Why I’m going to force my teenager to use the phone

I am like many of you.  My home is plagued with a strange inhabitant. A human being at the most pivotal, tumultuous time of their life. I have a teenager.  And my teenaged-human is not just any teenaged-human, this one is a 15 year old girl in her first year of high school.

Rewind to September 2013 when all of us, my husband and I included, were nervous and excited for the start of a new chapter in her life. We were ready.  We had spent the summer (and honestly a large part of grade 8) having the “talks”. Sex, drugs and even rock n’ roll.  We were on the same page, except for the rock n’ roll part.  We considered ourselves experts on the topic seeing as both of us successfully (but not with out issues) survived those years and made it out to the other side generally unscathed.  We prepped her on the types of people she would meet (jocks, nerds, jerks, drama queens, shy kids, cool kids etc.) and on how to pretend to be confident. We let her in on a little secret we had gleaned from our experiences at school.  No one felt confident in the beginning.  Not even the cool kids, they were actually just faking it.

As she entered school things seemed to be going really well. Not only did she manage to “fake it” but she also realized that her parents knew what we were talking about.  All the types of people we described were part of her high school experience.  She started to trust us in a new way. We found out that nothing had really changed in the 25 years since we first entered high school and we felt pretty damn good! We had helped her successfully negotiate the first few months of high school.

We would soon learn how wrong we were.

Although school itself had not changed much, there were still cool kids, not so cool kids, nerds, jocks and burn-outs, technology had changed it immeasurably.  Teenagers still exist in all their glory, but now they have new strange ways of communicating.

We gave our daughter a cell phone for Christmas in grade 8.  We waited for many reasons but as she got older we realized that they were becoming a vital tool in her ability to effectively socialize with her peers and we didn’t want her to be left out.  Part of me wishes I knew then what I know now.  Our children are regressing.  They are missing a critical skill since we started giving them cell phones.  They stopped talking. To each other, and to us.  We thought phones would help them talk more but in fact it had the opposite effect.

You could argue that they talk more.  They text constantly.  My daughter sends and receives upwards of 20,000 messages a month.  That’s a lot of talking.  Ever read what they say? Most of it is meaningless babble over-run with smiley faces of different emoticons.  And truthfully, although there are many emoticons to choose from, they don’t accurately represent the full range of emotions that humans are capable of.  Read their communications and you will learn that they also say things that they would likely never have the guts to say to someone in person.  My daughter for example flirts overtly with a number of boys at a time.  Many of whom she has never said one word to in public, and likely never will.  And don’t forget the issue of cyber-bullying and how easy it is to say hateful things anonymously using apps like “Ask.fm” and “Hot or Not” that is another topic entirely. This concerns me greatly.  This should concern you too.

Parents of these strange humans need to start a movement.  We need to force our children to stop texting and start talking.  Real talk, in person and on the phone.  I for one am going to start making my daughter talk on the phone to a real person each night.  If she is interested in a boy and he is interested in her, it will be a requirement that they talk on the phone at least 2 times a week.  If he is uncool with this arrangement then he is not worthy of my girl.  Real talk allows us to build meaningful relationships because we can hear emotions that can’t be communicated by text and emoticons. We can hear laughter, sadness, loss, anger, stress and the full range of emotions we possess.

Cell phones can be wonderful tools for communication, but they can’t replace genuine face to face and voice to voice interactions that we humans crave. We as parents need to start teaching our children to speak with their voices.  Let us all work together to force them to use the tools we gave them in a better way.  Please force your teens to use the phone.

Life as a mom, trying to juggle it all……….

Hello blogland!

I know, it’s been FOREVER! Life has been………… well……… LIFE! Busy, crazy, hectic, event filled, over-simulating, wonderful!

I have been taking a major step back from my SU business.  I just couldn’t give it the focus that I wanted to.  But, I didn’t want you to think that I was buried under stacks of card stock and stamps!

In truth I haven’t done much crafting. My mind is always dreaming about things that I would like to make, and I am hoping to bring you some of those things soon.  First however, my craft room needs a MAJOR clean up! And lately the focus has been on back to school.  My son started grade 1 this year, and my daughter grade 9 (at a new school of course!). And because both my husband and I work in the Toronto/Mississauga area, we have a long commute on our hands, so making dinners & lunch quick and easy has been my latest obsession.

