X Company trailer

Remember  Flashpoint?  It was co-created by Toronto's own talented Stephanie Morgenstern and Mark Ellis.

Watch the trailer for their latest project, on the CBC YouTube channel:


Origins of the NORAD Santa tracker

From NPR:

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

Read more.


Two of my favourite things

Weird Al and magic together.  What's not to like?

From YouTube:

[via iTricks]


On having a grateful heart

From the Elephant Journal:

By now, most of us have heard the news: grateful people are happier, healthier and generally more fulfilled.

And while these are all really great side effects of gratitude, for me, one of the coolest things about gratitude is the way it affects the heart. The heart creates an electromagnetic field that expands up to five feet from the body. Its electrical field is 60 times stronger in amplitude than that of the brain.
Studies show that when people cultivate positive feelings, the heart’s frequency changes and its waves become smoother and more consistent, while anxiety or stress caused waves to be shorter and less organized. Though most positive feelings were capable of affecting the heart in this way, researchers noted that gratitude changed the heart’s rhythm more easily and faster than any of the others.

Read more.


Mabel's cyber sale

From the Mabel's Labels Twitter feed:

Disclosure: I'm a Mabel's Labels Buzzmama and I receive free products for my involvement in the program.



In case you were looking for something to keep you unproductive for the rest of the day, have a look at Nathan Friend's Inspirograph, an online version of the classic Spirograph.



"Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting."
― Elizabeth Bibesco


Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Things I never knew about the Salvation Army

Dear Readers: Here is a Paul Harvey broadcast from December, 1979. Several readers have sent it to me, and I think it is well worth printing during this holiday season.


How would you like a job-long hours, hard work and low pay? You may have to settle in Atchison, Kan.-population 16,000. You will be paid $100 a week before taxes. You and your wife will have to live in a dingy one-room walk-up.

And one pot of soup will have to last four days.

But there is a fringe benefit: You get a new pair of shoes. And in those shoes you can walk from here to Eternity.

You are a single girl. How would you like a job in Chicago?

Be sure before you apply because you will not work in an immaculate skyscraper office in the Loop. You will work behind a shabby Skid Row storefront patronized by winos and cockroaches and whores, and the depraved and the diseased and the desperate. There will be rodents and more cockroaches.

But you will get a new pair of shoes-and guaranteed security here and forever after.

I set out to figure out why anybody would enlist in the Salvation Army.

Read more.


Productivity vs lists


Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Recommended daily amount of snark

From Matt Risley's Twitter feed:


Speaking of Rube Goldberg machines

A light, prism and mirror Rube Goldberg machine as a commercial for a Japanese high-speed optical internet service.  Amazing.


Mabel's Labels are back to school essentials for me

It's that time of year again.  As hard as I try to ignore all of the advertising, in store promotion, and my calendar, there's no denying that the school year is looming around the corner.  With a new school year comes new school stuff.  Stuff that needs to find its way home for the rest of the year.

I'd first assumed that we'd outgrow name labels when the kids hit the age where they can recognize their own belongings.  Apparently not.  As they get older, things get shared.  Lots.  Things like clothes with best friends.  Things like geometry sets.  Things like snack containers.  Enter my friend Mabel!

We're going to need some Skinny Minis™ by Mabel's Labels.  These dishwasher / microwave safe and UV resistant labels have outlasted some of our lunch and snack containers.  They're fabulous for stationery supplies and especially for food containers.

Tag-mates™ are also on our list.  They're washer / dryer safe and best of all stick tight to clothing labels without ironing.  Some of the clothes are worn and faded, but the labels are still going strong!

Growing feet mean new shoes and boots too, which means new shoe labels are in order.  Some Teeny Tags™ will round things out nicely, to tack onto pencil cases, lunch kits or backpacks.  (I may place a separate Teeny Tag™ order personalized with an ICE (In Case of Emergency) phone number to hang off clothing for use as personal identification.  They also double as great ID for kiddos who are too cool to wear 411 Wristbands.)

It looks to me like I'm in the need of their Ultimate Back to School Combo!

If your kiddos are too cool for Mabel's fun designs, they can graduate to the snazzy new Stylish Scholars Combo.

I should also add that their customer service department is one of the best I've had the pleasure to deal with.  They go above and beyond to make sure you're happy with your order.

You all know that I'm a huge fan of Canada's own Mabel's Labels.   I've been writing about them here since 2007 and I was a direct sales agent with them prior to that.  So it shouldn't be a big surprise that Mabel's Labels Ultimate Back-To-School Combo is on my list of things to get before school starts.

Ordering my Mabel's Labels is one back-to-school task I actually look forward to doing!

Disclosure: I'm a Mabel's Labels Buzzmama and I receive free products for my involvement in the program.


A wise person once told me this

"Never compare your insides to everyone else's outsides."
     ― Anne Lamott 


Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


World's toughest job

Thanks Mom!


Mabel's does it again!

I look forward to these posts every year!


The artist


Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.

Inspired by a Tweet from Bill Abbott:


Fun multiplication games

If you have a youngster learning mulitplication, you may be looking for a fun and engaging way to help them with the rote learning of number facts.

The thing I like about these five in particular, is that they don't have a timed component to them.



- 20 question a day limit
- facts up to 10
- can sign up for an account to get unlimited questions (I have not done this)

Buzzy's Times Table Challenge
- whole times table review up to 10 x 10

Fridge magnet multiplication game
- choose “Level A - make the answer”
- choose “no clock”

The Amblesweb Tables tester
- choose “harder” to go up to 11 x 11

Multiplication Math Games For Kids
- includes “flash card” games for specific number series, cheese capers game and bus math multiplication


Heart crayons


I've been wanting to try this artsy Valentine's craft from Parent Hacks for a while now.  (I'm not ambitious enough to melt them down as per the instructions from the post Recycle Old Crayons Into New Shapes.)

Then one day I looked around the house and saw this:

Later in the week at the store I saw this:

So we put the crayons in a bucket with warm water, and peeled the labels off:


And chopped them up.  (Turns out I cut the pieces too small.  Next time I'll make them 1.5 - 2 cm, or about 1/2 inch,  in length.)


The bits go in a silicone baking pan:


Pop it in the oven at 230 F for about 15 min (you can see some aren't quite melted yet).  Tip:  put the kitchen exhaust fan on and / or open a window to get fresh air into the room.


Let the whole thing cool and then pop them out!


Any rough edges can be smoothed down by rubbing across a piece of paper.

Just make sure that kids don't eat them!

[Cross-posted at Craft Day.]


How confident are you?

Interesting read over at Medical Daily. Apparently overconfidence may be a result of social politeness.

Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.