frame meant for just this, and Jonah was in heaven. Here is his finished project – looks pretty awesome if you ask me!

Photo: Jonah's finished picture frame #thesearethedays #rainydayfun #craftykids #glitter

The day just continued on, and they didn’t even end up going on iPads until 7pm! It was the toy room that was the hold up – by the end of the day Jonah was pretty bagged and the task of cleaning half the room was almost too much for him. It ended up being a good time to teach Brooklyn the value of teamwork – that while, yes, the original task involved splitting the room 50/50, nobody was getting iPads until the room was clean. So, if she wanted that down time, she could make the choice to go help clean the rest, which is eventually what she did.

Here is the list of the things they did throughout the day:

*Painting and Drawing

*Reading – Jonah and I did a workbook

*Chess (sort of lol)

*Rode their bikes in the rain

*We made corn bread

*Made up a game with a bouncy ball



*Showered (easier to get them to do it when it didn’t involve pulling them away from a video or game!)

*I read them a chapter in the book we are reading together (39 Clues by Rick Riordan – we are almost done book 1)

I don’t expect every day to run as smoothly as today did, but having the rules clear sure made it easier. And it was amazing for me to see them just go from one thing to the next. Sometimes I worry they’ve forgotten how to do that…and hearing them giggle together and simply have fun – well that was pure magic. As school and other activities start up again, I know their time will be limited during the week. But I plan on sticking to this. Like I mentioned, It wasn’t until 7pm that they got onto the iPads. But because it’s summer holidays and we were all enjoying the downtime, they still got 2 1/2 hours on them. If they want more time than that in the future, they will learn to manage their day/time differently.

I’d say a fabulous day all around!


Let’s Talk About Stupid Pool Rules #thesearethedays #stupidpoolrules #thumbsdown

The kids and I recently spent some time with my cousins in Northern Alberta. Because we had a few errands to run in Edmonton on one of the days, we decided to find an outdoor pool and make a day of it.  So we (my cousin lol) googled *fun outdoor pools* – and the first to come up was Oliver Outdoor Pool.

Check out this photo!

Now, I don’t know about you but we thought this pool looked awesome! The blow up*obstacle course* is what really caught our eye. Something different but also something we were sure all of our kids would enjoy.

My cousin, Kari and I drove together and met up with Radelle after our errands. Radelle arrived at the pool first with her 4 kids, 6 and under. She asked about the inflatable obstacle course and was told they no longer have it. Not their fault, as it was in for repairs, but still a bummer. Apparently it was too loud and swimmers were unable to hear the lifeguards over it.

The cashier also mentioned that she might catch some grief for having 4 kids under 6 in her care, so she was sure to stay in one corner of the shallow end with them until we arrived. Each of her kids was wearing a life jacket and, in fact, her two youngest had life jackets AND water wings (to keep their faces more above the water). They were well protected…plus, she was RIGHT there. But even still a lifeguard came over to check in on the situation, but left it alone once she learned that she had two other adults coming as well.

We arrived and got the kids situated and ready for some fun. HA!

The pool is seriously just a rectangle, with a slide in the deep end (plus a kid one in the shallow end) and the photo makes it look way bigger than it is. I quickly took my kids to the deep end so they could enjoy the slide. As per the pool rules, with Jonah being 6, it is required that he be within my arms reach. I’m totally fine with that, and although he can swim decently well – certainly from the slide to the pool edge – I still prefer to be close enough to keep an eye on him.

About the third time down the slide, he was asked to get off by the lifeguard. {insert sobbing child}

His day was officially ruined in that moment.

The lifeguard explained to me that he could not be in the deep end unless he passed the swim test. In order to be in the deep end, each swimmer must swim from one end of the pool to the other in the marked off lane on the side. They can do this test with or without a life jacket, but obviously if they do it with, it means they must have a life jacket on in the deep end. I was irritated by this test, but tried to be supportive of the rules so I explained to Jonah that he could do the test. Which he and his cousin, R, both did with life jackets.

The testing lifeguard then proceeded to take a big black permanent marker and write a large L on their arm with a 6 below, to indicate the need for them to have life jackets…and that they are 6 years old. sigh

Can someone please explain to me in what circumstance a child would ever need to swim the entire LENGTH of a pool to save themselves?

Okay, so whatever. I go back to the deep end with Jonah and R, because despite the life jackets, they still need an adult in the deep end. (I would have gone anyway for the record). They were having fun going down the slide and Radelle decided she wanted to come and watch. Her second son had an appointment and was with his dad, so she just had the two younger kids….life jackets AND water wings, remember?

