All posts by stayseej

Patio Finds on Amazon

If there is one thing I have embraced as I became an adult, it was enjoying outside. This has become particularly true when we finally bought out forever home and it has a large deck on the back covering the entire length of the house.

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Spending some time at my uncles while we lived in a new province I really wanted our outdoor space to feel like his. He has plants everywhere, a pool (which is obviously coming later in life too!) and it is such a little oasis that I wanted too to create this type of space when we ended up moving to our new home. Keep in mind too, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you don’t need to spend hundreds of hundreds of dollars in order to have a space that you are comfortable being in. I know for us, with smaller kids and me also being very pregnant this year for the first part of the summer, hanging out on the deck will be a really big saver for sanity! Half of our deck is covered so it’s nice for being able to take some shade if the sun is very hot. Especially when we put the kids little pool up there and in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest it is typically covered by shade so the boys can play without being in direct sun too. I am really excited to get things going outside and spend some time with the boys out there. Right now it is far too cold to be out there and we need to fix a few deck boards. But let’s jump in to some solid things that I have out there to make out deck a spacious relaxing environment.

First things first, Get yourself some table and chairs so you can actually enjoy the summer. Whether or not you want to eat out there or want to enjoy some company from friends, having a nice table and chairs is a great idea. These are normally one of the most expensive items you will have but remember, if you do have a solid set it will last for as long as you need it to. Sometimes cheaper is not always the best. The same goes for tables, if you get the cheap plastic ones, chances are you will have a tough time having them last a long time if they aren’t made with at least a bit of quality.

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Next, depending on where you live and what conditions that you have, I would recommend plants. Which sounds wild because if you would have asked me this before we had moved I would have said I hated plants and don’t want them anywhere near me. Only now that I have grown up a bit, I love having them around. I even wrote a blog about how I became a plant person here! Having plants on the deck is such a nice feeling. It feels like you are really welcome people into the space. It is however important to place them properly. Some plants like indirect light, others direct, some just shade, there is really a method to the madness finding the right spot to put plants so that they thrive. While these you could maybe get from amazon, I would suggest a local nursery because that way you are able to see them before they are bought. Checking for bugs or the health of the plant is important before purchasing. A big thing that held me personally back from getting plants is I didn’t know anything about the light, I assumed all plants needed direct light which is so not the case at all!

Another thing that I have on my deck that I love having is some sort of lighting. While the major lighting that I have is patio lights that I have made myself, I also love having a few sets of some solar lights too. They really put a nice glow as they begin to light up. For me, I have a few strings of solar lights that hang a bit higher. I also have a few solar lights that I tend to tuck into plants because I think it really makes some darker corners of the deck light up at night too. Especially when the evenings grows darker and they too produce a nice glow. We mainly have a lot of things on our deck where the over hang is, the other side is a work in progress. That being said though, having these lights make the other side look like we do in fact have things happening on that end even if they are not that lived in there. Ideally we would love to have an outdoor sectional there however that will come in time.

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I also love to have different things like wind-chimes, or spiral wind toys. These are really nice to have. I even have a glow wind chime that while it doesn’t make noise it still looks beautiful once the evening comes and it too glows. Which is super huge. Having spirals that sparkle in the wind is a really nice thing to have when you are relaxing and taking things in.

For my kids, we have a few things too. One thing we have is a water/sand table. This is something that my son loves and we even have one inside the house that he can play with. Another thing that we were given though you can get on amazon was a little circus like tent. That way he can hang out there if he needs to. It’s a cool spot to relax and have a bit of shade or even use it as a hiding spot when we are relaxing. A solid kiddy pool is also key. Where this is on the deck, we just have a hard plastic one because an inflatable one may be more challenging to use if a splinter or a nail was sticking up it could really pop your pool and it be wasted. We also have different toys outside for the pool that can be used too.

Think of your patio as an extension of your home. Whatever you want to make yourself comfortable is something that you should put out there. For me, I love glow and lights, lots of colors, and plants (now that is!).

Camping Hacks For Anyone Looking for Adventure

If there is one thing I love, it’s camping. When I was younger I would go camping in a fifth wheel with my grandparents, but when we went as a family with my dad (my mom HATED camping) we would sleep in a tent. Regardless of method there is some planning that is required for going camping. From pre-booking a camp site, to planning meals and activities. Even checking the weather. It’s not very fun to camp in the rain! Here are some camping hacks to ensure you have a great time away, no matter how much you are “roughing it”.

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First is location. Depending when you want to go, you may more than likely need to book a site in advance. Whether it has power or water, if you have a trailer maybe sewer too. Booking in advance is important for holiday weekends and long weekends because a lot of people like to book as soon as campground bookings open. That being said, activities are also key. Do you have kids and want a campground that puts on a lot of activities for kids? Maybe you just want a pool and or a lake or stream and make your own fun. Do you want a campground where you can be in a wooded area or more of an open field? There is a lot to consider before even leaving home when it comes to camping. even distance, do you want to be driving an hour from home? a few hours? Maybe a different province or state? Planning a camping trip should be seen as a mini-vacation of sorts.

