Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Bed That Ate Ontario

Well, I guess I blew the Twenty-one days of something streak. I made to to 10 days with only missing a couple of days but then... I just got real busy and kept meaning to post, and never made it. It's funny how it used to be unthinkable that a day would go by without posting (often times, more than one post a day) but over the last little while I've found so many other things to keep me busy that blogging really did take a back seat. I still love blogging (and probably always will) but I just stay so busy with other things.

So, what have I been up to this week that's kept me away from writing? Let's see, earlier this week there was my oldest daughter having knee surgery and me spending time with her. Then, our new bed was delivered and we had to make room for that & rearrange things. Now, allow me to vent just a little bit here about being careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

Several years ago Kev's dad had a cottage with a king sized bed.  I'd never seen one in real life before, and I remember the first time getting on it I felt like a little kid.  It was HUGE!  You could have picnics on that bed, maybe even a volley ball game.  Kev and I both wished back then (and since) that we could have a bed that size.  Well, after saving up for a while we finally got our wish and purchased a king sized bed.  It's wonderful, it's huge, it's the perfect blend of soft and firm and all that good stuff.  However, the one thing neither Kev or I realized would happen is, it's like moving to a foreign country with a foreign culture.  It's in a new location in the bedroom, it has brand new sheets, brand new comforter, brand new pillows and brand new pillow cases.  And, it's HUGE.  Volley ball court, huge.  Both of us are so accustomed to our little bed with our aging, familiar bedding that after three nights in this volley ball court we've realized why we're not sleeping as well as we thought we would.  First of all, it's in a different location in the room so that's new and something to get used to.  Secondly, all the bedding is brand new and we're not used to that either, even though it's great bedding. 

Third, and maybe most sappy and whatnot, is that we're 20 miles apart on the bed when we're sleeping and it almost feels like we're not even in the same bed.  As much as we didn't like it, we had been forced to get used to being sort of cramped in our old bed.  No matter how far apart we'd scoot, we could still touch each other with very little effort.  Now? If we both scoot to the edge of the bed we can't touch each other at all.  Not to mention, the mattress is one of those state of the art deals where if he moves I'll never even feel it on my side of the bed.  I think he could stand on the bed and do jumping jacks (with a few friends) and I'd never know it.  All that is supposed to give the other person a more restful sleep but what it really does is make you feel like you're all alone in the bed.  Some folks might prefer that, but for us it feels really weird.

So, we've decided the solution to getting used to this new bed is intentionally falling asleep closer to the middle of the bed where we can still touch each other.  Then, if during the night we both wander to opposite sides of the volley ball court then so be it.  We tried that last night and we both slept a bit better than the first two nights, so I think we're on to something here.

Now you're probably wondering why I shared all that here with you.  It's simple really, it's because I have never ever heard of anyone getting a new, bigger bed and having this problem.  I find it a little hard to believe we're the only ones who've ever had this problem so it's just a warning of sorts for those considering a larger bed.  I would also suggest if possible keeping your familiar pillows or at the very least pillow cases.  I've put our old pillows back on the bed today and plan to use mine tonight, even though we have brand new fantastic pillows.  For me personally I think it was all just too much "new-ness" all at once.

Other than that, it really is a great bed.  When I sit on the edge of it my feet dangle about 6 inches above the floor, just like a little kid.  When you sit on it, you can feel the magic foam stuff forming around you.  It's crazy, but it's super comfortable.  I suspect sooner or later we'll get used to it, but it's kind of ironic how you can hate something so much (our old bed, which we called the Torture Chamber) but be so used to it, having something better feels all wrong.

I think there might even be a lesson in there somewhere.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, October 24, 2011

TDS Day 10: Holiday Card Sale

So, I missed a post yesterday (and the day before, too) so here's what's new:


Until Thursday 10/26 at 11:59pm PT, save a huge 50% off custom Christmas cards or photocards, and get a bonus 10% off custom Christmas postage too!  Use the coupon code FALLMAILINGS when you checkout to get the savings.

