Liebster Award

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The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Awesome! Blogging is about building a community and it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

 

Thank you to Rosh of Rose of Sharon Healing for nominating me for the Liebster Award, it has been a lot of fun completing the requirements.

Rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 facts about themselves
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them 🙂
Have fun!

Eleven Random Facts About Me

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1. My family are the most important people to me- they come first, always!

2. I have a degree in Nursing.

3. I love to garden- the most peaceful thing in the world to me.

4. I would love to visit the Greek Islands, Italy and Scotland.

5. I HATE wasps! WASP 01

6. The Notebook is my favorite movie thO2Q65FK1

7. I am left handed, actually ambidextrous which comes in handy for a lot of things.

8. I play piano-not by ear and I want to learn how to play the guitar.

9. I love musicals and music from all genres (especially oldies, irish, rag time, big band, jazz) which drives my family crazy.

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10. Grey is my favorite hue.

11. I hate the metric system but not as much as wasps.

Eleven questions from Rosh:

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1. Where are you from?

I am from Canada.

2. Where do you live?

Coastal British Columbia.

3. What languages do you speak?

How boring…I only speak English although I wish I could speak Italian if that counts for anything

4. Which countries are your ancestors from?

Italy and Scotland

5. What’s your favorite memory from your childhood?

A summer camping trip through the Cascades with a large part of our extended family, lots of great laughs and beautiful scenery.

6. What was your dream when you were a child?

To work in the medical profession, find a cure for cancer…

7. What’s your favorite book and author?

My  favorite book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

8. What do you value most in life?

Family-Family-Family

9. Who’s your favorite person in history?

Buddha

10. What are the largest fresh water lakes in the world?

I would imagine one of the Great Lakes (Huron, Superior)??

11. Who is your target audience for your blog?

No target in particular, just hoping people will pop in to read when it suits their fancy

My 11 Nominees

Amanda in Savannah
Bloomin’ Lovely
Our Hand-Built Home
Coming Out of Hiding
Teaching My Baby to Read
The Spooked Horse
Ellay’s Space
intotherabbitholeblog
Kat
allencountyautism
spiritualjournies

 

 

 11 Questions for my Nominees

  • Where were you born?
  • Best friend?
  • One regret?
  •  The best part of waking up is?
  • What is your middle name?
  • All time favorite movie?
  •  Last time you cried?
  • Quote that you can’t forget?
  •  If you could pick an age to stay forever, what would it be?
  • What celebrity could you be mistaken for?
  •  What is something that you just learned?

 

 

Fly Away Home

 

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Ladybug, Ladybug fly away home…or in this case please fly to my home.

I have a huge fascination with ladybugs, hence the title of my blog and the not so subtle décor in my kitchen; however, I actually have a practical use for all things Ladybug.

Spring has arrived and it is time to start planning my summer garden. A plan that would not be complete without the gardeners best friend- the Luvely Ladybug.

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Ladybugs offer a huge benefit to your garden by providing a natural way to reduce those pesky plant eating insects without the use of harmful chemicals. If you don’t have a garden full of ladybugs that is fine, you can harvest your own!

First of all, ladybugs require a food source. They love to feed on pollen and aphids…and what garden does not have an abundance of aphids? A mature ladybug can eat up to 60 aphids a day, adding up to as many as 5,000 in its lifetime!

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Your garden should have other ladybug friendly food sources as well. They enjoy munching on plants such as dill, angelica, caraway, scented geraniums, yarrow, cilantro, tansy and even dandelions.

If you struggle with ladybug harvesting, you can buy them at your local garden store. There are thousands of different types of ladybugs worldwide, so ensure that you purchase ones local to your area. Also, be sure to buy ladybugs that have been raised outside to ensure they are acclimatized. You need to refrigerate your ladybugs until you are ready to release them into your garden. They can live quite a long time in the fridge (2-3 months), feeding off of their own fat. They may appear sluggish or even dead in the fridge but as soon as you release them and they have a chance to warm up they become active again.

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Release the ladybugs into your garden at night as they do not fly at night. This will give them an opportunity to become comfortable in your garden and will prevent birds from eating them before they get settled. Ensure your garden is a hospitable environment with lots of nourishment to prevent your precious ladybugs from flying to a neighboring garden. You should moisten your plants prior to releasing the ladybugs, this will promote hydration and it will help them stick to your plants.thCV7S42R9 You can also spray your ladybugs with a sugar/water mixture when they are still in the bag. This sticky mixture will coat their wings and prevent them from flying. This will last for about a week which is plenty of time to settle into their new environment.

Once your new ladybugs settle in your garden, they will lay their eggs and you will have your own method of biological pest control for years to come. Sadly, the lifespan of these beautiful insects is only one year so it is important that they lay roots in your garden.

thBA7CURS7Ladybugs offer a practical solution for saving your plants from pesky insects while adding immeasurable beauty to your garden! Just one more reason to luv ladybugs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Autism Awareness Day

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In 2007, the United Nations adopted April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in an effort to shine light on this growing international health crisis. WAAD is a world-wide event intended to increase knowledge/awareness, advocate for early diagnosis/intervention and most important to celebrate the unique attributes of persons with Autism.

Today, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) continue to rise at an alarming rate, affecting tens of millions worldwide. According to the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 88 children are on the autism spectrum, with boys being diagnosed at a rate of 1 in 54, a rate four to five times higher than for girls.images (1)

In 2010, Autism Speaks launched a global initiative called Light It Up Blue in support of World Autism Awareness Day. The Light It Up Blue campaign is designed to promote global awareness of Autism. Iconic landmarks around the world are illuminated in a bright hue of blue, thus shining a bright light on Autism and indicating worldwide support.

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A timely study was released last week by the Harvard School of Public Health(HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which examined the effects of neurotoxin exposure on the developing brain. The study identified six new chemicals with the potential to disrupt typical neurological development in children leading to brain disorders such as autism, dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Philippe Grandjean of HSPH in Boston.

Dr. Philippe Grandjean and Philip J. Landrigan of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, revealed that the number of recognized chemical causes of neurodevelopmental disorders has doubled from six to twelve in the past seven years.

The chemicals that have been added to the list of identified developmental “neurotoxicants” include chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides), tetrachloroethene(a solvent), methylmercury (found in some fish and shell fish), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants added to furniture, plastics and wiring), high doses of manganese (a mined element sometimes found in drinking water), and high doses of fluoride (mineral found in water, plants and toothpaste). Pesticides were the largest group identified in the study; however, the majority of pesticides in the U.S. have never been tested for toxic effects on the developing fetus or child.

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“The only way to reduce toxic contamination is to ensure mandatory developmental neurotoxicity testing of existing and new chemicals before they come into the marketplace,” Dr Landrigan.

The lead experts emphasized an urgency to create an international prevention strategy to control the use and regulation of these harmful substances. Current regulations are inadequate and fail to protect children from exposure to neurodevelopmental toxins. They also stressed the need for additional research on the plethora of industrial chemicals that are currently polluting the environment.

Autism Speaks is funding an autism research tool called the Early Life Exposure Assessment Tool (ELEAT) which will enable the compilation of multiple studies examining the toxic effects of early environmental exposure. This will provide large enough study sample sizes to appropriately identify environmental risk factors and fast-track research programs.

The Autism Speaks website is a comprehensive resource for individuals, families and health care professionals. It provides up to date information on Autism, current research, events, tool kits and promotes advocacy.

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Individuals with Autism and their families have a great opportunity to play an integral role in furthering ASD research. There are numerous opportunities to participate in research studies, IAN Research is currently offering an opportunity through a secure online program. The intent is to gain a better understanding of ASD, to make new discoveries and to empower individuals and their advocates.

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So remember on April 2, 2014 to Light It Up Blue!

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Presidential Proclamation– World Autism Awareness Day, 2013

House of Commons, World Autism Awareness Day bill S-206 was officially passed

Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity- Phillipse Grandjean, Philip J. Landrigan, Lancet Neurology, online February 2014

Irish Celebration

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

This is without a doubt one of my favorite days of the year.

St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday that celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

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It has also become a cultural event that is celebrated around the world. Waterways suddenly shimmer a jovial shade of green, downtown streets are filled with leprechauns of all shapes and sizes and celebratory parades take over the city. Pubs are packed to capacity, Guiness and Jameson Whiskey sales are unparalleled and everyone is eating Bangers and Mash.