Another big thing is food. Planning out meals and snacks is key for not running out and also planning space. Keep it simple. Ain’t nobody bringing steaks and 4 course meals camping. Basics are totally fine too. Also do you have a camp stove to cook on or are you just using a fire pit? If a fire pit make sure you know the local fire index or bans. A lot of times depending on the amount of rain there may be a ban on when you can light. Here, some times you are unable to light a fire until after 2pm. Other times there is no fires what so ever because there has been no rain and everything is far too dry. Hot dogs, s’mores and marshmallows are all great, but so are meals like eggs and sandwiches too. Which is also important to plan ahead and freeze some blocks of ice to keep your cooler cold too. Instead of having to buy ice from a local store or canteen too becasue we know the price of ice is never normally cheap. Even utensils are a great thing to bring. A local Dollarama also has some that I am sure would be worth checking into too. That way you can wash them (don’t forget the wash basin too!) And reuse them instead of throwing them in the trash after a use. Even different containers and things can be found in the spring as the weather begins to warm up too.

If you planning using the fire pit a lot, perhaps bringing your own firewood if possible instead of buying from the campground will save some more money too. Campgrounds typically have wet/dry/hard/soft woods. And never does it last a long time either. Bringing your own will save you from having to purchase it from the main office there too. the only down side is that wood does in fact take up some space, so you may need to play a bit of Tetris with your vehicles in order to make sure you have space for everything, if you don’t it may be something you might need to just get at the campground!

Basics are important. Here is a quick list of basics to not forget that are typically hard to remember.
– Tend
– Bug Tent (For eating, not necessary however a really nice thing if you can have one!)
– Clothing line
– Cooler
– Firewood
– Swimming toys, towels, floats, etc
– Secure location for food at night (Trunk of a vehicle also works)
– Tarps in case of rain and covering a tent
– Food
– Change of clothes
– Layers, Blankets, sweaters, slippers, socks, shoes
– Sleeping things, Sleeping bag, mattress, etc.
– Yard games

Activities!! Is it a bunch of adults going? Maybe some drinks or special foods? Maybe kids and you want snacks. Are you bringing glow sticks or sparklers for the kids? Yard games? Swimming? Board games? All of these things do not need to be expensive. You can totally get them from a dollar store. And keep them together for future trips. Keeping busy maybe with a few books? Also remember, even if it calls for no rain sometimes there are quick showers that you may need to keep busy for an hour or two! Planning for this time especially with kids will save a lot of headache when they ask what your doing while it rains every 5 minutes until it stops. Even having something as simple as a deck of cards or coloring books is a great way to pass the time if there is a temporary shower passing by.

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And finally, fast forward to after camping. Once you empty the cooler from food and ice, dry it out and store everything you need to be able to go back camping. That way next time you go, you aren’t trying to find every little piece you need. Everything is in one place. Sure you will need to have a box to put the contents of the cooler into but it still saves time! I know for our family, with our children being so little, we may not take the plunge into camping just yet, however my husband and I are very excited to finally be able to take out boys camping and sharing memories that we also had when we were younger too.

Gender Disappointment, Yes, It is real.

Let me paint you a picture.
A happy couple expanding their family. They have a welcoming home. Maybe a furry friend of two. They want to have children. They see themselves with their furry family member sitting with their little girl and a little boy. Wrong. They have 2 boys or two girls. Okay maybe they haven’t exactly thought of this but they do know that they have a very specific picture of the amount of children and which genders they picture them being. This is where gender disappointment comes from. When you set unrealistic expectations up for how you have children.

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Now before I begin, it is very normal to be somewhat disappointed if you envision your family in a particular way. There is however a line that is very clearly drawn when that turns into regret or resentment. It is totally normal to have always pictured Daddy’s little girl and that never happening, or maybe seeing yourself with a little Mama’s boy that also never happens. Being bummed about a vision you saw your life going and the children you may have seen is not a bad thing. It is okay to “mourn” that idea that you won’t see yourself in. Like I mentioned above, there is a very, very, very, strong line on when this boarders being bummed out, and then when it becomes something more.

Gender disappointment is when someone is expecting, or hoping that when they decide to have a child, or another one, that it will be the opposite or whatever they desire. Maybe they have a girl or boy already, and want a second so they can have the opposite. Or maybe they have one gender and then they want the same gender for their children. This is, and never will be a good idea on why you should have kids. I even talk about 3 reasons why you shouldn’t have another child here, with gender disappointment rounding out the list. The fact is, unless you are doing IVF there is no way that you can predict what gender your baby will be. It literally is a 50/50 chance of having either gender. As fun as it can be to try to envision our families a specific way, it can do way more harm than good. After all it wasn’t till recent years till we even seen different family dynamics on TV. Before as our parents and grandparents and maybe even ourselves grew up it was typically a Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter and a family pet. We had been low key brainwashed into how a family should be looking. Then you have families like the Cleavers on Leave it to Beaver where they had a Mom, Dad, and two sons. It wasn’t until recently we seen such blended families with step parents, multiple dads or moms, and even a mingle of children from different marriages too.