*50% of the greeting card, invitation, photo card and postcard product net sale price and 10% of the Zazzle Custom Stamp product net sale price will be deducted when one or more qualifying products are purchased and the coupon code FALLMAILINGS is applied at checkout. For Zazzle Custom Stamps, the net sale price is the difference between the price of the Zazzle Custom Stamps (excluding shipping and taxes) and the face value of the postage. Offer is valid until October 26, 2011 at 11:59pm PT. This offer does not apply to past purchases and may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or volume discount offers. If a volume discount applies to your order, you will receive either the discount set forth in this offer or the standard volume discount, whichever is greater. Offer valid on Zazzle.com only.
Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Friday, October 21, 2011

TDS Day 9: Several Somethings

I almost let the day get away from me without blogging again but decided to put the world on pause and go ahead and blog. I promise I'll unpause when this post is written and published.

Today was a fun and productive day.  I like to have days like this, and I'd like to order more of them for the future.

First, I had a very productive morning at home and running errands (one of which was to purchase this lovely wig for my husband because he secretly desires to be Napoleon Dynomite), and then went to lunch with my friend Kim and had the most fantastic pulled pork sandwich I've ever tasted. I confess, I will steal the idea of how to prepare these sandwiches the next time I make them because they were much yummier than my own.

I also started a festive new line of jingle bell Christmas party invitations (shown here in the blue/gold color theme) and will be expanding this theme to include custom postage, photo cards and more over the next few days.  I sat here for a couple of hours creating those jingle bells and finally got them to look exactly the way I wanted them. I love it when design elements all come together like that.  They'll be coming in both gold and silver and on several color themed cards, etc.

I also wanted to say a big thank you to zazzle for selecting me to interview and be featured on the zazzle blog They posted this last night and it was a real honor to be selected, for sure.

I know today was supposed to be the end of the world and everything, but it was pizza/movie night, plus I had a lunch date with Kim and I haven't finished this fun new line of jingle bell themed paper goods so I am really glad the world didn't actually end.  Besides, Kev needed his blonde afro first. So I guess it's time to unpause the world and let everyone get back to their business.  Besides, I have a movie to watch as I snuggle up with Kev Dynomite on the couch.  Try not to be too jealous.



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TDS Day 8: Busy Busy Busy

Even though I missed posting yesterday, I didn't actually forget to post and mess up my Twenty-one Days of Something, I just got real busy.   See, I have a routine during the week and it goes something like this at the start of every weekday:

• Up between 5-6am
• Consume obscene amount of coffee between 5 and 7:30am
• Make sure the kids are fed, clothed, combed, brushed, lunched and out the door between 7:25 and 8pm
• Wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen
• Fold a load of laundry and get more going (it never ends)
• Decide what's for dinner & get it started
• Straighten up the game room & vacuum
• Eat a granola bar or banana with one hand while doing a variety of the above with the other hand

By the time this is all done it's usally around 9am.  Then I sit down with more coffee (what, you thought I was done with coffee?) and get to work (assuming I don't have errands to run) and that's how my days begin.  Somewhere in there I'll check email, respond to comments, read the news & check my tweetstream. If I don't have errands to run, once I start working I tend to lose track of time until around 2-ish when I lay down on the couch for a neck-rest for about 30-45 minutes.  After that, it's more coffee (yep, more coffee), more work, get dinner ready, wash more dishes, fold more laundry, get more laundry going, get kids bathed/showered, prayer time then off to bed for them and more work for me until around 10-11ish.  I can usually shove a few more things in there too, depending on the day and if hubby is off that day or not.

Lately my creative brain has shifted into Christmas mode and here's a few things I finished yesterday:


I also did a quickie fun shirt because... well because it was funny and I love funny stuff:


So that's what I was busy with yesterday that prevented me from blogging. Today I'm working on some pretty, premium photocards. You can see the whole collection here, but here's the last one I finished:

So now, it's back to work for me! :o) Have a super fabulous Thursday!



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TDS Day 7: A Great Sale You Really Won't Want to Miss!

