Thursday, December 6, 2012
Today, I celebrated the highlight of our Christmas season this year: our son's community stage debut in A Christmas Carol.  This was a very big deal for Sam and we were so proud of his performance and his attitude throughout the whole run.  He was dedicated and responsible, getting his schoolwork done before rehearsals, and dealing fairly well with late nights and not a lot of sleep.

The play was a "drama with music", so I used the line from "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as the title.  And the Pear & Partridge paper pack has just the right feel for the Victorian times.  Then I spiced it up with P&P rub-ons, shimmering brads and CTMH ribbon.

A special thanks to Raph Nogal ( for the amazing photography, taken during the dress rehearsal.  Here's a close-up of my favourite shot:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I was 12 years old when Bob Geldof made his ground-shattering, heartfelt appeal to one and all to help those victims of the Ethiopian famine.  His example of using his passion -- music -- to help others is one that touched me at a very fundamental level, and it's an example that I try to follow to this day.  I'm proud that I'm passing that lesson on to my kids too.

Bob did something that no one thought was possible -- he got a whole bunch of STARS together in the same room, at the same time, and got them to perform FOR FREE.  He got them to perform to help people half way around the world.

Back in 1984, my Dad bought my sister and I a video tape (yes, video tape -- VHS) of the "making of" documentary behind the revolutionary song.  We watched it over and over and over, pausing when our favourite stars (George Michael and Simon Le Bon) were on screen.  Maybe at the time, the message didn't quite sink in ... but I still remember almost every scene.  I still own that video tape and I still play it every Christmas.

Whenever I hear the song, I close my eyes and picture each singer singing the phrase or two they were assigned to sing.  When Bono cries out "Well tonight thank God it's them, instead of you", tears come to my eyes.

Because I DO thank God it's not me, it's not my family.  We are so very blessed and so very lucky.

So go and take a trip back to 1984.  And thank God it's not YOUR family that's suffering this Christmas.  Think about giving, even in some small way, to someone in need.  Just because you can.

Do They Know It's Christmas video on Youtube: 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
I love Christmas music.  As a child, I was a regular member of school choirs and for many years, I was also in the Mississauga Youth Choir.  And even though we didn't sing many kids' favourites like Frosty the Snowman or Jingle Bells, being in choir taught me many more Christmas songs to love.  My very favourite is Carol of the Bells.  I remember singing the soprano parts one year, then singing the alto parts the next year.  I still get misty whenever I hear that song and try to sing along.

Today, I listened to a lot of Christmas music.  Charlie and I sang Christmas Carols on our walk to school this morning.  Then, I left the radio on the station that is playing carols 24-7 at this time of year.  It was lovely and really put me in the Christmas mood.

How can you go wrong with a Christmas song in your heart?

One of my most favourite parts of Christmas is my tree.  It's 10' tall ... and it needs to be to hold all of the ornaments we've collected over the years.  My hubby hates it ... well, hates putting it up and taking it down, and hates the space it takes up in our smallish living room.  Every year, he tells me that next year, we're getting a smaller tree.  So far, we haven't yet.

So as I said, I love my Christmas tree. And when things get crazy, I like to sit in the dark with just the tree lights on and enjoy the quiet.  Things have been REALLY crazy lately, so last night was a perfect night to enjoy my lights.  There are no ornaments on the tree yet, but the lights really worked to soothe and calm me, and make me grateful for all the blessings that I have in my life.

Sunday, December 2, 2012
As you know, I'm a big supporter of SickKids Hospital and am a proud member of the Kards for Kids HSC Smiley Team.  I feel so good about using my creativity and passion to give back.  When I was in advertising, SickKids was one of my main clients -- one that meant so much because we really were saving babies with our work!  So donating cards to make a sick child smile just continues that connection and important work for me.  And I am so very proud that my son Charlie enjoys making cards for SickKids too. 

DECEMBER DAY 2: Making holiday cards for SickKids
So this afternoon, Charlie made a card (he was pretty pooped from a sleepover last night but still wanted to be creative!) and we tied it into a school project he is working on.  He has a "buddy" from school called Nobody.  Nobody is a denim blue, characterless stuffed doll who will spend a week with each child in Charlie's class.  The child has to do something special with Nobody that helps other people, animals or the environment.  So Charlie chose to make cards for SickKids with Nobody.

Here are some pics of Charlie and Nobody making an adorable card.

Charlie and Nobody colouring a stamped image

Nobody making sure Charlie puts the glue on properly.

Nobody, Charlie and their finished card.
I hope we will have time tomorrow to make some more cards before we take them to Anabela for delivery to SickKids on December. 16.  And we're going to check with Charlie's teacher to see if we can bring in supplies for the whole class to make a card for SickKids.  Charlie has to present his activity with Nobody to the class and this would be a great time for all the kids to get involved.

If you would like to make some cards to donate to SickKids, PLEASE DO!  They can be any size, shape or colour.  If you use snowmen, you'll be entered to win some special prizes.  Please put your name on the back of the cards you make.  Then call me and I'll come pick them up from you.  PLEASE NO BULKY EMBELLISHMENTS like brads or buttons as they are choking hazards.  The simpler the cards, the better.

Saturday, December 1, 2012
This year, I want to do something special to celebrate the Days of December leading up to Christmas.  I have lots of fun things planned, alone and with my family.  And I'm going to share it all with you hear.  Then doing a scrapbook layout when it's all done.

December Day 1: Christmas Show to End Breast Cancer

Today, I'm participating in the Christmas Show to End Breast Cancer in Oshawa.  What an amazing cause.  And I'm doing it in honour of my grandmother, who passed away from Breast Cancer before I had a chance to know her, and in honour of my mother, sister and all the special women in my life -- may they NEVER have to battle this horrible disease.

I'm in charge of the make 'n' take and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  But you'll have to come out to the show to see what it is!  Here are the details:

Christmas Show to End Breast Cancer
Saturday, December 1
12 noon until 4 pm
$2 entrance fee
1500 Coldstream Road, Oshawa
Near the Oshawa Cineplex

And here's a sneak peek of some of the things I'll have on hand ...

Close to my Heart

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