The lifeguard tells her the girls can’t be in the deep end unless they, too pass the swim test. They are 2 and 3.

They had life jackets and water wings on….and she was HOLDING them.


So if she ever wanted to come on her own, well she couldn’t. Their 3:1 child to adult ratio (for kids 6 and under) automatically prevents her from this…until her oldest turns 7 later this year at least.

BUT, even with a life jacket on he can’t be in the deep end without an adult…but she can’t go to the deep end with him because the other kids are not allowed there until they have passed the swim test.

Here’s the thing…If I am a parent and am up on the tanning deck (their tanning deck is beautiful!), then have every possible rule you want to have to keep those kids safe. As parents, we should not be putting our kids in situations where lifeguards will have to save them. I don’t want that for my kids or for the lifeguard, nevermind me. But when I am WITH my kids….swimming WITH them….watching them go down the slide, etc….do you think you could ease up a little?

They had SO many lifeguards on duty, and switched up their station in regular intervals….but we had to wonder just a little bit…


I’m all for rules and keeping everyone, especially children safe. BUT WE WERE RIGHT THERE!

UGH! Clearly I am still irritated by it….such a waste of $15, an hour (it’s all we stayed), and for Radelle specifically, who drove into Edmonton JUST for this, a waste of 2 hours of driving time. At the very least, it’s not a pool to go to if you have young kids.

Stupid. Pool. Rules.


Pinterest Cooking Frenzy Part I #thesearethedays #makeyummyfood

In 2012 I set out to try some of the activities with Jonah that I had filled my pinterest board *Cute Kids Stuff* with. I spent time making that a priority and loved the memories we made while Brooklyn was in school. And especially since, later that year I went back to work, I am so grateful for that little burst of inspiration to DO, not just PIN. I have tried, for various reasons since, to keep this up. To keep my kids and making memories with them, a main priority. And we’ve had some amazing times as a result.

Now, I am wanting to take this further and do something for me – though it will, of course, benefit my family as well.

The kitchen is my happy place. Which is a good thing since about 80% of my day is spent in it. I love trying new things and especially love finding new family favorites. In addition, I love the opportunity to involve the kids and teach them different cooking skills or to appreciate the opportunity to try new foods.

So let’s get started ~ A few months ago I found myself in a bit of a Pinterest frenzy and tried 4 new recipes. Want to know what I tried?

It all started with wanting to try these delicious looking meatballs – Hoisin Asian Meatballs from Damn Delicious.

Hoisin Asian Meatballs - These juicy, tender meatballs are smothered with a sweet Hoisin glaze!

photo used with permission

I know, right?!

They did not disappoint – even my sweet, picky, 9 year old Brooklyn was a fan, despite trying to convince me she hates ALL meatballs. Ha, silly girl. And really uses basic ingredients – ground beef, breadcrumbs, spices, eggs, and of course Hoisin Sauce.

**Note: It probably goes without saying, but if you aren’t a fan of Hoisin Sauce you probably won’t like this. And you’re probably crazy ;) **

While I was waiting for the hamburger to thaw, I noticed this yummy looking dish and decided to make it so I could munch while I cooked.

Chili Cheese Dip from Love Grows Wild

Chili Cheese Dip appetizer recipe

photo used with permission

Just three ingredients – cream cheese, chili, and shredded cheese and another huuuuuuge hit. But this time with my son, who ate two helpings of it before dinner. And, is actually eating more as I type this post. The recipe calls for chili without beans, but I love beans so I used a chili with them. No specific brand….I just used what I had on hand. And make sure you use a nice thick layer of cream cheese on the bottom. Mmmmmm

Olive Garden Copycat Dressing from Mommy Savers

olive garden salad dressing recipe

photo used with permission

I love the salad at Olive Garden more than I love any other salad. And I am always looking for a homemade version, so I knew I had to try this one out. The best part is it also uses ingredients often on hand, so no crazy grocery trips!

The verdict? Delicious, but not quite like the Olive Garden. And I have to be honest – it killed me a little to put corn syrup in it. BUT, it was definitely good and I am excited to have another homemade dressing to choose from.

Roasted Ranch Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese by Joyously Domestic

photo used with permission

Plain and Simple – these are DELICIOUS! And I didn’t even have any bacon to use, so I can only imagine. Also, strangely all I had on hand was Three Cheese Ranch – strange because I don’t like that dressing lol – but they were still great (just in case not having exact ingredients is something that freaks you out).

Well there you have it – FOUR Pinterest wins! And trust me, there are more coming. This Pinterest frenzy continues and you are going to be so glad.