tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049Sun, 15 May 2016 04:41:18 +0000From the KitchenKevinIt's all about meIts A Family Thingtravel both near and farFood Revolution Fridaysnonsensical ramblingGiveaways Contests and Challengesphotoscomputers and the InternetsThe HubsFabulicious Friday FiveCookie CrumbsDyspraxia and Sensory StuffJamie OliverDeep Thoughts and the SoapboxFinding the AwesomeFood Revolution Road TripFood Revolution Road Trip11crafty cornerwee furry beastiesRoad Trip 2011Road Trip 2009A Month of Blissbloggity goodnessproduct reviewsGreat stuff on the InternetsNablopomoTraverse TripBlissdom Canada '10Video funbook reviewsEverything MomFabulicious Friday Five 2010Search for localphoto fun week365 days of graceBlissdom Canada '11Great Grocery Budget CrunchmarriageAnneBlog Her 2011BlogHer 2011NaBloPoMo13Blog PartyCancer SucksChristmasHepatitis CJohnguest bloggers30 Day blog challengeKraft KitchensRoad Trip 2010Sponsored postsmotorcyclesvancouver2010HalloweenSaturday LinkageSimple Christmaskickass2012lossyummy mummy club$5 Lunch ChallengeBella GelateriaBlogher Food 2012Chef Michael SmithChilliwackChristmas gift listsCity AdventuresFood RevolutionHolly FeniakHourly PhotoIn the GardenIn the KitchenJake CooksJohn BishopJordan KnightKids in the KitchenKraft Food for FamiliesLactose is evilLinky Round UpMabel's Labels BlogHer '10 ContestMe to WeNoBloPoMo13OlympicsSaskatchewan Pulse FarmersStuff I LikeSunday RidesThe Big PictureToshibaToyotaTravel Reviewsdrivingfree or nearly sorschoolsteenswritingNotes From the Cookie JarBraving a teenager and baking cookies on a daily basis.http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/noreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)Blogger1729125http://feeds.feedburner.com/NotesFromTheCookieJar?format=skinhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/http://cookienotes.blogspot.comhttp://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm142/cookienotes/notes_static_120x60-1-1-2.jpgNotes From The Cookie JarNotesFromTheCookieJarhttps://feedburner.google.comSubscribe with My Yahoo!Subscribe with NewsGatorSubscribe with My AOLSubscribe with BloglinesSubscribe with NetvibesSubscribe with GoogleSubscribe with Pageflakestag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-7040773855868087565Sun, 15 May 2016 03:45:00 +00002016-05-14T21:41:18.794-07:00Guard Your Magic<center><a data-flickr-embed="true" data-header="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/4632388595/in/dateposted/" title="Pansies at the Pier"><img alt="Pansies at the Pier" height="375" src="https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4054/4632388595_e8c5c7acc8.jpg" width="500" /></a><script async="" charset="utf-8" src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script></center><br /><br />*tap tap* Is this thing working? Oh, there you are.<br /><br />Hello, there. Remember me?<br /><br />It's been a very long time since I've written in the space. So long, in fact, that I'm surprised I even remembered the passwords to get in but here we are.<br /><br />I read a piece this morning about Mommy Bloggers, and how they all suck-and then a lot of facebook comments (some really mean, some not), more pieces that were responses (some angry, some not) and weirdly enough, this whole thing struck such a chord with me I felt the need to come out my self imposed blogging silence because believe it or not, I've been there.<br /><br />I've been that angry person who felt like the entire blogging world sucks. Some of you might even remember.<br /><br />When I started blogging, I was stunned that anyone would read what I had to say. Even more startled when I was asked to speak at the first Blissdom Canada. Me? They wanted me? Why? As things rolled along and I became more and more involved in blogging, it became a blessing and curse.<br /><br />A blessing because I met so many wonderful, talented, supportive people who I never would have met otherwise. Blogging taught me that I could chase other dreams, increased my self confidence, and made me part of a community. I am a writer, hear me roar! I had some great jobs with incredible online publications, worked with some international companies, got to meet incredible famous chefs and go places I never would've gone to otherwise. It was amazing. <br /><br />It was also a curse because I had a hard time saying no. I became overwhelmed with the amount of things expected of me, on top of family obligations and a full time job. I had no experience whatsoever as any kind of editor, or business manager. I couldn't leave my job at the drop of a hat for a conference or event, yet I felt like I was expected to. The only way I could keep up with the content I was expected to produce was to write late into the night, after a full day at work and tending to a sick husband.&nbsp; The constant flow of requests to write about things felt unyielding and the pressure to continue to preform was great. It was a pressure I put on myself, yes-but it was there. Eventually I felt like I had gotten in so deep that there was really no gracious way to just step aside. Did even I want to? Hadn't I worked for and dreamed of this? Would it be there for me waiting if I took a break?<br /><br />For a while, blogging was an escape from real life that was, at the time, pretty unbearable. With a best friend and her husband both dying of cancer and a sick husband, I had no other outlets. Conferences were an escape. I am grateful that I had those opportunities and outlets, yes. There were so many wonderful opportunities that I was given by so many great people, and for a time there, I managed to hold it together. <br /><br />Until I came to a crashing stop.<br /><br />You see, I always put my own needs last. My needs for sleep, down time, relaxation. My needs to just be instead of always worrying about taking photos of food or writing a blog post. Reading a cookbook just for fun. Whipping up something in the kitchen because I wanted to, not because I had to. Going to a farm just to see it, not because I had to write about it. <br /><br />You see, in the beginning that's what blogging was. I lived and then shared online-but somehow along the way, without me even realizing what was happening, it changed. During a time when I should have been looking after myself in the midst of taking care of sick and dying family, I even put blogging before my own needs-and that, my friends, was a massive mistake.<br /><br />Eventually I hated blogging and everything about it. I hated sponsors, I snapped at people I worked with, I was unreliable and did poor work. Twitter irritated me to no end, Facebook drove me nuts. I burned bridges, said some pretty stupid things, and then walked away from most of it. I couldn't write anymore. There was a falling out with a friend, and my self confidence took such a beating I didn't think I wanted to write again. Ever.<br /><br />Honestly, if anyone from my old community is even reading this, I'm surprised. I was awful.<br /><br />And I'm sorry. Really, truly, deeply, sorry.<br /><br />It wasn't you at all, it was me. I was a gigantic, broken, hurting, asshole.&nbsp; <br /><br />Sometimes I think that when we crash and burn, it's easy to point fingers. It's easy to bring up the not so great parts of blogging and say, "see, it's THAT. Don't do THAT. THAT SUCKS." The reality is, you have to find your own balance. I can't make blogging a business because I'm not that kind of person. I need to keep it a hobby for my own mental health. I'm not into the numbers game, I don't really care about stats or clicks or whatever, and I just want to write for sake of writing. Others love the whole business end. Some love doing sponsored posts-while I'd rather stick a fork in my eye. It really is all about knowing yourself and your limits, and then sticking to them despite all the pressures and noise. I was naive-I fully succumbed to the siren calls of areas in the industry that I later found out just weren't for me. At the time, I so desperately wanted them because I thought that being invited to THAT event, or writing for THAT publication meant that I had made it.<br /><br />Then once I had it, I found that I really couldn't juggle it all, and felt like I had no way out. <br /><br />The bottom line, is there is no right way. There's no magic ticket. The magic, to be honest, is you.<br /><br />Your personality, your hard work, your words are the magic. Nobody is like you, and our combined talents and differences in the world of blogging is what makes it great.<br /><br />Remember the great? The days when we all wept for a fellow blogger's loss? Cheered for their successes, like when someone landed a book deal? Those were what made the community great. It feels like now there so much noise, we're losing the magic. Many fantastic bloggers have packed it in, either from burnout or they feel that their time is over and have nothing left to say.&nbsp; <br /><br />My demise was my own fault. I take full responsibility for that and at the risk of sounding like an old school blogger stomping around and saying, "you young'uns, I have advice for you"..well, I actually do. Listen, don't listen, it's up to you, but here it is: <br /><br />Never allow your magic to get lost under all the noise and stuff you feel you should be doing. Don't put yourself last. Life is hard enough! In the span of 6 years I lost 3 loved ones to cancer, my husband battled Hep C, my son went through hell (that's a story I can't share without his permission), we moved, we were nearly killed on our motorbike and I changed jobs TEN times. That alone would break most people, much less one trying to work full time and blog full time on the side. For awhile I even took on a part time job at Starbucks and worked THREE jobs, 55+ hrs a week. <br /><br />It's crazy talk to do that. Trust me. I know. I've been the person rocking in the corner crying because I was dumb enough to take that on.I have been paying for it physically ever since last year.<br /><br />I do not know this blogger who thinks Mom blogging sucks. I don't know her story. I'm sure that she's a perfectly nice person. What I do know is that there are people out there who are hurting, and if you react to everything and take everything personally, you let them steal a piece of your magic. Don't do it. <br /><br />Be yourself. Live. Like, really live. Leave the phone at home and go play with your dog, eat drippy ice cream and stick your toes in the ocean. Hold babies. Watch sunsets. Hold hands with someone you love. Try coloring (that's my personal favourite). Spend time with your friends, dance, and hug your children. Write, if you want to. Do that which makes you soul sing, no matter what anyone else says. <br /><br />Don't squander your magic because that, my friend, is what life really is all about. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XHO0qY5to-U:8jIt_pnl1xw:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/XHO0qY5to-U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/XHO0qY5to-U/guard-your-magic.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2016/05/guard-your-magic.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-6081578477382756366Wed, 12 Aug 2015 15:28:00 +00002015-08-12T08:28:05.191-07:00travel both near and farEmpty Nest Vacationing, Biker Mama StyleIt has been forever, it seems, since that carefree day way back in April 2006 when I wrote about how I longed to get rid of an old TV in our office and my husband had a tendency to hold on to things. Nine years, to be exact.<br /><br />Nine years isn't long really, but now it feels like a whole lifetime ago, when I was the mom of a kid in grade five and working my way into the business of writing. These days, that nine year old is now closing in on twenty and has since moved out. I'm finding myself in a house that no longer has the pitter patter of other people's feet, and adjusting to being an empty nester is really strange.<br /><br />Some time back in March when I was working something like 60 hours a week at four (yes! FOUR!) different jobs, I lay in bed on my only day off after working something crazy like 16 days in a row and declared that I was going on a vacation this summer. Some place where I wasn't required to cook or clean, that I didn't have to write, supervise children, or do anything work related. Eventually John and I pulled out all the vacation planning things, and soon we mapped out a trip via motorcycle to Calgary. In all honesty at first it was to Oregon but the Canadian dollar kind of lost steam and we didn't want to pay that much, so Alberta it was!<br /><br />Empty nesting vacationing is totally different from road tripping with kids, let me tell you.&nbsp; I'm not going to tell you all about it now, though, just wait! Exactly like when I used to write about road trips back when I had&nbsp; a kid with me, this time I'm going to tell you what it was like taking a motorcycle to Calgary and back-where we stayed, what we ate, the funny things that happened along the way, and more.<br /><br />There's nothing boring here- tornadoes and severe thunderstorms were involved, and we DID see one (or both) of them up close and personal-like. You're going to have to follow along to find out.<br /><br />Were we all food revolutionary and healthy, like in our past road trips? No. You can't haul food on a motorcycle, and sometimes you just have to eat at whatever place presents itself. So that's exactly what we did, with some really interesting results.<br /><br /><br />Keep an eye out for the next posts! First stop, Three Valley Gap, BC.<br /><br /><center><a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/8732472655/in/photolist-eiEcTn-bTUf1x-bRLqfn-bCRHrG-bCDGoM-bCDFSp-bpJK5y-bpJJAd-bpJL4q-bpJFXu-bpJFso-bCDBbg-bCDByV-bBZRSZ-bCDAKM-bCDAir-bktdhb-bp7jZH-bp7oYP-bk4uS8-a8eEoH-bk4xDH-a8eEe6-bpbHar-a8eCzp-9XSgSH-84mcwk/" title="The bike!"><img alt="The bike!" height="281" src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7313/8732472655_17f06fdc7d.jpg" width="500" /></a><script async="" charset="utf-8" src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script><center></center></center><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=s3LbqeIdvLs:-suDwYer1j0:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/s3LbqeIdvLs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/s3LbqeIdvLs/empty-nest-vacationing-biker-mama-style.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2015/08/empty-nest-vacationing-biker-mama-style.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-1738700304174052645Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:23:00 +00002015-03-17T16:19:42.311-07:00Food RevolutionMy Experience with Coke's PR and Marketing Pop As a Healthy SnackIt has been a long time since I've been fired up about something so much that it drives me to my computer to write, but as I sat curled up on the couch with a huge box of tissues nursing a terrible cold this morning <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/coca-cola-paid-nutrition-experts-to-recommend-soda-as-a-healthy-snack-2015-3" target="_blank">a story came on the news </a>and my head exploded.<br /><br />Well, not really, although my head kinda feels like it's going to explode, but that's besides the point. See, a few years ago I had an email exchange with a PR company regarding Coke mini cans that left me completely appalled. When I later met Chef Michael Smith, we had a conversation about it and he asked if I had written about it. At the time I said no. I didn't want to appear to be outing a company, but now that this story is in the news I think my experience should be shared. <br /><br />According to <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/coca-cola-paid-nutrition-experts-to-recommend-soda-as-a-healthy-snack-2015-3" target="_blank">recent news stories</a>, Coke is working with bloggers, nutritionists, and dieticians to say that Coke is a healthy snack. Normally I'd just roll my eyes at this, but back in 2011 I received an email in my inbox, where a PR company working with Coke was talking about Laurie Gelman and how she was the host of Slice's The Mom Show. She was going to do a segment re: healthy snacks, and she was going to mention the Coke mini cans.They wanted me to write a story. There was no discussion of compensation. <br /><br />Below is part of that email: <br /><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;">"<i>Maintaining a balanced diet is key to leading a healthy lifestyle. For any lifestyle and family features you may be compiling, we have an interesting interview opportunity available.</i></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i>Laurie Gelman, host of Slice’s The Mom Show and mother of two, is available for interview. She can speak to maintaining a healthy balanced diet both for yourself and for your children, specifically including topics such as:</i></div><ul style="margin-top: 0in;"><li class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i>Yummy and nutritious snacks for kids that Mom can prepare</i></li><li class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i>How to keep kids energized and active</i></li><li class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i>How to keep Mom energized during her busy day and overcome daily hurdles such as the 3pm slump</i></li></ul><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><i>Laurie will mention the launch of the new Coca Cola mini can (a smaller-sized, 100-calorie can) as one snack idea. This portion size option gives consumers power to choose the beverage size that best meets their dietary and lifestyle needs. Dietary experts say that controlling portion sizes and subsequent calorie intake is important to maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Laurie of course has plenty of other suggestions that she can share with your readers which will perfectly compliment the subject of busy Moms and how they can ensure that their kids, and themselves, have a balanced diet.</i>"</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;">The email went on to a press release where Coke was announcing their new mini cans and saying they were a good option to have a Coke with a smaller portion size.<br /><br />First off, I have no issue with Coke. Like any other soda, it can be a nice treat on a hot day. We have it occasionally in the summer or on a holiday. Honestly, it's rare that I can drink a whole can-when I was a kid, my Mom and I would sometimes share a can.&nbsp; The important distinction is that in our house, pop is viewed as an occasional TREAT. It's like a bag of chips, bar of chocolate, or other sweet/salty nutritionally bankrupt item that we may occasionally indulge in.