The World
Of ElleSee
by LC McDonald

November 29, 2011

Be Mine, Valentine Swap

Have you noticed this button on the side of my blog?
It's my swap idea!



Valentine Swap 
 


About:
I have come up with the idea of the Be Mine, Valentine Swap after taking part in a couple of other swaps, and having a lot of fun participating in them. My idea is to send Valentines around the world to meet new people, and make new friends. You will be paired up randomly. Please be prepared to send a card overseas. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me at littleshopofellesee@gmail.com.

Get Creative:
We are all creative people, so please make a handmade Valentine for your swap partner. It could be made with doilies and hearts, or it could be a little drawing that you've made into a postcard. Whatever you do, please make sure it is made with love by you!

Dates:
Please sign up for the swap by January 6, 2012 (extended to January 9, 2012). You will be paired up, and have your partner's information sent to you by January 10, 2012. Please have your Valentine in the mail no later than January 16, 2012 -- remember that some of the cards will be going overseas, so you want to make sure that it is sent out in enough time to reach your Valentine by February 14, 2012.

Share:
I would love to hear about your experience, where your Valentine came from, and see what your Valentine made especially for you. Feel free to blog about it, and share a link to your post right here on Valentine's Day. 


Sign-up:
If you would like to participate, please send the following information to littleshopofellesee@gmail.com:
Name:
Address:
Email:



Please help spread the word! It would be greatly appreciated :)

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Valentine Swap


November 27, 2011

Trim Up the Tree!

Yesterday I decided that it was time to trim up the tree with Christmas stuff like bingle balls, and whofoo fluff! The little boy was awake long enough to discover the tree -- and play with the top section until I needed it to finish putting the tree together. Decorating the tree is one of my most favourite parts of Christmas. Almost all of my decorations hold a special meaning, and I love thinking about the stories behind each one as I find a place for it on the tree.



 
Some of the ornaments decorated my parents Christmas tree, years ago. Others I have received as gifts since being married -- like an ornament I received last year of two snowmen representing my husband and I, and the one representing me was pregnant.




This cute little ornament was a gift from a friend many years ago. I had seen it in a shop while we were out in search of gifts for our family and friends, and he ended up giving it to me that Christmas. It has forever had a special spot at the top of the Christmas tree.




When I was younger, my Mom had a crocheted star or angel that we would place at the top of the tree, but I have never put a star, or anything else, at the top of our tree. I have thought about putting something at the top of the Christmas tree, but I have never found anything that I like, and I kind of like having the top bare and simple.




Besides the Christmas tree, I also have a few Christmas-y knick-knacks that I put on the side-tables and the bookshelf. I'm not generally big into knick-knacks, but I like the Christmas ones that I have collected over time. One of my favourites is a gold glittered buck. He feels so jazzy, and I feel like I could leave him out all year long.




One of the latest additions to the Christmas knick-knacks -- this year, in fact -- is the child of the golden buck. It is a little copper sparkling doe that has a little bell hanging around her neck. She sits in the South-facing window in our kitchen, and looks at me every morning as I make my porridge. Just like her father, I feel like I could leave this little copper sweetie standing there the whole year through.

Have you set up your Christmas tree yet? Do you have a favourite ornament, or Christmas decoration that has a special story behind it?


November 26, 2011

Got Cold Hands?

I'm so excited to be taking part in another swap. It's the Cold Hands, Warm Hearts Swap through Much Love, Illy and Sandy a la Mode. It is a fantastic idea where you share your information, blog, favourite colours, and three favourite things in the whole wide world, and then are paired up with someone else who may or may not share the same interests with you. The whole idea of the swap is to get to know this person a bit, and then make a care-package for them -- a care package that includes a pair of toasty warm mittens.

I received an email the other day with who my swap partner is going to be, and I'm very excited. She is a fellow Canadian, and, from reading her blog, we have quite a bit in common -- including, but not limited to, the fact that we are both left-handed. I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better, and I will be sure to share our journey -- because there is going to be a blog link-up involved. I love me a link-up!





On that note, I am creating a blog swap myself. A Valentine Swap! You may have noticed a button on the side of my blog. Feel free to take it to share on your own blog, if you like! I'll have the details about the swap up soon. I want to get the information out there before everyone gets swamped with the holidays :)

As well, I am having a special promotion today for Small Business Saturday. Buy any item in the SHOP and receive a coupon for 30% off your next purchase -- and a small gift! Make sure to stop by!


