Lam's 6th Birthday...


This is the very first picture captured of our little man, Lam. Isn't he cute? Taken over 6 years ago. Seems like yesterday.

Our little guy had his 6th Birthday this weekend. We are so proud! He had a Boys' Only party at the Western Canada Aviation Museum with a few of his buddies and their dads. Roomie was a little nervous about hosting - I'd planned it, but he had to carry it through and he wanted it to go well.
From the looks of it, he did a wonderful job, and Lam had a great time with his friends!

To our favourite little man...
Daddy, your baby sis Mini, and I love you so much. We hope you enjoyed your birthday. :)
xoxo

the video premiere...

Hey, look, it's me! On video... Bitchin'!
Please pardon the grainy nature of the video. I screwed up the setting on my camera and didn't realize it until it was too late. Meh. No big.
This is my part in Shai's 52WoC: Let's Hear You task, and it was so easy and fun that I'm thinking of doing this as a regular feature of the blog.



On the Last Day of School...

Yesterday, we decided to pick Lam up on his last day of kindergarten all together as a family. It was a hot, sunny day. On the way home...

Lam: "I can't wait 'til we get home. I want a drink."

Me: "Me too."

Hubby: "Me three."

Mini: "Me one hundred... and six."

Poll Results: Summer 2008 Must-See Movies

You've clicked and chosen the movies you don't want to miss this summer. According to you, our lifecandy readers, the must-see movies of 2008 are...

1: Indiana Jones IV - 16 votes
2: Iron Man - 15 votes
3: Sex and the City - 11 votes
4: The Dark Knight - 11 votes
5: Kung Fu Panda - 10 votes
6: Get Smart - 6 votes
7: Narnia: Prince Caspian - 6 votes
8: Speed Racer - 3 votes

An additional 5 voters said that none of this year's new releases particularly thrilled them, and 5 more voters were looking forward to watching movies that weren't listed.

Was your must-see movie not listed? If so, what was it?

I'll be lining up to see Indiana Jones, Get Smart, Iron Man, and Sex and the City. Can't wait! See you at the movies!

Lotions & Cosmetics are Food...

... and when we start thinking of them that way, the better off we'll all be.

Once again, no, I'm not telling you to go and chow down on your lipstick or eyeshadow.
I'm saying that you need to watch what you put on your skin because what you slather on you will eventually be in you.

Our skin absorbs 64% of what we put on it.

That's why the use of transdermals - like the nicotine patch and contraceptive patch - is such an effective way of administering drugs and medicines. In fact, according to EcoVoice.com, it's 95% more effective than oral administration.

In light of this, you'd think that cosmetics, lotions and all other "skin-centric" beauty/hygiene products would be just as strictly regulated as pharmaceuticals. Well, they're not. Cosmetic manufacturers can (and do!) put all sorts of chemicals, including cancer-causing substances, in their products and get away with it.

So, it's up to us, the savvy consumer, to choose our products carefully with a focus on natural and certified organic ingredients whenever possible.
Go on and pull out your makeup bag. Check all your favourite products on www.cosmeticsdatabase.com for safety.

I've done this myself, and although the database isn't complete, it did give me insight into which product brands to avoid or embrace. I've been overhauling my makeup basics, trying to stick to natural products - organic where possible - and minerals, and so far, here's what I've got...

Body Lotion: Aubrey Organics Ultimate Moist Unscented
Tinted Moisturizer: PF Organic Wear (Natural to Tan)
Powder: Everyday Minerals - Medium Tan
Mascara: Almay One Coat Mascara - Black
Lip Colour: Aveda Lip Tint SPF15 - Coco Plum

This is what I wear almost everyday, so I'm glad to know I've chosen safe products to feed my skin... although I'd like to find a better mascara. Any recommendations? :)

Happy Summer Solstice!

Image: The Fable of the Moth and the Sun


To my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, I wish you all a fabulous Summer Solstice today!

Today, our Earth has reached its farthest point in orbit from the Sun, but its tilt brings the Sun to its highest point on our Earth giving us in the Northern Hem the longest day and the shortest night of our year.

I hope you have a bright sunny day to spend with your friends and family. As for the night, it'll be short, so you may have just enough time for a quickie... so, make it a good one!

Hey, The Stove and Fridge Still Work!

This is me with my sadly-outdated, broken dishwasher... may he rest in peace.

Over the past 9 months, the water heater, toaster, garage door opener, dishwasher, furnace, and washing machine have, one after the other, malfunctioned or broken down, and they are now on their way to Silicon Heaven.

No big surprise really as most of our appliances, with the exception of the stove and fridge, were over 20 years old, and were due to be replaced anyway.

What surprised us was that they all broke down seemingly at the same time.