It's going to be a busy day here in Rolfeworld, so I'm just going to go ahead and cross-post something fabulous I posted at the store blog this morning. Because, CHRISTMAS is coming and I have a fantastic sale to tell you about! I love saving money and this sale is super wonderful:


Right now until Thursday, October 20th at 11:59pm PT, order your Christmas cards, Christmas Photo Cards or Christmas party invitations and save a HUGE *50% off the total! Everyone loves to save money at Christmas and zazzle makes it even easier to get a beautiful custom product and save money doing it.  Be sure to use the coupon code CARD4HOLIDAY at checkout.


*50% of the greeting card, invitation, photo card, or postcard net sale price will be deducted when one or more qualifying products are purchased and the coupon code CARD4HOLIDAY is applied at checkout. The net sale price is the price of the product (excluding shipping and taxes). Offer is valid through October 20, 2011 at 11:59pm PT. This promotional offer does not apply to past purchases and may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or volume discount offers. If a volume discount applies to your order, you will receive either the discount set forth in this offer or the standard volume discount, whichever is greater. Offer valid on Zazzle.com only.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, October 17, 2011

TDS Day 6: More Crock Pottery Goodness: Chili!

I tweeted earlier today that if the recipe I have for chili works in the crockpot that I'd blog it. Well, let me just say... not only does it work in the crockpot, it's quite possibly the best chili I've ever made and ever had. So, here it is:

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 green peppers, chopped
3 lbs. ground beef, browned & drained
2 14 oz cans kidney beans (I use one white and one red), rinsed & drained
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 c. beef broth

Place everything in the crockpot, cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  Serve with warm cornbread with butter.
Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, October 16, 2011

TDS Day 5: October Status Report

Sitting... in the comfort of a hand built muskoka chair in my living room, on my laptop. I realize most people put their lawn furniture in a shed or the garage for the winter but I am not most people.  I decided over the summer that instead of putting these great chairs (that my son-in-law to be built for me) in the garage for the winter, I was going to get nice cushions for them and put them in the living room instead.  So, minus the cushions I haven't bought yet, that's what I did.

Pondering... what kind of winter we're going to have this year.  Hoping like crazy that it's not one of "those" winters that people are still talking about years from now.  We haven't had one of those in a while and some folks say we're due.  I would very much like for those folks to be wrong.

Drinking... coffee with French Vanilla cream from my thermal mug.  I'm still bummed they discontinued my favorite flavor Cafe Mocha, but while in the states last weekend I discovered about 87 trillion coffee cream flavors I'd never seen before. Oh the things you can get in the grocery stores in the states that you can't get here!!  Headed back down there in about 3 weeks and oh yes, the cooler is coming with us for some fine American food grocery shopping.  I'm so glad the border is only 90 minutes away :o)

Missing... summer.  Lord willing, if I ever get to the place where hubby and I can live south of the border from October through June, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  I absolutely love the summers in southern Ontario and the beginning of fall but the rest is for the birds.

Thinking... about setting up my miniature Christmas village again. I had to borrow one of the tables for it when we had our big Canada Day party back in July so it's sort of a mess right now.  I normally set it up sometime in October so it'll be happening very soon.

Wondering... why it took Kev and I so long to drop the legalistic opinions we had about Halloween. I guess for me it had a lot to do with negative personal experience and for him it was just a matter of respecting my wishes and banning all things jack-o-lanternish from our home.  We had a long talk about it a few weeks ago and have decided to allow the kids to participate in some of the fun traditions this year with some cute costumes. We still wont take it as far as it used to be taken when we were both raging heathens but we have decided letting the kids enjoy the kid-friendly parts of it is okay. I suppose if you did a blog search you could find lots of interesting opinions I've had about Halloween over the years, but I'm in a different place now and Kev and I are both okay with being here.