Now I know what your thinking, how can a family or person resent another child even if it isn’t of the gender they desired. I’ve seen it before. Sometimes it happens when someone doesn’t find out the gender until birth and their put a little jab in an announcement. Ie: “I was convinced you were such gender but you were in fact not, but still it was amazing blah blah blah”. It even goes so far as people especially mothers not feeling connected to their babies. Now this is a whole other bucket of worms and could be related to post-partum depression which should be spoken to with a doctor, but still. Having children with the intent to have a gender is one of the sure fire want to set someone up for this. This also goes along the lines of people who also don’t want to find out the gender until the birth of their child, but they plan the entire time for one gender only to find out that it wasn’t that gender at all. Like always maybe buying girly clothes, or maybe boy toys, only to find out that they aren’t going to be used or worn at all.

I will say, I honestly, as I have always been with you folks, I don’t think I had any gender disappointment with finding out we are having our 3rd boy. I think a big reason for this was due to the fact we never had a 3rd child to chase the specific gender. We always said we wanted to have 3 children. The genders never really were mentioned. Healthy was our mindset. That being said, I personally always envisioned us having 3 boys for some strange reason. If this final baby was a girl I also too would be pleasantly surprised. But it was never about having a specific gender order either. I think when having kids keeping this open mindset is a huge thing for avoiding gender disappointment. Logically speaking, you can’t be disappointed if you haven’t thought about a gender that you wanted right? Which totally seems to be true, at least in our case.

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While there is nothing a lot of people can do when they do suffer from this, I think if you go into having kids with the healthy mindset and no hope for an outcome and specific gender that can be the way to go. And if you are someone reading this, and you don’t have kids or know someone who is pregnant and expecting, don’t ask any questions like “Are you going to try for the other gender”, “When is the next one coming”. Throwing those ideas out there and putting that pressure onto a family or parents is also not okay to do either. Maybe some people only wanted 2 and were pushed for a 3rd to try for the other gender due to outside factors.

Whether you read some books, take some crazy supplements, or you do whatever else under the son to try and have a specific gender for a child, there literally is no way of deciding this. It has to be fate.

Dealing with Trolls!

What is a troll you might say, and no we aren’t talking about the dolls kids used to play with, who had the neon hair and a jewel in their belly button, a troll is an asshole. Basically someone who wants to bully or try to belittle or make fun of a person. Mind you there is such thing as healthy trolls who poke fun at things with the streamer or other people online but in a playful way. I have people in my chat who do this! Normally at something I did wrong in the game that we all know I am capable of doing well! If that is the type of trolls that you encounter than this bit might not be for you! Trolls could be poking fun or degrading you with anything. Weight, sexuality, gender, race, etc. However if you are like me who from time to time gets the odd asshole in chat calling me a whale or overweight or to show my boobs this might be something that could be useful for you!

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There are many different ways to deal with trolls. Most people have a sort of system where a troll will get different chances for example: The 1st time maybe they will get a time out for 10 minutes. Second time maybe a few hours or even 24 hours. And a 3rd time might result in a permanent ban. It really depends on the streamer since there is no “Magic” amount to time out a troll or when to permanently ban them. Each streamer has to decide for themselves how they are going to run their channel. It took me a little while to really figure out how I want to run my channel and I’m sure it will take you a  bit to figure out how to run yours too! Some people even un-ban everyone who they have banned once a year over the holidays or even every few years too. I know a streamer who had a re-brand and at that time he had decided to start fresh with the bans and removed all of them. Mind you at this time I would assume that most of the people have moved on to other channels but you never know though. Time will tell who shows up again though!

How do you know someone is a troll really all depends on the person and how much people can get away with it. For me, I can put up with a lot of jokes and things but what I don’t like is sexually charged comments or things that regard my weight. Those kinds of things said to me really don’t make me feel good and are super unnecessary. If someone comes into the stream and mentions either one of these my first reaction is this person is being a troll and chances are more often than not this person is also not a regular. A regular knows how to act when coming into a stream they frequent a lot. Another thing you might notice is that when a troll comes into the stream if you do have regulars who are in chat that they typically stick up for you and have your back when something gets extremely uncomfortable.

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Rarely also, you will see the trolls who really go all out for trying to make you have a shit stream or day. These people will come on and start to say things in chat and when you time out or ban they still come back with a similar or different ult account saying the exact same things. Unfortunately all you can really do is ban them continuously or you can even report each username to Twitch also. Not that Twitch really does anything about it but you know, It might make you feel better in the very least. This might be better if you do it and their is people in chat. That way you are not the only one reporting but others are as well too. If possible sometimes you are able to go offline for a half an hour or so and they will disappear as well. Other times you are able to go into a followers only mode (JUST TEMPORARILY) so that you don’t discourage regular viewers. It would even help if you put a timer or had a command explaining why you are on this mode and how it is to get rid of trolls too.