If you are anything like me, then you HATE (with a capital H-A-T-E) making lunches.  I don’t know why……. but for some reason I would rather birth a 1000 children (at the same time-without drugs) than make them. Then one of my wonderful Facebook friends posted this: {A Weeks worth of Lunches in a day!} and already my life has changed.  The mid-week rush has been rushy, but a lot less stressful. And everyone has had a healthy, tasty lunch everyday since school started!! Note: The kids always had a lunch everyday, not always exciting, but nutritious. My husband and I on the other hand…. not so much. I subscribe to the “do only as much as you HAVE to do” philosophy sometimes.

Now one of the things I have found with following this, “do it all in a day” method is that you need to plan ahead. You need to have all the ingredients, and you still have to change it up to keep them coming back for more. And because I was planning lunches, I started planning some “have on hand” easy to make breakfast food, and easy to make meals for dinner. That found me looking for a printable meal planner/shopping list.  So I hit my favorite haunts like Pinterest and Google and started looking.  There are a ton of them. But none of them were exactly what I was looking for. We like some flexibility in our lives and weekend cooking is often inspiration based and free form.  And most of the planners didn’t include a spot for other things like breakfast & lunches.

So, if you can’t find what you want……… create it! So once again MDS (My Digital Studio by Stampin’ Up!) to the rescue!

Meal Planner-001

  Feel free to save it for your own use. If I can help just one of you get more organized, then I have done a good thing!

I am also thinking about making a matching full sized shopping list to organize the actual list you take with you to the store.  This one is for the items you need for the meals.

Here’s wishing you a happy and less-stressy school week.

stampwithb@gmail.com

Helping the Kidd Family

Update: Deadline to get stuff to me is Saturday! We are driving to Windsor early Sunday morning to deliver everything!!

Hi There,

I know I haven’t blogged in forever. This post is very different. I have sent out a Call to Action to my friends and family to help me with a family who I have “adopted” called the Kidd’s. They need a little help with Christmas this year. Brigid has some sort of degenerative disease that she has suffered with all her 7 short years. It hasn’t been diagnosed, so they don’t have a name for what’s wrong and she has been in serious condition many many times. For now, she is in “remission” and isn’t in the hospital. Her mom Allison, doesn’t work, all these hospital and doctor’s visits are a full time job. She does do some crafting to try and make some extra money. Brigid also has a brother named Reggie, he’s 14. He has a Wii and DS and needs winter clothing. And lastly there is Dale, he just recently lost his job. The only income the Kidd family had. Along with that went their medical benefits. You can read all about the trials and tribulations of of this family on Allison’s blog: http://snsherpa.blogspot.ca/

Here is the latest update on the Kidd’s Chipin page:

“Your kindness is overwhelming – with everything going on, knowing there are people out there – some who have met us, some who wouldn’t know us if they walked past us on the street, who care, who think about us, who pray for Brigid, who have donated… it really is humbling.

Thank you.

Since the last post, Brigid has come home from hospital – just over 6 weeks in total, over 5 weeks in London, away from home, but we are back together under the same roof, sharing laughter and tears, getting in each others’ hair and generally doing the family thing.

This is good – that we can smile, and love each other, because otherwise, the challenges we are facing could be the end of us all.

Brigid is very stable medically – in the world of degenerative conditions, stable is the best we can ask for. She is happy, driving her brother nuts, going to school, limiting her hospital visits to one a week… and until a shoe drops, we are in a decent place with her.

I, on the other hand, am not doing well. While Brigid was in the hospital, I ran into some medical issues that required prompt attention. Without going into too much detail, biopsies were taken, and the cancerous Sword of Damocles in hanging over my head right now. There were abnormalities in bloodwork that are concerning, as well, so now, I wait to get in to see a doc here. I lost an ovary to a tumour when I was 18, and since the concerns are in the same geographical area, the concerns are very real (and justified). Not to be one to have a single challenge, this past Friday evening, I noticed some odd issues with my vision (I have developed a blind spot in the central vision of my right eye). Since it hadn’t resolved by Saturday morning, I got myself off to an eye doc who confirmed my concerns – there is a problem with my retina. I am waiting now for the appointment with the retinal surgeon to determine the degree and origin of the problems, and if there is anything that we can do to restore the vision I have lost, or prevent it from progressing.

That, however, is not the scariest thing going on right now – the scariest thing is what has happened with Dale. Just shortly more than 2 weeks after Brigid finally came home from London, the day before Brigid’s 7th birthday, Dale lost his job, and along with it, his medical benefits. What does this mean? Well, first of all, there is the obvious – no job = no money, and we live in the Canadian city with the highest unemployment rate in the country.