Shop Promotion

November 25, 2011

Let's Talk Business...Small Business Saturday

I hope all of my American friends had a fantastic time, yesterday, sitting down with their families and talking about what they are thankful for this year. We should be thankful all year round, but Thanksgiving Day is a great time to take a break and reflect on your year, and rest up before the chaos of Christmas sets in.

This year is my first Christmas in the SHOP. I have listed several Christmas cards, and am very excited about the new people that I am going to meet, and have already met. But what I'm really excited about is something called Small Business Saturday. It is tomorrow, November 26, 2011. The purpose of Small Business Saturday is to show your support for small business in your community, or online.

From the first time I saw a commercial on the television for Small Business Saturday, I took the pledge to buy something from a small business on that day. I know that it is something that we should be supporting year round, and I do, but, like Thanksgiving Day, it is a time for us to recognize the importance of small businesses in our community, and to make sure that we really are showing them our support.

Are you going to take the pledge?



Shop Promotion 
I'm celebrating in the SHOP.



November 24, 2011

Such Deliciousness: Black Bottom Cupcakes

The other day, I made the most delicious black bottom cupcakes using a recipe from the lovely Julie Ann Art. It was such a simple, and easy to follow recipe, and I can't stop eating them! I was so excited when I saw the recipe because black bottom cupcakes are my favourite desert to order at a local restaurant. Sadly, they do not make them during the winter, but now I can make them myself, and eat them all winter long  :)


 
Delicious Black Bottom Cupcakes -- find the recipe here.



November 22, 2011

Dear Santa: A Baby Boy's Wishlist + Two Side Notes

I have been struggling a lot with finding unique gifts for my son. I love Etsy, but not many people actually sell items that are made for little boys -- my son will be almost 9 months old at Christmas time. I have found several fantastic gifts for when he is a toddler or preschooler, but nothing for a baby that is no longer a lump-on-a-bump. I have had to think outside the box, and some of the items are more for decorating his room than for playing with. Here's what I've found recently that I absolutely love for my son:


Chimpanzee Roley Poley Animal

Yes, cars are fun -- and my son does have a few already -- but
there's nothing quite as unique as a monkey on wheels!

Blue Loden Mini Vintage Circus Fabric Bunting, Garland, Banner, Pennant Decoration 9 Feet

I love the wonderfully fun fabric that is used in this bunting.
It would be perfect hanging over a crib in an baby's room --
boy or girl!

The perfect, imperfect Stuffed Elephant

This elephant is simply too sweet for any child not to enjoy
cuddling -- or even any adult :)

 
Dachshund canvas tote, cute and adorable. Sturdy 100% 10oz. cotton canvas.
Dachshund Canvas Tote from Square Paisley Design

This cute little tote bag will be perfect for when I ditch the diaper bag,
but still want to carry around some toys, books, and extra diapers!



wooden xylophone toy - natural handmade play music for montessori baby, children - eco-friendly with organic  finish
Wooden Xylophone Toy from Smiling Tree Toys

There seems to be nothing that children at any age enjoy
more than listening to and making music -- even banging toys
can be classified as making music!





 
Two Side Notes:

I'm offering a 30% off coupon for anyone that makes a purchase on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26). It will be available for use until January 31, 2012. That's my little contribution to Small Business Saturday :)


Also, I have come up with an idea for a Swap. I have seen these all over the place including Much Love, Illy and Sandy a la Mode's Cold Hands Warm Hearts Swap: here, and the Handmade Christmas Decoration Exchange from The Craft Tonic: here. I participated in the ornament exchange, and loved it so much that I decided to host my own exchange in the new year. Details to come! Please let me know if you would be interested :)



November 20, 2011

Secrets of the Pregnant Society

Nobody tells you what it's like to be pregnant. It's like some dark secret that no one shares with you until you are part of the club, and then you get to join in on the conversation, but talk in some sort of code that no one else understands.

You know that your body is going to change by growing a rather large bump that impedes the view of your feet, but nobody tells you what goes on behind the scenes. Nobody tells you that Nature has sent you on the most epic journey of your life, and you must see this journey through to the end. There is no time-out from being pregnant; no breaks from the belly that gets so large that it is virtually impossible to sit down. And we all know that there is no break from what is to come after living through what seems like the roughest 10 months of your life.

