Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Dining Room Tour

Hey there!

Sorry I was silent on here last week.  We've had alot going on around here, which I'll hopefully share with you soon.  It's huge! (Yeah, I'm pretty vague ;))

Today, I'd thought I'd share  our dining room.

Technically it's a dining area vs. a dining room.  When we renovated the kitchen 6 years ago, we had a wall knocked down to  open up the space.




This window over looks our pool/backyard, although right now it's a pretty sad sight.




I'm a pretty neutral-type-decorator but I've been trying hard to add punches of colour to our home.

I recently picked up a curtain  panel at Homesense on clearance for $9.00 and then add the fabric at the top for a punch of colour.




When we moved into this house, the dining area was covered in 27 year old cream coloured carpet. It was dingy, and underpadding was non-existent.  We had the hard wood added the day we before we moved our furniture into the house.  It was probably one of the best decisions we ever made.




The light fixture came from a store called the "the Lighting Store". lol.  The funny part is I had spied a similar fixture at Home Depot for double the price I paid for this one.



The only thing that bugs me about it, is that the .... are textured and it makes it very difficult to dust.






These two prints came from Homesense also.  As you can see, it was purchased in my neutral days.  But six years later, I still love them.



So there you go... a dining room tour.


So tell me, have you renovated our kitchen/dining area recently?  Are you a  neutral decorator or do you like colour?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Puppy Organization

You know, when people say that puppies are like babies?  It's sooooo true! In more ways than one.  



They are up during the night. You have to potty train them.  You have to watch their every move and they move fast.  AND they come with alot of paraphernalia.  sheeesh

Well this girly, comes with alot of treats to keep her busy... especially for when we need her to be busy and not chewing our ankles.

So this is what I was faced with every morning!  Right beside our my coffee maker.




It's handy spot to store the treats.  It's right beside the back door where we let her out to do her business in the morning (middle of the night, etc).  But, it was seriously giving me a case of the hives, everytime I looked at it. Especially in the morning, after being up 2-3 times and not having any caffeine in me yet.

So needless to say, I needed a "pretty" and functional way to store a large amount of those treats. And it need to handy, because that puppy moves fast and looses attention fast too. I've seen some containers at Homesense that were cute and with the bone as the handle on top, but since I'm leaving it on my counter for all to see, I wanted it to blend with the rest of decor.

So I went to Goodwill to try my luck and see what I could find for a few dollars.

I found some doozies with painted fruit and other pretty things one it.  Some of them had potential, and I'm sure with effort and a can of spray paint could look lovely, if someone wanted to spend a few minutes.

Well, I didn't want to spend any time making it pretty and it's cold outside and I don't feel like spray painting right now.

And lucky for me I found this beauty.  For only three dollars!!





It had a bunch of tape holding the tape down and it felt greasy and was certainly grimy and a little dirty.  But I knew that I could quickly remove the tape and clean it up using some Shaklee Basic H2 in the degreaser formula.

And here it is now... all clean and spiffy!  

It's a much nicer greeting in the morning, beside my caffeine maker.



So I filled up with a bunch of different treats and put the others away in the pantry for future.




And just to remind you... here is a before-after.


Much better huh?

And with all the money I have been spending on treats, I'm glad the canister was only $3.00.  

Oh Mr. Goodwill how I love you!

So tell me, have you found any thing at Goodwill lately? And more importantly, should I leave it as is or write "treats" or something one it? What do you think?

I'm linking up:

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Last Minute Cookies

Last night after a long day of running around, as I was about to sit down with a book and a cup of tea, I hear "Mom, can we make cookies? I need them for school tomorrow."  uuuughhh

Sydney had volunteered to bring in cookies for her French class to celebrate Mardi Gras (a day late I guess).  Great.  Perfect.

Thank goodness, I remembered Ashli had posted Organic Shortbread yesterday on her blog.  And I knew I had all THREE ingredients on hand.

So after grumbling for a bit and I went and dug out my THREE ingredients.  None of my ingredients are organic like Ashli's, but I had to make do.  I also didn't have maraschino cherries, so we did without.