But beyond that, the lack of medical benefits means that Brigid will not be able to access 3 of the most important medications that she takes – Ondansetron, an anti-nausea/vomiting drug, Atarax, one of the drugs that keeps her mastocytosis in check, and Keppra – the first anti-seizure drug that has been anywhere close to effective for her. Dale, already sporting pre-cancerous changes in his esophagus, will not be able to get the meds that have been reducing the damage done by his reflux.

My blood pressure remains uncontrolled, and without benefits, medication to try and get on top of it is out of reach. At this point in time, it will be all we can do to stay on top of bills and keep a roof over our heads.

And please don’t mention Christmas…”

That’s where we come in.  If just a few of us pitch in.  We can give them Christmas.  Here is a list of things we are looking for.  If they are crossed off, then we are good.  If you wish to donate one of these items, please contact me directly at stampwithb@gmail.com or call me.

Brigid:

VeggieTales stuff (no more dvd’s we have lots now)
My Little Ponies

Reggie:

Wii games
DS games (Pokemon Black 2 & Pokemon White 2)
iTunes gift cards
Clothing- Men’s Medium or Large (he’s a husky build), 34 waist, 32 inseam size 10.5 shoe

Allison:

Fimo, fimo and more fimo!
Micheal’s gift cards

Dale:

Anything War of 1812 related
Game of Thrones book 3
Game of Thrones book 4

Family:

Gift cards for Shoppers Drug mart
Clothing stores Gift cards
Food gift cards- Real Canadian Super Store
Money- you can send it to me so that I can fill in the gaps or directly to the Kidd’s by using the Chipin link

I am also looking to see if any one has a company courier account that can be donated so that we can get this stuff to Windsor/London for Xmas eve.

Update: My family and I will be driving to Windsor on Sunday to deliver the gifts.  I want to thank everyone so far for their amazing generosity.  I am truly amazed.

Anything you can do to help will be MOST appreciated.  I have already had an out-pouring of support from many of you and have started receiving gifts.

Merry Christmas,

Blair

I love my Stampin’ Success

All Stampin’ Up! demo’s receive an amazing magazine called Stampin’ Success.  Its a fabulous resource on all things Stampin’ Up! Last month they featured a corner book mark that I have been wanting to make for some time, so I thought I would share the instructions with you today.
Stamps
Broadsheet Alphabet Set
Creative Elements Set

Paper
Peach Parfait Card Stock: 4″ x 2-1/2″; 4″ x 2-1/2″
Pool Party Card Stock: 4″ x 4″; 2-1/4″ x 4″; 3-3/4″ x 1-7/8″
Soft Suede Card Stock: 4″ x 1-3/8″
Very Vanilla Card Stock: 2-1/4″ x 4″

Ink
Early Espresso Classic Stampin’ Pad
Peach Parfait Classic Stampin’ Pad
Pool Party Classic Stampin’ Pad
VersaMark Pad
Early Espresso Stampin’ Write Marker

Accessories & Tools
Clear Stampin’ Emboss Powder
Early Espresso 1/8″ Taffeta Ribbon: 8″
Linen Thread: 30″
Pearl Basic Jewels
Stampin’ Dimensionals
Color Spritzer Tool
Crop-A-Dile
Curly Label Punch
Dotted Scallop Ribbon Punch
Eyelet Punch
1-3/4″ Scallop Circle Punch
Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack
Simply Scored