<br /><br />If we were to be perfectly honest about things, Coke is composed of water, sugar, caffeine, phosphoric acid,&nbsp; caramel color and natural flavourings. There is<a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/FDA.png" target="_blank"> no nutritional value </a>to a a can of Coke, no matter the portion size. There is sugar, carbs, sodium. That is it.&nbsp; My definition of a "healthy snack" is one that offers nutrition to my body. One that contains vitamins, minerals, or things my body needs to function. Coke does not offer any of these things.&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><br />Now, I know that some people have pointed to the soda industry as responsible for the rise in obesity over the past decade and Coke has probably taken a hit in their sales. I don't think the soda industry is totally to blame, there are a lot of factors at play that need to be taken into consideration. But what makes me crazy is when companies try to market a product that is so obviously NOT healthy as healthy. Let's be honest here, people, it's POP.&nbsp; (or soda, depending on where you're from). </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;">This was my response to the PR company:&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">" <span style="font-family: &quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">Thank you for your interest in Notes from the Cookie Jar. &nbsp;I must admit I'm appalled by the idea that Coke mini cans are being pitched in a press release about an interview with someone as a healthy lifestyle choice. &nbsp; Coke is full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and is not (in my opinion) a healthy choice by any stretch of the imagination. &nbsp;In fact, &nbsp;I do not believe that children need soda of any kind in their diets (whether by 100 calorie can or not). For Mrs. Gelman to be suggesting this is completely ridiculous. &nbsp;Children need to be hydrating with water or plain milk, not sugary substances filled with artificial flavors, preservatives, and caffeine.&nbsp;</span></div><div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div><div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">I cannot endorse, support, or write about someone who is suggesting that mini cans of Coke are part of a healthy lifestyle for children, no matter what the size is. "</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">&nbsp;</span>Healthy snacks are things like whole fruit, raw veggies, nuts, hummus and whole grain crackers. Even 100% juice offers some nutrition. Coke offers sugar and caffeine.&nbsp; <br /><br />There was a response to my mail:<br /><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><i>"We are following up on our email regarding the new Coca-Cola mini can. The language used in the email sent to you was ambiguous and this was not our intention.&nbsp;</i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span lang="EN-CA"></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>The Coca-Cola mini can media launch is targeted at Moms and is intended to communicate increased product choices for consumers, providing more options in the beverage aisle for those looking to enjoy a favorite beverage while being conscious of portion size and calories.&nbsp;</i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span lang="EN-CA"></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>As host of the Mom Show and a mother herself, Laurie Gelman can offer views on making lifestyle choices for herself and her family.&nbsp; The aim was to provide information that Moms would be interested in – including new portion packages for Moms and appropriate family members, since Mom is the primary gatekeeper to most grocery purchases.</i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span lang="EN-CA"></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Coca-Cola has a strict policy against marketing to children under age 12.&nbsp; We include our regulations on not marketing to children on our website, here: <a href="http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/responsible_marketing.html" tabindex="-1" target="_parent">http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/responsible_marketing.html</a> and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions."</i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Wait. Did I say anything about marketing to kids? Nope. I said that I didn't believe kids should have soda, and that suggesting it was healthy was.. "completely ridiculous". Marketing it to Moms as a healthy snack, when Moms don't snack that much but make snacks for kids is just skirting around the issue. Weren't two of those points about healthy snacks to do with snacks for kids?</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Now Coke has found nutritionists who have written pieces where it's not very clear if they were paid for their articles, if they were sponsored or not by Coke, and some don't even remember if they were paid. Seriously? It certainly makes me wary of nutritional advice from so-called "experts" if this is the case. Kids are already influenced by marketing offered by companies about "healthy" choices, whether the advertising is directed at them or not. I work with kids, and talk to them about food every single day. They are swayed by colorful packaging, and repeat messages they have heard.&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Moms may be the gatekeepers, but it's naive to think that advertising doesn't filter down to children. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Coke is not, in my opinion,&nbsp; a healthy snack for anyone. Period. End of story. I believe that anyone who tells you otherwise either is being paid to do so or doesn't know what a healthy snack is. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div></div><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=f4143r8WDYk:ej6O6JO8_Nw:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/f4143r8WDYk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/f4143r8WDYk/my-experience-with-cokes-pr-and.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2015/03/my-experience-with-cokes-pr-and.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-4064891581715379010Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:54:00 +00002015-03-05T11:54:03.301-08:00Kids in the KitchenKids Are Always Full of Surprises<center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/16066633593" title="cara cara orange by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="cara cara orange" height="375" src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8612/16066633593_47b38a5e8a.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />For the longest time, I've been aching to get back into the kitchen with kids, teaching them about food and cooking. This really is my happy place; above all else that I do, it's what I love most. Since we moved from the Sunshine Coast to Chilliwack, it was the one part of my job that I missed most.<br /><br />Yesterday was day one of diving back in the kitchen again with a group of elementary school students. This time, it's more challenging; I have a group of students who all have their own needs and challenges, so presenting food and cooking in a way they understand is going to be interesting. We didn't cook yesterday, instead we talked about the "Rules of the Kitchen", how things were going to work, what we were going to make, and then I brought some oranges for them to taste.<br /><br />They weren't just any oranges. They were cara cara oranges, a delightful variety that's in season between December and April, and one of my very favourite kind of orange. Not only are they super sweet, but they are gorgeous. I wanted to see what the kids knew-where the oranges might come from, how they grow, the different parts such as the peel, pith, flesh... would they figure this out?<br /><br />Tasting things is a huge part of how I teach kids to cook. At home, most kids come from the "Just one bite" or "finish your plate" camps.&nbsp; They are used to food being associated with something emotional-mostly pleasing adults but in my class, I tell them I'm not the food police. I won't make them eat ANYTHING. Or try anything. They may look at, smell, lick, touch, and even eat something if they wish but there will be no pressure from anyone at any time.The point is to just make them aware of different kinds of food, and one day when they are ready, they may try it. <br /><br />"YOU are in charge of your body," I tell them. "YOU are the one who decides if you want to taste. If you don't, that's okay. I'm not going to make you or feel sad if you don't." <br /><br />The oranges were a surprise. At first, the kids seemed disappointed and even a bit upset that I bought "just" fruit and not some fantastic packaged item. <br /><br />"Just oranges? Really?"<br />"I WANT SOMETHING SWEET!"<br />&nbsp;"I&nbsp; HATE oranges"<br /><br />I'm a little evil. There are NO sweet baked goods on our menu until the very last day in June, when I plan to have them make homemade ice cream. Even then, it will be topped with fruit. They don't know this, and I have no plans to tell them. <br /><br />I smiled and set the oranges on the table, said it was fine if they didn't want any, and kept going.&nbsp; We talked about the oranges, and with fat, colorful markers I began drawing a mind map on a huge piece of paper. The adults helping had a few orange slices. Another teacher walked in and commented that those kind of oranges were her favorite. Finally, one of the kids tried one..and then another, and before you knew it, they were nibbling on the sweet fruit, leaving a pile of half moon peels behind on paper towels in front of them. <br /><br />Then, we got to the topic of citrus fruit and I brought out a Meyer lemon. I sliced it in half, and the kids got to smell and touch it.<br /><br />"Can we taste the lemon?"&nbsp; <br /><br />I almost fell over. Lemon? The oranges were suspect but they wanted LEMON? I shaved off thin slices, saying it was okay if they didn't want it after they tasted, that it would be sour. I explained that the peel is very good, and how chefs use it in muffins and other treats.<br /><br />Down went the slices of lemon and soon they were eying the lime I brought as well. Gone were the pleas of having a cookie or piece of chocolate, they were intensely focused on the fruit and how interesting it was. This was a completely different turn of events-I had expected they may eat the oranges, but never for a minute thought they'd want to try the lemon and lime, too!<br /><br />Later I ran into one of the kids and asked her,<br /><br />"Are you a sweet orange or a sour lemon today?"<br /><br />She grinned at me happily.<br /><br />"I'm a sweet orange!"&nbsp; (Note to self: I think I may need to bring Meyer lemons in again for the kids to cook with because they obviously LOVED them)<br /><br />Next up? We're making pancakes that are full of oatmeal and whole wheat flour, topped with a strawberry compote instead of syrup. They are used to only having syrup. Let's see how THAT goes over!<br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=DoQWM5lXfoE:xB-ggdpjuno:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/DoQWM5lXfoE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/DoQWM5lXfoE/kids-are-always-full-of-surprises.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2015/03/kids-are-always-full-of-surprises.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-7301113942046936191Wed, 31 Dec 2014 20:08:00 +00002014-12-31T12:20:01.074-08:00KevinWho You Calling Crazy?Right from the get go, I knew Kevin was different. While his friends played with age appropriate toys at 3 years old, he intently watched "Bob Villa's Home Again." and almost removed the oil pan from one of our cars when he was helping his Dad.<br /><br />At 4 he took apart every toy he owned, and then put them all back together and fixed some. When he was 7, he was so into engines that he taught himself how they work-by 8 he learned the entire periodic table. To say that sometimes this drive to know things scared us is an understatement; I ceased being able to answer his questions when he was around five.<br /><br />This inner drive to know has propelled Kevin through life in ways that have never been conventional. While his friends played video games, he was building them on his laptop. He has never, ever, had the same interests as his peers or been into the fads that permeate childhood.&nbsp; Through it all, we always have wanted him to just BE. Be happy. Be himself. Anything else was gravy, really.<br /><br />The thing is, society has some pretty defined perimeters. To be successful, you need to graduate from high school, find a traditional job in a building that provides a regular paycheck, and go to post secondary education.&nbsp; That's the road. That is how you are judged by peers on the ladder to success.<br /><br />Like anything he has ever done, Kevin is turning that on it's head. His peers call him crazy. Some have outright said he is a loser.<br /><br />"You live in your parent's office with no job or post secondary plans," they say. "Your dream is a fantasy," they sneer.<br /><br />Just like the kids in the school yard, they mock what they just don't know or understand.<br /><br />Kevin still lives with us, yes; <a href="http://www.theprovince.com/homes/Young+adults+still+living+home+growing+trend/9759546/story.html" target="_blank">like most people his age</a> because it would be crazy to move out to your own apartment when your parents have room and are willing to allow you to stay. Why not save money? Free food, hydro, internet connection? With the cost of housing so high it only makes sense and we specifically moved to Chilliwack so that he could live with us once he graduated. Why not? Of course, he's paying rent now but still-even at that, it's far cheaper.<br /><br />University is a good option, but not the only one. A degree doesn't automatically mean a job, and you end up with huge student loans to pay. One can take courses online from universities now, and some job prospects actually like to have students who are fresh and teachable, rather than filled with years of education and no experience. School is always an option; it doesn't mean you must do it immediately when you are 19. Not everyone is ready or even able to hit university straight out of high school, and there is nothing wrong with that. I didn't go until I was 20, and John didn't until he was in his 20s as well. The trades are also not a second choice or something that should be looked at as 'lesser' than other more academic careers, either. <a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/why-work-smart-not-hard-is-the-worst-advice-in-the-world-15805614" target="_blank">Mike Rowe wrote about this in Popular Mechanics magazine </a>and I like the article so much I brought it home and showed it to Kevin. <br /><br />So if you aren't going to school, then you should obviously be working and being productive, right? This is where Kevin turned things on it's head because he's nothing like other kids his age. In Sechelt, it was hard to get a job because the town was so small there were few jobs available. In Chilliwack, it's different-but unsatisfied with the kind of jobs he could get, Kevin went ahead and created his own. He watched me over the years, dreaming of writing and unsatisfied with the jobs available in my field. I worked hard to forge my own path with writing and did fairly well so he took that example and then forged ahead in his own path; not with writing, but instead in the world of finance and bitcoin.<br /><br />Kevin owns <a href="http://www.paradoxbtc.com/about.html" target="_blank">Paradox BTC</a>. We've watched him work countless hours trading, networking with banks and businesses, and getting his name out there. He's been quite successful and his ideas have captured the interest of some pretty important people. He has a deep entrepreneurial spirit, much like his Dad, who has also been a small business owner. Kevin has forged ahead with something that he has created, in a field that he can excel at.&nbsp; I won't lie; there have been times where we have wondered what he is doing or where this is taking him, but we're seeing that he is doing well. Success is an interesting thing; is making loads of money successful? To some, maybe. Success can also be defined in loving what you do and personal satisfaction. If you are an educational assistant (which is what I do), you may not make a pile of money but be very happy with your job so that is enough. Is that success? I think so. <br /><br />Is working in the bitcoin field traditional? Not in the slightest. You should see me trying to explain this to people who ask, and then assume that I have a man-child hiding out in my darkened basement, playing with computers. Yes, he spends hours in our home office. You need to in order to run a business. Do I think he should be out slinging fries at a fast food place, or being a cashier? No. It's not for everyone and to think that everyone has to take the same path to success is narrow minded. Both John and I look back at those days when we were young and the dreams that we gave up because they seemed too crazy, too impossible, with a tinge of regret. Neither of us had the support to chase what really made our soul fly; money and logistics were in the way. <br /><br />Now is the time to chase the dream, when you are young and able to, rather than leave it and then look back when you are 40, wishing you had. Sure, it might be a crazy dream. It may not turn out to be anything more than a learning experience.&nbsp; The interesting thing is, while I dreamed of writing, nobody told me I was crazy. They didn't insist that I go back to university and study English or get a journalism degree. Nobody once told me that my dream was far fetched, even though these days there are millions of blogs and competition is fierce. Even though in the end, I decided that writing was more of a hobby for me than a job.<br /><br />Perhaps my peers know the sting of a dream never explored and how crazy it is not to chase one when you have the opportunity, unlike the shortsighted young peers who sneer at Kevin. Sure, it's quite possible that bitcoin could go nowhere.&nbsp; On the other hand, what if his dream turns into something big?<br /><br />Either way, he has some pretty proud parents. Go get 'em, Kev. xo <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=8f0tdWLT2Lg:a2qddoZJC8E:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/8f0tdWLT2Lg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/8f0tdWLT2Lg/who-you-calling-crazy.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/12/who-you-calling-crazy.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-2637981128002049817Mon, 29 Dec 2014 18:39:00 +00002014-12-29T15:46:36.617-08:00New Year's Goal: Getting My Inner Writer OnMy Christmas tree, dry and a little forlorn looking, is dropping needles on the hardwood. In the dining room, there are three half decorated gingerbread houses waiting to be finished, and I've somehow lost the remote control to my television this morning.&nbsp; If my internet name "Scatteredmom" ever fit me, it does now more than ever. I chose the name years ago not to say that I think I'm unorganized, but that I felt pulled in all directions. I guess that I do now more than ever.<br /><br />When I began blogging years ago, I vowed to take it seriously. To always be 'on', and never promise things I didn't plan to follow through on. For awhile I did really well with it, until life upended itself and I found myself scrambling. At first, I wanted blogging to be a job, and then after awhile I discovered that I really hated turning that which I loved into a job. It felt like I worked 24 hours a day. I felt chained to my computer and the constant barrage of email, tweets, and facebook posts.<br /><br />2014 was my year to just live, despite the fact that I didn't want to give up blogging entirely. I dropped all sorts of balls. I realized that writing all the time for a job made me feel overworked and anxious. I found another job where I can be with people, and when I leave it, I don't think about it. While I do enjoy doing some writing work, I don't think I could make it a career and be happy. A part time hobby, absolutely.<br /><br />Do you make resolutions? I've written before that I don't, that I chose to make goals instead. What would your goals be? I don't have a lot of them, but I'm thinking of a few.<br /><br />1. Write every day, publish at LEAST once a week <br /><br />The only thing that really got me blogging was that I committed to writing, and like an exercise program, made myself do it all the time. When my friend Anne died, I stopped. I had nothing to say. There were no words in my head aching to get out and I didn't think there would be again.<br /><br />Now the words are back, but I'm out of the habit. Time to get back into it and like an exercise program, make myself write even if I don't want to. Not everything needs to be published though, so I think committing to once a week is a good idea. <br /><br />2. Stop procrastinating<br /><br />There are some things that I've gotten much better at the last few years, but there are still others that are woefully bad. Being better organized and dealing with things immediately would serve me far better. Putting things away immediately, answering emails right away, etc would be a good place to start.<br /><br />Do you procrastinate? Any tips?<br /><br />2.&nbsp; Either say no, or do a kick ass job of it<br /><br />At a blogging conference I remember being told that you always need to bring your A game, every single time. For awhile there, I did-until things fell apart and I didn't quite recover.<br /><br />I often have such great ideas and want to do things (just like those gingerbread houses), but something gets in the way. This year it was the fact that I was sick and overworked, so any spare time I had was eaten up by sleep or the fact that it was too dark and ugly out to get any good photos. They are still sitting on my dining room table.<br /><br />Which leads up to #3....<br /><br />3. Take good care of myself <br /><br />For a long time, I took care of everyone BUT myself-which resulted in me crashing and burning in a spectacular fashion and then not recovering for a very long time. There's a lot going on here offline, and I'm busier than ever. Sometimes I need to just sleep rather than DO stuff, especially if I was at work at 4 am. I need to say no sometimes. Instead of making sure everyone else is okay, I need to be okay too. <br /><br />4. Take time for my family and friends offline<br /><br />Anne taught me this. She taught me that time with your friends or family is never wasted, and that making time to spend with people you care about or cultivating friendships enriches your life beyond anything you can imagine. I need to remember to plan things with friends, and go.&nbsp; <br /><br />5. Remember that I do this because I enjoy it and finding the balance<br /><br />I started blogging because I thought maybe it was a job I'd enjoy, and then I found as it became one that I didn't love it as much as I thought. Being at home all day writing felt isolated and lonely, and I eventually burned out.&nbsp; Having to produce piles of content sucked the joy out of me. I love writing, but marketing my own content feels fake to me-and always has.<br /><br />I want to be like chef Michael Smith, on that day we had dinner in Saskatoon, where he told me that he's a good writer and does it because he loves it. <br /><br />THAT is the kind of writer I want to be. Maybe balance is elusive, or even non existent, but&nbsp; I intend to start right here. I know you're probably rolling your eyes because I've had a bunch of false starts, and that's okay. I understand. I'd be rolling mine too.<br /><br />Some people this January are lacing up runners and vowing to go to the gym. I'm here, flexing my fingers, getting my inner writer on.<br /><br />What are YOUR goals for 2015? Care to share them? If you are wanting to get your inner writer on too, let me know. Maybe we need to start a group of our own.<br />&nbsp; <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Rr1pdyAkkG4:Thve3vPNL6A:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/Rr1pdyAkkG4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/Rr1pdyAkkG4/new-years-goal-getting-my-inner-writer.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/12/new-years-goal-getting-my-inner-writer.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-4684014706130421588Fri, 05 Dec 2014 08:00:00 +00002014-12-05T06:48:30.674-08:00Giveaways Contests and ChallengesShare Your Fave Holiday Movie and Win!<a href="/2014/11/stream_into_2015_with_cookie_jar.html" target="_blank">Remember when I told you</a> all about that awesome <a href="http://www.staples.ca/en/Roku-3-Streaming-Media-Player/product_280765_2-CA_1_20001" target="_blank">Roku 3 streaming box</a> that I had from Staples? Well, we've been watching movies here and there, gearing up for the holidays. We haven't watched a lot of the usual Christmas movies; much of what we normally would watch wasn't on Netflix, so we settled for some that we hadn't seen yet. That month went so fast! I was stunned that before we knew it, December had arrived. Hadn't we just started? What do you mean there's only that many days before Christmas?<br /><br />I have two guys in my house who love action and adventure, and with no little kids there was no clamoring for anything animated. We're a tried and true adventure crowd, with pure escapism&nbsp; ranking high on our wish list and not necessarily traditional holiday themed movies on our minds.<br /><br />When Kevin was young and The Lord of the Rings trilogy began coming out in theaters, John and I would make a movie date. In the midst of all the holiday craziness, we'd book a babysitter, get dressed up, an spend a night out together. Sometimes, the smallest things become tradition-even though Kevin was too young to join us at the time, as the years passed he grew and we eventually watched the videos together.<br /><br />When the Hobbit movies began being released in theaters, there was no question; instead of making the movies a date night, Kevin began joining us for a really special evening out to see the movies we had loved so much in theaters.&nbsp; With his birthday on December 21st our date night tradition evolved into a family birthday one where we would find our way to a theater to see our beloved Middle Earth characters once again. Elves, orcs, hobbits, a dragon; what's not to love? It seems very fitting that this Christmas, when the very last Middle Earth movie of the series is in theaters, Kevin turns 19.<br /><br />If we had to crown our ultimate holiday movie, I'd have to say any of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, because they have a special place for us. We have been known to watch all three in a trilogy over the course of a holiday, curled up on the couch nibbling snacks and enjoying our fantasy trip to Middle Earth.<br /><br />What's YOUR favourite holiday movie? It doesn't have to be a holiday themed one, just movies that your family enjoys. Let me know below and guess what? YOU can win yourself Roku 3!<br /><br />This giveaway is open only to Canadian residents who are the age of majority.<br /><br /><br /><center><a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6a3e0f348/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="6a3e0f348" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_4th9dwr7">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></center><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=oCEffVPHNFw:Hh2xIWby33Q:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/oCEffVPHNFw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/oCEffVPHNFw/share-your-fave-holiday-movie-and-win.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/12/share-your-fave-holiday-movie-and-win.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-1077493224900173116Tue, 02 Dec 2014 17:00:00 +00002014-12-02T20:56:49.917-08:00ChristmasFrom the KitchenHow to Make a Gingerbread House Without Losing Your Mind (part 1)<center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/4216806430" title="Gingerbread by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="Gingerbread" height="375" src="https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4032/4216806430_555d923e20.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />For years, gingerbread houses were my nemesis. After the <a href="/2006/12/gingerbread_incident_6219.html" target="_blank">trauma of the gingerbread incident</a>, I decided that kits were the way to go and that anyone who made gingerbread creations from scratch was crazy. What I neglected to tell you is that the very next day after gingerbread went airborne in my house, I went to work and was asked to help a class construct a village from gingerbread. <br /><br />For a week straight, I surrounded by children and gingerbread and went home covered in icing sugar. I was in gingerbread hell.<br /><br />A few years after that, I worked in a high school Foods class where I finally got over my fear of gingerbread house building when we built mini gingerbread houses from scratch. Finally, I learned a bunch of tips and tricks that made gingerbread house building easy, which I want to share with you!<br /><br />Before we get started, I want you to let go of expectations that you are going to end up with something that looks like it belongs on Pinterest. Forget perfection and embrace the process of doing this project with your kids for maximum fun factor; THAT is the secret to successful gingerbread house constructing, and exactly what I had forgotten one Christmas when Kevin was little. <br /><br />This recipe makes one small gingerbread house that <a href="https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1wHTRh3av_ib0RNQmppQVlYWFE&amp;authuser=0" target="_blank">goes with this pattern</a>. (that link should take you to Google Docs, where my pattern is in a shared folder. You should be able to download and print it!)&nbsp; If doubled, the recipe will make 3-4 houses depending on how thick you roll the dough. Don't make them too thin, they'll break easily! These houses are small, but I find small is the key to manageable. Make a bunch and the kids can each decorate their own for a village! Don't get stressed out over this project, you can do it over a period of days so it's not so daunting. The dough can be mixed and then frozen or left in the fridge overnight, and you can bake it one day and construct another. Or, put the houses together one day and let the kids decorate another. <br /><br /><b>Mini Gingerbread House (<a href="https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1wHTRh3av_ib0RNQmppQVlYWFE&amp;authuser=0" target="_blank">pattern here</a>!)</b><br /><br />1 1/2 cups flour<br />1/2 tsp baking powder<br />1 tsp ginger<br />1 tsp cinnamon<br />1/4 tsp cloves or allspice<br />1/4 tsp salt<br />1/4 cup margarine or butter<br />1/3 cup brown sugar<br />1 egg<br />1/4 cup molasses<br />1 tsp water<br /><br /><b>Directions:</b>&nbsp; <br /><br />1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.<br /><br />2. In another bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and the brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, and water and continue to beat until smooth.<br /><br />3. Beat half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended, and then stir in the remaining flour mixture. If the dough is really sticky, stir in a bit more flour until a little more manageable but be careful, you don't want it dry. The dough should be soft and easy to work with, but not so sticky it's all over the place.<br /><br />4. Turn out onto a counter and knead 2 or 3 times for it to all come together. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for about 2 hours. You can also freeze the dough at this point for another day. Thaw the dough before you are going to use it.<br /><br />5. When you are ready to bake, pre heat oven to 350 F. Take your dough out of the fridge and allow to warm slightly. Then divide the disc in half.<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15934763882" title="IMG_7653 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="IMG_7653" height="375" src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7464/15934763882_d704ee5965.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />6. Roll out 1/2 disc <b>on parchment paper</b> (important!) until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick. Brush lightly with flour to keep the pattern pieces from sticking. Lay your pattern pieces on the dough and cut them out using a sharp knife. <b>Do not put the pieces flush with each other, they need at least 1/2 inch between them.</b> (also important!)<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15747975548" title="IMG_7654 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="IMG_7654" height="375" src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7511/15747975548_f58f4412c6.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />7. When you have cut as many pieces as you can, remove the excess dough. Then, using scissors, <b>cut the wax paper around the gingerbread pieces, leaving a slight border around each one.</b> <i><b>Do NOT remove the gingerbread pieces from the parchment paper. </b>This ensures that your pieces will remain perfectly straight, and not warp, which means the house will be easier to construct.</i> (and you will preserve your sanity)<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15747973448" title="IMG_7657 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="IMG_7657" height="375" src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7564/15747973448_6a2ce17dcf.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />8. Put pieces on a cookie sheet. Continue until you've used all your dough. If you have leftovers, you can make some gingerbread cookies, or ginger snaps by rolling the dough into walnut sized balls, rolling them again in granulated sugar, set them on a cookie sheet and press them down slightly.<br /><br />9. Bake your gingerbread pieces about 10-12 minutes, until they are set and slightly browned. <br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15935402315" title="IMG_7659 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="IMG_7659" height="375" src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8645/15935402315_f2c6b8a420.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />10. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookie pieces to cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to the counter or a cooling rack to cool completely. Once they are cooled, set the pieces aside in a sealed container until you are ready to build!<br /><br />Need to watch me do this? I have a handy dandy video for you, even!<br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/q0QKiYewzX0" width="560"></iframe> <br /><br />In my next post, we'll move on to different kinds of icing, construction, and decorating tips! <br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=XFEEQJpTmLU:mxxZ8o5yAeU:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/XFEEQJpTmLU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/XFEEQJpTmLU/how-to-make-gingerbread-house-without.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/12/how-to-make-gingerbread-house-without.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-7662511304948766379Sun, 16 Nov 2014 19:08:00 +00002014-11-16T11:08:22.496-08:00Simple ChristmasA Simple Christmas: Make a Strategy<table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/4216807972" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="Christmas hike by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="Christmas hike" height="375" src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2576/4216807972_7818139fb6.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Every Christmas Day, if weather permits we go for a hike</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />I have found that the secret to keeping your Christmas simple is to figure out a strategy before December. This may seem like a bit of a killjoy to some who like to just go with the flow, but hear me out on this one.<br /><br />1. <b>Decide what's important </b><br /><br />First, sit down with your family. It's their holiday season too, right? You may need a calendar and/or some paper if you have a lot of events happening. Ask each person what is important to them. Do the kids love your annual drive to look at Christmas lights? Is dinner at Grandma's house high on your list? Write them down. This is your chance to be a little selfish and state what makes Christmas special for <b>you</b>. Our favourite things have changed through the years and as we moved to different communities, but here's a taste of some:<br /><br />1. Annual drive to look at Christmas lights: we would load up the car with hot chocolate and treats, then drive around and marvel at the pretty houses, with Christmas music playing in the car.<br />2. Dinner out at a local hotel on Christmas Day (when Kevin was really small). We called it our gift to ourselves because there was only 3 of us. Kevin still remembers it.<br />3. Movies and a huge appetizer spread on Christmas Eve<br />4. Trip to the city for a big day of Christmas shopping<br />5. Movie 'date' for me and John (Lord of the Rings Movies) which evolved into Kevin coming and it being a birthday evening out for Kevin.<br />6. The Santa Claus parade!<br />7. Reading a special story on Christmas Eve <br /><br />As I wrote this I've noticed something. Each and every thing has to do with time spent together, not things. Nobody cares about the perfect tree, whether Christmas crackers are homemade or store bought (or there at all), if the Christmas cake was bought or handmade at midnight. (for the record, I buy the stuff). We've had a few Christmases where things were less than ideal; friends were dying; family members were seriously ill, money was tight, etc. It taught all of us that Christmas is all about loving each other and being together, not the trappings that seem to invade. <br /><br />2. <b>Identify what stresses you out </b><br /><br />Next, look at the things that you could do without. This can be a bit trickier, because it involves things that you may feel obligated to do and you have to steel yourself into saying no. You CAN say no to things, you know. You don't have to do Christmas cards if you ultimately don't enjoy it. The kids don't HAVE to go to the Christmas concert. You don't HAVE to go to your office party. You don't HAVE to buy a gift for every extended family member and overspend your budget. The key is to identify what causes you the greatest amount of stress.<br /><br />For us, the biggest stressors were:<br /><br />1. Travel (tried it, hated it, vowed not to do it again)<br />2. Obligation to do loads of little things; gifts for co-workers, cards, parties, etc.<br />3. Not setting a budget and then overspending<br />4. Too many events <br />5. My own perceived notion that I had to do everything by hand and from scratch (making loads of homemade gifts)<br /><br />Once you've identified what stresses you out, give yourself permission to either cease doing them altogether, pare them back, or find a way to do them that works for you. I used to make all sorts of things by hand, and then wouldn't finish them in time and be up late desperately trying to get them done. I understand that sometimes family obligations such as the 3 Christmas dinners in various houses aren't things you can always get out of, but maybe there are other areas that can be tweaked. Remember, holidays also change over time as your kids grow so maybe you can't change things now, but in years to come the stress will lessen.<br /><br />The biggest lesson here is that if you have small kids, they are small only for a handful of Christmases. It's your only opportunity to make them very special family times, so guard them fiercely.<br /><br />3. <b>Set a budget and stick to it </b><br /><br />Now that you've figured out what is important, set a budget for gifts and things. We tend to save some money throughout the year specifically for Christmas so that we can pay things outright and don't put extra on credit or mess up our monthly budget. Keep it reasonable. Children don't need to have the very latest or most expensive item, nor do they need a gigantic pile of presents under the tree. Commercials and media will tell you that you NEED TO BUY THIS TO MAKE YOUR CHILD HAPPY, but you don't need to succumb to the messaging. How do you avoid the overwhelming Christmas hype? Well, you strategize your shopping as well.<br /><br />4.<b> Plan your shopping and gift giving</b><br /><b><br /></b>Once you have your budget, figure out what you want to buy for gifts. John and I used to sit down and plan what we were getting for Kevin, and then set a budget for what we were going to spend on each other. Our approach to Christmas shopping is unusual; we would make a plan, then spend a day together shopping and enjoy lunch together. We also shopped for our gifts together, mostly because I couldn't figure out what kind of tools he wanted and he couldn't find clothes that fit me properly. We then wrapped the gifts and they went under the tree.<br /><br />Most people gasp when they hear this. What about the surprise? Well, stockings were still fair game to fill with all kinds of small things, but there were never any returns when it came to bigger gifts.<br /><br />To keep the shopping stress down, try these strategies:<br /><br />-shop during the week early in the day. Avoid the mall on weekends at all costs, especially closer to the date.<br />-make a list!<br />-shop online<br />-get things like tape, wrapping paper, ribbon, etc early. <br />-pick up stocking stuffers as you go. I get mine on days when I'm grocery shopping or out and about<br />-watch the sales. If something is important for you to get, you may want or need to brave the crowds to get it.<br />-wrap items when you bring them home and label them so that if they are found, you're still safe. This also saves you from the hours of wrapping on Christmas Eve.<br /><br />Lastly, there's one more thing to plan....<br /><br />5. <b>Plan the food</b><br /><br />This can depend on your family. Is food important? Do you bake a lot? Are you planning to bake as gifts, for friends and family? If the answer to these questions is yes, then planning will help keep you from being stressed in the kitchen. About a month before the holidays, I sit down and have a conversation with my family; what would you love to have for Christmas dinner? What cookies and treats do you love best? Do we need to bake for teachers, friends, or family?<br /><br />A word, here. DO NOT think that you must make everything from scratch. Shortcuts are okay. Eating at a hotel for Christmas dinner is okay (you saw that we once did that, right?). Buying your Christmas baking is okay. Whatever works for you and your family IS OKAY. <br /><br />Once you have this information, it's a good idea to pull together the recipes you need and take a look in your pantry. I like to make a list of the things I'm going to need; cocoa, flour, sugar, butter, etc and head out to Costco to stock up. Costco is by far my go-to place for getting baking supplies, since I've found them cheaper than anywhere else. If you don't have the funds to buy everything at once, you could take the strategy of buying a few things here and there as you do your grocery shopping and just tuck it away. This saves you last minute trips to the store and the stress of getting everything done at once. <br /><br />If you're baking for friends and family, it's a good idea to pick up containers or bags to tuck treats into early. I love to go to the Dollar store for this; clear plastic goodie bags are great for cookies, and you can find inexpensive boxes or tins to make gift giving easy. I love the clear goodie bags because they can be used for other holidays too, if I have leftovers. If you have time, you can get kids to decorate brown paper lunch bags instead. This might make a fun afternoon project.<br /><br />Holiday baking really deserves it's own post, so we're going to end here. Next week I'm going to show you how I organize all my holiday baking and get it done so that it's actually fun! There are ways, my friends. First I just need to run to Costco....<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Cd5O9kJp5Hw:JnqrtUuBujw:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/Cd5O9kJp5Hw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/Cd5O9kJp5Hw/a-simple-christmas-make-strategy.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/11/a-simple-christmas-make-strategy.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-3716408456406537332Sun, 02 Nov 2014 17:53:00 +00002014-11-02T10:03:23.985-08:00Simple ChristmasA Simple Christmas Series<center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/6571360787" title="First Ornament by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="First Ornament" height="375" src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7149/6571360787_c879e6b287.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />Writing about Christmas this soon after Halloween seems really strange to me; we normally don't talk about the holidays until after Dec 1st in our house. The thing is, people are already talking about the holidays; stores are pulling out decorations, media is slowly moving in that direction, so I decided that I'm going to do a series here on having a simple Christmas. I've talked about it often, but I don't think I've ever broken down for readers how we do it, and how they can too.<br /><br />Really, how you celebrate the holidays (or if you celebrate them at all) is up to you and what works for your family. When Kevin was small, it was so easy to be caught up in the world of doing it all; the scratch baked cookies, the perfect gifts for everyone, the events and parties. As the years passed and we found our own traditions, I realized that Christmas wasn't about the shiny paper and what was under the tree, but rather that we were together. Five towns and nearly 19 years later, our traditions evolved and changed to what they are today. I think the point was driven home to me the very last Christmas I spent with Anne; sitting in her living room by a crackling fire, we enjoyed homemade cookies and squealed with laughter. Nothing, not one THING, could have made that moment better. <br /><br />It can be hard to shut out the commercialism and pressure that is the holidays. The draw of "you should" though Pinterest, magazines, and what other people are doing can make you feel like maybe you're missing out on something. That you should be up until 1 am making those cutsie little crafts that looked good on Pinterest for your child's entire class because they would love them, right? The key is, you don't have to do it all. Keep what you love to do and get rid of the rest. I don't like writing Christmas cards, so I stopped. Instead I really love to bake, and so that is where my focus is. You don't have to go to every party, either. It's really okay to say no.<br /><br />How do we do a simple, non commercial Christmas? I'll be posting about what WE do, from decorations to food and more, once a week. You don't have to spend a ton of money, and the whole point is being with family, not the STUFF. I'll share my hacks for being festive without being over the top or having to buy a bunch of stuff that is just going to sit in a box for a year again.&nbsp; I wouldn't call it a frugal Christmas, but the reality is it doesn't cost a whole lot and you aren't depriving yourself, either. The point is to find what is important to you, what makes the holiday special to you and your family, and focusing on THAT. Discard the unnecessary obligation that stresses you out. Place the emphasis on what makes you all happy, rather than what you SHOULD do.<br /><br />When you look at things that way, it makes holiday prep sound a lot more like fun than a stress inducing exercise in&nbsp; "oh my God, AGAIN?!" Follow along on twitter as I tweet what we're up to with #simpleChristmas and share your own ideas!<br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=-yZ24kPIU-w:FpNOcl5T0iA:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/-yZ24kPIU-w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/-yZ24kPIU-w/a-simple-christmas-series.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/11/a-simple-christmas-series.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-8600344900102504304Sun, 02 Nov 2014 03:26:00 +00002014-11-01T20:26:07.278-07:00Sponsored postsStream Into 2015 With the Cookie Jar<b>&nbsp;This post is sponsored by Staples</b><br /><br />Years ago when Kevin was three, we took him to see Tarzan as his first movie ever. Perched in his little booster seat with popcorn in hand, I was the proud Mama-first movie experience! First Disney! How cute!<br /><br />All was fantastic until the scene where baboons stream from the trees and chase Jane. At that point he emited a horrified scream, launched himself from the booster seat, and wrapped his little body around my head. See, Kevin has always had sensory sensitivities to noise and lights, so movies were always overwhelming. He cried during Winnie the Pooh, was hysterical in Toy Story 2, and finally I gave up on movies altogether until he was a lot older. Now that he's 19, we still joke about "trauma by Disney" and the fact that I unknowingly scared the bejeebes out of him when he was little.<br /><br />Still, with two people in my house who aren't fans of the theater, we don't get out much-but we still love to watch some good movies. What's our solution? Every year during the Christmas holidays we'd load ourselves up with about 10 videos and spend Christmas Eve through Boxing Day watching old favourites or catching up on the great ones we hadn't seen yet. I put out a big spread of nibbly appetizers, and we snuggle under warm blankets in the light of our tree with a good movie.<br /><br /><center><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15688727862" title="roku3 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="roku3" height="375" src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3942/15688727862_6fec2240fc.jpg" width="500" /></a></center></center><br />Technology has changed over the years and when we moved to Chilliwack we signed up with Optik TV, but then we had no VCR and didn't always like the movies offered by Telus. $5 per movie seemed a bit expensive, too. Everyone streams movies now, we were told, but we never did really get on board until I signed up to join #streaminto2015 with Staples. We were given the <a href="http://www.staples.ca/en/Roku-3-Streaming-Media-Player/product_280765_2-CA_1_20001" target="_blank">Roku 3</a> streaming box and finally hooked ourselves up to Netflix.<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15067193864" title="roku3-1 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="roku3-1" height="375" src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15067193864_478a5099ba.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />It feels like we were the last people on the planet, really.<br /><br />Setting up the box was actually pretty easy and while I first I admit we were tempted to solicit our in house tech support (aka the nearly 19 year old) to get it going, I decided to do it myself. A few minutes later we were up and running, and before you know it we were sitting and watching "Star Trek: Into Darkness." Yes, We're Star Trek fans!<br /><br />The more I talk about #streaminto2015 this month, you're going to see that we love adventure, sci-fi, fantasy movies and the occasional romantic comedy. Over the holidays our movies choices are always fun, light fare; Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Harry Potter have been many of our favourites. We'll be exploring all kinds of movies this month, catching up on what we've missed, and on Nov 28th we'll announce our Ultimate Holiday Movie as well as giving away a <a href="http://www.staples.ca/en/Roku-3-Streaming-Media-Player/product_280765_2-CA_1_20001" target="_blank">Roku 3</a> for a lucky reader to enjoy over the holidays too! Get ready for some movie snack recipes over at Chasing Tomatoes as I share what my family often nibbles when we have a movie night in. <br /><br />So, help me out movie lovers-what's YOUR favourite holiday movie? I'm a little out of the loop. Comment or tweet me at @scatteredmom with your suggestions! <br /><br /><i>Disclosure: I was given a Roku streaming box (valued at $100) with a bunch of snacks (popcorn, Cadbury chocolate coated cookies, hot chocolate) to write about our experience with the product. Since my family watches films every holiday anyway, this worked well for us. We signed up for Netflix and paid for it ourselves. I also be giving away a Roku. I haven't received, nor will I receive, any other compensation. </i><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=7l2-J1Rdn0s:mZzmxuZ04so:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/7l2-J1Rdn0s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/7l2-J1Rdn0s/stream-into-2015-with-cookie-jar.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/11/stream-into-2015-with-cookie-jar.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-520901408343201215Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:00:00 +00002014-09-15T02:00:01.118-07:00In the KitchenShift Work Cooking and 3 Menus to Get You StartedThis summer has been one of crazy change and growth, where I've done things I never thought I'd ever do again. Nothing glamorous mind you, but I went back to a place where I once worked long ago and am, if you can believe it, starting over. It's both exhilarating to be out of the confines of the job I've been in for 20 years, along with slightly scary and utterly exhausting, but I'm so, so happy.<br /><br />So happy.<br /><br />Along with this increased pace in my life, as well as getting used to shifts being all over the map, the family dinner is changing. Our family has changed, too. I don't think anyone talks about that when they speak of the family dinner-kids grow, circumstances and budgets change, and what may have worked for you at one time isn't feasible or practical during another. Kevin is now more than capable to take on cooking duties and John is also more than able to re-heat, or start something and they both can assist with clean up.<br /><br />This is something I've never done before; delegate cooking or clean up duties because I'm working or tired, but in conversation with fellow moms on Twitter, it's a matter of survival when you are working shifts. Everyone needs to eat, and it becomes a team effort rather than one person shouldering all the responsibility. Previously, I didn't mind and even enjoyed it-now I just can't do it all nor do I even want to try.<br /><br />A particular issue that came up is getting dinner on the table when you work the evening shift and want to get dinner prepped ahead of time, ready for kids and/or your spouse to finish when dinner time rolls around. I've had to deal with this over the summer since sometimes my shifts start in the late afternoon and run through dinner into the evening. What have I been doing to combat this? Well, a few things, and since I had three evening shifts last week I'll show you how we managed.<br /><br />The important thing is, <i>give your family members a job</i>. Leave behind written instructions stating what the menu is, and put their name beside a job that needs to be done. If they need a recipe, leave that out as well.&nbsp; <br /><br />When I've talked about kids cooking, Moms often respond that it takes more work. Well yes, initially-but look at that work as an investment. By making your kids responsible for helping to put dinner on the table it teaches them life skills that they will carry into adulthood, make them feel like part of a team, and eventually, they may take on an evening's cooking by themselves.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/6978319091" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="Kevin cooking dinner by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="Kevin cooking dinner" height="375" src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7194/6978319091_2be68053d6.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Kevin frying up some meatballs</td></tr></tbody></table>The trick is, I think, to start small. Teach them how to make rice. Write down the instructions in a book for them to refer to when you aren't around. Then, how to make salad. If you're worried about them using your big scary knives, direct them to something smaller and show them how to use it, as well as where the band aids are if they accidentally cut themselves. In all the years I've worked with kids and food, I've never once had a kid cut themselves. Show them how to cut various vegetables, wash them, etc. Starting with basic skill will give them the practice they need and build confidence.<br /><br />More good skills to learn:<br /><br />-boiling pasta<br />-hard boiled or scrambled eggs<br />-heating things up, such as pasta sauce or soup and following basic directions<br />-steaming vegetables<br />-oven fries<br /><br />..and much more. You know your kids best, just get them to take on something when you think they are ready. Even if it means you chop the veggies for something and have them assemble, it gives them practice following directions, which is really what a recipe is all about. Just make sure to keep your directions short, to the point, and even include doodles if you want. How about some sample menus?<br /><br /><b>Dinner #1: <a href="http://www.chasingtomatoes.ca/2010/03/make-your-own-taco-night.html" target="_blank">Tacos</a></b><br /><br />Tacos, or any "top it yourself" dinner is perfect for everyone to pitch in.<br /><br /><i>Jobs to delegate:</i><br />-brown and season meat<br />-chop/slice toppings (peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions)<br />-grate cheese<br />-make guacamole<br /><br />To prep ahead, take on the job that you feel you do best, which in my case, was making tortillas. Then the family can do the rest depending on age or ability-there's no reason an 11 year old can't make guacamole, shred cheese, or chop up some peppers.<br /><br /><b>Dinner #2: <a href="http://www.chasingtomatoes.ca/2009/07/crockpot-pulled-chicken-sandwiches.html" target="_blank">Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches</a></b><br /><br />Things for you to prep ahead: the chicken filling for the sandwiches <br /><br /><i>Jobs to delegate:</i><br />-toast buns<br />-make a salad<br />-oven fries (optional) <br /><br />This recipe is made in the slow cooker, which makes things easier. I prepped it ahead and turned it on before I went to wok so that it would be finished by dinnertime. Sometimes, I make particular side dishes optional. If my family REALLY wants the oven fries, they'll make them, but there's a chance they won't-and that's okay. If they don't want the salad, they can substitute raw veggies with some dip. Kids like it when they are given a choice, so delegating but allowing the cook to decide what they want to make gives them some ownership over it as well. <br /><br /><b>Dinner #3: <a href="http://www.chasingtomatoes.ca/2012/05/soy-sesame-steak.html" target="_blank">Soy sesame steak, rice, steamed peas</a></b><br /><br />Things for you to prep ahead: marinate the steak <br /><br /><i>Jobs to delegate:</i><br />-cook the steak<br />- make rice<br />-steam peas<br /><br />This dish is super easy and a great one for teenagers to practice their cooking skills with. The steak is sliced so thinly that you barely have to cook it, and then only thing they have to remember is to keep the pan hot and not crowd it. If they do, it's not the end of the world.&nbsp; An 11 year old can easily make rice and heat up some peas in the microwave, and there you go! Dinner! You can, if you wish, add in other side dishes, but we try to keep things as simple as possible.<br /><br />If steak isn't your thing, try making drumsticks, or <a href="http://www.chasingtomatoes.ca/2009/04/crispy-parmesan-chicken-fingers.html" target="_blank">homemade chicken fingers</a>. All are very easy and an older child should have no trouble. Make sure there is some discussion around handling raw meat so that kids know they have to wash their hands well.<br /><br />Then just sit back and let them play. Sure, the rice may be a little crunchy. The lettuce could be ripped into pieces a bit large, or your meat a little overcooked but praise them for trying. It's all a learning experience, after all. For some of us, it's learning to hand the spatula over to someone else and let them have a go.<br /><br />Go on, you can do it!<div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=OicAI09q47c:Opg0aPjWhnA:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/OicAI09q47c" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/OicAI09q47c/shift-work-cooking-and-3-menus-to-get.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/09/shift-work-cooking-and-3-menus-to-get.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-7422080819952507779Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:02:00 +00002014-09-12T12:02:05.244-07:00Its A Family Thing20 ThingsSo if I'm to go back to blogging old school, and I've been away for all this time, we have some catching up to do. Things have changed-even I've changed a little. Want to know what's up in the Cookie Jar? How about an old fashioned list?<br /><br />1. Kevin was 10 when I started blogging. He turns 19 in December. This is slightly strange for me, adjusting to the fact that my kid isn't really a kid anymore. He's nearly 6' tall and eats non stop. The thing with having a kid this age is I found myself no longer doing all the kid friendly things I pulled together when he was young. For instance, Halloween now consists of me shutting off the outdoor lights, buying a box of candy for us to consume, and we watch a movie together.<br />&nbsp; <br />I admit, it was fun while it lasted but I'm enjoying being finished, too. Did I mention we were thrilled that he was finally done with school?<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/14363150484" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="family by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="family" height="375" src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5579/14363150484_74cc0470fa.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><br /></td></tr></tbody></table>2. We live in the eastern Fraser Valley, which is about 1 1/2 hrs out of Vancouver. There's a lot of farms out here. I can drive down the road and buy cheese or pork right at the farm gate, or even apples and hazelnuts. There's a duck farm not far from my house where I can pick up duck eggs. This place is a food lover's dream. Fresh and local takes on a whole new meaning when it's grown just down the road-or an elementary school has a corn field right across the street.<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/14283701998" title="Cows in Yarrow by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="Cows in Yarrow" height="375" src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2934/14283701998_c0301c72cd.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />3. The trade off for all that great local food is that Chilliwack sometimes smells like manure. I'm okay with this, but people who don't live here complain.&nbsp; I figure it's better than sniffing fumes from a pulp mill.<br /><br />4. My kitchen is awesome, and I don't cook nearly as much. Weird, huh? There's a few reasons, the largest being that I don't have a job creating 5 recipes a week anymore. I absolutely burned myself out there for quite a long time. These days I take it easy; I don't even bake much, but then my family whines that they are missing some tasty treat and I whip it up for them. Even then I haven't delved into anything too complicated, and have gone back and re-made old favourites.<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/14218596805" title="bridge by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="bridge" height="375" src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2938/14218596805_5fd34f7b5b.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />5.&nbsp; We still do family walks, just maybe a little less often and Kevin doesn't always come with us. There's lots of outdoor spaces around here to walk; the big challenge is having us all home at once! We're busier than ever, and sometimes I barely even see John for a few days.<br /><br />6. Our favourite coffee spot in Chilliwack is Starbucks. John likes True North Blend, I love Verona and Pike Place, Kevin adores Komodo Dragon. We spend more time there than I should really admit.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/14030613839" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="smile by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="smile" height="375" src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2915/14030613839_526cb29540.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Is is me, or do we look highly caffeinated here?</td></tr></tbody></table><center></center><br />7. My favourite fancy coffee drink is a toss up between the cinnamon dolce latte and caramel macchiato. I love them both.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/14323409870" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="raspberries 3 by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="raspberries 3" height="375" src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3890/14323409870_7b002e7dea.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Raspberries fresh picked from Mann Farms</td></tr></tbody></table><br />8. Grocery shopping here has so many options compared to the Sunshine Coast that there are stores I've never set foot in. Between farms, country markets and big box stores, our options are endless. The first time Kevin and I walked into Superstore we just wandered around in awe at the sheer size of the place.&nbsp; <br /><br />9.&nbsp; In the fall, huge flocks of Canadian geese fly over our house at dusk on their way to Cultus Lake. You can hear them honking inside, even with the doors closed.<br /><br />10. I'm not used to the traffic here yet, but I think I've accepted that it's part of being here. There's also the people who ride a skateboard in the middle of the night down the middle of the road, or their scooters in weird places, and those who text and drive. The very best time to get anywhere in Chilliwack is before 5:30 am, strangely enough.<br /><br />11. I ate an A&amp;W hamburger this summer and I actually liked it so much I saved the coupons in our newspaper. Who am I?<br /><br />12. I miss Stewart's lime soda and have searched all over Chilliwack for it with no luck.<br /><br />13.&nbsp; I haven't actually wandered around Cultus Lake yet and we've lived about 10 minutes away from it for 2 years. In the summer it's crazy busy for parking, so we just haven't gone. Perhaps I should, I hear it's nice.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/15195325496" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="Powerhouse at Stave Lake by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="Powerhouse at Stave Lake" height="375" src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3851/15195325496_44e900f251.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The powerhouse at Stave Lake was interesting</td></tr></tbody></table><br />14.&nbsp; When we're looking for something to do, we get on the bike and take the back roads into Fort Langley past farms and country-like spaces. The BC Hydro powerhouse at Stave Lake is a great place for a walk and we enjoyed a fun tour. We also have gone to the fort a few times, and then walk around the village. There's loads of great places to ride around on the motorcycle, but we love wandering around the backroads in the valley, heading up the Fraser Canyon, or going to Manning Park.<br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/10637641675" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="highway by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="highway" height="281" src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2852/10637641675_27ec69ef49.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Taken from the back of our motorcycle! </td></tr></tbody></table><center></center><br />15. I can go to Costco and still buy under $60 worth of stuff. Mostly I buy baking stuff there like flour, cocoa, sugar, and butter. I go with a list and rarely leave with anything extra.<br /><br />16. When we first moved here I almost convinced John that I needed a cat, but he held out until I changed my mind and decided that I didn't want to clean up after a pet after all.<br /><br />17. I'm going to be a mother in law next June when John's daughter gets married. Her fiance is the same age as me!<br /><br />18. Our house has 3 bathrooms. If you know how much I loathe cleaning bathrooms, you'll understand how this makes me feel. I make Kevin clean some now so it's okay.<br /><br />19. After we moved to a place with a kick ass movie theater, both my guys announced they don't like going to movies. We've been there once. I'm going to have to find friends to go with from now on.<br /><br />20. There's so many new things to do and places to go here, we've barely scratched the surface. I'm so lucky to have great friends to hang out with and explore-we have a grand time checking out places here and there, be it food or just fun. Everyone is happy, healthy, and we're doing awesome.<br /><br />Which is the whole point, right? I think we've found our groove again and that, more than anything, makes me happiest.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=2QhhbQ2WbUc:TGQY2CrdR3Q:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/2QhhbQ2WbUc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/2QhhbQ2WbUc/20-things.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/09/20-things.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-1436552261693312513Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:10:00 +00002014-09-11T12:10:48.166-07:00HomeSometimes, <a href="http://www.scatteredmom.com/2014/09/on-loss-friends-and-being-whole-again.html" target="_blank">writing takes you by surprise</a>-the thoughts are rolling around in your head, you type them out or scratch them onto paper, publish, and walk away. As they sink in, enveloping your heart with all the emotion and resolve that went into that piece, things become really clear and you can't ignore them any longer.<br /><br />Usually that happens to me late at night when I'm either drifting off to sleep or about to-and last night, that's exactly what happened.<br /><br />I miss this place. Scatteredmom.com is all shiny but it's not home. Even the name scatteredmom seems like it doesn't fit anymore. I'm a mom, yes. I'm not a mom blogger. My kid is practically an adult. I don't fit in the world of school days and extra curricular activities, packing lunches and finding the right gear for my kids. I love the Fraser Valley, but I don't have time to always seek places out. I want to write about what I love, not be stuck in a niche that holds me in. While it was a great attempt, I'm not sure Scatteredmom.com is really me.<br /><br />We've dealt with a lot of changes over the years. There's been a lot of moves to new towns, big houses and little, places by the ocean and in the city. There's been foster kids, one kid, and now soon there will be no kids. There has been one thing, through it all, that has been a constant which is what has pulled me back to this blog.<br /><br />My cookie jar. For me, It symbolizes my family and home more than anything.<br /><br />Well, truthfully it's not a jar. It's a tupperware. I've tried for years to find the perfect cookie jar and haven't been successful yet. The point is, throughout all these changes, my kitchen has always been the central theme of our family; no matter how big or small, there has always been cookies. The recipes may have evolved over the years, but they are still churned out, once a week. When I visit people, I often bring cookies-just ask some of the ladies at Telus when I met them downtown this summer!<br /><br />This place is me. It's my family. For awhile there, I lost myself and some will say that closing this place down, half starting another blog, and then not really working on that has killed my traffic and future as a blogger. You know what? I don't care. I started here years ago for me, writing because it made my soul sing, and everything else was gravy. What followed was more than my wildest dreams, and if that's all that ever happens to me again in the world of blogging, I'm good with that. <br /><br />Where am I going now? Well, I'm going back to old school writing. Sure, some say blogging is dead and that's fine. I'm not doing it to be published or have recognition from anyone. I've done that. I'm writing because this place is home, and you're invited to follow along.&nbsp; There will be food, yes. Snippets of where we go and the Fraser Valley. Things I love. Bits of family life while John and I figure out empty nesting, and the adjustment to when your kid is an adult. <br /><br />So. Let's dust this place off, shall we? Here's to cookies, family, and being home again. <br /><br />(ps: please let me know if anything isn't working, I haven't looked around here for a long time and may not catch all the bugs if there are any. I'm going to be going through posts, cleaning stuff up and dusting it off, but you can expect this place to be back in action.)<br /><br /><center><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/10181026013" title="chocolate meringue cookies by scattered mom, on Flickr"><img alt="chocolate meringue cookies" height="375" src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3797/10181026013_c41c43520a.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=SlN9pPaApBU:2G105C3rn74:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/SlN9pPaApBU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/SlN9pPaApBU/home.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2014/09/home.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-8851484474806810830Tue, 12 Nov 2013 04:46:00 +00002013-11-11T20:46:41.466-08:00NaBloPoMo13Teaching Kids How to Use Dragon Naturally Speaking (Part 2)<br />So you've done all the work to get Dragon, you've researched equipment, you are all ready to hit the ground running, and you aren't sure where to start. Want to learn from my mistakes? Yep. I've made them. Between teaching my own kid to high schoolers and elementary aged kids, I've spent a lot of hours with Dragon and trying to make it fun for kids. The truth is, it's work. Once you have them trained and a voice profile built, the only way to really make Dragon work for them is to get them to use it and get comfortable with the program. I start off with the easy stuff, teach them the ins and outs of the program, and then wean them off my prompting so that they are completely independent. How long it takes them to get there really depends on the child-some will learn faster than others, and that's entirely okay.<br /><br />1.<b> Get them used to dictating.</b><br /><br />A lot of kids aren't used to hearing their own voice, or saying their thoughts out loud to someone. To get them used to dictating, I start by scribing for them. When I do that, I also ask them to say punctuation, such as "period", "comma" and "question mark" so they are used to doing this for Dragon. &nbsp;Getting used to hearing their voice and being conscious of how they are talking (speed, volume, etc) is a skill that some catch on to faster than others.<br /><br /><i>Trouble shooting</i>: Dragon's accuracy declines if kids talk too fast, tend to slur words together, are too quiet, or aren't speaking clearly. Now is the time to point that out and encourage them to be conscious of how they speak. <br /><br />2.<b> Teach them some computer basics.</b><br /><br />Knowing how to turn on the machine, save a file, format text, copy/paste, print and move things around is really helpful. Having a comfort level using a computer will make them more comfortable using Dragon.<br /><br /><br />3. &nbsp;<b>Run them through activities in the curriculum, and stick close by</b><br /><br /><a href="http://www.htctu.net/trainings/manuals/contributions/claudia/dragon_curriculum.pdf" target="_blank">This curriculum that I recently found is amazing</a>.&nbsp; I print it out and give it to each student in their own folder. Step by step, it takes kids through the functions of Dragon by starting small and working it's way up to more difficult and technical stuff. I recommend that you work through it yourself and become familiar with the program before you teach it. My students particularly loved the part where they are asked to cough, sneeze, or hum and see what happens. Much giggling ensued as they saw all the mumbo jumbo hitting the screen.<br /><br />It's really important that you stick close by. To start, I talk to the student about what we are going to do, and I sit right beside them as they go through the activity. One of the first things I teach them is that whatever they say into the mike will be picked up and put on the screen, so they need to know how to make the mike go to sleep or turn it off. Sitting close by is also helpful if they are easily distracted and lose their place in the activity. I quietly point where they are, or if they forget to turn off the mike and begin talking, &nbsp;I can reach over and click it off.<br /><br />Once they are finished the activity, we talk about what they just did. I ask what they learned and may go over it again, showing them exactly what happened. It helps me to have my own laptop with my own Dragon voice profile on it, but you don't need to do this. &nbsp;I ask if anything surprised them. I then may write notes for them right in their workbook. <br /><br />3. <b>Once they are comfortable, start dictating actual school work</b><br /><br />Once the kids are comfortable dictating and know how to correct things, move things around, etc they can start dictating some school work. The pace at which the student picks up Dragon varies-some kids just run with it, while others take more practise. &nbsp;Depending on their comfort level I may do the following:<br /><br />a) hand them the laptop and let them run with it on their own but be close by for help<br /><br />b) have them dictate to me, and I will scribe onto an index card. Then I &nbsp;have them dictate from the card so they don't lose their train of thought or forget their answers. This helps with kids who have memory issues. I slowly wean them off dictating to me, and get them to try dictating more and more without the cards.<br /><br />c) sit close by and have them dictate directly into Dragon<br /><br />Whatever you do teach them how to save as they go, because as we all know with computer programs, sometimes things don't go as planned and you can lose work. This has happened to us a few times-especially when we were using Microsoft Word with Dragon, and not just Dragonpad.<br /><br />4. <b>Get them comfortable managing their own voice profiles</b><br /><br />As the kids get more proficient, teach them how to back up their voice profiles to a memory stick. It's always good to keep a separate back up of those files so that if anything happens to the computer, you have it. This also teaches them to be responsible for themselves and will be helpful for school.<br /><br />Once the kids are proficient, I like to get them to use the accuracy training section of&nbsp; Dragon about once a week. Sometimes the reading can be a really long process, but often they enjoy it and it can pay off in the long run. Some of the readings are really long so I always tell them to just stop when they are tired.<br /><br /><br />Do you use Dragon? What about your kids? Let me know in the comments how it's worked for you.<div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=tXTkD6j4DgM:F72rXY0Okvg:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/tXTkD6j4DgM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/tXTkD6j4DgM/teaching-kids-how-to-use-dragon.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/11/teaching-kids-how-to-use-dragon.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-8281160128187956070Sun, 10 Nov 2013 19:29:00 +00002013-11-10T11:29:44.530-08:00NaBloPoMo13Dragon Naturally Speaking With Children: What You Need To KnowAbout ten years ago, my husband went back to university. Already with a Master's degree in Psychology that wasn't getting him anywhere, he returned to get his Bachelor's degree in Social Work, hoping to land a job. The thing is, John is dyslexic. Writing papers was a long, hard process where he'd write things by hand and I would valiantly attempt to decipher his script onto a computer screen. Often, it took many hours.<br /><br />Somewhere along the way, we discovered <a href="http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm" target="_blank">Dragon Naturally Speaking</a>, and it changed his life. No longer relying on me to scribe his words, John could simply speak into a computer and have the words appear on the screen. The independence, and resulting improvement in his writing skills, was incredible. Today, he uses Dragon at work every day, writing emails and paper work with ease. In fact I haven't scribed for him in many years, and even when he does occasionally ask me to proofread something there are very little changes that need to be made.<br /><br />Which is great, you say, for adults. what about children? Can children and youth who are learning disabled, or who have trouble with writing, benefit by using Dragon? As someone who works with youth and trains them to use Dragon, I say yes-but there is much you should know.<br /><br />1. <b>Dragon is a technical program that doesn't work for everyone</b><br /><br />Too often, people think that they can just hand a youth a laptop with Dragon on it, train them, and it should work seamlessly. They get frustrated when it doesn't, then say that it's not really the greatest program, and set it aside. &nbsp;This is just wrong. Dragon is built for professionals; doctors, lawyers, and the like and not really for kids. Youth can learn to use it, but they must be directly taught how. The kind of youth who succeed with Dragon can tolerate frustration and understand that by working now and teaching the program, it will pay off in the long run. They must be motivated and determined. It also helps if they are into computers and understand the basics of how they work such as how to save a file, basic formatting (underlining, bold, copy, paste), printing, moving files around, etc. They must be able to understand the commands that make Dragon work, and that by using them, it will be more accurate. A requirement that I have while training them is that they must follow my directions. If they don't, the program won't do what they want.<br /><br />If the child is easily frustrated and cannot understand that hard work now will pay off later, they won't be successful with Dragon.<br /><br />A note re: kids with autism: in my experience, I haven't had success with autistic kids using Dragon. Their level of frustration is high, they have difficulty not making extra sounds (which interferes with accuracy), and they often can't see that the end will justify the means. I'm not saying that it will never work, but I haven't had success here. It may be worth a try but there are many, many other programs out there that may be a better fit.<br /><br />2. <b>Be sure you have the right equipment</b><br /><br />First of all, <b>the computer that you have installed Dragon on has to have enough memory and a sufficient sound card to handle the program.</b> If it doesn't, the program will not work. Dragon isn't a "well let's just try it and see" program, it's one where things have to be exactly right. There is no half way, with Dragon it's pretty much all or nothing. To see if your equipment is compatible, <a href="http://support.nuance.com/compatibility/" target="_blank">check this list</a>.<br /><br />From personal experience, I suggest that you have the optimal amount of memory required. Also, note that different operating systems require different kinds of memory and may affect how Dragon operates. Our experience has been that when new operating systems come out, they sometimes don't work well with Dragon and it takes a bit for the people at Nuance to catch up by releasing a patch.<br /><br />Your microphone is important-the one that comes with Dragon is sufficient, but a better quality one will increase your accuracy.<br /><br />3. <b>Location, location, location is important</b><br /><br />First of all, let me impart a <b>really crucial piece of info </b>on you: <b>Dragon MUST be installed on a computer's hard drive for optimal performance</b>, AND <b>the youth needs to use the SAME computer each time</b>. What you are doing is building a file. Each time one uses Dragon, the program learns your voice and adjusts itself-so logically you want to be building on that profile every time you use it. If you have Dragon on a server and multiple machines, using it here and there, you will only end up with multiple voice files that never accumulate into one really accurate file. The very point is to build your file, so this completely defeats the purpose. Having Dragon on a server, as my husband discovered at work, isn't the best because as you talk and Dragon deciphers what you are saying, the info must pass through the server and often becomes corrupt-which greatly decreases your accuracy. Dragon will become ridiculously slow, crash, it won't recognize commands, and behave erratically.<br /><br />Once you have Dragon trained and you are using it, you should be able to use the program in environments with some background noise as long as you:<br /><br />a) re-calibrate the microphone<br />b) have a really good noise cancelling microphone<br /><br />Without these things, your accuracy will be impacted. With kids, I have found that sometimes it depends on the student. I have some students who speak clearly and with enough volume that they are successful even in a moderately noisy room, and others who do not and the program just can't pick up their voice well enough.<br /><br />So, now you have the equipment and a motivated student, what do you do? Watch for part 2 this week when I point you to a great Dragon curriculum that I'm using, and give you tips and tricks on how to actually get kids in there and dictating.<br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YM-3DMcX8iw:OADYes11k6U:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/YM-3DMcX8iw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/YM-3DMcX8iw/dragon-naturally-speaking-with-children.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/11/dragon-naturally-speaking-with-children.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-3227674913777649549Tue, 05 Nov 2013 10:00:00 +00002013-11-05T06:42:50.699-08:00NaBloPoMo13Say No to the Selfie<center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/10637652104/" title="summer hike by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="summer hike" height="360" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7430/10637652104_dc4367b8d0_z.jpg" width="640" /></a></center><br /><br />It's Labour day weekend, and we've decided to go on a family hike. This doesn't happen very often these days, since Kevin is older and now has things to do and places to go. John and I usually end up walking by ourselves, reminicing about the times when Kevin, young and full of energy, was easily tricked into running ahead and back. He never did figure out that we encouraged him to do this in order to wear him out, but after a few runs he'd be sufficiently tired to fall asleep when we got back to the car.<br /><br />On this hike, I brought my Blackberry Z10 and decided I was going to take photos. Although somehow in the snapping of pictures, I had hit a button that is more useful for taking photos of myself rather than the usual point and shoot.<br /><br />"Kev! Ack! What do I do?!" I squealed, holding the phone out to him. He takes it from me calmly, smiles, presses a few buttons, and hands it back. Gratefully, I accept it, until I realize the possibilities of taking my own photos-namely, I can use them as avatars for twitter.<br /><br />"Wait! How do you get it back to that?" I run after him and thrust the phone back in his hands. Amused, he presses the buttons and watches as I begin taking photo after photo. He walks away but again, I'm stuck. Honestly, I'm not that great with smart phones. Again, I run after him.<br /><br />"Wait! How do I do this? Show me."&nbsp; <br /><br />I make him stand while I take photos of us together, changing the light, the way we are standing, waving my arms in weird directions because he's so much taller and my arms are obviously not long enough to get us in the frame. He obliges for a few minutes, before wryly commenting,<br /><br />"Mom. You are not going to turn into one of those girls who posts all kinds of bathroom selfies on Facebook, are you?" He looks at me with slight horror, I'm sure imagining his middle aged mother doing duck face portraits in the bathroom mirror.&nbsp; <br /><br />"Maybe." I snap a few more. <br /><br />"Put it away," he commands before drawing himself up to full height in front of me and taking the phone. "Because if you do, I'll just have to unfriend you on Facebook." <br /><br />"Please?" I jump after the phone, trying to get it back. "Just a photo of us? Just because I'm your Mom and I love you, and I have few photos?"<br /><br />He holds it out of reach, but eventually relents and hands it back before giving me a stern warning.<br /><br />"Say no to the selfie, Mom. Or I may need to hack your account."<div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=JQ9LS4Kd2-0:zC3hRmwx0b4:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/JQ9LS4Kd2-0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/JQ9LS4Kd2-0/say-no-to-selfie.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/11/say-no-to-selfie.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-5193543151622236367Mon, 04 Nov 2013 10:00:00 +00002013-11-04T02:00:04.393-08:00NoBloPoMo13How to Get Your Teen to Clean Their RoomOur house has this downstairs room that really was the deciding factor when we bought it (besides the kitchen, of course) which Kevin has turned into his own personal little tech office, or 'man cave', as we've come to call it. In the last year he has turned it into a little business of his own and spends a lot of time down there doing site design, web security, and more.&nbsp; Filled with all kinds of computer equipment, it's often not quite in the state I'd like it to be and after months of nagging, I decided to speak in a language that I thought he'd understand better. He is, after all, nearly an adult and was asking if he could turn that space into a full on office for a business he's launching. So, if you want to be treated like the CEO of a company, here's what you get when you are lacking in your housekeeping skills. <br /><br />Dear Tenant:<br /><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42783"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42782">Re: inspection on October 26, 2013</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42781"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42780">The state of the space I am allowing your business to occupy rent free was unacceptable. To be clear, my expectations for how said space will be kept is as follows:&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42779"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42772">-all garbage will be placed in a garbage can and emptied weekly. No food garbage</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42793"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42794">-there will be no garbage and items loose on the floor.</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42795"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42796">-there will be no dirty clothes or dishes</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42797"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42798">-the bathroom will be cleaned on a weekly basis: toilet scrubbed, floor swiffered, mirror &nbsp;and sink cleaned</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42799"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42800">-surfaces, including baseboards, space heaters, and windowsills will be wiped occasionally so they are free of dust and dirt</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42801"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42802">-carpet will be vacuumed weekly.&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42803"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42804">You appear to be having difficulty keeping this space in a state that is acceptable. As a result, I have decided to conduct weekly inspections as opposed to bi-monthly. There has been some improvement, but not enough. My inspections will occur each Saturday at 3pm. If the room has not been cleaned, your business will be shut down as I call in a cleaning lady, at the charge of $30 an hour. (payable by you, of course)</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42805"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42806">If you continually fail to keep the space in a state as per the above requirements, I will have to consider eviction. However, if you have questions regarding how to clean anything in your space, the cleaning lady will be happy to help you free of charge. She will give you a tutorial, and after that you are responsible for the space yourself.&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42807"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42808">Have a good weekend,&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42809"><br /></div><div id="yui_3_13_0_1_1383449620437_42810">Your landlord (otherwise known as YOUR MOM)<br /><br /></div><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=YU_ns63nC30:waeD4jVng9E:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/YU_ns63nC30" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/YU_ns63nC30/how-to-get-your-teen-to-clean-their-room.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/11/how-to-get-your-teen-to-clean-their-room.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-3647303780071516739Sun, 03 Nov 2013 10:00:00 +00002013-11-03T08:53:24.886-08:00Finding the AwesomeNaBloPoMo13Sunday Awesome List What better thing to start off November with that an awesome list? These will possibly make you think I'm kind of evil, but that's okay. Nobody was injured in the making of this awesome list. <br /><br />1. <b>Buying yourself Halloween candy.</b><br /><br />Forget standing in a cold doorway, unable to go watch TV or relax for the evening because you are stuck handing out candy to all the people coming to your door. We've adopted a new tradition in our family; buy a few boxes of our favorite candies, turn off the lights and consume them all ourselves.<br /><br />Sounds terrible, yes. On the plus side, it's really delicious. Plus you only get the good stuff, AND there's no stealing involved. Win-win, I say. <br /><br />2.&nbsp; <b>Watching your husband sitting on the couch, dozing off.&nbsp;</b><br /><br />His head drops back, little by little with his mouth wide open, and you realize that he has gum in his mouth. You begin to panic that he could actually choke on said piece of gum, so you throw something at him to wake him up.<br /><br />Possibly not the smartest idea. He didn't choke on the gum, but the ensuing "WHAT THE HELL?!" may have caused some ruckus. Oops. The next time you just sit and watch, wondering how on Earth he can fall asleep like that without it being really uncomfortable because seriously? That's just weird.<br /><br /><br />3.&nbsp; <b>The teenager, upon hearing you vent that you've had the worst day ever, announces he's taking you to Starbucks to get whatever drink you want because he thinks you just need one.&nbsp;</b><br /><br />When you finally have latte in hand and tell him how grateful you are, he admits that he really just wanted a coffee and figured the only way to get there was to buy you one too. He's so learned my ways.<br /><br /><br />4. <b>When your husband senses impending doom for stealing your car keys.</b><br /><br />My husband didn't live with me for 10 months. In that time, I developed a routine to NOT lose my car keys; I keep them in a bowl on the counter. One morning last month or so, I go to get them, and they aren't there. I check every single pocket, every purse, every jacket, and eventually give up and run for the spares, only I don't really know where THEY are so I tear apart the entire house.<br /><br />Later I realize that John took my keys to work in Abbotsford, and likely has been freaking out all day once he realized that he has them. I don't call him to let him know everything is okay, but instead let this sense of impending doom hang over him for the entire day.&nbsp; He comes home, quietly lets himself in, and immediately apologizes while I laugh at him.<br /><br />He looked really bewildered, and relieved. I thought it was hilarious!<br /><br /><br />5. <b>Finally abandoning the teenager.</b><br /><br />After months of nagging the teenager that you WILL leave his ass behind at school if he isn't ready, you finally arrive one day at the school doors and can't find him. After 20 minutes of searching you finally go and get groceries, completely guilt free, while he waits and then realizing you aren't coming, walks home.<br /><br />Thereafter, he's always at the doors and you take GREAT delight in pretending that you don't see him so he runs for the car while you laugh hysterically, watching his panic in your rear view mirror.<br /><br /><br />Now I'm just waiting to do it in the morning, when he's still half asleep and not ready when I need to leave.&nbsp;&nbsp; *evil grin*<div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=nLEygDaQWR0:JKCjaR_q2EU:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/nLEygDaQWR0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/nLEygDaQWR0/sunday-awesome-list.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/11/sunday-awesome-list.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-5956031355086293318Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:06:00 +00002013-11-02T20:51:55.420-07:00NaBloPoMo13Back For National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><center></center><br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/10637641675/" title="highway by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="highway" height="360" src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2852/10637641675_27ec69ef49_z.jpg" width="640" /></a></center><br /><br />On my way to work every morning, I pass a large farm. The field was once waving with stalks of corn back in the late summer, but those have long since been cut and plowed under. You can see a barn, silo, and the mountains in the distance. In the mornings, often fog is hanging low to the ground, giving the scene an ethereal look, especially if the sun is hitting things at the right angle. It's quite beautiful, really.<br /><br />Every morning when I pass that farm, I think of stopping and taking a picture, and every morning, I've reminded myself I don't have a blog. Or at least, one that I have really written on. The same thing happened all summer on every motorcycle ride we took out to the mountains, winding our way up to Cache Creek or over to Manning Park. The photo above is along the highway in Agassiz, BC.&nbsp; I'd see beautiful things that I'd want to share, but none of it ever seemed to fit where I was actually writing. I'm not all about food, you see. There's a lot more to me than recipes and what I ate for dinner, and yet I felt like that's the only thing I confined myself to.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/10637886113/" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="summer days by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="summer days" height="281" src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3717/10637886113_3d9cfc2776.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Summer days were all about the motorcycle and Starbucks </td></tr></tbody></table><center></center><br />The last few months after I closed this space I've tried to find where I fit, and the truth is, I don't feel like I fit anywhere. I've been untethered, floating between this space and that, at times hating social media and never quite finding it the same as I used to. I love writing about food, yes-but there is so much more to me than that, and the entire reason why I began blogging in the first place really had nothing to do with food.<br /><br />The truth is, I have missed writing. Not writing recipes or how to do something in the kitchen, pitching products or marketing, but real, soulful writing, which is what always gave me joy and for awhile there, I thought I had completely lost. Lately I've had piece after piece rolling in my head with no place to put them down and they've been like little thorns in my shoe-pricking and niggling, leaving me restless and irritable. I need to write-and about more than how to bake cookies, mind you. <br /><br />When I first began blogging I tried to do <a href="http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo" target="_blank">NaBloPoMo,</a> but the universe intervened and ruined my plans. Twice the <a href="http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2006/11/scattered-mom-and-very-big-bad-no-good.html" target="_blank">power went out,</a> another year something else happened, and I swore off of it ever after. Novembers would come and go, and I'd stubbornly declare that I do NOT participate because dammit, the universe didn't like me. Why tempt fate?<br /><br />Until this year, of course. To rid myself of those niggling little thorns, or perhaps I just miss writing for me (and nobody else), Notes From the Cookie Jar is back for the month of November.<br /><br />Life is finally normal again. I am really, truly, happy once more. For the next 30 days, I plan to share it with you. I want to flex those writing muscles again. <br /><br />Will it continue after that? I'm not sure. Let's just get through November and see, shall we?<br /><br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/10637651374/" title="on the bike by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="on the bike" height="500" src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2892/10637651374_64077cfd6a.jpg" width="281" /></a></center><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=pxsrX0B-p_I:q8QCSbSGckU:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/pxsrX0B-p_I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/pxsrX0B-p_I/back-for-national-blog-posting-month.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/11/back-for-national-blog-posting-month.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-5667715842220010427Thu, 11 Jul 2013 18:00:00 +00002013-07-11T11:00:42.443-07:00ChangeYears ago, I started Notes from the Cookie Jar because I wanted to see what blogging was and found myself hooked. The community, the creativity, all of it immediately drew me in. Before long I was teaching myself html and jumping in, feet first, to all things blogging had to offer.<br /><br />It's been a crazy ride. If anyone told me that I'd have all the opportunities that have been offered me in the past 5 yrs would come along, I would've said they were crazy. Life has been amazing, but in the past year, things have changed.<br /><br />Where I was when this blog started has changed. When I began blogging, I wanted to tell our story about Kevin and what it was like raising a child with dyspraxia. Partly because it was therapeutic for me to write about it, and also because I wanted people to know they weren't alone. I wanted to write about what it was like living in a small town on the west coast, just minutes from the ocean. I was writing to find myself after important relationships in my life seemed to just disintegrate.<br /><br />Blogging gave me so much; a community, friends, self confidence. I have learned to do things that I never would've done otherwise. At one time I thought blogging could be a new career, but since then I've learned that leaving a job that provides a steady paycheck with benefits and a pension were not practical to give up. Writing can still be a passion but a hobby as well.<br /><br />Then in the last few years life completely turned everything upside down, fell apart, and re-arranged itself.<br /><br />I tried to come back here and write but somehow, nothing would come. I really had nothing to say. I didn't want this to become a 'my husband is sick and my best friend is dying' blog. I didn't want to be a train wreck on display as I struggled through the hardest few years of my life and had some moments so deep and dark I wondered if I needed to check into the psych ward at the local hospital. It felt fake to come here and chirp about how wonderful life was when it really wasn't.&nbsp; I also found that my son, now almost 18 and who is practically a man, needs to tell his own stories. We don't live by the ocean anymore. I don't have to advocate for Kevin with his school. John is no longer sick. Anne is no longer here to have coffee with by the ocean or create beauty in her garden.<br /><br />The life that I blogged about here for so long is gone. In some ways I feel like it died last August with Anne and when we moved 10 days later, because things have never been the same. <br /><br />There's nowhere else to go from here. This chapter of my life is finished, and here I am; in a new town, with a life that is completely different stretched before me. The only constant in all of this is my love for the kitchen and helping to teach other people how to cook real, wholesome food. For months I have felt, deeply, that it's time to let go of what once was and turn the page to a whole new chapter.<br /><br />So, this is goodbye from Notes From the Cookie Jar. Thank you so much for reading. I just don't think it's fair to give you only a half hearted attempt anymore, writing about things that are no longer here or relavant. I had said to friends that I was going to wait until December to make this decision but the truth is, I didn't think it was fair to wait. I know in my heart that this is the right thing to do.<br /><br />Shutting down Notes doesn't mean I will quit blogging altogether; you are going to find me taking up the reins more over at <a href="http://www.chasingtomatoes.ca/" target="_blank">Chasing Tomatoes</a>. No longer just a recipe blog, it's going to be my space to talk all about our new life here in the Fraser Valley, with the focus on all the things I have grown so much to love. I want to explore the Fraser Valley and show you all the wonderful farms and things I find. I'll talk about things that have become my passions-school gardens, teaching kids how to cook, and more. You'll still find me over at <a href="http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/karen-humphrey-fresh-and-fearless" target="_blank">Yummy Mummy Club</a> and on Twitter. So this isn't really goodbye, just a bit of a change. I plan to spend my summer working on Chasing Tomatoes to make it the best it's ever been. It's time to focus on what I'm passionate about, instead of doing what feels too much like work and obligation. <br /><br />Thank you so much for the comments and love and support. You have been amazing. I couldn't ask for better readers and friends.<br /><br />Ready for the next step? I sure am. <br /><br />Love Karen<br /><br />xoxo<br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=y4ebpat5oHY:9Zk7Jhb93YM:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/y4ebpat5oHY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/y4ebpat5oHY/change.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/07/change.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-2580514076731179342Tue, 02 Jul 2013 22:17:00 +00002013-07-03T08:53:27.060-07:00Chef Michael SmithSaskatchewan Pulse Farmerstravel both near and farTravel ReviewsThe Delta Bessborough, Saskatoon (A Review!)<br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/9166569937/" title="delta bessburough by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="delta bessburough" height="281" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7412/9166569937_8fae697ba3.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br /><br />Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to stay in the <a href="https://www.deltahotels.com/Hotels/Delta-Bessborough" target="_blank">Delta Bessborough hotel in Saskatoon</a>, Saskatchewan. In the interest of true disclosure I want to let you know that I was a guest of the Saskatchewan Pulse Farmers there for three nights, but I enjoyed the hotel so much that I wanted to share more about the property with readers in case anyone was traveling to Saskatoon this summer. I was not asked to write about the Bessborough, nor compensated to do so. I am writing because I loved the hotel, and I think you would too.<br /><br />The Delta Bessborough is located in downtown Saskatoon, nestled among 5 acres of gardens along the Saskatchewan river. Built in the 1930s, this spectacular Four Diamond hotel has recently undergone a 6.5 million dollar renovation to upgrade the rooms. The beautiful architecture, service and location makes it a fantastic spot to stay when you are in Saskatoon.<br /><br />First of all, here's what my room looked like. I was on the 2nd floor, looking out over the gardens where the Saskatoon Jazz Festival stage was directly below.<br /><br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/9166544629/" title="Room at the Delta Bessborough by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="Room at the Delta Bessborough" height="281" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7351/9166544629_6b9f1ee39a.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />What I really loved was the full sized pillows. I hate teeny pillows. The bed was very comfortable! &nbsp;Everything was absolutely spotless. What you can't see what a nicely sized desk with a power bar complete with all sorts of usb ports and charging spots to plug in everything from my smart phone to my ipod, a laptop or more.<br /><br />The room was efficient. A little on the smaller size, compared to some, but clever touches such as having the fridge tucked away and the coffeemaker in the closet were good space saving ideas.<br /><br />One thing that I almost never do when I'm away is order room service, but the first morning I was in Saskatoon it was raining so hard, and I didn't want to walk around in a strange city trying to find breakfast, so I ordered breakfast. The first morning I had eggs benedict, and the second morning my choice was yogurt, granola, and fruit.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/9166576117/" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="breakfast by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="breakfast" height="281" src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3671/9166576117_87485823ae.jpg" width="500" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Yogurt, fruit, granola, toast, and coffee. What a great way to start the day!</td></tr></tbody></table><center></center><br /><br />The food was tasty, and the coffee some of the best hotel coffee I've ever drank. It helped that the coffee was Starbucks and came in a good sized carafe. Service was cheerful and efficient. I was really grateful for room service those two mornings, and was delighted that even when I tweeted the Bessborough about how much I enjoyed the breakfast, they answered!<br /><br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/9166579989/" title="bathroom by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="bathroom" height="500" src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2851/9166579989_23daae4459.jpg" width="281" /></a></center><br /><br />The bathroom in my room was fairly tiny but had nice fixtures and did the job. I especially liked the Philosophy amenities. The hair dryer worked well, and the towels were fluffy. It was spotlessly clean, too!<br /><br />I walked the grounds around the Bessborough, taking in the gazebos and fountains, views of the river and paddle boats going by. There is a mall and a few Starbucks locations nearby, as well as a movie theatre and restaurants. Probably the most major draw during the time I was there was the Saskatoon Jazz festival, which had Colin James, Metric, and Ziggy Marley playing. If you were there for the Jazz festival the Bessborough was the place to be, but if you were looking for a quiet space to re-charge, I think the noise from the festival may have been a little much. I literally could look out my window and watch the shows I didn't have tickets to. There was no sleeping early the first night because it was so loud, but by the last night, I was so tired that I literally dozed off right through Ziggy Marley reverberating off the hotel walls.<br /><br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/9166547927/" title="promphoto by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="promphoto" height="281" src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2828/9166547927_2e520c84ef.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />A gazebo on the grounds was a perfect spot for a young girl to get her prom photos taken.<br /><br /><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookienotes/9166575067/" title="bridge by Scatteredmom, on Flickr"><img alt="bridge" height="281" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7419/9166575067_2ee6f60513.jpg" width="500" /></a></center><br />The weather was a little unsettled while I was in Saskatoon, but it cleared up enough for me to walk along the river.<br /><br />Overall, I'd highly recommend the Bessborough as a place to stay while you are in Saskatoon. I really enjoyed my stay and I can tell you, if I'm ever back in Saskatoon it will be the first place I look into.<br /><br /><i>Thank you so much to both the Bessborough for making my stay such a great one, and the Saskatchewan Pulse Farmers for inviting me!&nbsp;</i><br /><br />Why was I in Saskatoon? That's coming very, very soon! Let's just say it involves lentils, Chef Michael Smith, a farmer's market, and some lucky bastards. Stay tuned!<br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=PRUYKsr3EvI:oc0n1WF5c_E:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/PRUYKsr3EvI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/PRUYKsr3EvI/the-delta-bessborough-saskatoon-review.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/07/the-delta-bessborough-saskatoon-review.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-2998226132268530580Wed, 29 May 2013 18:27:00 +00002013-05-29T11:27:35.880-07:00Food Revolution FridaysMcDonalds, Advertising, and A 9 Year Old Using Her VoiceWhen Kevin was about six years old, we went to Blockbuster video to rent a movie. At the cash register was the movie poster for the horror film, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen_Ghosts" target="_blank">Thirteen Ghosts</a>. When Kevin first saw it, he was startled.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bwjigbZD8_A/UaY7d4jN0CI/AAAAAAAAFJw/NLxZ75wKVwM/s1600/Thirteen+Ghosts+v2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bwjigbZD8_A/UaY7d4jN0CI/AAAAAAAAFJw/NLxZ75wKVwM/s320/Thirteen+Ghosts+v2.jpg" width="213" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Imagine you're six, and this is a poster is almost the same size as you.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />"Mommy, that poster is scary. Why do they have it here, where kids have to look at it?" I asked him to explain what he thought to me in more detail. He cocked his little head to one side thoughtfully, his big blue eyes full of questions.<br /><br />"Well, it would be okay over with the scary movies, because that's where the adults go anyway. It's a grown up movie. But here where we pay, all kinds of little kids are with their parents and have to look at it. It's not fair to them. It's not fair to ME. I don't want to see that. What if it gives kids nightmares? Can't they put something that's not so scary here?"<br /><br />His logic was completely undeniable.<br /><br />"Honey, you are right. Absolutely. And you know what? I think you should tell the manager of the store this. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, or saying how you feel, if you do it respectfully. You do have a voice. I think you need to use it."<br /><br />Kevin then very politely asked to speak to the manager and when he came, told him exactly what he had told me. The manager looked at me, expecting that this speech was coming from me, channeled through my child.<br /><br />"It's all him," I replied. "I didn't even notice the poster."<br /><br />A few days later when we returned the movie back to Blockbuster, the poster had been moved. I pointed this out to Kevin and told him that because he stated how he felt respectfully and made a very good point, someone listened to him and he helped them to think a little more about other kids going through the cash register.<br /><br />Kids see things we adults don't even think about sometimes. We're so accustomed to how things are, or have been for years, that we don't even notice anymore. Kids notice, and they listen. They have opinions, and it's important that we grown ups listen to them. This is why I was so thrilled to hear about my friend Kia's daughter <a href="http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-9-year-old-grills-mcdonald-s-ceo-1.1299539" target="_blank">Hannah taking the CEO of McDonald's to task</a>. What disappoints me though is how it's being reported, because news outlets are completely missing the mark-as are the comments of people reading them.<br /><br />What Hannah asked the CEO of McDonalds was NOT to stop serving fries or make their food healthier. We all know that fast food companies do that, it's how they make their money, and they can serve whatever they want. What she said was that she didn't like was<b> McDonalds marketing that was directed at kids.&nbsp;</b><br /><b><br /></b>Huh. Totally different. Sure, serve all the fries and burgers you want, but when you dress it up in cartoon characters and put toys with it and then put it in front of a child who can't even cross the street by themselves, that's not fair.<br /><br />Hannah is in their target market. Her Mom doesn't even have to take her McDonalds for her to be affected by their advertising, because McDonalds also sponsors reading programs in some schools (Happy Meals for all if you read x amount of books!), and children's programming is rife with commercials. At nine years old, she's already seen <a href="http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/resource/marketing-children-overview" target="_blank">25,000 commercials PER YEAR.</a>&nbsp;That is insane.<br /><br />Turn the TV off, some argue. Don't eat there. It's a free country. Take some personal responsibility.<br /><br />Which I agree with to a point, but in all honesty, you can't get away from it. Advertising is everywhere-creeping into every aspect of our lives, and why should people have to pretty much live under a rock to escape it, especially children who don't even understand the ramifications of what they are watching?<br /><br />Hannah used her voice, respectfully, to voice her opinion about something that she felt was damaging to all kids, especially those younger than her who can't speak for themselves. The response has been, according to her Mom Kia, 60% positive and 40% negative. The comments that I have read have been, at times, downright vicious. &nbsp;I find it interesting that <a href="http://www.callmehannah.ca/2013/05/27/my-interview-with-cbcs-host-of-q-jian-ghomeshi/" target="_blank">Hannah Alper, a 9 year old eco blogger</a> has also taken on issues, but nobody accuses her parents of feeding her what to say or calling them bad parents because she questions things. Instead they praise her for her intelligence and say how inspiring she is. How is there really any difference? Is fast food really so sacred and engrained in our culture that it's okay to attack a child who politely asks a company to stop advertising directly at kids?<br /><br />Huh. Maybe McDonalds has done a better job of marketing than we thought.<br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=rSnOB5gugJo:4EsH-KUgOjU:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/rSnOB5gugJo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/rSnOB5gugJo/mcdonalds-advertising-and-9-year-old.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/05/mcdonalds-advertising-and-9-year-old.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-3282367035507219463Tue, 28 May 2013 18:47:00 +00002013-05-28T11:47:26.735-07:00I Love My Yaris<br />I love my car. A bright lagoon blue, it's easy to pick out in parking lots amongst the sea of boring grey and white cars. Being an automatic, zippy little thing, it's fun and easy to drive too-I always have driven a stick shift, although I've never really been that good at it. The compact size means my car&nbsp;fits perfectly in my garage and is just the right size for city driving. When we bought the Yaris in September last year it was actually the first car I had ever picked out on my own, without my husband's intervention. He's the car guy-the one who knows about engines and what's good or not, whereas I usually go for color and the look of the car. He &nbsp;had lobbied for a larger vehicle for me to drive, but I saw this car all shiny and cute on the lot and after a test drive, knew it was what I wanted.<br /><br />John has always been particular about his cars. When we met he had a Bonneville SSE, completely loaded with everything you could ever want. He made me take my shoes off when I got in it. With our Corolla, he's similarly protective. In fact, he has specific rules:<br /><br />1. park as far away from other cars in the parking lot as possible, usually by a curb<br />2. don't park near trucks, clunkers, or cars with an N or L on them<br />3. stand beside the car on the ferry to make sure nobody slams their door into the side of the car (sadly, this has happened to us before)<br />4. don't ever leave any garbage in it. Ever.<br /><br />Any scratch would be met with, "<b>What did you do</b>?" even if the offender was a <a href="/2010/12/cookie_crumbs_i_angered_shopping_cart.html" target="_blank">rouge shopping cart</a> on Boxing Day in an empty parking lot. In the past twenty years, I've taken a lot of heat for <a href="/2006/10/to_love_and_obey.html" target="_blank">little things </a>happening to our cars so when I got the keys for the Yaris, I figured what was good for him was good for me, too.<br /><br />"Be nice to my car! Don't you dare put a scratch in it or I'm going to be REALLY UPSET. And take your garbage, mister!"<br /><br />Once he drove it on a gravel road and I voiced my displeasure, loudly, every time we could hear a pebble hit the paint.<br /><br />"You wouldn't have taken YOUR car on this road, yet you take MINE and now the paint will all be chipped and it's dirty after I just washed it. I don't want paint chips. They rust."<br /><br />Hey, if he can, so can I, right? It's my baby. I wash it carefully. Vacuum it often. Clean it out all the time, and park it in the farthest spot of a parking lot every single time. Don't call me obssessed. I just really, genuinely, love my car. We go everywhere in the Lower Mainland in it, and I love how easy it is to drive.<br /><br />For some reason, car rides have always resulted in some really great conversations. On Saturday as we drove through Surrey to catch the skytrain to go to <a href="http://www.eat-vancouver.com/" target="_blank">Eat Vancouver</a>, Kevin began telling me about a friend of his who had bought a really fancy car, and commented that he would love to get a really nice car one day.<br /><br />"Kev, I understand the draw but you have to understand something. Nice cars are here today and gone tomorrow. Your Dad had a $42,000 car back in 1990 that he loved and kept in mint condition, and all it took was 5 seconds and someone else not paying attention for it to be completely totalled. Being rear ended on the Oak Street bridge at 80 km/hr was awful, and it's even more frustrating when it's completely not your fault. So while they may seem appealing, I've never had a need for a fancy car. You may drive carefully and park it far away in the lots so it doesn't get dinged, but all it takes is one person not paying attention and it's toast."<br /><br />Um, those words? Totally prophetic.<br /><br />Three minutes later, as we stopped in a dedicated turning lane to go right onto Fraser Highway to allow oncoming traffic to pass, another car plowed right into us.<br /><br />Being rear ended is weird; at first there's the initial bump and for a brief second you wonder what is going on, and then the impact really hits, sending you flying and seat belts snapping back. Kevin was taking a sip of coffee and almost ended up wearing the whole thing, while I had been leaning over the steering wheel looking for a break in the traffic before proceeding.<br /><br />Later, we were grateful for a lot of things; the mug was plastic and not Kevin's usual metal mug, which may have broken his teeth or a paper Starbucks one, which would've showered us both with hot coffee. The airbags didn't go off, which was lucky because since I was leaning over, &nbsp;I was very close to the steering wheel and would've been seriously injured. There was nothing in the backseat to go flying because just before we left I had cleaned out the entire car of extra stuff. I had also tucked some Tylenol into my purse, which is unusual, but for some reason I had a feeling we might need it.<br /><br />Through jangled nerves information was exchanged, pictures taken, and before long we were on our way again. I'll admit that my lower lip settled into a pout and I shook my head (now with a sore neck muscles), slightly.<br /><br />"My poor, poor car. What CRAPPY LUCK." Despite the minimal looking damage, I wasn't fooled; being hit at that speed likely means there's more damage than meets the eye.<br /><br />Kevin nodded sadly in support.<br /><br />"Oh well. Cars can be fixed. The important lesson here? You buy one that is well made. One that's reliable. One that keeps US safe, and this baby?" &nbsp;My hand reached over to lovingly stroke the dashboard as I continued,<br /><br />"She is AWESOME."<br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=fvq1ow-OtRk:gvP2LuCrwlk:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/fvq1ow-OtRk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/fvq1ow-OtRk/i-love-my-yaris.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/05/i-love-my-yaris.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-27289049.post-2951388994662472212Sun, 19 May 2013 03:44:00 +00002013-05-18T20:44:39.756-07:00I Called Her AnneShe's the first real best friend I ever had; the one who, even though she moved only a few years after we became close, letters kept us in touch. Summer visits, letter scrawled on lined 3 ring paper, swatches of prom dress material were pieces of our friendship in the days before Facebook and Twitter.<br /><br />I squealed for joy when we became roommates for about six months in the big city after graduation and sobbed because my heart was broken when she had to move back home, hundreds of miles away.<br /><br />She supported me when I married John, even though nobody else would and was the maid of honour at my wedding.<br /><br />Kids, weddings, births, deaths, jobs, and life happened, and somehow, our communication waned. There was no fight or falling out at all, we just somehow got caught up in our own stuff and time to send letters became shorter and shorter. Visits were fewer and farther between.<br /><br />Today we sat over steaming cups of coffee after ten years of not seeing each other, and it was like not a single day had passed. We picked up right where we left off, reminiscing about first loves, teenage drama and our city escapades. The best friends are those with whom you have a familiar rhythm. There is no question about your love or loyalty, and even though you both know you've been bad about keeping in touch, you wish each other well and know that no matter what happens, you ARE still friends. &nbsp;The conversation flowed effortlessly, just like when we were little kids..<br /><br />..and then &nbsp;I called her <a href="/2012/09/she_was_anne_to_my_diana.html" target="_blank">Anne</a>.<br /><br />Long ago Anne had mentioned to me that she wanted me to move on once she passed, and I had explained that while I knew intellectually I would have more friends, nobody could take her place. She was special. There would be a giant, gaping hole to fill. That hole has, at times been almost physically painful as I've tried to wade through grief and loss the last seven months. While now not quite so raw, every now and then it creeps up on me and catches me by surprise.<br /><br />When I called her Anne, we were laughing over coffee and she didn't even flinch. Her brown eyes just smiled back at me, and I knew. Whether 12 or 42, friendships like this are rare and special, never to be taken for granted. Anne taught me that. Why didn't I see it before? Why did I let life get in the way?<br /><br />She has been there all along, for 30 amazing years.<br /><br />All I needed was a reminder.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:dnMXMwOfBR0"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?i=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?a=Ha7ZAVSWFnw:pX7R6ed7gMY:TzevzKxY174"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NotesFromTheCookieJar?d=TzevzKxY174" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~4/Ha7ZAVSWFnw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NotesFromTheCookieJar/~3/Ha7ZAVSWFnw/i-called-her-anne.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (Karen Humphrey)http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com/2013/05/i-called-her-anne.html