I deal with trolls in a pretty harsh way. I have had the same saying nearly the whole time that I was a streamer. The saying is this, “Anyone who is a regular won’t say these things to me, and if a person who has never been in my chat comes in and is nasty towards myself or the people in chat, they are not someone who I would miss or would add value here”. When I first started I used to time people out for 10 minutes or 24 hours. This seemed fair, give someone a chance to redeem themselves and more often than not someone would come back when their time out was over and do the same thing again! I was basically playing tag and it sucked. I was feeling like garbage about myself because they would say the same things and I lacked the confidence to bounce back easily. I decided that if someone is new and comes into my chat they get a perma-ban. Some might say that this is a bit much for first time offenders but honestly for my own sanity it was the best solution for my stream!

Ultimately, it is YOUR stream at the end of the day. Whether you want to give someone a second chance or you want to play around with trolls. Or you want to take the quick and easy route like me where you just ban them and hope that you never see them again. Don’t let someone in your chat make you feel any less then you are. Sometimes people find pleasure in making others feel bad. Especially if you have a webcam and they can see an instant reaction. If you aren’t sure how you want to handle trolls then ask around! See what others are doing and adapt something to suit your desires! And be safe out there, Your stream is YOUR space, Don’t let anyone ruin that!

I Pick My Scabs

If you haven’t read the title this could be a major trigger warning for some people. I have talked about some struggles that I have had before such as my picky eating here but this is a slightly different type of issue that I have had my entire life. this post may be triggering to some people and to others I am sure it will be more than relatable.

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I pick my scabs/cuts/scrapes. There I said it. I know what you are probably thinking to, but why? I really don’t know how to explain it. When I get cut or scraped it’s like an impulse comes over me where I just want to pick the scab off. I know there is probably also some sort of medical name for this but honestly, I never really googled it. I also never really talk about it. I just do it. Maybe I do it because I want to see myself bleed a bit more. Maybe I want the scab to make a scar. Maybe I just have nothing else better to do with my time that I just feel some sense of relief when I do end up picking a scab. This has been happening since as long as I could remember. It isn’t something that I think needs to be addressed in term of mental health.

Sometimes it does get so bad though that I have to actually physically cut my nails so that they are no longer able to pick anymore. I say bad like it can be seen as a bad thing but sometimes I just drive myself nuts. This also goes along the lines that I just am tired of picking. I also am majorly a pimple popper. In the terms that I will pick and pop pimples even though I know that they will leave scars on my face.

I will say, maybe not as confidentiality as I would like that eventually as I grew up I don’t think things were as bad. When I was younger I had a really bad habit of biting the skin around my nails and cuticles. This however was so bad it would only stop when I put actual bandaids on my fingers so I could no longer pick or bite them anymore. Then as I got older and painted my nails, even had gel nails for the longest times it because a really easy thing to avoid because I took pride in my nails. Even now I haven’t had real gel nails for the longest time however I am fairly confident that I wont be going back to biting my nails any time soon!

I know if you too are diagnosed with this you may be trying to pin point the reasons why I do this. When I was a teenager I may have agreed that stress or being nervous was a reason. However as I grew up it doesn’t seem to be the case. Its just if I have a cut or scrape I pick. The only way I stop is, as mentioned cutting my nails, or if the scab has healed enough that it can no longer be picked. When I was nervous or stressed as a kid I typically would bit the insides of my mouth. That was a tell tale sign that I was nervous. Particularly before I was in a bowling tournament I would bit my lips and the skin inside my mouth a lot.

I also don’t think it helps at all that I do have typically dryer than normal skin. I have always had medicated creams to help because I just have skin on my feet that I have picked, or my arms that start to peel too. my feet were particularly bad as a kid to the point I was the only person growing up who had to wear sneakers and socks in the summer time. Going bare feet was a big no no because I would have cracked and bleeding feet.

And I know, you also are probably thinking, why haven’t I talked about this with a professional. Why haven’t I actually put time into understanding why I do this. Maybe its because as much as I am aware of it, maybe I don’t see it as that big of a problem. I just am mindful that it is one of those weird and quirky habits that I have dealt with my entire life and chances are I always will. It does bother me to some extend if I have something that I cannot stop picking but at the end of the day I guess the only person I technically am hurting is myself.

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I know by writing this too, hopefully if there are others who too feel the same that I do, maybe they wont feel so alone. thinking about why I do it or how can be kind of isolating. I know that it is a very strange habit to have and that I am maybe a rare individual. however I am sure there are people who have done these due to various reasons for maybe mental health, disabilities, drug abuse. For me, to be blunt. I guess it was always some sort of a relief. It made me feel a sense of accomplishment. Another thing that I do like also is once I picked something trying to “doctor” it up. Whether with a little bit of cream, maybe some band aides, something in that realm. I can say that when I am stressed that doesn’t seem to be a reason why this happens. Maybe when I was younger as the examples I pointed out, but as an adult. Nope.

Will I ever stop? Maybe. I will say that I do try not to do this in front of my kids because I do know that impact could very well rub off on them. But I do try to be mindful and keep it to before I had a shower or even being alone. Sometimes I go through phases where I do it impulsively, others its more out of habit. But at the end of the day, I sometimes just cant help it.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Have Another Child

There are plenty of reasons to have kids, in fact there is plenty of reasons to have even just one kid. But when it comes to having kids there are some very solid reasons that you should consider before expanding your family. If any of these reasons are what you are using to have another child, you may just be setting yourself up for some sort of regret or some sort of disappointment, maybe even a little bit of resentment too. Deciding to have more children should be taken seriously and with as much thought as the first one too. Truth be told it is very easy to avoid pregnancy. Whether you abstain or use contraceptives like birth control or condoms, avoiding unwanted pregnancy is fairly simple to do. And on top of it, trying to get pregnant for any of these reasons will more than likely set yourself up for some sort of failure. I know harsh, but true.