Ingredients:

1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup Icing sugar
1 1/2 Cups flour (I used all-purpose)

Combine all ingredients in a mixer and beat.  Ashli says to beat it for 10 minutes, but at most I did it for 2 - 3 minutes.  I was annoyed, and just wanted to get them done.  (Next time I will though, to see if there is a difference.)

I put the dough in a Ziploc bag and then cut a corner of the bag to make a piping bag.

I tried to make mine into rosettes as in Valentine's Roses... hmmm...  some look like rosettes... don't they?

I didn't butter my cookie sheet or use parchment paper either.  I'm  a rebel!

Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes and call it done. (Ashli says 12-14 minutes, but I think every oven is different, and for me it was 10 minutes plus a few more seconds).



I have to admit I did try one and it was scrumptious!  It will now be my go-to last minute cookie recipe.



And there you go, Last Minute Cookies (aka Ashli's Organic Shortbread).  

So, what is your last minute go-to cookie recipe? 

(just in case I need a back-up in the future)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Things I want to remember...


This little guy is growing up too fast!



He's 6 1/2 years old now and he says the funniest things sometimes.  Just cracks me up!!

Over the years, I've been sharing on Facebook, some of the things that he says, kind of like my on-line Anthonyisms diary.  And today and went looking through the archives and alot of the posts from before 2012 were missing.  uuugghhh  not nice Facebook, not nice.  So before Facebook decides that everything he says is their property, I need to keep record here too.

The following are different posts  that I copied  from my personal Facebook from 2012. And I even found one from 2009.  

There are also some pictures from this past weekend.  



January 4, 2012As he's looking out the back door, Anthony just said "Mom, I bet the pool is frozen now and we can skate on it!" hmmmm..... I'm gonna have to watch him like a hawk today in case he gets any crazy ideas.

January 31, 2012Anthony wants to start a rock band but he needs people for his band. let me know if you are interested. Bear in mind he's 5, very bossy and his favourite song is Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden.

Feb 8, 2012 Anthony just referred to me as the Mysterious Queen while playing with his friend. Kids are so honest!

March 8, 2012Anthony just told his friend Maddie, your name is almost like mine except mine is Anthony and yours is not. I'm sure it made sense to him somehow.

March 12, 2012According to Anthony I'm the only person in this house who doesn't work. He says Scott has a job that he works at and he and the girls go to school and do school work and I do nothing all day. Really!?! huh

March 15, 2012 - Anthony just said " all my life I've been saving this family from the evil demons that lurk in the shadows". Oh my! Thank goodness for my Anthony!

April 2, 2012Anthony's friend Maddie just told him he looks handsome today. He follows with "thanks for noticing."

April 2, 2012conversation between two 5 year olds (anthony and his friend Maddie) 

Anthony: "you know superheroes are not real, they are just people in costumes. I saw it on America's Funniest videos". 

Maddie: "but Fairies are real. like the tooth Fairy. and if you don't believe you won't get any money. so believe Anthony, and make sure your mom knows you believe." lol

April 13, 2012 - Anthony heard from Sydney that the grade 8's had their vaccinations today at school and asked if he could skip grade 8 and go straight to highschool after grade 6 or change schools.

April 16, 2012I just gave Anthony a bagel with orange marmalade on it. he asked what was on the bagel. I said just try it. he asks what's "tryit"? I said it's yummy. he says I don't like "tryit"! As if tryit is a new food or something. :)

Apri 18, 2012 - oh boy! Anthony rescued ants from the cold outside and brought them in the house and he says they are his friends and doesn't want to desert them outside!!! oh boy!!!



July 16, 2012This is the second day of Anthony going shirtless. He refuses to put one on, he's afraid that while he is putting his shirt on his brain might get crushed. heaven help me.

July 18, 2012conversation between Anthony and I "mom, I have a dilemna" 
Me " oh really, what" 
Anthony "I don't know who I should pick as a my wife. Lyndsay, Nicole, Maddie, Grabrielle". 
Me: "yeap, that is a dilemna" 
Anthony: "I know! when I become a pop star it's gonna get worse, cause everyone will want to marry me!"
 
Aug 1, 2012 - Anthony "mom what's a carnivore?" 
Me: "someone that eat's meat."
Anthony: (with a startled look on his face) "wow mom! Did you go to Highschool?"
Me: "ummm, yes. Why?""
Anthony: "oh. Cause you know things. I thought you only went to Portuguese school."
From the mouth of a six year old.