Instructions
  1. Score diagonal lines from the top middle to the middle of each side of the Pool Party Card Stock (4″ x 4″). Fold the card stock on the score lines.
  2. Stamp the large flourish image in Pool Party ink on the front of the bookmark.
  3. Stamp the label flourish image in Early Espresso ink on the bookmark, and cover it with Clear Stampin’ Emboss Powder. Remove the excess powder and heat emboss the image.
  4. Punch a border along the bottom edge of the bookmark using the Eyelet Punch.
  5. Adhere the Soft Suede Card Stock strip to the front of the bookmark. Wrap the Linen Thread around the bookmark three times, and then tie it in a bow.
  6. Punch a scallop circle from the Peach Parfait Card Stock using the 1-3/4″ Circle Punch and adhere it to the front of the bookmark.
  7. Stamp the large flourish image in Peach Parfait ink on the Very Vanilla Card Stock. Stamp the letter in Early Espresso ink over the Peach Parfait flourish and cover it with Clear Stampin’ Emboss Powder. Remove the excess powder and heat emboss the image. Punch out the embossed letter using the Curly Label Punch.
  8. Punch a small flower from the Pool Party Card Stock (2-1/4″ x 4″) using the Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack. Distress the flower, adhere a Pearl Basic Jewel to the center of it, and adhere it to the Very Vanilla label. Adhere the label to the bookmark using Stampin’ Dimensionals.
  9. Punch a hole in the top of the bookmark using the Crop-A-Dile. Thread the Early Espresso 1/8″ Taffeta Ribbon through the hole and tie it in a knot.
  10. Stamp “No. 3″ on the back of the bookmark.
  11. Stamp the large flourish image in Pool Party ink on the Pool Party Card Stock (3-3/4″ x 1-7/8″). Stamp a border image and a sentiment in Early Espresso ink on the Pool Party Card Stock. Cover both images with Clear Stampin’ Emboss Powder. Remove the excess powder and heat emboss the images. Adhere the Pool Party triangle to the folded flaps to keep them closed.
  12. Punch a small flower from the Peach Parfait Card Stock using the Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack. Adhere a Pearl Basic Jewel to the center of the flower and then adhere the flower to the back of the bookmark.
  13. Punch a border from the remaining piece of Peach Parfait Card Stock using the Dotted Scallop Ribbon Punch. Adhere the border to the inside of the bookmark.
  14. Spritz both sides of the bookmark with the Color Spritzer Tool and the Early Espresso Stampin’ Write Marker.

Stampin’ Up! retired accessory list posts today

Today the retired accessory list posts.  All items on those lists are only available while supplies last.  If there is something you want you need to buy now, or they will be gone forever. One of the retiring accessories are the beautiful Simply Adorned products. Here is a very bad picture of one of my charms on display.  You can also see the baubles attached to the chain.  This entire line is leaving us, so get it now while you still can.
Click here to view & order the retiring products.

Why you should join Stampin’ Up!

Check out my cool presentation on the benefits of being a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.

Where is Blair today?

I am at the Halton Hills Mompreneur show!  Drop by and pick up some great deals from some awesome Mompreneurs in the area.  Visit the Facebook page for more info.
Frankie Flowers from Breakfast Television will be there too!
Use the code phrase “Stamp & Tea” to get a FREE gift from me.

My new Blog!

I have decided to go through a complete social media over-haul .  Thanks to my good friend Kaaren aka DigitalPixie I now have a new web address, new webpage and a unified look and feel between all of my Digital Media outlets.

In the weeks to come you will get to experience my program.  Blogging for me in the past few months has been hard to fit in.  I really appreciate your patience.  I have been busy in all aspects of my life.  I started a new job in December working for a large International Technology/Telecommunications company.  I love my new job, but I no longer work from home very much, and therefore I have less time to spend in my office at home.  My children continue to grow which means more activities, parties, sleepovers etc.  My daughter has been Horseback Riding since September and has really taken to it.  She will be competing in her first show this month.  I can’t wait!  My son started Soccer this spring as well.  On top of all that my husband went through ankle surgery and was off work recovering.  So needless to say that meant more housework, more cooking and helping with the yard work for me.  These are all things that he typically does a lot of.  And now he is back to work, but is working out of Province.  He only comes home ever other weekend!! So, like I said, I have been BUSY!  During this time however, I have been planning and working towards a new online spot that will hopefully keep you inspired and entertained.    Here are some of the many ways you can keep in touch with me:

Happy Stampin’!

~Blair
stampwithb@gmail.com

Summer Mini!

Our Summer Mini Catalogue is full of beautiful new products to keep you crafting through even the hottest of summer days!

Click on the picture above to begin shopping.  Or visit this link. Don’t wait! The deadline to purchase from the Summer Mini is August 31st!

Happy Stampin’!

~Blair

stampwithb@gmail.com

FREE Starter Kit

Happy New Year !

Just back from the annual Stampin’ Up! Leadership Convention in Nashville, TN! I don’t have a lot of time right now, because I am on my way to my nieces birthday party, but I wanted to share the great news with you.

All attendees have been given ONE FREE Starter Kit to give away!!! That’s a $400 value to one person. I am looking for someone who is willing to take on a challenge. They must recruit another person by the end of March! Up for the challenge? Click the link below and read about the details.

Offer is only valid in Canada with a preference to those in Ontario.

New Member Deal!

Isn’t this exciting??????? I can’t wait to have a new member of my team by the end of the week!!!!

Being a demonstrator has LOTS of perks. Check out my demo page for more info or contact me directly. And addition to all these perks I personally offer all of my demonstrators numerous training opportunities like One-on-One calls, workshop training and more!!!

Check back for a complete run down on Leadership with pictures of all the fun!!!!

Cheers,