Creative Play – Diaper Cakes and Baby Shower Fun

Ok guys, so here it is….the re-opening of my sacral chakra. The beginning of a new beginning. The project that reached deep inside my blah and pulled out something that resembled my spark and I have my daughter-in-law to thank for that. Thank you Tara for the providing an opportunity to be a part of ‘showering’ a young lady with a dynamite party.

Tara had come up with a brilliant idea to use diaper cakes as centerpieces. I don’t know why but I honestly thought making smaller cakes vs one giant cake would be more challenging….challenge accepted! I called up my trusty crafty sister-in-law and we were on it! She helped me to lay the ground work. Roll the diapers, tie with elastics, and bunch them all together like bundles of coins (yes, I work in a bank, it’s what I do). Once you’ve reached your desired width, take a large elastic or use cord to bunch them together into a circle. Then move on to the next layer repeating the process. Thank you Vicky!

We had decided to focus on a blue green theme for the shower so those are the colors I scouted for ribbon ideas and BAM! Easy!

I found some small bears and gifts to add to the cakes and voila! I fell in love ❤ a new hobby maybe?!  I’d do another anytime!

The only minor thing I’d change is I might have reversed the bottom and top ribbons so that the polka dots weren’t hidden behind baby treasures. Otherwise…for a first attempt….I couldn’t be happier!

Tara was busy pulling everything together; location, food, games, prizes, invitation lists, her list was endless. And I have to say, hats off to her. She went above and beyond to make this shower special and memorable for Mommy-to-be. I don’t think I’ve seen a more dedicated host.

Our Momma-of-honour is using owls to adorn her nursery. hmmm….scouting….scouting…..and check it out! How adorable are these? These little cuties can be found on DIY my Party on Etsy.

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But the shower was still so far away and my creative juices were flowing….I had some onesies for a project I intended to use for another craft and now I had this uncontrollable urge to paint! I picked up some wooden letters at the dollar store and came up with this decorative idea.

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We had made few more trips to the dollar store for green plates, blue polka dot napkins, green cups, streamers, balloons, blue tablecloths, and the decorating was complete, this is the space we managed to create. Check out the prize bags…LOVE! She even managed to turn those into an adorable decoration!

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I only helped with decorations, my part was small but meaningful. This post only covered my own projects and creative process. The magic of the day was meticulously planned and carried out by Tara and others.

Let your creativity SHINE!!

Creative Play -Fondant Cake

Actively exercising my creative juices has a way of waking my feel-good like nothing else! This little gem of a discovery has really amped up my joy de vivre after a too-long spell of blah. It’s made such an incredible difference that I’ve decided to make it my personal challenge to tackle one creative project every single day. These projects can include small efforts like a small drawing, journaling (which I try to do every day anyways), taking pictures, whatever peaks my interest. Too often I’ve talked myself out of creative play for any number of reasons ranging from insufficient time to insufficient talent to insufficient supplies to insufficient knowledge. No matter how you want to call it or what you want to name it, any excuse boils down to insufficient belief in self. Creative Play is ever accessible. Whatever projects or activities you take on are entirely and infinitely your choice.

The Fondant Cake is not my first project since taking on this challenge. I will post the others at a later date. For now, let’s get started with Cake!

This was my first attempt working with fondant. Not bad 🙂

The 3 tier turned out best. The 2 tier got sat on by my cat. No, she didn’t sit directly on the cake! She sat on the box I had stored the cake in. She busted up the bow – good thing I had no idea how many ribbon pieces I needed….I had just enough left to fix it. Some of the icing moved a little but overall for a first attempt, I can’t complain.

I’m not gonna lie…this was not an easy task. This project took over the better part of my week. But, I had made a commitment to creativity and I had 2 special birthdays coming up! Yes, that’s right. I took on the fondant challenge and insisted on making 2 cakes, not one! If you are looking to take on fondant, here are a few tips. Tip#1, Invest in a Wilton “Roll-N-Cut Mat”. I learned this tip a little later than I would have liked. This mat would have helped me a lot with my ribbons.And the rolling….truth: there were a lot of curse words flying out of mouth while I was trying to work with the fondant on my flat icing sugared surface. When I started using the mat, I felt like I’d discovered gold. Tip #2, I got my supplies at Bulk Barn and saved BIG compared to craft stores. Tip #3 homemade marshmallow fondant tastes good, bought fondant tastes bad. I’m so glad I decided to make the fondant. Here’s the recipe I used.  You can color it using icing coloring. Tip #3, you don’t need a whole lot of supplies. I made do with my mat and a fondant smoother. That being said, the next cake I take on – should I ever decide to – I will purchase a fondant trimmer. For these cakes, I used my pizza cutter….it didn’t work well. They may look the same, but I’d be willing to bet the material of the cutter is vital for success.