I gained almost 50lbs during my pregnancy, and lost only about 10 of it after giving birth. I went from being a 130lb woman with weight issues to a 175lb woman with weight issues. I wasn't one of those people that said "I'm pregnant, I'm eating for two", but I did enjoy eating a box of cookies within a few days. I never craved anything, but I would find a food that I liked and I would enjoy it for a couple of weeks -- and I mean enjoy!


Not only did I gain a lot of weight, but I also gained a lot of water. By the end of the day, my feet were like water balloons, and boy was I hot! I wore flip-flops all day because I could no longer fit my feet into shoes, and because my feet were always incredibly warm. I'm glad I work in an industry where I do not have to dress-up at all, just nice jeans and a t-shirt, because, by the end, I was wearing the same pair of pants every day.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, your hips are spreading to make room for your baby's head. This was one of the difficult parts of my pregnancy. I was in such excruciating pain from my hips spreading that I could barely lift my legs up to walk up and down the stairs. By the time that pain stopped, my belly was big enough that it made doing everyday things quite difficult. You do not realize how much you push your stomach up to things, like the sink, until you no longer have that ability.

Pregnancy really is like a secret society. You have no idea what it's like until you have gone through it yourself. I could share all of the secrets of my pregnancy with you, and I am more than willing to share. After my experience, I believe that every woman has the right to know and not be kept in the dark. That being said, every woman's experience is different, and no two pregnancies are ever alike for one woman. I did not enjoy being pregnant, and you might. But let me tell you, the gift of life growing in your belly is well worth all of the prenatal torment :)

November 17, 2011

So Thankful

I am thankful for my family. I know it is the most cliche answer that anyone can choose -- of course most everyone is thankful for their family -- but this year I am more thankful for my family than normal for two reasons.

Reason Number One:

This year, I gave birth to our first child: a sweet little baby boy. I am grateful that he was born safely, and that he is now one of the most important elements in our life -- we have created a little family of our own, and for that, I am grateful.

My Boy: Born April 1, 2011 -- 6lbs 1oz


Reason Number Two:

Since the birth of my son, I have had the opportunity to visit with my family more than I used to -- I thank the gift of a one year maternity leave for that. They have also been there quite a bit when I have needed someone to look after my son while going to important dentist appointments -- I had a root canal a couple of months after he was born -- and they have looked after him for my husband and I so that we can still go on dates and spend quality time together. They have done so much for me and my new little family -- so much that I haven't even asked of them, and for that, I am grateful.


My Boy with my Dad -- Known as "Pa" to my son :)


What are you thankful for?





 
Link-up Party!




November 15, 2011

First Lady Doppelgänger

My husband snapped a photo of my after helping plant the lilac trees at the Grandfather's memorial service. It was a solemn day, but I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the photograph: I immediately thought that I looked like Michelle Obama.



Don't you agree?

November 13, 2011

Gifts from the Holy Land

My parents recently visited Israel, and they brought back some fabulous gifts for me, my husband, and my son. For my husband, my parents brought back chocolate bars. A lot of them reminded us of chocolate bars that you can find here, and some of them actually were chocolate bars you can find here -- but you would only know that if you can read Hebrew :)


The beautifully painted dreidel


For my son, they brought home a dreidel -- a request of mine. The lady they purchased it from wrote down what each of the Hebrew letters mean -- I have not copied that paper for myself, but when I do, I will share what the symbol showing means. *The letters are an acronym for the Hebrew words, נס גדול היה שם, Nes Gadol Haya Sham—"A great miracle happened there" (referring to the miracle of the oil that took place in the Beit Hamikdash).


My fabulous earrings


 And for me, my parents brought a beautiful pair of earrings with a beautiful blue shell set in silver metal. I can't remember the name of the shell right now, but if you think of it, please let me know what it is. They also brought back some hand-carved Christmas ornaments made with olive wood. They are quite beautiful, and I can't wait to hang them on my tree this year. They remind me of ornaments that my parents would hang on the tree when I was a little girl.



*http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061120202440AAMU6ud

November 10, 2011

The Ornament Exchange

A little while ago, I discovered a blog that was hosting a handmade ornament exchange -- here. I immediately entered my name for the opportunity to send an ornament to someone that I have never met. It was such a fascinating, and perfect idea.