It sounds simply absurd to say this, but my first, immediate, off-the-seat-of-my-pants conclusion was that I brought this onto myself. I couldn't help it. It's the guilt-motivated Catholic girl in me. I also blamed it on bad karma. Then in a panic, I concluded it was bad Feng Shui and almost rearranged the placement of ALL the mirrors in this house. Yeah, I'm nuts.

After I finally talked myself off the ledge and realized that there's no way to know why all my appliances decided to band together and conspire to drive me into debt, I decided to look on the bright side, as I usually do eventually.

- Our brand new electric water heater has a larger tank, so the last person can have as hot a shower as the first.
- Our new toaster was free... long story full of good karma. :)
- We are upgrading to better appliances that will allow us to save money in the long run.
- We're in a good position to handle the extra expenses now.

Truth be told, I think this forced upgrade is what we need. Roomie and I tend to hang onto and use things until they become tattered, worn, and more headache than useful. We get so caught up cursing at the old stuff that just doesn't work right, we miss that we're better off with new stuff.

So, I take this as the Universe saying "Okay, enough. It's time for you to move up, guys. You're worth it." And I believe we are.

Mosaic Maker Meme

I spotted this Mosaic Maker Meme at Crazy Meezers and My Little Drummer Boys, and I thought I'd give it a go.

Here's how it works...

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favourite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your flickr name?



1. Bryce Canyon, 2. Sashimi Lunch, 3. st. mary's academy, 4. IMG_7397 burgundy ......, 5. Gerard Butler in Beowulf & Grendel, 6. Chinese green tea, 7. Mediterranean Masterpiece, 8. Pavlova, 9. KV cafe owner and friends, 10. My family. Mi familia, 11. Shiny happy people, 12. still life with candy

I had to tweak the last one and separate 'lifecandy' into 'life candy', because the former got me nothing, but no big.

Cool, eh? Let me know if you do one too, and I'll link to you from here!

3 Easy Little Green Ideas for the Summer

Image: Summer on Corydon

Sometimes the little things mean a lot and yield more benefits than you'd imagine. Here are simple little green habits I'm planning to start this summer to, you know, save the world... :)

1: Cone Me
Next time I hit an ice cream or gelato joint - like my current favourite, Mercato Gelato (their green tea gelato is heavenly!), I'm asking for my treat in a cone, not a cup. That way, I can even eat the 'packaging'. No cup and spoon to throw away!

2: Slow and Steady
When driving to the beloved beach, our favourite camping spot or to a friend's lake, I'll be driving s-l-o-w-e-r. Driving at 90km/h instead of 110km/h cuts fuel consumption by up to 25%. Makes me wish we had cruise control...

3: Rage Against the Machine
My city comes alive with the many festivals and events of summer, and I can't wait to check out what this year's Folkfest, Fringe Festival, and Folklorama have to offer.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), these places don't take plastic, so I'll be at the cash machine more often. But when I'm asked, "Would you like a receipt?", I'm hitting NO.
According to FEMALE magazine's June issue, "If every one in the USA refused theirs, it would save a roll of paper more than two billion feet long, or enough to circle the equator 15 times".

There. Just 3 simple little habits. Try them out yourself, and help save the world with me. :)

Happy Father's Day, Roomie...


To the best man in the world to have as the father of my children...
We love you... You are FABULOUS! :) xoxoxo

I Heart My Frontyard Garden - 12 June 08


Looking good, eh? My front yard garden is lush and beautiful thanks to all the rain I've been complaining about on Twitter. In this portion, taken this week, I present, from left to right:

Ornamental Grass
Allium
Lamb's Ears
Ostrich Fern
Hosta (in the back)
Snow-in-Summer
Primula (in front with the cream-coloured flowers)
Jacob's Ladder
Chrysanthemum
Creeping Thyme
Celosia
Scotch Moss
Sedum Autumn Joy
Snow-in-Summer (yes, more)

The stuff in the background is a bunch of Bergenia, Peonia, more Lamb's Ears, more Celosia, and more Jacob's Ladder.

The Gamers Have Invaded...

This is a scene I encounter much more often these days, Roomie and Mini, each with a controller in hand, playing video games.
(For RL friends/family who may notice, yes, that's Pukus on the floor behind Mini... he's become one of her favourite buddies.)

Roomie is an old-time gamer, and he's always loved his computer games. Yes, always - do the words VIC-20 and Commodore 64 ring a bell?

So, I always knew any kids we have would eventually play video games.

The other day, Lam told me he likes his "shooter" games, which immediately conjured up images of a different kind of "shooter" game. When I realized he didn't mean the kind we used to play in university on Friday nights with our favourite bottles of tequila, he had already moved on to tell me that he didn't like those as much as his absolute FAVOURITE game, Chaotic, a strategy trading card game he plays with Roomie.