Then I simply followed along with this tutorial as best as I could.

That’s it! Masterpiece complete 🙂

Here’s to you and your creative play 🙂

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Tug of War with Depression

peekIt’s been a while since I’ve posted. Truth is, I’m being stalked…it’s this pesky relentless little thing sometimes referred to as depression that seems to grab hold of me from time to time. That monster has the power to shake me up and tear me down. Sometimes I can slay that dragon like the superhuman I am. Sometimes the fight drains the ‘super’ right out of me. Sometimes it lasts a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a little longer, sometimes a lot longer. My battle is mild compared to the wars others fight with this demon. When I am struggling and I smile, it’s a joyous moment. I am not wearing a mask. There are moments that grab me, usually when I am with people, simple genuine moments of joy that gently kiss my spirit. There are a number of things that have the power to uplift my soul during difficult times if only for a short while. Kindness is the one gift that packs the biggest punch. Random Acts of Kindness, carrying them out and / or witnessing them has a definite impact during trying times. The challenge for me, is accepting these gifts when I find myself in the grips of despair.

Fortunately, I don’t live in this space, I only visit periodically from time to time. Those visits teach me the importance of compassion, thoughtfulness, and kindness. It is in that place that I learn the ugliness of self-sabotage. It is there I learn the importance and the impact of sharing kind hearted, loving words of encouragement to those around me. It is thanks to those darker moments that I am generous with compliments and smiles.

When I am in a good place, I am feeling hopeful and alive. My time is spent with a focus on staying positive and seeking out the gifts of every day bliss. Joy comes easily. These are the moments, days, weeks, months, time I relish. Appreciation and gratitude abound! I’ve come to recognize the importance of Creativity and Passion in keeping my spirits up. When I’m putting genuine effort into doing the things I am truly passionate about, I soar! It’s easy and powerful and real.

I am on a mission to play with my creativity and reignite my passion. My blog will reflect that mission. Renaming my blog “Mixed Bag of Nuts” might be suiting 🙂 It’s time to get creative, mix it up, shake it up, stand tall, grow fierce and just have fun.

Embrace your awesomeness 🙂

Authentic Forgiveness

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When we can recognize ourselves in others and we can accept that all of creation is connected, we learn the meaning of authentic forgiveness.

Authentic forgiveness is the ability to let go of grievances; criticism, objections, judgements, guilt, blame – and turn those grievances into acceptance.

Accepting that life is sometimes unfair. Accepting that most people are not going to fall under our idea of ‘perfect’. Accepting that everyone is perfectly who they are. Accepting every mistake (yes, even the big ones!) as an opportunity for correction, an opportunity to learn, an opportunity for growth.  Accepting that what might be right for you is not necessarily what is right for the next person. Accepting that things are rarely as they seem. Accepting that what may seem like an injustice may actually come to be a blessing. And finally, accepting that God’s plan for you may be different than what you had planned yourself.

Ego plays a dark role in all our lives. It’s that annoying little voice inside that tells us we are inadequate, that we need to prove ourselves to everyone around us, making us believe that we are somehow better or that we don’t quite measure up to others, leaving us questioning whether we are failures or too good for our own good. Ego’s will is to keep us feeling separate and alone. Ego is our greatest deceiver.

The truth is that we are all sharing this experience together. We all fight the same battles, the only difference is in how our problems and challenges present themselves and how we react to them. Consider this for a moment: All problems stem from separation.

If this is true, authentic forgiveness / connection is the answer to every problem. When authentic forgiveness is achieved all that is left is absolute love and acceptance for all that is.

