Saturday, 30 April 2011

Childhood Memories

I don't know about you, but as I get older I forget more and more about my childhood. Yesterday I got a little memory boost through watching my kids. We were at the park for a few hours, and after they had gotten all of their running, and jumping, and climbing out of their systems, they started a little assembly line. They (or should I say he, as my son was the real persuader and recruiter of the whole thing) got a few other kids to help them with a project of making mud, or chocolate as they called it. It was awesome watching them, and I was cheering them on too, because they were doing such a good job working together and co-operating.

There was this hole in the ground, in the grass near the water fountain, that had a bit of mud in it. My son asked a group of boys if any of them wanted to help him make chocolate, and out of the group one gave a cheerful "I do." And so project make mud/chocolate began. The helpful boy was asked to be in charge of getting sand from the sandbox, and my son would get water from the water fountain and my daughter was in charge of stirring. Sure their jobs changed many times and after awhile my son (sweetly) encouraged a couple of other younger boys to help, then they really had a full assembly line going. I just loved how well they all worked together and showed such teamwork. At some point the hole got full and I suggested why not use the chocolate/mud to make mud pies and my daughter jumped right on that idea. She started scooping mud from the hole and bringing it back to the sandbox where she proceeded to make said pies.

I was brought back to another time. I had forgotten how much I used to love making mud pies when I was a kid. The tactile feeling of mud squishing between your fingers, and the creativity of molding and shaping the mud into what ever you want, was so much fun. I loved it. I don't know why we forget about these things, about how different it was for us growing up, and how much more freedom we had.  I spent whole entire days outside, not just a few hours here and there. And I was able to roam around my neighbourhood with my friends with out a care in the world, we'd go to the park by ourselves and walk to school by ourselves. Now it's so different. My kids don't roam the neighbourhood, and I would never allow them to go to the park or school, by themselves. It's just a different time, but I am glad there are still some things that they can enjoy, that are just simply kid things, no matter the era. So here are some pictures of their fun yesterday, I really do love living vicariously through my children.

Here is my son putting a stick, in the mud they made. You can't really tell that it's was a hole before, because they did such a good job of filling it to the top.

And here he is showing me how deep the mud actually was, with the stick. He was really proud of how much mud they made.

Here is my daughter carrying the ingredients of her mud pie. Gotta have some sticks and twigs in there for fiber right?

Gotta make more mud.

Yay, for mud pies!

I know this is just a picture of dirt, but I had to put one of her creation in here, it just seemed right.

Here is my son helping.

I'll leave off here with a couple more of my daughter's funny faces, she's such a ham!

What do you think about your childhood? Do you remember much of it? And if you have kids, do you live vicariously through them?

Monday, 25 April 2011

How Was Your Easter?

It's been a great Easter weekend for our family, my kids have enjoyed one community centre Easter egg hunt, with two of their close friends on Saturday, and one hunt at home with family on Sunday. The hunt at the local community centre was great, there were arts and crafts, and face painting, and room to run around; as well as a great egg hunt outside in the forest surrounding the centre. The hunt on Saturday was perfect, it was a gorgeous spring day in Vancouver, and there literally wasn't a cloud in the sky. We were inside for the festivities and then afterward went to the playground, and the kids just ran and played for hours. I love these kind of days, where you can just let them run and run and run some more. They sleep so well at night after days like that. So here are some pictures of our Easter celebration on Saturday. Honestly I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

My daughter is the queen of making funny faces, as you will see.

And I guess my son is the king, then.
And here are their friends.

This was outside, during the egg hunt.

And this was when they were making Easter crafts, I love the concentrated looks on all of their faces.

What cute little monkeys!

This is the view from the playground, after the celebration. I felt so happy to be outside on that gorgeous, sunny day. I just kept saying to everyone, over and over, "we are so lucky to live in Vancouver!"

And here is one last picture of my little goofy lady, I told you she was the queen.

I hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend too. Feel free to tell me about what you got up to. I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Reality Of Using Beauty Products - What The Industry Is Not Telling You

I wrote a post earlier, where I talked about toxic chemicals in beauty products. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, because though I changed all of my products to more organic and less toxic ones, I've come to realize that some of them may not be what they say they are. Just because something is labelled as organic or natural, doesn't mean that it actually is in the beauty industry. You really have to go over the ingredients with a fine tooth comb and if you don't know what to look for, you can easily overlook toxic ingredients. When I look at a beauty product's ingredients, I check them against the David Suzuki Foundation's list of the "Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Chemicals To Avoid." This is a great list to go by. But when you are at the health food store and you are looking at all of the products there that are "classified" as organic, it's easy to believe all of the hype on the labels and forget about checking the list. Just because it's at the health food store, doesn't mean it doesn't have toxic ingredients in it. I just found out today, thanks to my friend Mina at DeTox ... the devil in the details..., that my favorite face wash may not be as good as I thought it was. It's still a lot better than what I was using before, that's for sure, but it does have some questionable ingredients in it.

So here is a great video that talks about what's really going on in the beauty industry and how we need change from the government to stop toxic chemicals from being put into our personal care products. The products we use do not have to have toxic ingredients in them, there are better alternative ingredients out there that are not toxic or carcinogenic. We just need the government to put the proper regulations in place that force the industry to make a change for the better.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Happy Earth Day, And Thank You David Suzuki!

Here is a wonderful message from my favorite Earth activist, David Suzuki. I remember seeing him speak when I was a teenager. Our school's Environmental Club went on a field trip to Vancouver for an environmental conference. It was so great to leave my small little town and go on an outing to the big city. I was really moved hearing him talk about environmental issues and things that we could do to help our planet. And even though that was probably about twenty years ago, and I don't really remember it that well, I was left with a lasting impression of who he was and how I could be a part of something bigger. He inspired me to get involved and really care about what is going on around me. At the time, I didn't know that I would later go on to complete the Environment Studies Program in college and become passionate about environmental issues. I remember thinking that it was just going to be a fun day out, with my school. I didn't realize how hearing him speak would spark a whole lifestyle change and influence me to be a better person, but he did and I am so grateful. I don't know if you've ever seen his show, "The Nature of Things," but every time I watch it I am reminded of how knowledgeable he is and how much he's done to change our world for the better. If there weren't people like him around to inspire us, then I think the planet would be in an even worse state, than it is right now. So thank you, David Suzuki, for everything you've done for this precious planet we live on, and may many more people heed your brilliant words and implement the change we need to save our Earth.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Keep Pushin' On

Yesterday, I responded to a friend's post on Facebook. She was talking about a rough patch she is dealing with right now, so I posted this on her wall.

And since then I can't stop thinking about this song, and it's lyrics. "Keep pushin' on, things are gonna get better, it won't take long, keep on pushin' to the top." Not only is it a great song to dance to (every time I hear it I want to jump up and start dancing), but it is also inspiring. I think I need a little of that inspiration right now, myself. Things have been difficult for us lately too.  My family and I are going through a rough patch of our own (financially), and it's taking it's toll. One of the hardest parts of dealing with times like these, is that it can put a strain on your marriage. I know my marriage isn't in any trouble, and I know I am a very lucky lady, but having that kind of tension in the house can effect your kids and other family members and is just down right depressing. So with a small glimmer of good news today and a little bit of hope, I am going to "keep pushin' on" and pray that "things are gonna get better." And hopefully soon we will get through this rough patch. Wish me luck, and enjoy the song, it's a good one  : )

Friday, 15 April 2011

SNL - ESPN Classic Weight Lifting - Today's Sponge

I was talking to a friend of mine today and I asked her if she watches Saturday Night Live, and she said she hasn't for a few years. I love SNL, and I watch it religiously. I know that not all of their skits are good, but out of the whole lot of them, there sure are quite a few good ones. And the ones that are good are really good, like rolling on the floor, laughing so hard your gut hurts, good. So here is another funny one for you, just because I couldn't resist, and I'll sneak it in before it's not Fun Friday anymore. I have to put the warning out there though, that it's not appropriate for kids and also for people who get offended easily. It is a little racy, as SNL can sometime be.


Shelley Elaine, On SNL Weekend Update

I need to post something fun again, I've been feeling very weighed down by all of the messed up stuff happening in the world right now. Since I joined Twitter a few weeks ago, it seems like all I've read and tweeted about is horrible things happening to animals, people and the planet. It's making me feel very overwhelmed. So, I just need to let off some steam and have a little fun. I think that this may be the beginning of Fun Fridays. I am going to try and post funny videos every Friday and see how that works out. We all need a little laughter in our lives, right?