Mini loves her games too. She loves Sims 2 Pets (my personal fav), but her favourite is Lego Star Wars. She loves that she can change characters on the fly from a robot to a flying creature or even Queen Amidala! What I love about it is that there's no blood and gore. When she strikes someone with her lightsaber, the character falls apart into its individual Lego pieces.
Mini smacks her dad's character shouting "Take that! And that!" And she's good too! It won't be long before she's whoopin' her dad's butt at these games.

Video games is still a minor interest right now, but I can see it growing. The games will be better and cooler, and Roomie and I will be right there beside them, playing as a family.
I can already hear the smack talk fly... :)

A Hairy Dilemma

It's been 9 months since my last haircut. My mullet has grown out and looks like this. This is me Doing the Karen Cheng so I can show you all just how long my hair is.

Today is a good hair day, but now that it's long again, those good hair days are few and far between. I can often be seen with a clip or claw pulling my hair back off my face, otherwise, it's a big tumbling mess.
When it gets too long, it tends to form a triangle, and I end up with a pointy head. And I honestly don't fancy myself as Bert.

So, I'll be going back to Jane, the best hairstylist EVER, and this time, I won't be telling her to "surprise me". :)

Unfortunately, I don't know what to tell her. Should I get a layered bob like Mini? Should I keep it long? Should I just wait a little longer?

I'd love to find out what you think. So, please lemme know! :)

Changes in the Neighbourhood...


This was the scene across the street from our house last week.

It had recently changed hands, and the new owners planned to make some minor renovations and rent it out. Unfortunately, while pulling out the kitchen cabinets, they found mold, and upon further inspection, they realized the mold was EVERYWHERE.

So, after the consent of the neighbours and a quick rezoning, out came the big guns and down came the building, leaving a big gaping hole. They demolished everything, and it appears nothing was salvaged, not even the tub.

We walked the kids to school from our backlane to lessen chances of any contact with mold spores that may be floating astray. It rained the next day, so all spores should be taken care of.

Not sure when they're rebuilding. The kids that frequent the community center and school nearby don't need a big hole luring them to their doom, so I hope it's soon.

The neighbourhood's changing, and I'm excited to see what's going to happen next!

The Perfect Jacket

Okay, even after some photo manipulation, this picture's too dark to show exactly how ultra cool this jacket is, but it was taken by Mini, and I wanted to show off her growing talent at capturing people's souls.

I bought the jacket in time for my hot anniversary date with Roomie, which was when this picture was taken.
We had dinner at Cafe Carlo, went for a romantic stroll around the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden where we got married, and then had some pavlova at Baked Expectations, one of our fav dating destinations.

Anyway, I'd been suffering for years (yes, years and I'm not exaggerating) with a jacket that was ratty and old and should've been discarded years ago, but I vowed never to spend money on a new one until I'd found The One.

Now, The One would be black, have many pockets inside and out, zip closure, cinched in at the waist without a belt, and suitable for both casual and dressy occasions.
I honestly thought that I'd either never find all that in one jacket or I'd find it but it would cost me a fortune.

Well, I held on, never lost faith, and as you can see, my patience paid off. I found The One!
And it only cost me $70CDN. Not bad, eh?!... although I'll still be feeling guilty for spending that much money on myself for a while. :)

G'Bye, Dryer Sheets & Hello, Clothesline!

Isn't this a great picture? It's by Operators Are Standing By, and it's the view from her kitchen sink.
If you looked through the window over my kitchen sink, you'd see pretty much the same thing... trees, fence, and yes, a laundry line.

We've been in our house just shy of 6 years now, and I've never used it. It just seemed like a ton of work for such little good. And of course, it's too cold to hang clothes outside eight months of the year over here.

The dryer is so much more convenient, and until recently, we didn't think our clothes could feel as soft and cuddly without the use of dryer sheets.

But after learning that these things are actually cancer-causing stinkers that also release their chemical poisons into the air when used, we stopped using them and found that we really didn't need them so desperately after all. And over the months, we've saved money not buying these lethal things.

We occasionally use the reusable Static Eliminator dryer cloths... although the first time we used it, the clothes ended up covered in blue wax thanks to a crayon we'd overlooked in Lam's jeans. Yuck, and yes, totally unrelated.
Anyway, you really don't need to use anything in the dryer, if you don't want to. Your stuff will be plenty soft on its own.

So, this summer, I'll make an effort to use our clothes line. We'll be saving money, saving our health, saving the earth, and getting ourselves some fresh, clean, sun-kissed duds. :)
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