the 2nd annual freebie list - who's on your list in 2009?

Lainey calls it the "list of 5 'unattainables' you’d have permission to tap without consequence from your significant other should the opportunity arise".
No long-term tapping here -- just a romp in the sheets... or on the floor... or in the sand... or on the kitchen counters... or in the car... etc. You get the picture.

Why do I enjoy this List thing? Because it's such a simple premise, harmless, and so much fun, especially when you're hanging out with a bunch of drunk girlfriends.

And apparently, it's a big thing with many of my readers too. I mean, did you read the comments on last year's post?! Holy crap!

Anyway, these lists are all in fun, and I have no intention of ever leaving my darling Roomie for my pretend boyfriend Gerard Butler -- or anyone else for that matter.

So, if you make a list too, we won't hold you to it -- unless you actually want to try out some hot monkey-lovin' with George Clooney or Salma Hayek, of course. ;)

Anyway, on that note, I proudly share my 2009 Freebie List.
And your job is to show me your list in the comments. Okay, let's begin.

1: Gerard Butler -
Despite the spittle and funny pants (thanks, Lainey, you've ruined it for me! :D lol), I'm steadfast in my mad-crush. He's tall, funny, scruffy, and intelligent, and he reminds me too much of Roomie, but that's okay.

2: Ed Quinn -
He's tall, dark, handsome, and played a scientist guy on one of my fave shows, Eureka. But really, it's the VOICE. It's like velvet, people! When he speaks, it's like he's wrapping you up in chocolate.

3: Jared Padalecki -
Okay, this one has landed me square in the center of Cougarville. Oh, for shame! I once tweeted "I want to take Jared Padalecki and do naughty things to him. Is that bad?" According to many Twitter girlfriends, it's not.

4: Joe Flanigan -
Not sure if I'd like him in any role other than that of John Sheppard on Stargate: Atlantis. Haven't seen him in anything else though. He reminds me of Richard Dean Anderson's Jack O'Neill -- funny, sexy, strong leader. He TOTALLY rocks the black t-shirt!

5: Nathan Fillion -
Another scruffy, sexy, funny, strong leader. I LOVE Firefly and Serenity, but if everything else sucked in the show and movie, I'd still watch it for Nathan's Mal. I really thought he'd be too pretty-boy for the job. I am happy to admit I was wrong.

The Unofficial 6-10...

This is like the Area 51 of the Freebie List. It exists. It's got really interesting stuff. Many people deny that it's really there. Well, it's there on MY list!

6: Craig Ferguson
7: Clive Owen
8: Hugh Jackman
9: Joshua Jackson
10: Adam Levine

Okay, now you...

10 blogs to read when you want your life to suck less

I'm a freak -- a freak, I tell you! -- when it comes to life-designing/life-improvement. I know, you can tell, right? Because I'm so organized, eco-savvy, and my house is the epitome of simple style? Yeah, I wish that were true.

Anyway, I'm trying -- OMG, I'm trying! -- even if it is just to get ideas and maybe dream, but the lure of CSI:NY and frickin' Twitter, oh, and the need to go to the bathroom once in a while, are such inconvenient distractions.

Luckily, when I do pull myself away from the tv, laptop, and toilet, I can get the job done real quick-like thanks to my 10 Fave Life-Improvement Blogs. Check it...

1: Green is Sexy - Love the practical green tips from 3 gals who practice what they preach... oh, and one of them is Rachel McAdams... squee! :)
Check out: bosom buddies.

2: Re-Nest - Learning to eco-redesign my house... from big projects to small ones
Check out: Look! A Clean Kitchen

3: Ideal Bite - I eat up the newsletters with links to eco-smart products and services... frickin' EAT. THEM. UP.
Check out: Who cut it?

4: G Living - Dark/slick green living sexified... and we all know everything is better sexified
Check out: Stroh Haus | Modern Day Straw House

5: Casa Sugar - Gives me ideas on how to make my house FABULOUS
Check out: Railroad Tie Dining Table and Chairs

6: clean+istry - Clean - Yes; Germs - No
Check out: 5 Essential Cleaning Items for the Holidays

7: Zen Habits - Hey, Life! Take that, and that!... Hack, hack, hack...
Check out: A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home

8: Simple Mom - Easier for me to use than FlyLady... simple... for mom... hey, look at that!
Check out: Home Management Notebooks are a great idea

9: Unclutterer - Helps me get rid of crap in my house... and then organize the non-crap
Check out: Seven Benefits of Uncluttering

10: Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Work Week - Helps me attack life... like a puma.
Check out: How to Lose 20lbs of fat in 30 days without doing any exercise

Oh, and the picture? It's a bunch of beautiful tulips Roomie got for being a super-awesome instructor. Then I "Effect"-ed the crap out of it... Likey? :)

This post is my contribution to Task #41: Your Top 10 Blog Faves of Shai's 52 Weeks of Blogging Community (yes, it's back!).

I luuuuuuuuv Craig Ferguson -- and so do you...

... but in case you don't, check out this video, and I just know you'll be smitten like me. It's the opening number of his April 20th show.

If you're wondering "What's with the puppets and the dude on the right?", you may want to read up on the significance of 4/20.
Meanwhile, enjoy the wonder that is Craig Ferguson (Hottie #6 on my Freebie List)...

You may love him too, but he's mine...

I Guess It isn't 'Baby Fat' Any Longer

* Selected for MCT Syndication. *

Originally published on April 22, 2009.

Last month, I tried on my bathing suit, and it was NOT a pretty sight. I looked tired. My legs looked stuffed with cottage cheese. My arms had wings -- holy mackerel, the wings! And oh, my heavens, my belly should've had "Baby not on Board -- Really" tattooed across the front. I was reminded of that evil villain in the movie with Princess Leia in her golden bikini -- and it's not Darth Vader.

Is this what pregnancy and motherhood has done to me?
No, I had to admit this couldn't be 'baby fat'... especially since my baby will be turning 5 this July. This was all my doing, and it started long before I had my babies.
My tale starts in high school. I was one of those annoying girls who could eat anything and still stay stick thin. I would stuff my face as much as I could because my aunts would tell me I was too skinny, but I just couldn't gain an ounce over 105 lbs. Now, my doctor said that 105 was perfectly healthy for a small-boned 5'4" woman in her mid-/late-teens, but try telling that to my scary Filipina aunties who thought my bony frame would never land me a husband.
My speedy metabolism was certainly not a result of an active lifestyle. I was a math/science nerd who'd wait for a cold day in hell -- or at least, the threat of an 'F' in Phys.Ed. -- before I'd ever put down my calculator and petri dishes for, ugh, basketball.
Even University didn't change me. I didn't gain the famed Freshman 15. Oh no, not me -- I lost 5 pounds. Meals would be forgotten after hours in electronics labs. The only time I'd really eat was when I'd remember to grab a little something while working at my part-time job as a waitress.
You see, I never had to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, to eat clean and whole foods, and to exercise consistently, and to be honest, I really didn't want to. Little did I know that this attitude was going to turn around and bite me in my little, soon-to-be-big bum.
The Era of Effortless Slimness ended right after graduation. A new swank desk job eliminated the need to run around a restaurant. Instead, because even rookie engineers get decent pay, I was eating at these restaurants with greater frequency. My weight started escalating to new and dizzying heights. Things didn't improve with my 2 pregnancies. I gave myself permission to eat, and eat, and eat, so I ballooned to approximately 165lbs both times -- although after birthing each baby, I breastfed down to the low 120s. Once I closed down the milk factory for good and weaned the kids, my weight started to climb again, and now I'm at 133lbs.
So, where do I go from here? Hopefully, back down to 115-120lbs where my doctor says I should be. With a family history of hypertension -- both parents are on blood pressure medication -- and borderline high cholesterol, I need to get my bodyfat down and under control. That means exercise and eating right consistently. The carbs/sugar, trans/saturated fats, and large portions have to stay gone. And I need to keep moving every single day.
In the past, I've choked on the "staying consistent" part of the program. Motivation has been so difficult for me to find, but I think it will be different this time. I now have two little people who watch and copy my every move, so I want to make my habits good, healthy ones. I've also told my blog readers -- and now you -- about this healthy/wellness journey, so I need to stay accountable. Finally, I have this burning desire to see Jabba the Hutt out of my bathing suit once and for all.
.: This is an original Canada Moms Blog post written by Nenette AM who also blogs about bacon-weaves on roasted ham, life-improvement, and her funny family at Life Candy. On second thought, maybe she should lay off the bacon-weaves...

my wonderful world

Wonderful #1: I did some screaming and happy dancing today. No, my pretend boyfriend Gerard Butler didn't call and profess his undying love for me. Something even better happened...

This post, my latest on the Canada Moms Blog, has been picked to go to syndication on April 27!

It's a particular honour because it's the very first CMB post to be picked for syndication. So, I'm totally having a "You like me -- You really like me!" moment.

If any of you happen across it, please let me know. And if you see it in print, could you please scan it and email it over? I'd appreciate it super-lots. :)
Anyway, if you wish, head on over to CMB, have a gander, and leave me a "Hey, yo, Nen!"

Wonderful #2: You know that guy, you know, the guy, the dude on Stargate: Atlantis? John Sheppard? Yeah, him. He's going on my List. (You know, the List. Don't pretend you don't know. You have one too.) Well, the actor, Joe Flanigan, who plays him is. He's cute and scruffy and funny. In an almost Matthew Fox, a la Party of Five, kinda way. Almost like Roomie, but different.

Wonderful #3: We remembered to bring the camera on our recent visit to see my MIL. The kids are always a welcome sight not only to their Gramma, but also to the other folks at the personal care home. This was our official Easter visit as we were all too sick to visit on actual Easter. Mum can't leave the Home, so we brought over candies for her to give to the kids. That's what the bag on the table is all about.

Wonderful #4: Mittens the Wonder Kitten has settled in right and tight in our home. Mini has been a smothering caring mommy to her little baby, and Mittens has had to learn all the great hiding spots so she can have a little break from all of the loving. Because she knows, if she isn't speedy enough, she gets this...

Wonderful #5: Spring has finally appeared in my Front Yard Garden. See? Happy Earth Day!

share the passion... and pass the salt...

Roomie and I don't always find the same women attractive. Yeah, you read right -- no need to read it again.

I think I have a pretty good idea what Roomie's "type" is -- petite, buxum, intelligent, talented Asian women (well, duh) -- but it's still hit and miss with those outside of that demographic. Sometimes I think a woman's really cute, but to him, she's meh. So, I still wonder. Still curious.

Like the other day, this commercial came on...

Me: "Look, look! It's that commercial I wanted you to see!"

Roomie: "Okay."

Me: "See? I think that guy's really hot. Cute, scruffy. But I don't think she is all that attractive. Do you think she's hot?"

Roomie: "Meh, salt to taste." He shrugged then turned away.

Me: "But what does that even mean?!"

this Easter was all about the bacon weave... oh, and family... but mostly, the bacon weave.

On Saturday night, Mini said, "Mommy, are you going to be the Easter Bunny, or is it Daddy? If it's Daddy, you need to tell him to hide the eggs tonight, okay?"

And so started our family's 2009 Easter Festivities!

Easter is so much fun here. Simple and relaxed -- and FUN. Not like the nightmare of my youth, when Easter Celebration consisted of Sunday Mass when I was threatened into playing the organ for the choir (my parents were members) and shook with terror every time I had to play. {shudder}

Easter LootLook at my awesome kids with their loot, post-hunt! A total of 14 plastic eggs filled with candy were strewn all over the livingroom, diningroom, and foyer. So, yeah, 7 each. AND they got an extra chocolate bunny each. I know! LUCKY!!!

I still felt sick from my illness of last week, but I had to do dinner, right?! (Pestilence to all who usurp my position in my kitchen!!!) Nothing elaborate: ham, pineapple sauce, steamed broccoli, smashed potatoes, and home-made fries.

Bacon Weave Ham Before CookingNow, I (with my daughter's help) did something new, something different to the 2kg ham Roomie and Mini brought home that I'd never done before: drape a bacon weave over it.

Bacon Weave Ham After CookingYes, I am BRILLIANT!!! Mini was the one who stuck the cloves in the bacon. I then basted it with the pineapple-juice/brown-sugar/7UP mixture I marinated it in during baking.

In 3 short hours, our wonderful dinner looked like this...

Easter Dinner
The gluttons of my family -- okay, all of us -- had 2 dinners. Yeah, *2 dinners*. We watched the Futurama Movie, Bender's Game, in between. Then the kids and Roomie had ice cream for dessert.
We are enjoying leftovers today. :)

Hope you all had a great Easter!

teaparties at my house are *always* this fun...

My kids think boneheading is funny.

You're probably thinking "What? Since when has 'bonehead' been a verb? Has Nenette been in the firewater again?" I'm completely sober for now. But if this is you, check this hilarious video because you'll need to know before I continue with my story. Just a few seconds will give you an idea of what it is. Go on. I'll wait...
(UPDATE: If YouTube says the video is unavailable, they're lying. Just hit "Refresh", and all will be well.)

Back? Okay. A few days ago, Mini decided to fire up the EasyBake and throw a tea party. Cake was Confetti Angel Food by the lovely Betty Crocker (just 3 tbsp of cake mix with 1 tbsp water for 2 little cakes!!!) and tea was water. It was super tasty awesome!!!

In appreciation after such a delightful afternoon repast, we gave our little girl a little peck on the cheek. Now, as you can see, just as I took the picture, someone decided to do a little boneheading...

And of course, #2 had to bonehead too... (what is she doing?!)

Yeah, they're weird. But they're mine. :)

For Maddie, Heather, and Mike...

A blog sister has lost her little girl. And there are no words. I just feel so heartbroken and sad. Lots and lots of sad.

So, I hugged Lam and Mini a little longer and a little tighter. Gave a little prayer of thanks that I still had them to play, talk, and laugh with -- and that they had the opportunity to grow and experience the wonders of this world for many more years.

And I shed a few tears for Heather and Mike. Parents should NEVER outlive their children. EVER.

So, for Maddie, Heather and Mike, I am spreading the word, turning my twitter page purple, and asking if you too would like to donate to the March of Dimes. Please do, so no one else has to lose their little one much too soon.

my f*ck it list - because life's too short to do everything.

I'm still pissed that my TO-DO list didn't change last week. And now my cold has reached a new level of ick. When am I going to get stuff done? Do you have any idea how long my TO-DO list is?! Holy carp!
Then as if the Universe had heard my freaky ranting, I got a sign by way of Ali's post the other day. She, like Metalia before her and Michael Ian Black who started it all, made a F*ck It List -- you know, the list of things I don't need to do before I die. You know what this means?! It means there are things NOT on my TO-DO list! Isn't that awesome?!!!

Okay, so, here's my list of THINGS I *DON'T* NEED TO DO BEFORE I DIE:

1: Bungee sex.
- The idea of jumping off a bridge with only a huge elastic to keep me from my doom is enough to make me go "uh, riiiight, no way". Adding a naked partner is really a moot point -- even if he were my pretend boyfriend Gerard Butler. I'd be thinking "OMG, I'm going to frickin' die now!" the entire time instead of enjoying the thrill of public sex.

2: Learn how to play golf.
- Okay, I don't know how to play golf, but I think it's like this: Buy expensive equipment. Buy tiny balls. Spend even more money to use expensive equipment to hit tiny balls into holes some dude dug into the ground. Repeat 17 times. See? Seems really pointless, time-consuming, and expensive to me.

3: Watch an episode of The Hills, Gossip Girls, or the new 90210.
- If I want to see cattiness, angst, back-stabbing, emo divas, and passive aggressive lunatics, I bet I can find them all at the next parent council meeting at my kids' school.

4: Get a fake tan.
- Do I have to explain this? Really? Okay, look at this picture of me with my son. Yeah, that's why.

5: Go to a Marilyn Manson concert.
- People who go to his concert typically wear a black corset, heavy makeup, and chains, and frankly, I'm not interested in putting that stuff on again ever.

6: Write the next great American Novel.
- Mainly because I'm Canadian. And because any novel I write will be erotic in nature, it's greatness will be decided by a very small subset.

7: Swim with the sharks.
- It's like giving me a bottle of plum wine without a condom: IRRESPONSIBLE.

8: Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring.
- Wouldn't be complete without the bald pate and beer belly. Oh, and the "be a 45-year-old man" requirement.

9: Bike the Trans Canada Highway.
- You know the phrase "it's as easy as riding a bike"? Yeah, it does NOT apply to me. As in I don't ride a bike very well -- NOT as in I am not an easy ride. Really. Okay, it depends on who you ask.

10: Buy a ShamWow
- The commercials irritate me. No matter what time of the month. Yup, that's all it takes.

BTW, Metalia is awesome, but I may have to arm-wrestle her for Michael Ian Black, because, hello, funny guy -- clearly the funniest guy on Twitter.

Until my Roomie decides to join, of course.

all this *and* a waffle in my mudroom

I was going to write a really bitchy post today, because Spring Break is almost over, and the kids and I have been SICK the entire time. And I'm still sick! Ugh!

But I will try not to bitch because my blog is about my "Favourite People, Places, & Things", and if you don't believe me, just check out my blog header and read the new tagline. Yes, that's the last change I'm making to my header. Really. I swear on my pretend boyfriend Gerard Butler.

So, speaking of my favourite things, today is National Cleavage Day!!! In honour of the day, I present a picture of my own boobage. It's not the best shot of my rack, but it's the only one I can find at short notice.
It surprises you that I keep track of these bodypart celebrations? NEVER underestimate my rack-centricity, people! Actually, Jenny, The Bloggess told me (and everyone else who reads her blog) that it was NCD, and I do whatever Jenny says. So -- cleavage.
Now, don't say I don't do anything for you.

Okay, so Spring Break -- I promise to try not to bitch -- but it was very disappointing.

What was cancelled: -- playdates lined up, movie night at the theatre, mallratting, etc., etc.
Why: -- Lam's fever, Mini's inexplicable gusher of a nosebleed, me getting sick with some unknown disease, then Mini's fever (which was just yesterday).

We did manage Lam's playdate with his friend Will, and during the short lull in the pestilence on Wednesday, a family trip to the library.

Brought home a ton of DVDs -- it's not the Monsters vs. Aliens that we were hoping to see, but we did pick up Curious George, Ice Age 2, Madagascar, and Nim's Island.
The last is actually more for Mommy than the kids because, hello, Gerry Butler!

On the way back home, I was starting to feel yucky again, and it was made all the worse by what I found at home. Now, Roomie and I are no stranger to cats but it's been a while, so I completely forgot Rule #1 when leaving the cat home alone: Do not leave food out in the open.

Because if you do, you get a waffle with cream cheese in your mudroom. Oh, where's the cream cheese? On the CARPET SIDE OF THE WAFFLE. Ugh!

The Red River Flood: Coles Notes Version

Originally published on April 2, 2009.

Like many folks living in cities along the Red River this time of year, I'm on flood watch. With the heavy snowfall this winter and constant freeze-thaw of the past few weeks, it doesn't look good. So, we've been keeping an eye on our friends in Fargo and wondering if we're looking at another 1997 Red River Flood.

My kids have seen images on the news of our fellow-Manitobans stacking sandbags around their homes, packing up whatever treasured possessions they can carry, and leaving their homes knowing there's a chance it won't be the same when they return.
And the questions have come as fast as floodwater: Do we have to build a sand fort around our house too? Can we bring our cat if we leave? Is there going to be a pool in the basement? and the always famous Mommy, what's a flood?

So, I gave them the Coles Notes version of Red River Flooding...

The Red River flows from the States up toward us. In the spring, all the snow that's fallen in the winter also melts from south to north. As the river flows up, more and more meltwater joins it raising the water level higher and higher.

Meanwhile, up here, the weather is still too cold for the river ice to melt away completely. The ice breaks up into large sheets that can flow and pile up at certain points along the river. These pile-ups are called ice jams.
The extra river water hits these ice jams and stops. With no place to go, all this water causes flooding.

Then 40 years ago, the Red River Floodway was constructed. This Floodway, also called Duff's Ditch, is a channel that collects the extra river water and leads it around our city. It's saved us billions of dollars in flood damages.
But if there's just too much water, the Floodway may not be able to handle all of it, and many of houses near the river could still flood. These homes, as well as those outside the protection of the floodway, will need sand dikes built, and their families will need to leave...

No, we don't have to build a sand fort around our house, because we live far enough from the river.

Yes, if we ever have to evacuate, we all evacuate. Even Mittens.

No, there won't be a pool in our basement. Okay, maybe an inch or two, a very shallow wading pool at worst, but not deep enough for swimming.

I try to be reassuring, but the reality is that the flooding can still get very bad. And my kids need to know that.

As I type this, problematic ice jams block river flow in the north of the city near Lockport as well as in the south near the mouth of the Floodway. Various areas -- Dominion City, West St.Paul, St.Andrews and other municipalities -- have flooded and declared a state of emergency.

When the water from Fargo reaches us in a week, river levels could rise as fast as a foot per day, even if the jams are cleared. The ground is so saturated, overland flooding is a very real possibility. And the snow just keeps falling!

Emergency services are preparing for the worst. Crews are mechanically breaking up ice jams and melting drainage ditches. Sandbagging and evacuation efforts continue.

The Red River Flood has been a real learning experience for my children. They've really taken the potential dangers to heart, and they hope that one day they can help make "sand forts" to help other people too. But all in all, we are cautiously optimistic.

If you are in Lower Manitoba and would like to volunteer to make "sand forts" too, please call 204-481-0739 for more information on where your help is needed.

Image by USACEpublicaffairs

.: This is an original Canada Moms Blog post written by Nenette AM who also blogs about alien jars, life-improvement, and her funny family at Life Candy.

The Movie Book Challenge: Update #1

It's time to check in on how you're all doing on your "Books Adapted into Movies" challenges!

For all the folks new to Life Candy and going "whatcha talking 'bout, Nen?", I challenged my readers to read 9 books that have been made into movies. You can still join! For the details, go to the original post.

It's been a couple of months now since I sent out the challenge. How ya doin'? How many have you finished? 1, 2? None?

I admit that, although I've started 3, I've finished none. I've changed my list a bit:

1. A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

2. Howard's End - E.M. Forster

3. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes
5. Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
7. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
8. Chocolat - Joanne Harris
9. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

Have you changed your lists? Got a whole new one? Are you done? Are you just joining us now? Let me know!