Ripley's Aquarium

What has it been a month since I got on here!? Truly, you haven't missed much around here! Same jeans, t-shirt and messy bun for days running. I have finally retired my air cast and am slowly getting my mobility back in my ankle thanks to the instructions at physio. So that has been a plus! My in-laws were down for a week around Easter. They left almost two weeks ago now. Hard to say good-bye but we can't wait to see them again this summer.

If you don't know my in-laws Dan & Monika, they are probably the biggest go getters you will ever meet. To say I don't think we could have squeezed one more thing into our week with them if we tried is an understatement. On our way to visit extended family for Easter we decided to break up the drive by making a pit stop in Toronto. My sister had been raving to me about the Ripley's Aquarium. So I took up this opportunity to go check it out.

It really was everything she cracked it up to be. The aquarium is so well laid out. Even the areas that you would normally think must get pretty congested due to enthusiastic picture takers had moving belts on the floor to keep traffic going at a decent pace. The belts weren't moving fast enough to get nervous going on and off them. They also had so many interactive stations for the girls. Which as every parent knows is absolute survival in places like these. So much amazing water life. The jelly fish were probably my personal favourite with the black light. Pictures just can not do it justice.

Nothing beats bringing along grandparents to run after the kids while you get to actually enjoy the exhibits. Monika got the girls these bedazzled turtle necklaces from the gift shop, which they are still crazy for. Grandma sure knows the way to my girls hearts aka anything that sparkles!

Our only mistake was when we went to leave, we were joined by a mob of people leaving the Blue Jay's baseball game. Like we could have predicted first game of the season. Traffic was nuts, poor planning on our part! But definitely worth it! We will be back again I'm sure. Just maybe not on game day...

Sparks Of Generosity

Just to give you a little update, my ankle has finally been diagnosed as a ruptured ligament. So I will be wearing a very stylish air cast for four weeks and also need to book physio appointments as well. Within 24 hours of wearing the boot I have already felt a vast improvement in pain and swelling. Which is awesome!

Lately I've noticed just how blessed we are with the community of people we've met since moving here to Ontario. People offering helping hands, offering to watch our kids, give advice, and even offering to make meals since my injury. It sometimes can catch you off guard when you're not expecting it. An older couple who waits for the bus with their granddaughter at Olive's bus stop, really touched my heart last week. They made Maeve (and are in the process of making Olive) a crocheted hat. Which is now Maeve's absolute favorite! She puts it on at every opportunity she has outside or inside. She cried this past weekend when I made her wear her old one just so I could wash it. I was just so blessed by the thoughtfulness and undeserved generosity of that little hat.

Receiving that hat has made me want to show more generosity in my own life. Being generous towards someone doesn't mean giving beyond your means. Maybe it's making a double batch of supper or baking to give to a family that could really use it. Maybe make a thoughtful card, braclet, scarf, you name it! I don't think it has to be anything that big to have an impact. What are some other good acts of generosity?

Has anyone touched your life with a small gift or act? This has been my goal for the week to send out some sparks of my own. Never doubt the ability you have to influence or impact others. I don't think that couple even realizes how much they have impacted me.

Attached are pictures from collecting sap over the weekend with friends and Maeve in her beloved hat :)

Scrapbook Series: Where To Start?

Well as you may know, I am limited to what I can do right now due to my sprained ankle. My doctor now thinks there may be potential blood clotting or a fracture. So more x-rays, a venous doppler and an ultrasound. Hopefully by the end of all these appointments I will have a better idea of what I am dealing with and how to treat it. I am in good, thorough hands now though so hopefully we can speed along this recovery! In the meantime I thought it might be useful to go over some little tips I've picked up along the way with my scrapbooking adventures... and numerous trips to Micheal's (not complaining).

When you are looking at starting a scrapbook to hold all of your precious memories and moments, the best place to start is by collecting all the supplies you need to get yourself started. I've been there, starring at the Micheal's scrapbooking section feeling a little overwhelmed and then getting home and realizing that I didn't pick up everything I needed. It also can be shocking how quickly your bill adds up. So before you go spending unnecessary money right off the hop, I'll give you the 6 key items I think are a good place to start your project.

1. Pictures

I know super obvious, right!? Of course you need to print off those photos! When I go to print off my pictures, I now always print two of each. Trust me I am saving you an unnecessary trip if you mess up. It is easy to make errors when cutting or wrinkle one by mistake. If you aren't planning on doing lots of cuts, you can also play around with colour. Maybe one in colour and one in black and white. Changing this can be an easy and simple way to add interest to a page without a lot of work. Also a cool feature Wal-Mart offers is smaller sized photos. This can be a great option if you have a lot of photos from a certain event but don't want the event to exceed 2-4 pages in your book. Definitely something to play around with the first few times to see what works for you.

2. Cutting Board

Nothing is worse than not being able to achieve a straight line when you need to. Trust me I use mine all the time. I have a feeling this is going to be useful for some of my kid's projects through school in the future as well. This is a NEED!

3. Album / Plastic Protective Sleeves

Before you start on anything you will need to decide what size of album you are going to work with. I went with the largest pages 12"x12". That just happened to be my personal preference. There is no right or wrong here. Most paper comes suited for the largest album but you can always cut to size. Also don't feel like investing in your favourite album is something you have to invest in right now. Currently I am using one I got for free, when I am ready for it to be out on display I will most likely purchase the one that I love at that point. Most albums come with the plastic sleeves but if not you will have to purchase them separately. You also can put more sleeves in your album then the amount it comes with by purchasing the sleeves separately and adding them later.

4. Paper

The cheapest way to buy paper, unless there is a sale going on, is to buy it in a pad. When trying to select a pad to start with choose one where you love 70-80% of the paper. Don't be too concerned if your not in love with every page. You can always use less favoured pages as borders around your photos. The nice part about buying this way is the pad works as a collection, so mixing and matching pages will be done with ease. I also recommend buying some plain pages with no pattern or design. Having this paper will help with balancing your pages and keep them from looking too busy. Maybe as a background or border, or using for typing or writing on, they are very versatile. I went with blushed tones and creams for mine as it paired well with the decorative paper I choose, so just keep that in mind as well. If in doubt just choose a creamy white, it goes with pretty much everything and helps brighten your page up.

5. Double Sided Tape

You can use glue if that is your preference. I find the double sided tape is cleaner. Less likely to sticky your pages up. You can buy pre cut ones or to save a little they also come in a roll and you cut to size. Remember a little goes a long way with this stuff. No need to have tape lining the whole border.

6. Decretive Pieces

Now for the best part! It can be easy to get carried away with the stickers, stamps and all the fun decretive stuff. But try to limit yourself to a few items that inspire you. Maybe a collection of ribbon, metallic tape, sticker collections, a more versatile stamp, or maybe a little card cut out collection. Have fun with it! 

Some of the other things you may need that most people have hanging around their house is are black fine tip pens, scissors, and any momentos like tickets, hospital bracelets, maps, things you have collected or saved in addition to your photos.

Hope you find this list helpful in starting your scrapbook. If you start and you feel like you are missing something here and there, leave some space on your page. You can always add more later. It's harder to take away, than to add something down the road. I'd love to hear about your scrapbook, some of the problems or ideas you have come across so far with yours. If you have any questions about this topic and want me to include them in a future post let me know by commenting below or by email. Scrapbooks are so personal from a creative stand point, so just remember that there is no right or wrong. Go with what feels right and what you feel brings out the best of your moments.