Aug 5, 2012Anthony wants "a toy, that is a rocket with a rabbit inside attached to a parachute..." Anyone seen such a toy?

Aug 7, 2012Anthony just had to tell me (and demonstrate) to me that Toopie of Toopie and Binoo, who only has three fingers, put up his middle one. "Bad Toopie, very bad!"

Aug 14, 2012Question of the day... "What kind of bird is big bird?" Inquiring 6 year old minds want to know. (I really have no idea!)




Dec 8, 2009 Proud parent moment today in Dentist office when Anthony mooned everyone in the waiting room and then ran away with his pants down to his knees and me chasing after him.


So tell me, how do you keep track of your kidisms?

Monday, 11 February 2013

My Weight-loss Journey! The Beginning...



Do you remember when I brought Shaklee back?

Well now I'm bringing Sexy back!  Yep!  Slowly! I need to loose about 50 lbs.

But I'll take you back... way back.

Growing up, I was always the skinny child.  I was a picky eater.  Picky as in I wouldn't eat cooked peas, but I had no problems going into my Grandma's garden and picking sweet peas and eating them raw right out of the shell.  I was picky that I would never eat cooked vegetables, but I had no problem eating smelts and fried liver and eels (yummy eels, eel stew is still my fave).  I ate all the odd things that most other kids wouldn't eat, in North America anyway.  I lived in Portugal until I was 8.

I wouldn't eat pizza. I remember the first day I was offered pizza when we moved to Canada and I nearly gagged when I saw what "pizza" was.  At the time Pizza was not a "Portuguese" thing to eat. Now it's a family staple. lol

I wouldn't eat salads.  I was 22 the first time I ate a salad.  I was at a conference for work and I was starving and out came the salad.  I asked the lady beside me if that's all they were serving.  She said "yes". So I thought I'd give it a try.  It was a green salad with French dressing.  Not bad. Then, the next meal came out... I don't remember what it was. I looked at the lady beside me, and she starts laughing "oh you thought I was serious that we were only having salad?"  Yeah, actually I did.  Anyways, from that day on I started eating salads with every meal. With French dressing. I guess I just assumed I didn't like salads.

Oh by the way, when I was 22 I was also bulimic/anorexic and weighed 92 lbs. (at my lowest)


It took me a number of years to figure out what was causing my eating disorder and deal with it. But I won't go into that here, I'm no expert, just a survivor.

I met my soon-to-be-husband when I was 24.  He was very active.  He worked out, he rode his mountain bike, he played hockey, he played tennis, and he played golf.  I on the other hand was skinny but I rarely worked out.  I just rarely ate... until I met him and fell in love. I like to say that love made me fat. lol

He introduced me to pasta.  You need pasta for energy when you are working out like he was.  He introduced me to vegetables with pasta and cheese, lots of cheese.  It  became a staple meal in our house.  Oh yeah, I still wasn't working out much, other than the odd walk with our dog.  I started noticing the pounds packing on. Slowly but surely I had gained 10-15 pounds by the time I was pregnant with my first daughter.

My oldest daughter came along before I turned 26.  That pregnancy was my excuse to let go and enjoy being pregnant.  I ate and ate and ate like I had I hadn't eaten in 26 years.  I gained 80 lbs.

I was surprised after she was born, that I weighed only 20 lbs less, I was positive "I was all baby".

I spent the next 6 months, walking my dog with the baby in my front pouch.  The weight came off minus about 15 pounds.

I carried those 15 pounds into my second pregnancy a year later.  But then I was put on bed rest 11 weeks into that pregnancy.  I was eating but not moving... much.  I gained 65 pounds.  I had clearly not learned anything about eating healthy.

Haley was born and again I lost the regulatory 20lbs before I even left the hospital.  Now I had a two year old and an infant and definitely no time to work out, oh and it was winter (I hibernate in winter).  Haley became ill a few weeks after she was born... RSV, pneumonia, asthma. We were in and out of the hospital for first few years of her life.  She had a few surgeries.  Eventually I lost the weight, minus 15 pounds (plus the first 15 from the first pregnancy). By the this point I weighed about 145 pounds.

I ended up gaining another 20 lbs overtime and then along came baby #3.