Suddenly, everyone is Irish- at least for a day.

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So in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland, I will don my green wig, crank up my Irish music and look for someone to pinch.

I wish you all the luck of the Irish!thCAYUWRML

Oscar Moments

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At first I hesitated to write my thoughts about last nights Oscars because it has been done to death, but it would be a shame to miss out on such a great opportunity to blog! Here is quick summary of last nights Academy Awards with all the highs and lows!

1. The Hostellen-oscar I need to throw out a disclaimer before I even get started, it is really hard for me to be critical because I love E.L.L.E.N.  In fact, this is the first Academy Awards show that I have watched from start to finish since high school. The reviews have been mixed about Ellens performance at entertainments biggest night which I find quite comical. The Oscars are often stiff, rigid and boring but Ellen got up close with the Hollywood A-listers and had some fun. It felt reminiscent of the popular Golden Globes awards. Ellen definitely played it safe, she took only a few risks (poor Liza) but I think that she delivered…(pizza too)!

2. Zinger– My heart goes out to dear Liza Minnelli, the unfortunate recipient of Ellen’s one zinger of the night. Ellen greeted the audience with “I have to say hello to one of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators I’ve ever seen my entire life.”…Just really, seriously. Good job, sir.” The funny line gathered a lot of laughs but it felt inappropriate to be at the expense of this Hollywood veteran. Liza was in the audience last night for the Wizard of Oz tribute in honor of her mother, Judy Garland. Things got worse later in the evening when Ellen tweeted a record breaking “selfie” that resembled a Hollywood yearbook photo. It was so popular that it crashed Twitter. Unfortunately, Liza attempted to get in on the photo and fell short(no pun intended) which was captured by a fellow audience member and has now gone viral. Despite being the butt of Ellen’s joke and her epic failure to join the “selfie” the real horror for Liza started with the electric blue pant suit that she wore to the event-sure to quickly top the worlds Worst Dressed list for 2014.
Liza Minnelli Selfie fail         US-OSCARS-ARRIVALS

3. LSD Anyone?jim_Jim_476238291_0– Jim Carrey delivered one of the funniest lines of the night when he inadvertently said LSD in the place of animation with perfect comedic timing.  He won me over long before that with his dead on impersonation of Bruce Dern who each time the camera panned to him looked completely miserable. Note to Bruce Dern- You were nominated for an Oscar- SMILE!!! He needs to retire…

4. Pizza Pizza!  I did not like the whole pizza skit, it felt like it held up the show and went on far too long. Although, in retrospect I did enjoy seeing Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey handing out plates and napkins. I was also pleasantly surprised to see celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep actually eat pizza on live television wearing their finest!  Imagine the shock that the pizza delivery person experienced when he stepped on stage, what an experience- I hope that he got an amazing tip $$$oscars%20pizza%20delivery%20ap

5. Luvely Ladies- I do not want to jump on the best and worst dressed band wagon, mainly because it would take me a week to do it justice…so just a few thoughts.  Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron both wowed in Dior gowns but nobody could top the stunning Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen complete with her flawless curls and smoky eyes. She captured the audiences heart every time the camera focussed in on her glistening eyes as she received numerous accolades from her Gravity ensemble… A class act all the way.

sandra_bullock_oscars_2014_red_carpet_fashion_gravity_fashion_celebrity_news_handbag_186th Annual Academy Awards - Show

I wish that I could say something nice about the hideous Wizard of Oz ensemble worn by Whoopi Goldberg??? but I can’t!

6. Mommy Dearest! jared-leto-thanks-his-high-school-drop-out-single-mom-in-oscar-acceptance-speechIt would not be the Academy Awards without long drawn out speeches and lots of heartfelt tributes to the amazing Mothers in La-La Land. Through-out the night there were some truly inspiring words spoken. Jared Leto spent a lot of air time thanking everyone he had ever met for his Best Supporting Actor win for Dallas Buyers Club; however, he redeemed himself with these endearing words  This is for the 36 million who have lost the battle to AIDS, and to those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are, or who you love. Tonight I stand here in front of the world with you, and for you,”

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Awe inspiring words were also spoken by the lovely Lupita Nyong’o as she accepted the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave. Lupita’s eloquent tribute to Patsey was heartfelt and genuine. “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.”