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One of the main reasons why you hear people wanting to have another kid is to give their first one a sibling. Whether they have a small age gap or a far apart one. Having another kid to give the other a sibling is setting yourself up for some preconceived notion and expectations that doesn’t always work out the way we may want it to. Say you have two kids close in age, maybe they aren’t nearly remotely as close as you would like them to be. Or maybe far apart they still aren’t close. Having a kid to give the other a sibling while seeming like a good idea, and comes normally out of a place of love, normally comes with an idea of how it will play out. Which in all honesty, there is no way of knowing how the two will ever interact because every child is so uniquely themselves. There is literally no way to ever predict that. Whether they are the same gender, opposite genders, or they like the same things and don’t like the same things, trying to have another child just to give your first one a sibling is normally a recipe for some heartache that many are not equipped to deal with.

Deciding to have a child to repair a relationship has to be one of the dumbest ideas of wanting to bring any kid into a relationship let alone a second one. Children are not a way to repair a relationship. In fact I even wrote a whole blog about how children change a relationship here. If you have one child and you have a rocky relationship, changing your dynamic and hoping it gets better with a 2nd child is going to bring disaster nearly every single time. This falls along the lines of instead of bringing more kids in the broken home, maybe seeking therapy or working on the relationship to better communicate and build a better loving home for the first child before a second one is the solution here. The fact is having a second child may be “easier” in many ways, but it also brings a whole new set of stressors that could very well push a broken relationship way over the edge and past the point of repair. It also should go without saying, that it is completely irresponsible and also a lot of pressure to put on anyone let alone a child that they be the saving grace in a broken home. That is such an unrealistic expectation to put on a child that it totally is unfair to them that they are brought into this world for the simple fact that you think, maybe, just by chance, that they will be the reason why you are some how going to magically repair your relationship with your spouse.

And finally. But certainly not least. Do NOT have another kid to hope for the opposite or a specific gender. There is literally only one way to guarantee a gender. That is through IVF. Because they physically can see the fertilized eggs and how they are fertilized also. If you are trying to have another baby because you want the opposite gender you are nearly guaranteed to have gender disappointment. I talk more about the ins and outs of that in this blog post here. I think that is partially why when we found out our 3rd child was a boy I never really felt that. Because our whole idea was we wanted 3 kids. We never really thought about genders. We never had expectations. We just pictured 3 kids. For some reason I always seen us with 3 boys but if it were a girl we would have been totally okay with that also! The other question you have to ask, if this isn’t the gender you hoped for, will you keep trying until you get the one you want? Will there be regret or resentment because you never had your “dream” family? All very real questions people who keep having kids chasing a specific gender will have to ask themselves. And I know what you’re thinking, “How can a parent resent or regret their own child”? It is a very real thing, remember a lot more often watching TV shows where the parent would be treating the girls in particular like they were son’s, because the father never had a son of their own and they wanted one? Right. Same thing here.

At the end of the day, using a human life that you will be attached to for the rest of your life whether you want to be in the future or not is not the proper route that you should ever take lightly. Deciding to have another child is such a big responsibility that it should be taken as such, whether it is the first time or the eighth time too. And if you have any type of expectations as the reason why you are having this child than you should probably pause and examine exactly what it is you are lacking or what you need to make this serious decision to repair anything.

How I wrote poetry- Part 2

If you missed my first part of how I wrote my poetry books check out the blog here before continuing, or check it out after it doesn’t really matter. Everything is written. Now you may think, wow the bulk is over. No. It’s not even close! Remember I wrote them in a notebook by hand so I still have very much left to do! Just the typing them up in 3 separate documents for each book and organizing them as I go through took a bit of time. I also have 2 kids so time was limited and I would spend a few weekends in the afternoons or mornings to type them up.

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I now have to start the long process of editing and typing up every poem in the proper files, since I wrote 3 collections at once I need to take then time to get all of the poems out at first. Editing is something I did myself. I felt with it being poetry I could do it myself. If it were the short stories or novels I eventually would like to write that would more than likely require an editor. One that knows the details and rules. Now, is there spelling mistakes? Yup. And I am okay with that. I need to go through and re-edit now that I know more about what to do. Which is incredibly challenging but still. I knew editing was something I would want to try to save money on because I was spending money on other things. The fact is, I am a brand new author and poet. Not everything is going to be perfect in the very first book. There is, like much of life, going to be things that I will change or tweek as time goes on. This is no exception. But what I have put out I am proud of though.