I'm not sure how much I ended up gaining but I know I broke 200 lbs, and went well over because that is when I stopped looking.



 After he was born, my weight went down to 165 pounds. I'm assuming I lost the weight because I nursed him for 6 months, because I certainly didn't work out. But then it came back after I stopped nursing.

Anthony is now 6 1/2.



I have tried Weight Watchers numerous times.  I hated keeping track of the points. I know the diet works, if you are disciplined to keep track.  I wasn't.



I looked in to Dr. Bernstein. Have you seen the cost?


My face kept getting rounder and rounder.

I tried joining the gym.  I couldn't stand walking on a treadmill sweating while the pretty skinny girl beside me barely broke a sweat while she ran. Although I admit I enjoyed the yoga classes, I didn't go often enough to see a difference and motivate myself to keep going.

I tried another diet 2 years ago, as a new years resolution.  I lost over 25 pounds.  The weight loss stayed with me for 1 1/2 years, but with all of my different stresses last year slowly the weight came back. But that diet worked and it stayed off until I got too comfortable again.

So what is so different right now you say?

I'm tired of this battle.

I'm tired of my knees hurting when I go up the stairs.

I'm just tired.

I went into the depths of my basement the other day and found my husband's old weights and I pulled out 50 pounds.  I could barely lift them more than a few inches off the ground.  No wonder my knees hurt, I'm carrying this weight around all day.  24/7.







Here's my weight : 188 lbs
Feb 11, 2013



And my stats:

I'm 5' 3" tall
Weight: 188 lbs.
Bust: 43 inches
Waist: 43 inches
Hips: 42 inches
Thighs: 38 inches

Arms: 14 inches





  • I will have breakfast every day.  To make it easy, I will have a Smothee every morning, because it worked for me last time I was on a diet. 


  • I will drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily.



  • I will work out a minimum of 30 minutes daily. I'm sure this cutie patootie will make sure of that.





  • I will eat high fibre meals. I will eat either fruits and/or vegetables at every meal.


  • I will eat limit sugar intake, but I will eat dessert occasionally. (cause I'm not crazy!)

To help me a long and to give me the boost my body desperately needs right now, I will also taking a Shaklee 180 Metabolic Boost.







So that's my plan.

This time... I'm motivated and it's not a New Year's resolution, it's my new lifestyle.

Any one else with me? You know strength in numbers and all?








Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Cost of Green Clean - A Cost Comparison

I had a comment from someone the other day and it's one that I get asked about alot which is, "Are Shaklee products expensive?" 

I get it! I am a huge coupon user, and have been for many years.  For years, I was getting "green" products for pennies on the dollar.  Then I would be cleaning with these green "better-for-you" products and I would start coughing uncontrollably if my windows were not wide open.  Or my hands would dry out and start chapping, because those "earthy friendly products" were so potent.  So really, how much money was I really saving in the long run, if now I have to buy moisturizers and creams to soothe my hands?  Or open the window in the dead of winter to get rid of the "clean" smell. Not to mention the effect on the environment, because the used bottles ended up in the garbage/recycling.

Ok. I'm stand off my podium now, but I thought I've give you some numbers to work with.





The Green Clean kit above comes with the following for (member price) of $111.80.

It includes the following:


The Get Clean® Starter Kit contains:
  • Basic H Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate, 473 mL (1)
  • Germ Off Fragrance-Free Disinfecting Wipes, 35 wipes (1)
  • Nature Bright® Laundry Booster and Stain Remover, 907 g (1)
  • Dish Wash Concentrate, 473 mL (1)
  • Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate, 907 g (1)
  • Fresh Laundry Regular Scent Concentrate HE Compatible, 946 mL (1)
  • Soft Fabric Fragrance-Free Dryer Sheets, 80 sheets (1)
  • Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate Dispenser (empty) (1)
  • Nature Bright® Dispenser (empty) (1)
  • Dropper Pipette (1)
Also includes all the accessories you need to get really clean:
  • Organizer Caddy (1)
  • Spray Bottle (3):
    • Window and Mirror Cleaner
    • All-Purpose Cleaner
    • Degreaser
  • Dispensing Pump for 946 mL bottles (1)
  • Laundry Measuring Cup (1)
  • Dual Measuring Spoon (1)
  • Cleaning accessories (4):
    • Super Microfibre General Cleaning Cloth
    • Super Microfibre Glass Cleaning Cloth
    • Super Microfibre Dish Sponge
    • Miracle Scrubber Pad


You would have to spend more than $3,400 to get the same amount of cleaning found in the Get Clean Starter kit!  That's insane. 