Then it was time for the Best Actor award and it was no surprise that Matthew McConaughey was the winner for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. What is always a surprise is what odd thing Matthew will say in a live interview- I was glued to the set. This time it was a lengthly sermon that will have therapists baffled for years. Matthew did stay true to his plan to recite the first three lines he ever said on film “All Right, All Right, All Right”! (Dazed and Confused)article-2571923-1BFC10E300000578-830_634x697

7. Best Actess Cate Blanchett was nominated in a category with Hollywood’s elite but she stood alone in her heartfelt performance of a distraught socialite in Blue Jasmine. Her acceptance speech advocated for increased roles that highlight the lives of women and ended with a shout out to the controversial writer and director Woody Allen.
sally-hawkins-meets-up-with-fellow-nominee-cate-blanchett-on-oscars-2014-red-carpetUnfortunately, Cate’s dress was far from a winner, one of the worst of the night when seen up close. When paired with Blue Jasmine co-star and Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins you can’t tell where one dress ends and the other one starts- judge for yourself.

8. Scientology Chant– Is it just me or did John Travolta appear to be somewhat medicated when he butchered Idina Menzel’s name. He read his lines almost like he was stunned, I thought that I may have missed a joke…perhaps I was just distracted by his hair.???????????????????????????

9. 12 Years A Slave is based on the true story of Solomon Northrup and his experiences of being sold into slavery in 1841. It deservingly ran away with the Best Picture honors last night. It was nice to see Brad Pitt finally get his coveted first Oscar, knowing that he is the reason this harrowing film made it to the big screen.
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10. In Memoriam– the part of the night that invariable always makes me shed tears. This year it was even harder not to pull out the Kleenex box when listening to Bette Midler belt out The Wind Beneath My Wings. Who can forget Beaches? There was nasty social media talk of Bette needing to retire after the performance-for goodness sakes people she is 68 years old-that song is gut wrenching. Bette-Midler-Oscars-2014It was very fitting that the tribute ended with Philip Seymour Hoffman, yet another great actor that left us to soon.

And now I have to wait until the 87th Academy Awards to find another reason to blog.

So Many Birthdays…

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It seems that we have a lot of birthdays to celebrate at this time of the year. In fact, from November to March I think we average about one a week between all of our family, friends and colleagues.

So far I have done a decent job of keeping track of all of these important dates but as our family grows and time goes by, it has become increasingly harder to remember each and every one.

Finally, I came across a crafty way to remember all of these important dates, it is called a Family Birthday Wall Plaque.

It is just so darn cute that I had to share it with all of you!

Birthday Plaque

At last, there will be no more purchases of birthday/anniversary books to clutter up my kitchen drawers. I can safely erase all of those dates that create complete chaos in my appointment book. Facebook will no longer be my safeguard for the birthdays that I forget and perhaps, most important is that I can finally free up some much needed space in my mind.

A special thanks goes out to one of my favourite blogs, The Thrifty Couple for sharing this creative and innovative way to keep track of all of those dates…and best of all it is beautiful enough to display on my wall.

Now to get ambitious and create more of these as gifts for my family and friends…maybe even to give out as birthday gifts.

Download printable instructions for this project at Family Birthday Wall Plaque

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Little Scientists

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In my never ending quest to find new and innovative homeschooling resources for our girls, I discovered a new website called The Young Scientists Club (TYSC). The website was easy to navigate and it led me to an amazing resource-home Science kits.

My budding Scientists signed up for the Magic School Bus Science Club, which covers 36 topics in Science such as recycling, scientific measurement, electricity, polymers, owls, planets and so much more. Each home learning kit builds on the previous learning experiences and best of all it arrives at our doorstep each month.

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I was pleased to discover glowing reviews about the monthly kits from other parents and educators in the home school community. As well, the website lists numerous awards for their products which include The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, Learning Research Institute Outstanding Resource Award, National Parenting Publications Honors Awards (NAPPA), Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products and the Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award!

It is difficult to find homeschooling resources that truly engage your child in learning like this one… so I just had to share.

Check out the Young Scientists Club

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