Formatting was a very very unexpected expense. I thought I too could do this on my own and I was very wrong. I felt like formatting the books to look a certain way I was taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I ended up finding a great person with great reviews and they formatted the books from Fiverr and used them to format all 3 books. While it was an expense it saved so much time for me. I felt like in the end there was no way I could have done the tips and tricks for formatting. Not to mention if I were to figure it out I would more than likely need to have gotten another program which there was a good chance it was subscription based also. Which would have still been more money.

Covers were something I also paid to have done. The reasoning for this was due to the fact that I had a very specific idea for them. I wanted them to be custom made. And all 3 to have similar covers due to the fact that it was supposed to be a trilogy. I had found an artist that I liked their art style a pretty retro take. They did all 3 covers so they look together. The main thing when getting covers done is ensuring that you get the source file. That way in the future if you wanted to tweak things in the back etc, you are able to do so. Getting the source file is normally the reason why getting covers designed are fat more expensive than they normally would be but our family friend who has been giving tips along the way said this was a big thing to remember to get when having covers created.

Publishing seems to be the easiest step. Because once you have the formatting and covers, publishing to Kindle direct publishing like I did is just some answering questions and uploading. Though you do have to think of certain criteria like keywords and also a price point. Before uploading to KDP it would also do a lot of good if you have time (and if not should make some!) To browse the category you are using. See what other books are selling for that are similar. This also is HUGE when designing a cover and creating the ideas. You want to have a catch cover for the genre so people know what your trying to show. If you have a romance and a cover that isn’t hot and steamy people may be totally lost and have no interest to even read the little paragraph describing it. Much like crime books also have their own look as well with the cover designs. A bad cover can literally make your incredible book not sell. It has to grab the attention of readers.

Marketing is one of the hardest things I struggle with and on top of it I am just not being consistent. At the end of the day you have to market your books endlessly but if you don’t do anything no one else will. I try to do Instagram and also tiktok. Though I can admit I have been majorly slacking in all areas and need to keep hammering down and putting out info on different platforms. With 2 kids and a 3rd on the way though it really is challenging even if it doesn’t sound to be that hard to upload or record a quick little video. But that’s okay. Eventually I will keep plugging away. Same with these blogs, that is why I try to link the books via the posts in hopes someone reading may be interested in my other works too!

Overall, writing and publishing was not easy. I would be lying to you if I said that it was. I also had a lot of help from a friend of the family who had published things before. This was a great way for me to bounce ideas or even ask how things go. It can be overwhelming to google things like how to publish a book especially because everywhere around the world does things differently. Hopefully you have an interest peeked though and check out the first ones I published too!

Easter traditions I grew up with

Easter can sometimes be a controversial subject for many parents. Ever hear the saying “Easter is not a second Christmas”? This would be because many parents go way overboard with buying things at Easter foe their kids. I’m probably (for sure) guilty of over buying slightly. But I wouldn’t say we go overboard here. Maybe this is because my parents never went overboard for us. Easter wasn’t about presents per-say, It was about kind of welcoming spring time and anticipation for the warm weather and when you could play outside from dawn till dusk.

Photo by cottonbro studio on

The big theme was outdoor toys in my house growing up. We had skipping ropes, chalk, skip-its, bubbles, maybe some bug catching baskets or nets. We always had outdoor stuff that we could play with as the weather warmed up. Even different types of pool toys or what not to hang out. A sprinkler was not unusual too. Anyone have the crazy armed octopus sprinkler too? Or maybe the wacky fire hydrant that spun around and you would run through. Of course we did get candy and chocolate however we never had an abundance. Just enough to last a solid week or two and this was eating so much daily and then it was gone. Some of the best things we got were the outdoor toys, anyone remember the ankle killers, Skip-its?

In my home we would wake up, no earlier than 7am. Wait for our parents and then head to the living room. We never had things wrapped though, again, this is Easter not a second Christmas. We would however have one “wrapped” gift eventually from our grandparents which would be in an Easter bag and Ill go more into detail later about that. So we would normally be allowed one piece of chocolate before breakfast. This was something like a kinder egg. No we were not allowed to eat an entire chocolate bunny before breakfast!! But we did have a treat. Fun fact: I was actually allergic to chocolate more so as a kid to the point I would break out in rashes in my elbows and knees. So it wasn’t hard to tell when I would sneak a few extra pieces within a day or two. Especially when I was scratching up a storm. Then we ate a bigger breakfast. Normally bacon or pancakes the whole shebang so to speak. Even if my dad wasn’t home and was away driving the truck my mom still did a bigger breakfast for us though since it was Easter. When we were younger we did go to church the night before though, We always typically went to church on a Saturday night because it was far less people so you didn’t have to wait forever to get out of the parking lot or to get your communion because everyone wasn’t there.

After lunch we either waited for my grandparents to arrive for an early supper/super late lunch. Or if they were not coming over then we went there. Now my grandparents gave us similar things every year. One that they got every year was they got us our new bathing suits. This was huge because we knew summer was on the way and we could swim soon. We also did swimming lessons as a kid so it was exciting to know summer was coming too. They also gave us a chocolate bunny, maybe milk chocolate or maybe white or rice filled. And they always gave us a card sometimes with 20$. My grandparents had the 3 of us and 2 other grand kids but they lived in another province and then moved to England. So we were the only grand kids that were really close.