I recently received an email from the lady who owns the blog, and she informed me that my ornament would be making its way to Florida. The only problem was that I didn't yet have an ornament. I had to think long and hard about what to do because I do not sew, and I wanted my ornament to be something unique -- the idea is that the ornament should be something that you've created, right? Something handmade.

That's when I remembered a little ornament that I made when I was younger: a little Styrofoam acorn with gold and green circles pinned to it. I knew that it had to be elegant, but not over-the-top Christmas. Because I don't know the person it is going to, I didn't want the ornament to be kitschy.

The idea that I came up with is Old-Hollywood glamour:


First, you need paper, and from that paper
you punch out circles.



You are also going to need pins and ribbon -- pins
for pinning the paper to the Styrofoam
ball, and ribbon for the loop
that you will use to hang the ornament.



Start pinning the circles to the Styrofoam ball.
The tricky part is keeping them lined-up
properly so you don't have a lopsided ornament.



I also used the ribbon to create a little bow
at the top of the ornament.



Voila! My Old-Hollywood Glamour
Christmas Ornament.


I can't wait to send it on its way to a new home in sunny Florida!




This ornament has been linked-up:


Visit thecsiproject.com

November 08, 2011

Care for a Reese and Oreo Sandwich?

Today, I made some special cookies for my husband. They are made with two of his favourite snacks: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Oreos. You can find the recipe here. It's easy-peasy!



First, you take your Double Stuf Oreos, and split them in half.
You want to keep the half with the icing on it.
I ate the other half while making the cookies :)



Then you take your Reese's Peanut Butter Cups,
and put them between two of the Oreo halves.



What you end up with is the most delicious sandwich
that you will ever eat in your life. Oreos as the bread, 
and peanut butter and chocolate as the, well, peanut butter :)



Dip it all in special melting chocolate that you've
melted in a double boiler -- for me that was a glass bowl in some
water that I heated up in a frying pan on the stove.
Make sure the cookies are really stuck together, then roll
the whole thing around in the chocolate.

I'm not a fan of the peanut butter cups, but these cookies really are to die for! My husband could barely eat a whole one without feeling sick :)


November 06, 2011

Have a Coke -- for the Polar Bears

Coca-Cola has had the Polar Bear as a cute little spokes animal every Christmas season for quite a while now -- I can't really remember when they didn't. Well, imagine my excitement when I opened up my latest box of Coke -- yes, I am an addict -- to find that the cans are now white with little Polar Bears on them.


Polar Bear Coke Can

I don't normally go to corporate websites, but I checked out iCoke.ca* to get a little information about the reason behind the can. Right now, if you visit the website here, they are hoping that their customers will donate money to help the Polar Bears, and are even going to match donations up to $1 million USD.

The site even has a "pawprint" calculator, and I didn't do too bad. I know there are a lot of things that I can, and should do, for the environment, but I'm already trying my best to do my part. It's not just for the Polar Bears; I've got a little boy here that needs a world where he can live without a care in the world.




* I am in no way endorsing Coca-Cola, nor anything associated with them. I just wanted to get some information behind the new Coke can.

November 03, 2011

The Spoils

A little while ago, I won a wonderful giveaway from the shop Moxie and Mischief partnered with the fantastic blog Bluebird Kisses. What I won was a custom set of blocks, and I knew exactly what I wanted: a retro vintage vibe with stripes, dots, and the like.

 
Just the vibe that I was hoping for!


They arrived at the beginning of October, and I immediately fell in love with them. Jessica did exactly what I wanted, and stayed in contact with me throughout the entire process. My son loves playing with the blocks, and they will look great on display when he eventually gets out of the age where he enjoys playing with them.

November 01, 2011

A Little Lion

I hope that everyone had a fantastic Halloween. We had 51 children visit our house -- from a little princess and Egyptian queens, to Elmo and the cutest little Wolverine. I found the sweetest little lion costume for my son. I was torn whether he was too young to wear a costume or not, but he looked so cute in it and, more importantly, we have some good memories.

My brave little lion


In the afternoon, I took my son over to visit my parents so that they could see him in his little Halloween costume, and then after we came close to running out of candy late in the evening, we left to visit my sister-in-law and her husband, and then we were off to my husband's parents house. We got a pretty good candy haul considering our child is too young to even eat candy.



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