Enjoying... I should preface that with Immensely since what I'm enjoying is the rejuvination of my marriage relationship.  Kev and I had a great relationship before in most aspects but we'd fallen into a pretty boring rut like most couples tend to do after a while.  When it was brought to our attention we both decided we didn't like it, and took steps to add a little zip and a little zing back into our relationship. I know it might sound sappy but I assure you it's been a wonderful thing for us both to have date night again, send love notes (okay fine they're text messages, we're totally on board with technology, lol), and even get away together, just the two of us.  As much as we are dedicated to our kids, grandkids, home and work, we've given our marriage relationship high priority and it's turned out that everything else is better as a result. It's one of the smartest things we've ever done, and an amazing answer to prayer.

Excited... about the first snow, Christmas lights, cooking an obscene amount of fudge, and all that comes with Christmas.  Yes, I do hate winter but snow is part of Christmas so I only like it for that, then it should all melt and be 86 degrees again.

Listening... to the sound of the furnace fan in the basement below me.  Soon I will need to go down there (we've named it The Scary Place for all the spiders) and clean up summer webs and clean out the wood furnace and start building daily fires.  Not just yet though, thankfully.  It was either last fall or the one before when I opened the furnace to begin cleaning it and a bird flew out at me.  I yelped and fell back right on my butt.  Then I sat there and lol'd at myself, for real.  Silly birds, chimneys are for wood smoke!

Thankful, humbled, and amazed... at God's blessings, provision, grace and peace.  I am blessed beyond anything I have ever deserved with my family, my work, and all the conveniences I so enjoy.  I've lived long enough and been through enough painfully difficult trials to know it could all be gone tomorrow, so I am incredibly thankful for it all today.  Even if it were all gone tomorrow, I would still be thankful that God has been so good to me and blessed me with so much all these 46 years.

And now... the smell of the ham cooking in the oven has reminded me it's time for some yummy scalloped taters to join it. 

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Saturday, October 15, 2011

TDS Day 4: A Little Bit of Stuff About Stuff

Truth be told, I have no idea who's even reading this old blog to see if I'm keeping up with my Twenty-one Days of Something (besides my mom and my friend Kim, I know they're both reading!) but I'm determined to blog the entire 21 days regardless. I was going to do an October Status report today but time got away from me and I decided to put that off another day. It was a really busy and hectic day today, so here's a mini-status report:

Eating... a raspberry poptart. I know they're no good for me, but it's been ages since I had one so I'm having one.

Listening to... the wind and rain. Boo, fall is here and it's cold today. I think the high was 45, and I thinks it's now around 20 below, or something.

Planning... lunch with Kim, and we're going to eat terrible things that are both yummy and no good for us. Okay I am, she might not.

Hoping... to not wake up with a splitting headache again tomorrow so I can go to church. We ordered our new bed just in time, before the old one kills us both. Between my neck pain and Kev's back pain, our bed is like sleeping on a torture rack. We even had a sleep diagnostic thingy done before we selected our new bed. That was pretty cool. It essentially said "your current bed is killing you, get a new one, and sleep normal for a change" after measuring over 200 pressure points in our bodies.

Working on... a fun new line of funny bumperstickers. I know, you're thinking "bumper stickers? those are so tacky!" Or, maybe you're not thinking that, I dunno. If there is one thing that will break up the frustration of being stuck in traffic is seeing a funny bumpersticker on the car ahead of you, or in the next lane. We're all too grumpy and grouchy all the time, we need to smile more and have some fun. This one made the kids laugh... but they all confessed they really couldn't see it. You can't either, can you?

Well, that's about all I've got for now. ;-)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Friday, October 14, 2011

TDS Day 3: Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

I actually did blog already today. Twice, in fact but I didn't do it here, so I'm going to cross-post one of them just for today! From the store blog

October is breast cancer awareness month and at Reflections zazzle there are some great t-shirts and gifts for those giving hope and support, those currently fighting, and those who have survived and won the battle.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, October 13, 2011

TDS Day 2: Crockpottery Goodness

Is crockpottery even a word? Well, it is now. In day 2 of Twenty-one days of something, I would like to share another fabulous crock pot recipe. This one is perfect for those cool, windy, rainy Autumn days. Or, just about any day really, and it's really easy. Here we go:

Slow Cooker Veggie Beef Soup

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 29oz. can Italian style stewed tomatoes, drained
2 15oz. cans mixed veggies, drained
1 quart beef broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce*
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce*
1 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup dry fusili pasta

Brown the ground beef in a skillet and add garlic, onion and bell pepper. Cook until the meat is done and the veggies are tender. Drain and put it all in the crockpot, along with all the other ingredients. (I put everything else in while the meat was cooking). Cover and cook for 7 hours on high. During the last 20 minutes of cooking time, pour in the dry pasta and mix to cover it, then put the lid back on. *These are optional - I was out of both so I didn't use them.