Easter was something that we loved to look forward to, not because it was about chocolate or hot big our baskets were but because it was another milestone through the year. It never had to be about a second Christmas. I know that looking at different people across Facebook giving their kids literally everything and anything under the sun is wild and amazing. They give their kids a huge bucket to load up with treats and goodies because the old fashioned basket was far too small. Call me crazy but all of my children have the same size basket and will have the same things together too. Sometimes we even got new pairs of sandals or shoes or even a new spring outfit to wear as the weather warmed up. I do live in Canada and it was not totally unusual to have an Easter with snow on the ground.

I will mention though, if you are in a family that takes a more religious view than this holiday may mean a lot more for yourselves growing up. Growing up mine was not super religious and as we got older we kind of stopped going to church and did our own things. As someone who is now raising her kids we choose to not raise them with any religion. If they choose to seek that as they get older they are more than welcome to do that. And they would be supported also. However us as a family just are not raising them to be religious or doing anything like that. So for us it is just a super fun holiday and a great way for us to just spend time as a family with a little bit of fun.

Photo by Jill Wellington on

I do believe though, regardless if you go overboard and or you don’t. Keep it chilled when it comes to the Easter Bunny bringing things. At the end of the day the Easter Bunny is not bringing new bikes, or scooters, or game systems or an abundance of clothes to all kids. The Easter Bunny may even be bringing nothing to some kids. But to keep it to candy and chocolate like the classic days of Easter Celebrations, that way no child feels left out when it comes to comparing gifts with their friends.

Panels, Why should I have them?

What are panels?
Panels are an image/text that can display a certain part of who you are/your channel. Look at them as titles to chapters with a mini write up underneath or just the photo there with information or a photo that if clicked sends you to a page.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Why should I have them?
Panels are a great way to showcase who you are and the content you are willing to provide. If you aren’t live for example and someone comes to check out your channel this is a great way to show who you are without being able to at the time. It can give them an idea of who you are and can even determine if they give you a follow or not even if you aren’t online too!

How can I get them?
Panels do not have to be expensive or even difficult. Anything is better then nothing when it comes to panels. Below is a website Nerd or die that I myself have used, It lets you create your own panels even if they aren’t something fancy its still something to use until you know what you want or can afford to get a personally created panel set. I have also included the twitter of people I have personally used for some of my designs as well!

Nerd or die:
You can also search Etsy and find some generic pre-made panels there too, though they are normally part of a package there are some really nice ones out there too!

What panels should I have?
– Bio/About Me: Pretty self explanatory. Put whatever you want here about YOU! Make is simple and short and a quick description of who you are! Think of this as a mini intro that you would tell a new viewer if they wanted to know who you are and what you are about!
– Tips: Also known as donations. However donations are more for charities. I myself am guilty of putting donations as a panel however when I get the money for a re-vamp/re-design I will be putting tips instead. This is normally linked to your paypal or other form of tipping site so that folks can tip you for your entertainment!
– Subscribe: This is for anyone wanting to subscribe per month to your channel. This normally directs people to your subscribe page. This is also for affiliate and partners on twitch and a very valuable panel to have especially if someone is on mobile. It can make subscribing a lot easier for someone. If finding where to subscribe is difficult you may be losing out on potential revenue!
– Games Played: This can be valuable in case you play multiple games or do play-throughs often. It can also help if folks to see what kind of content that you like to do. I would suggest to keep this to maybe your favorites though. You don’t want this to become a list of 20+ games and totally throw off the flow of your panels either.
– Sponsors: This is a great spot to showcase if you have a sponsor with anyone. Sometimes the company will create or have their own panel and it is required to have this there as a means to promote them and sometimes a way to make a percent of sales too!
– Socials: These are always important, whether they are twitter, youtube, instagram, tiktok or whatever else you might use. Normally when people follow someone on their streaming platform they are also inclined to want to follow on different socials. They want to see your content across multiple spots. Not to mention, if a person is unable to financially support a streamer they are more then happy to help someone by retweeting, liking a picture or thumbs upping their videos since all of those ways to support a streamer are free!
– Artists: This is a great way to shout out the people who make your channel unique! Some artists have their own panel designed which you are able to use while having the panel link to one of their socials or websites. Others might just have a link which you can use an “Artist” umbrella panel so you can add each artist you use individually with a hyperlink under the panel.
– Shout outs: This can be used for 2 things. Some folks have this to shout out their streamer friends and to hopefully direct the love to them as well. This can also be used for showcasing the biggest supporters. Maybe the tops bits giver or sub gifter. Maybe someone has supported financially for a long time and you want to shout them out too. Again, just like the games played keep the list to the top. It can be very unappealing to the eyes when you see a list of 25+ people who support you and have to scroll down the page in order to see other panels or the bottom of your list too.