Here's one I watched last weekend and it had me cracking up, I love Kirsten Wig, she's hilarious.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tony The Tiger Update

Last month I did a post on Tony, a Siberian/Bengal tiger held in captivity at a Louisiana truck stop. Tony's story is sad, he's been locked in a cage with no place to run or swim, and he's been breathing in toxic truck exhaust fumes and hearing loud diesel engine noise for ten years. He's been on display as roadside attraction, to draw people to his owner's Tiger Truck Stop store and restaurant.  Many people have been fighting for years to have Tony moved to the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, but his owner, Michael Sandlin, refuses to give him up. He even claims on his website that "unscrupulous "activists" from out of state are trying to steal Tony away from the only home he has known. Their real intention is to put him on display themselves, far away from the people that hand raised him." Just because the place that Tony has been living in for the past ten years is his home, doesn't mean that he belongs there. Tony could have a much better home at the Big Cat Rescue. He would have lots of room to run and play and swim and would have a much better quality of life.

Some good news regarding Tony has just come to light. Yesterday the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a law suit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for giving Michael Sandlin the permit to exhibit Tony. They have also started two petitions to have Sanlin's permit, to keep Tony, revoked. One is through the ALDF but is for US citizens only and the other is through and can be signed by anyone. Please sign one or, if you live in the US, both petitions and help free Tony from his horrible life of exploitation and abuse. Click here for the ALDF petition, and here for the petition. If we all stand together and fight for him, maybe we can help Tony have a better life.

For more information about Tony visit the Free Tony Tiger website and the Animal Legal Defense Fund website.

Photo Credit

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Anne The Circus Elephant Gets A New Home

I love stories with a happy ending. 59 year old Anne, the last British circus elephant, has been released to a better home. Her story was a harrowing tale. One with horrible beatings by a circus worker. She was kicked and hit and beaten with a pitchfork and other implements. Luckily it was caught on film by Animal Defenders International (ADI) who secretly filmed the abuse from January 21st to February 15th of this year.

After the video footage was released to the public, the Romanian worker was fired from the Bobby Roberts Super Circus, but that did not stop the a huge and justified public outcry. Anne's owners, Bobby and Moira Roberts, then decided to do the right thing and finally let Anne be moved to a more suitable home. 

Activists had been fighting for years to have her moved, because over half a century of working for a circus and being kept in a small metal compound or in tiny transport containers, have left her muscles weak and her body riddled with arthritis. She is an elderly elephant that deserves to retire.

Finally, she has her much deserved retirement. On Sunday, April 3rd Anne was moved to the 900 acre Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. Right now she has a 13 acre enclosure, that will later have central heating, a wading area and swimming pool, and proper fencing built for her and other rescued elephants.

Here are some pictures of her happy and playing in her new enclosure.

Longleat staff say she is settling in and seems to be adjusting well. Watch this video of Anne in her new home.

It makes me so happy to see justice brought to this poor animal. She deserves to live in the right kind of environment, where she can be cared for properly and just be an elephant. Now she doesn't have to work the rest of her life away. To find out more info about Anne's plight see the Daily Mail's stories here and here. And visit Longleat's website for further updates.

Also, here is some other good news, which was brought about by this story. Britain is planning to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. See the full story here.

Friday, 8 April 2011

I Love Spring In Vancouver

Vancouver is such a beautiful city when is stops raining. And boy has it rained a lot, but here comes the sun. We've had a few gorgeous days and it makes me sooooo happy. Spring is finally here and it will just get warmer and warmer and better and better. I can't wait for picnics in the park and beach days and sprinklers and swimming outside. I also can't wait for outdoor festivals and spending whole entire days outside and camping. I feel very lucky to live here, in this gorgeous place with the mountains and the ocean, and I really could never imagine living anywhere else.

So I am going to try something a little different with this post. I am going to put up some of my own pictures and show a little taste of Vancouver, and if I am happy with it all, maybe I'll do it again sometime. You are welcome to let me know what you think, and if I can pull this kind of blogging off, or if I should stick to talking about issues and such. Here I go.