We had this last night and it was a huge, huge hit. I served it with yummy whole wheat dinner rolls. I plan to make it again real soon and this time add the soy and Worcestershire sauce.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

TDS Day1: Multitasking

Just in case you're wondering what the TDS stands for, that's twenty-one days of something. If I can meet the challenge there'll be 20 more of these posts titled the same way. There is no guarantee I will not post on a subject I've posted on before, or even repeat myself word for word on something I've written before.  The older I get the more I realize I'm a repeater, and tend to put out the same information more than once :o) In any event today is day 1 of the 21 days of something and I'd like to talk (write/blog) to you a little bit about multitasking.

Back in the old days before we were all very clever and had a sorts of electronic devices, we all called it something else. Doing 20 things at once, too many irons in the fire, having a full plate, etc. Way back then, before we were all very smart we had much more flowery and descriptive ways of saying we had WAY too many things going on at the same time. Now we all just settle on that one word and most of us pretend we're really good at multitasking.

Truth be told, I think we're all full of baloney. Oh sure, I have no doubt there are a handful of personality types out there who actually do quite well juggling numerous tasks at once, but overall I think we just take on more than we can handle and do the best we can to get it all done. Some years ago I read an article by some very clever person who did a social experiment on the actual effectiveness of multitasking and his results were dismal. In his conclusion he found that the vast majority of people (the percentage was very high, something like 92%) cannot multitask at all but instead what they do is make an effort at it, and instead of doing a 100% job at one thing they do a 75% job at several things and find that this is good enough. In other words, as a society we've more or less compromised in a huge way because we don't want to admit that we're not really doing well at this multitasking business. (I wish I could source quote my material on this but it's been so many years now I don't know if I could find that same article even if I multitasked till my fingers fell off). But is it really good enough?

Can you imagine going in for surgery and your surgical team doing a 75% job, patting each other on the back and saying "good job, team!" Or how about on your wedding day, would it be okay if the bride only walked down 75% of the aisle and stopped there? Maybe when you're on vacation you go 75% of the way and stop wherever you are and say "okay kids, we're gonna have fun now!" (even if you're in the middle of nowhere). Of course those sound like unrealistic extremes but the reality of it is, a lot of us are doing the very same thing every day with really important matters. Whether it's on the job, or with family or other relationships. We have all these "things" we think we need to be doing (when in reality, most of them don't need to be taking up our time at all, and I think we all know it, whether we want to admit it or not) and to somehow fit it all in, we trim down the standard for doing things 100% and give much less of ourselves to the important things.

Not too long ago I came to the realization that I absolutely stink at multitasking. Oh sure, like everyone else I really thought I was doing a bang up job of it but time after time little things were brough to my attention that were like little red flags with the message "hey lady, you stink at multitasking!" written on them. To be honest, it took several years of these red flags because I'm just about as stubborn as they come, but the message finally hit home and I decided enough was enough. It's different for everyone but I believe electronic communication/entertainment is the biggest culprit. Whether it's the computer, laptop, DS, cell phone, ipod or whatever happens to be in your hand and sucking your brain into a tiny little screen.