We will do anything to protect and care for those we feel completely connected to.We will make time for them. We will smile and acknowledge them. We will make sure they are fed, clothed, and loved. We will swallow our pride, let go of our ego and apologize when necessary. We will allow them to make mistakes, even if sometimes we are hurt in the process. When we feel connected, when we let go of judgments, blame, and grievances, we accept. We accept every person. We accept each moment. We accept our circumstances. We love ourselves enough to learn from every person, each circumstance and make change when necessary.

In a world of connection and absolute forgiveness, no one is left behind. Everyone is cared for, fed, and provided for. Everyone is loved and accepted exactly as they are.

All blessings and miracles in the world are visible from this place of absolute truth.

May your day be filled with love and miracles!

 

I Saw The Sign :)

ImageIn beginning the “Living Your Best Life” vlog series, my intention was to post every week. It was important for me to post these exercises via vlog verses blog in order to convey my sincerity through the process. My daughter recorded and put together the first take which was a ton of fun. Two weeks later when we were getting ready to put together the second video, her ipad suffered a tragic and sudden death. I turned to CJ’s ipad. After finally being able to piece 2 videos together, his ipad crashed. We looked into recording on our pc, however the internet has taken a turn for the worse allowing us only short periods of use at a time. As much as I am looking forward to sharing this process with all of you, I am able to recognize and accept that this little series will fall into place at the right time and apparently that time is not right now. I apologize. For anyone interested, I am willing to share the process through writing. If you are in the area and would like to go through it in person, I am willing to take that journey with you. I want you to see the light within yourself and let it shine out and onto the world around you. I want you to learn to fully embrace the beautiful spirit that you are. Decide what it is that is deeply important to you and move in that direction. It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop. Be gentle with yourself. Every single moment is a brand new beginning. Here’s to your joy!

PS I dedicate this title to you, Tanya lol

Finding the Gifts in Juvenile Arthritis

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Juvenile Arthritis is a pain in the ass joints. My son CJ was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when he was 9 years old. The diagnosis took my husband and I by surprise though it shouldn’t have…Arthritis is a prominent disease in both our families. The thing is, when we think of Arthritis we tend to think of it as exclusive to adults. People don’t talk much about Arthritis affecting our children. CJ complained a lot about pain. Mostly when he was asked to do something like take out the garbage (!!) We thought he suffered from a case of laziness. But it was natural for him  to complain only when he was asked to do something…when his joints caused him discomfort, he would sit down with his legs up and watch TV or play video games to give his legs a rest. Otherwise he was out climbing trees, riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, or getting his chores done. The Doctors believe the pain had probably been there since birth, so the pain he felt was “normal” for him.  He never questioned it. He knew that when he was sore, he was tired and it helped to rest and so that’s exactly what he did, naturally. We only ever really needed to ask him to do something when he was ‘having a lazy day’ on the couch.

CJ had been training in Taekwondo since he was 7 years old – 2 years before his diagnosis. He loved it. He was determined that one day he would earn his Black Belt. Although the Arthritis did rear it’s ugly head a few times during practices and he missed his first tournament due to a flare up, he didn’t allow it to slow him down. He learned the true meaning of perseverance, and indomitable spirit.

CJ had always been thoughtful and compassionate of people and animals. Suffering the pain of Arthritis as the flare ups worsened actually made him even more so. He was driven and moved to “help people who couldn’t move their arms or their legs”. When we came across the Walk To Fight Arthritis, he was so determined to help that he took off down the road knocking on doors trying to raise funds. He ended up doing much more than that!

As people opened their doors to him, he shared with them his story which prompted many to share theirs as well. I will never forget the excitement in his voice as he threw open the door saying “Mom! I met more people who have Arthritis! I didn’t meet anyone my age with it, but lots of old people! And I raised a lot of money! Someone even gave me $20!” He raised $1800 that year and he only had 9 days to do it. People were so generous and CJ found a sense of connection with others in sharing his story.

Every year CJ sets a goal to beat last years donations. Last year he achieved that goal. CJ also sets a goal to keep moving toward his Black Belt.

In December 2013, CJ tested for his Black Belt. Part of the testing was to write an essay of his choosing. CJ’s wrote about Taekwondo and Arthritis. He wrote about the obstacles and the challenges he faced on his journey to becoming a Black Belt. He also wrote about the gifts that he has found in Arthritis – He knows who his true friends are. He has become more compassionate and caring toward others. He feels a sense of accomplishment contributing in the community. He has learned that by being himself and sharing his story, he has achieved what many adults do not; authenticity. He has learned to live by the tenets of Taekwondo in every day life; Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit.

On September 15th 2013, CJ was presented with The Ontario Youth Award for his efforts with The Arthritis Society. This is the first time this prestigious award has been presented to someone in the Ottawa area. On December 7th 2013, CJ earned his Black Belt and although it is considered a great honor to be tested by a Master in Taekwondo, the Master singled CJ out telling him the honor was HIS to have been a part of CJ’s journey in Taekwondo because he emanates the essence of Taekwondo in the Dojan as well as out in the community.

When life presents you with a challenge, learn from it, find the gift in it, and kick it’s  joint ass 🙂

If you are interested in helping CJ reach this years goal please visit his donation page here

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Living Your Best Life – Part 3

If you are waiting for your ideal life to materialize, it’s time that you realize your life is waiting for you!

Here’s where change happens! This week we are going to take the first step to living life on your terms.

What are you hoping to take from the “Living Your Best Life” series? My best life starts with you…I love blogging, I love putting together the videos. My passion is helping you discover yours. My reward is sharing in your journey so please keep in touch. I would love to hear from you 🙂

Embrace your awesomeness!!

Living Your Best Life – Part 2

We’ve finally fully completed and uploaded Part 2 of Living Your Best Life! I hope you are as excited about this little adventure as we are 🙂

“Living Your Best Life” doesn’t have to feel like some grand gesture or mission impossible. It’s simply about living every day on purpose – making each day significant. Sometimes even putting it that way can sound a little daunting. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be.

Through a series of videos, I would like to take this journey with you – from surviving each day to fully enjoying each day, going from content to being genuinely happy.

“Life’s Journey is surely not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways totally worn out shouting WooHoo! What a ride!”

Here’s to making every day count! Please keep in touch, if something in these videos has struck a cord with you or you notice changes in your life as you take this journey with us, we want to hear about it!

Embrace Your Awesome Self 🙂

Living my Best Life Helping others Live Theirs

Helping people to discover their dreams and live their most joyful life is my greatest passion. Nothing makes my heart sing more than doing exactly that. Thankfully I had many curious friends willing to volunteer as my guinea pigs for each new approach I learned in all the training and research I immersed myself into which provided me with the opportunity to be part of some amazing changes in their lives. The most thrilling benefit to this work continues to be watching the difference in the lives of my children as they put into practice the teachings they learned from their Momma 🙂

Today I would like to invite you to take a journey with me, a journey where you get to be the star of your own story. No RSVP necessary, I’m ready when you are.

Gifts From The Heart

This year I tried something different for Christmas. Everyone felt the need to work a tighter budget than usual. This provided an opportunity to get creative. It was important to me that everyone’s gifts were personal, memorable, and heartfelt. There are 3 gifts I was exceptionally proud of. I couldn’t wait for them to be unwrapped and received. I’d like to share these gifts with you.

For my sister, I wanted to gift her with a reminder of just how awesome she truly is. I purchased a beautiful, deep, white cup from the dollar store and wrote all over it with a black Sharpie. I wrote things that would make her laugh, things that would touch her heart, I wrote about the things that make her so perfectly her. Then I baked it at 350 for half an hour. I let it cool and filled it with kisses.

She loved it 🙂

My husband chose my sister-in-law in our gift exchange draw. We came up with two great gift ideas for her. She loves outdoorsy decor. Curtis cut a tree branch the size of coasters. He sanded them down, varnished them, and Voila! We had a beautiful set of wooden coasters!

She also had suffered a loss, there was someone she loved dearly who was spending their Christmas in Heaven. I tracked down a picture of her loved one, printed it on tissue paper and glued it to a candle. It was beautiful but missing something. I placed the candle into a vase and filled the bottom of that vase with episome salts. To add a little bling, I added small shiny Christmas ornaments into the vase. Nothing overpowering. Simplicity was key. I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. 

And I couldn’t have been happier with the result. She loved it. It touched her heart ❤

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more…” Dr Seuss

 

Bernard Charles

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The Juicing Nomads

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