Spring comes to my backyard.

Look at those mountains! A view from downtown, at the waterfront, on our way to...

On Wednesday we went to our first outdoor festival of the year and it was tons of fun. I took the kids on the bus and we headed downtown to Vancouver's 125th Birthday Celebration. There was a special ceremony and lots of live music and stilt walkers and 3 huge birthday cakes, made to feed thousands of people. My kids loved it! It made us all feel great about living in Vancouver.

My sister in-law took these two pictures of the crowd, it really was a great turn out.

This was the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, drum roll please, Ta-Da!

And here are my monkeys having a blast.

I'll leave you with this little piece of cuteness, a clip of my daughter rockin' out to some live music, isn't she awesome!!! One day she's gonna be a Dancing Queen just like her mama, I can tell already : )

Monday, 4 April 2011

British Mom Gives Her 8 Year Old Daughter Botox Injections

This story sickens me! I am a mother of a four year old girl and, as a mom, I wonder how any mother could do this to her own child. British mom Kerry Campbell, who now lives in San Fransisco, gives her 8 year old daughter Brittney, Botox injections and body waxes. She says that "having these treatments now will ensure she stays looking younger and baby-faced for longer," and it is all for the fame and glory of beauty pageants. She thinks that she is doing her daughter a favor and that Brittney will thank her when she is someday rich and famous. How bizarre, an eight year old needs to look younger than she is? But she already is young, she is a child! What does it say about the pageant industry when the parents of the children involved, feel the need to change their children. They think their children aren't good enough without make-up, and fake smiles, and hair extensions, and fancy expensive dresses, and basically pretending to be something they are not.

This woman thinks she is helping her daughter, but what she is really doing is holding a mirror up to her and saying look at all of your flaws and look at what needs to be fixed. Brittney said, and I quote "I check every night for wrinkles, when I see some I want more injections" and "I also want a boob and nose job soon, so that I can be a star." How horrible is that? An 8 year old child should not be worried about wrinkles and wanting Botox injections!!! And she should definitely not be thinking about a boob job!!! She hasn't even grown any yet, she can't judge how her body is going to turn out after puberty. This poor little girl should be playing with her friends, with not a care in the world and not having these completely adult (not to mention fake and shallow) worries. She should be riding bikes and playing outside, not laying on her mom's beautician table being injected and waxed. Botox is a poison, and should be used on knowing, consenting adults, not on children whose mother buys the products online and doesn't know for sure if it's even safe. I'm sure there hasn't been any testing done on children, who knows what the long term effects are.

I don't usually like to judge other parents, because being a parent is different for everyone and people have to find their own way in how they want to raise their children. But this is different, this is abuse. That mother should not be injecting her child with poisons. And she also should not be waxing her daughter, she said "she also has her virgin wax monthly, which gets rid of her fluffy leg hair and makes sure she won't develop pubic hair in the future. It will save her a fortune in waxing when she's older." Virgin wax?!?! WTF, how could you do that to an eight year old girl, you sick woman? That is her own personal private area, that should not be touched by anyone but her. Do you want her to be bald so that she can be a porn star when she grows up? Why shouldn't she be allowed to have pubic hair? It's her body, let her decide what she wants to do with it, when she is a grown up. Fame and fortune do not come to people because they don't have wrinkles or body hair, they usually come to people because of their own talent. The mom also says that she will wax her daughter's eyebrows later this year and wants to have them lightly tattooed into an arch shape and is considering a lip liner tattoo as well. If that isn't a form physical and emotional abuse than I don't know what is.

I'll leave you with one last quote that this crazy woman said about her daughter. "When she's a superstar earning millions, she'll always be grateful for what I did when she was so young."

So I'd like to ask, when she grows up, if she isn't a superstar, will she thank you for the torture of painful injections, tattoos and waxings that you put her through? Will she be happy that she didn't get any real choice in all of the grown up things you did to her? (Because even though she may say she's happy about it now, she's only eight, and she's really just following what is being modeled to her) Will she also be happy about the emotional scars of poor self esteem, and feeling like she isn't good enough for even her own mother to look at, without being changed and improved upon? Will she like the fact that you took her childhood away from her? Because if you ask me, this really doesn't sound like a childhood at all.

To get the full story click here.

Photo Credit