For me it was the computer. I no longer keep my eyes on my screen (or my hands on my keyboard) if my husband or one of my kids is talking to me. I stop, turn, look them in the face and genuinely listen to them. This one was the worst for me, and I owe my older daughters a monumental apology for doing it to them for so many years because I did stink at it, I just didn't know it. Of course you can hear someone when they're talking to you but you really don't hear them, and they know you're really not giving them your undivided attention. While the audio of their message goes into your ears you're not actually a part of the conversation they wanted or needed to have with you. I have no doubt that Football Widows know exactly how this feels when football is on and talking to Mr. Husband is like talking to a robot. He might turn and acknowledge you for a second or two but his attention immediately turns back to the tv and his head and his eyes follow it. Sure he hears you, but he's not listening to you and you know it. He knows it too, but the game is on...

I'm sure I could give numerous examples of lousy multitasking but those who are doing it, and stink at it, probably need to be convicted themselves instead of reading what I have to say about it. I do hope if anyone reading sees themselves in what I've said, today will be THEIR day to say enough is enough, and start giving 100% again rather than trimming down the standard to fit more junk in.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

21 Days of Something

So there I was, minding my own bloggy business while thinking about a new blog post and instead of opening blogger I opened tweetdeck and saw it. A tweet from Lisa that said, simply enough "New @ the blog: Something (Anything): A 21 Day Blogging Experiment". It intrigued me so I clicked and that was that. You should click too so you can read the details, the hows, the whens and the huhs of Lisa's post.

It's essentially a challenge for those of us who have fallen into a blog-nap to get back at it and rediscover our love for blogging.  Anyway, that's the way I see it and I'm up for it!  I really do love blogging and I've missed it, but other things tend to get in the way and it just sits here being sad and unread.  Poor blog!

I don't have a list of topics ready to blog about but I can pretty much guarantee it's going to be a wide variety of things.  I'll likely blog about what I do (graphic design), what I am (Christian, wife, mom, daughter, etc.), what I've learned in the last... hmm... 2 years(?) that I've let the blog slide, things that are stupid (no shortage of material there, eh?), things that make me laugh, and maybe even a topic about cats.  I'll be honest and admit that when I'm doing a series on the same subject I have no problem getting up every morning ready to write.  But... when it's just sort of random, I tend to just sit here and stare at my blogger dashboard and think "seriously? no one cares about this" and I click away.

So, we'll see how it goes.  I'll start my 21 day experiment tomorrow and I hope you'll come along and see what I have to say.  I just might be talking about YOU! ;-) Just kidding.  (but I might, one never knows...)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yummy BBQ Pulled Pork

Last week when hubby and I were at Costco, he turns to me and asks (being the most fabulous, thoughtful and considerate hubby, ever) "baby, do you need a new crockpot?" Imagine my surprise, since I'd just said to one of our older daughters a few days prior to that, that I needed a new crockpot. Clearly, ESP is one of my hubby's many hidden talents that I never knew he had, until now. Well the price was inbeatable so yes, I came home with a new crockpot.This exact one, to be specific - and I LOVE it.

Crockpots always come with a few basic recipes in the manual so I skimmed through and found one that sounded good: BBQ Pulled Pork.  Not only have I never had it, I've never made it and I was determined to try something new.  Here's the recipe (it's so easy it's almost embarassing):

2.5- 5 pounds of pork loin, trimmed
2-4 cups bbq sauce
2-3 chopped onions
6-8 buns or rolls

Except for the buns, place all the ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 7-9 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.  When the pork is done, shred with a fork and place back in the slow cooker and blend well with the sauce.  Serve on fresh buns or rolls.

Now, here's how I made it: 12 pieces of boneless pork loin chops, 1 regular sized bottle of bbq sauce and 1 large onion.  I cooked it on high for 5 hours and it turned out simply incredible.  I served it on fresh sausage rolls with a side of fresh chunked pineapple.  The reviews?

Jordan - "yummy!" (she ate 2 sandwiches)
Samuel - (with a full mouth, nodding happily) flashed me the thumb's up sign
Rachel - "mine!!"
Ruth - (the child who hates pretty much everything) "wow, I actually like this"

Unfortunately hubby is working late and hasn't been able to try it yet but he's going to love it too.  I'm so glad he has ESP.  Oh, and here's a great place for more crockpot recipes as well. I know there are a bazillion of them out there, so one more can only make dinner even more fabulous!

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe