Friday, 21 December 2012

Day 103: Break from the blog

I'm officially taking a break from the blog until the New Year... haven't decided yet when I'll start up again.  But until then, have a great holiday!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Day 102: Flu Shots

I'm a big fan of flu shots. Not only can you avoid getting one the most likely strains of the flu yourself, you can protect people who are especially vulnerable to the flu.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Anyone who wants to reduce their risk of catching the flu should be vaccinated. It is highly recommended for people at greater risk of complications due to their age or health:
     -Children age 6-23 months
     -People with certain chronic diseases, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, major obesity, cancer, asthma or a weakened immune system (also applies to pregnant women, regardless of the state of pregnancy)
     -Pregnant women in good health who are in their 2nd or 3rd trimester
     -People age 60 or older
It is also recommended for people in close contact with any of the above populations.

Questions about the flu vaccine? Here's a short video that explains how the vaccine is made and how it works.

Here is the link to the video source and other flu information from the Ontario government.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Day 101: Unions

I should say straight out that I'm pro-unions. Ever since watching the 1979 film Norma Rae (while in high school, years after it's release) starring Sally Field, where she won an academy award for the role, I have been pro-union. I highly suggest the film to everyone - I have a copy if you want to borrow it.

Another disclaimer, my dad and my sister are both part of unions. While neither of them is overly active in the union or overly political themselves, I believe they both respect their unions and know how much unions have done for their individual workplaces as well as for the betterment of the working environment in North America.

What have unions done for us? The people who aren't in unions...

Weekends off
Paid vacations
The 8-hour work day
Ending child labour
Work breaks, including paid lunch breaks
Equal pay for equal work for women
Abolition of sweatshops
Sick leave
Canada Pension Plan
Universal health care
The minimum wage
Pregnancy and parental Leave
The right to strike
Anti-discrimination rules at work
Overtime pay
Occupational health and safety
40 hour work week
Worker’s compensation
Employment Insurance
Public education
Collective bargaining rights for employees
Wrongful termination laws
Whistleblower protection laws
Anti-sexual harassment laws
Holiday pay

Here's a short video (American based) that goes over these benefits - based on the Monty Python skit "What have the Romans ever done for us".

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Day 100: Sandy Hook

I don't know why bad things happen, at all. This definitely includes why bad things happen to good people, why bad things happen to innocent people, trusting people...

There are lots of responses out there, some of which I admire greatly:

But the fact of the matter remains - I believe in a loving and just God, but unloving and unjust things happen in the world around us all the time. I certainly don't have "the" or even "an" answer.

As Christmas approaches and I listen to tons of holiday music, here is one set of lyrics that really hits the spot for me.
Clay by I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day on Grooveshark

Monday, 17 December 2012

Day 99: Frustration

This was me today:

Original from Office Space (bad quality). Also, the music playing in the background has swearing in case you don't want to hear that.

On a more positive note, we got the Christmas cards that need to be mailed out in the mailbox!

Weekend Re-cap Day 97/98

Saturday December 15th - Christmas Party with Jon & Nicole

We spent the morning helping my parent's get ready for a BIG birthday party held on Sunday. Then we headed to our friend's new house in Toronto. We had a fun afternoon, getting the house tour, buying groceries for the party, planning games and generally just hanging out.

I would say the party was a success. There was a ton of food and Nicole came up with two really fun games to play.

The first: Choose the title of a Christmas song out of a bowl (each title is repeated twice). On the count of three, begin humming your tune and find the person humming the same song.

The second game is based on 2 truths and a lie. Except it's worst present received. The object of the game is to come up with 2 bad gifts you've received and make up a third one. Then the group guesses which is the lie.

Sunday December 16th - 60th and 90th Birthday Party

My mom held a fairly big birthday party for my Dad and Gramma. It was great to spend the afternoon hanging out with family and family friends and it was relatively fun getting ready for the party too. (That part can be a bit stressful).

Andrew and I were bad about taking photos this weekend... maybe next time!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Day 94: Christmas Cards

Finally started my Christmas cards... hoping that if I send them out Friday or Monday they'll get to everyone a bit before Christmas :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day 93: Apple Crisp

Sharing apple crisp with my brother and his girlfriend while playing cards, need I say more?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Day 92: Simple Pleasures

A clean bath mat can make me so happy!

Weekend Re-cap Day 90/91

Saturday Dec 8th - 30th Birthday Celebrations

I don't have any photos from the moustachioed event, but we certainly had a great time. My newest brother-in-law turned 30 on Friday and my sister threw him a great party!

Sunday Dec 9th - 12 Dogs of Christmas

Watched a fun, family-friendly Christmas movie (in case you're looking for suggestions) - the 12 Dogs of Christmas. Here's a clip from the best part.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Day 89: Nature Update - the Peregrine Falcon

So I've been keeping my eyes out during the days and what did I spot but a peregrine falcon (I'm fairly confident) perched on top of a lamp post... and two lamp posts later, another one! Of course, being in the car I couldn't take a picture :(

Photo credit: National Geographic

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Day 88: Work Christmas Party

We're home early from Andrew's work Christmas party this year because I have to be up REALLY early tomorrow morning (I should already be in bed). However, thought I'd drop a quick note about the festivities.

We went on the touring train from uptown Waterloo to St. Jacob's and back - eating snacks, sipping beverages and playing a few trivia games. From there they arranged for buses to take us to the local country bar which had been fancied up considerably for dinner, live music, prizes and then a DJ for dancing. We missed out on the mechanical bull - he wasn't schedule to arrive until late into the night :(

Here's a view from our VIP table (sorry it's blurry):

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Day 86: Decorating the Christmas Tree

I came across this David Suzuki article about the environmental impacts of real versus fake Christmas trees. Interesting read!
"According to Ellipsos, the artificial tree has three times more impacts on climate change and resource depletion than the natural tree."

That being said, they do explain the potted Christmas trees are the best option, however expensive. We went with a Christmas tree from a farm 3km from our house :)

On to the decorating, I don't know if much needs to be said... We listened to Christmas music and had a fun time!! 

Do you have any traditions surrounding the decorating of the tree??

Monday, 3 December 2012

Day 85: Winterizing the Car

We're a bit behind this year. We've already had two snowfalls and the car's not ready yet.

  1. Clean out your car:

    1. Get rid of any garbage
    2. Remove mats and wash them
    3. Vacuum the seats and floor
    4. Steam clean seats if necessary
    5. Wash inside of windows
    6. Clean dashboard, steering wheel and glovebox

  2. Put on the snow tires

    1. Figure out which tire was where last year and properly rotate them
    2. Install tires on a flat surface
    3. Put away regular tires (marked with their last position on car)
    4. Pump them up enough to drive
    5. Go to the gas station and properly fill tires

  3. Fill car up with winter essentials
    1. Put snowbrush in the car
    2. Fill up windshield washer fluid
    3. Put in an emergency blanket, extra socks, hat, mitts
Check out this link for a full checklist of things to keep in your car in case of a winter emergency. And be safe this winter!!

Update: We were able to finish all of #1 Clean out your car. Soon we should have the snow tired on and have the car packed for winter.

Weekend Re-cap Day 83/84

Saturday December 1st - Christmas Traditions

We filled up the wonderful Advent Calendar my mom made for us, with chocolates and chewy wintergreen candies.

We went to Benjamin Tree Farm and cut down our Christmas tree. They have a great operation set-up, they saw a straight cut on the bottom of your tree (drill a hole if you want), shake the excess needles and bag it! They also have hot apple cider or hot chocolate and cookies for free and an amazing gift shop filled with a mix of hand-made and commercial gifts.

We also bought one of their great wreaths for beside the front door (around our porch light).

We had my brother and his girlfriend over for games and mostly homemade pizza (bought the dough and sauce). Overall a great wintery day!

Sunday December 2nd - First Family Christmas Get-Together of 2012

While we had a work-related Christmas party last week, Sunday was our first family time. Andrew's uncle and his family came to Andrew's parent's house where 16 of us had a delicious lunch (including yummy dessert!) and talked the afternoon away... and some of the evening. We didn't get home until after 7pm. Quite the lunch :P