If you look at the Cost Comparison below, you can see that  Shaklee less expensive then the other green products. ummm... less than 1 cent for window and glass cleaner?



What did you think about the chart???? Crazy isn't  it when it's broken down like that? (the chart is a few years old, so some of those prices have gone up)

I've had my original Get Clean starter kit since 2010 and only this month I've re-ordered the Basic H2 and Scour Off, because I'm running low.  And with 3 kids, a cat and now a puppy, I seem to always be cleaning something. lol  

And don't forget that I'm doing my part for the planet.

When you purchase the Get Clean Starter Kit you:

  • Keep 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills.
  • Eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas.
Makes me smile.

So are you ready to get started on a cleaner, safer, greener home that saves you money?

Contact me for other Shaklee Specials at bettecreek(@)yahoo(.)ca

Click here to visit my site or order the Get Clean Starter kit.







Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How I Shine My Sink!


So the other day, during my morning ritual of drinking my coffee and reading blogs, I came across Jen's monthly organizing challenge.  At the end of her post she asks "What other kitchen organizing tips do you have to share to kick off the challenge?  Any projects that are working wonders for you?  How about favorite product picks that you couldn't function without?"

Well, years ago, when I was feeling overwhelmed getting my house work done with a new baby and a couple of little kids running around, I signed up for the Flylady e-mails.  My first task as a Flybaby was to "shine my sink".  Every night before bed I would make sure the dishwasher was loaded and my sink was clean, so that when I woke up in the morning the first thing I saw was not a sink full of dirty dishes.  Of course, there was alot more than that I took away from the Flylady on things to keep my home more organized and cleaned, but that one has stuck with me.  I always empty my sinks and load my dishwasher before bed.

So off to my sink I went...







Do you see it?





aaahhh... there it is.  The grimy yuckiness!  Can you tell it's been a while since I gave it a good scrubbing?


So I grabbed my Shaklee Scour Off and went to town.




Here are some of the Green Clean Credentials for Scour Off:


  • Nontoxic
  • Natural abrasives
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Biodegradable surfactants
  • No phosphates

You can use Scour off on all sorts of things:


  • Sinks
  • Tile
  • Grout
  • Ovens
  • Ovenproof glass
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Porcelain sinks
  • Baked enamel
  • Showers, bathtubs
  • Soap Scum, mineral deposits



Did you know?

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"Some scouring cleansers, as well as tub, tile, and sink cleaners may contain chlorine-releasing compounds and may contribute to the formation of organochlorines, a dangerous class of compounds that can cause reproductive, endocrine, and immune system disorders. Some also may contain phosphoric acid, which is corrosive in high concentrations and is an eye, skin, and respiratory irritant."

Here's a testimonial from a satisfied customer of mine:

This is what Kathy had to say about the Scour Off:


"I have been meaning to email you about the Shaklee.  I am very happy with it, especially that scrub stuff.  You should have seen how bad Tyler's tub was.  First I think there was still release on it from when Josh was there and nobody cleaned it properly and then they did the tile and it was a mess.  I was dreading cleaning it.  I got my great-niece to clean it.  Looked like crap.  I got Sonia to clean it.  It looked like crap and then I got Manuel to scrape the concrete and I took that scrub and it worked so easy and so good.  Made the tub look like new.  Then I always hate cleaning the top of the cook top.  Wow that stuff just makes it so easy. " 



So are you ready for the after...







My sink is so shiny again it makes me giddy! And it only took a couple of minutes to clean it all up (it probably took me longer to take the pictures).


And now for the mandatory before and after...


I love waking up to a clean sink.  Makes me feel like I can take on the world! Or at least 3 kids and rambunctious puppy! :)




So tell me, what is your one must - do thing to make your kitchen feel cleaner and more organized in the morning?


For more information on Scour Off or other Shaklee products,
 please check out my online Shaklee site.


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