Don’t do this in panels
– Do not ONLY have a tipping panel. A lot of new streamers are inclined to have only a tipping panel. This looks SUPER scummy and normally when viewers especially new ones visit a channel and only see a tipping panel they are immediately turned off. It demonstrates to a new viewer that you, the streamer are more interested in them giving you money. Which is not a bad thing, But with that being the only thing it can come off very bizarre.
– Don’t write a book. Keep it interesting and point form. Sure you can write a story about it. But why not write enough to keep the viewer interested and then if you have a story you can use that while you are live to tell stories. If all of your panels have long paragraphs of things then it will be extremely hard to keep a potential viewer interested if they have to read 20 minutes worth of text in order to find out a simple question they might have about you or your stream.
– Don’t make everything all cluttered. There is a flow with panels ie: Making them all the same size, Same style, one side isn’t just panels with links or another filled with texts as well. You do not want to have someone open your channel and start to read your panels when they have to scroll down pages to finish reading text when the other side has been finished long before.

Panels are pretty much a fundamental part of a channel. Whether you make them yourself of have someone make them. Make sure before you even hit the live button once that you have these done! Look at them as an extension of YOU!

5 Canadian Stereotypes (Part 1)

As with most countries there is many different stereotypes in the world. Canada is no exception. There are many stereotypes that people have aboot (Yes, I meant that) Canadians. Some of them may be kind of true where as some of them may not be true at all either. I think it really depends just like any country where you go, different towns or different people. If you go to Quebec you may find things to be totally different than if you were to go to the west or east coast too. Here are some of those stereotypes as we try to debunk or explain them away.

Photo by Alesia Kozik on

Everyone knows everyone and they all get along.
This is somewhat true however I think it honestly depends on where you are. I know from nova Scotia we always had jokes when my dad would go get gas for the car. He seemed to know everyone he seen, as if he personally knew them. This wasn’t the case, he just was friendly and would talk to the person beside him about the weather or the price of gas or whatever else there was too. However when you go to Quebec when we lived there people are seemingly cold and not as friendly as they would be from here. I think there is unspoken rules like opening the door for someone or trying to be polite however the fact that everyone knows everyone or they all get along couldn’t be furthest from the truth. Have you ever seen friends watch a hockey game together when they support different teams?

Tim Horton`s is everyone’s favorite.
This may have been true 15 years ago. However I think it is highly debatable now a days because of the fact that the company keeps changing anything and everything. Things that were once freshly made are simply frozen and baked now. Prices keep going up and up and up while competitors are remaining the same. The flavor or taste is not as high of a standard as it once was. Not to mention if you haven’t read it yet, you should check out my blog about Why Time Hortons sucks here, the company is not even Canadian owned anymore! So something that was once the heart of Canada is no longer that anymore. Is it still popular? Yes. I do enjoy an iced coffee from time to time and their croissants are also great, but overall there is a lot more options to be able to get your daily cup of Joe. There are still people who get Timmy’s every single day and probably will til they die but not everyone is into it like they once were a while ago though.

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Polar bears are always around
Maybe if you live up north in the territories or in the top of Newfoundland and Labrador. However I can tell you I have been on this planet for 33 years and I have never seen a polar bear before. They just are not throughout Canada like some people seem to think they are. They like really cold weather and with the ice caps melting and things heating up, sure they are venturing a bit more south. However the majority of Canadians do not see polar bears. Maybe in some type of zoo or documentary but in person out in the wild, this is hardly true. Not to mention, even if you did see one, you probably are not going to rush up to it and try to pet it either.

Photo by Pixabay on

Everybody Plays Hockey
I mean yes, a lot of us do play hockey or watch it. But I wouldn’t say that everyone does. If you are unaware or don’t have kids, Hockey is actually freaking expensive. Especially when you start at a young age you have to continue to buy gear as your child out grows it. Then you have tryouts for different levels as your child gets older and hopefully better. The commitment from parents to get their children into hockey at a young age with all the other ones is a tough feat. I would like my boys to be in hockey when the time comes but thankfully we will probably be using the same gear as one out grows it and another can fit into it. That still doesn’t change the fees that come along with it. A lot of people may choose however to play hockey on a lake or pond with friends because a hockey stick and skates are a lot cheaper than all the pads and helmets and jerseys and what not also. Another thing is not everyone watches hockey. I know my parents and my partners parents have no interest in watching hockey. For me I will watch hockey if I have time or think about it. I only just started watching the Canadians though a few years ago. I never watched it when I was a teenager unless it was the Olympics and at that point yes, most Canadians would watch those because after all, Hockey is our sport.

Winter lasts the longest
Sure, we do have some pretty wild winters. However I wouldn’t say winter last forever. In fact, winter can be one of the smallest portions of our seasons. It starts to snow sometimes after Christmas into January. Especially here in nova Scotia. We also don’t typically get the movie snow with fluff and delight. We have wet slush that covers and freezes the road. Then we also have the last snowfall sometimes beginning of April. Spring and Fall are typically chilly and wet because of the rain and mud that is everywhere. Does winter last forever, maybe again up north, but I don’t think we can say it lasts forever. It certainly is not a season people really like unless you are a bit nutty like myself. I do enjoy winter because any excuse not to go out of the house is a good thing for me!

What are some stereotypes in the country you live in?
Do you think any of them are true?

Let me know in the comments below, I would love to see if others have the same ideas too!