"The Pulse of Canada "



Reese Witherspoon Reveals Her Own Take On The “Wreath Witherspoon”

Posted December 26, 2014 by Anonymous

We love it when a celebrity can poke fun at themselves. Oftentimes, they seem so unattainable; but every now and then a celebrity steps forward and joins in on a bit of friendly teasing. Wild actress Reese Witherspoon did just […]

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Merry Christmas!

Posted December 25, 2014 by JR

From Pope Francis – not so much:

… Pope Francis steeped his Christmas message to the world Thursday in sadness for those with little cause for joy — abused children, refugees, hostages and others suffering from violence in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine and elsewhere. …

And, from the Prime Minister – pray for our soldiers killing ISIS barbarians in Iraq

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Happy Holidays!

Posted December 24, 2014 by Tim Rast

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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‘Twas Four Days Before Christmas

Posted December 23, 2014 by Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

‘Twas four days before Christmas, I sat in my house My cat was still sleeping, ignoring her stuffed mouse; My friends’ stockings were hung by the new wooden stairs I sat in my office in my old office chair. At ten in the morning, my first morning call; I chatted as per usual, not suspecting […]

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Reader’s Diary #1106- James Folk: Untitled

Posted December 22, 2014 by John Mutford

 Today’s short story comes from a writer’s group out of Red Deer, Alberta who, exactly four years ago, got together to socialize and spend ten minutes on writing a flash fiction story with the opening prompt, “The noise from above was quite irrita…

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Celebrating The Holidays & Sharing Your #WellWishes

Posted December 18, 2014 by Anonymous

We are literally days away from Christmas, and Hanukah has already begun—it is well and truly the holiday season now. I’m pretty proud that I can say I’ve finished all my holiday shopping, my tree is up and decorated, I’ve […]

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Snickerdoodles! (vegan + gluten-free)

Posted December 17, 2014 by Angela (Oh She Glows)

Meet my favourite holiday cookie of 2014 – the vegan and gluten-free Snickerdoodle! I’ve been testing all kinds of Christmas cookies this year and I decided to pick the best of the bunch and share that recipe with you before the holidays. The humble-looking Snickerdoodle doesn’t get enough respect in my opinion; it’s often overshadowed […]

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Edible Holiday Gifts Perfect For Your Neighbours

Posted December 16, 2014 by Anonymous

Written by Kait Fowlie You’ve receive more pre-packaged biscotti than you know what to do with—to re-gift, or not regift? If you want your neighbors to add it to their pile of sugar-infused generic sweets, sure, hand ‘em over. But […]

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Holiday Gifts For The Whole Family

Posted December 15, 2014 by Anonymous

Are you thinking of getting a “family” gift to put under the tree this year? Or maybe you were hoping to find a family gift to give your neighbours or relatives. It may seem like a strange thing to do—buy […]

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Reader’s Diary #1101- Darynda Jones: A Christmas Story

Posted December 15, 2014 by John Mutford

 A few years ago I was greatly disappointed by Alan Bradley’s I Am Half Sick of Shadows, a Christmas themed mystery. However, despite Jones’ Callie Dunn, the protagonist of “A Christmas Story” (not related to the movie at all), bearing a striking …

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How To Host A Holiday Popcorn Party

Posted December 12, 2014 by Anonymous

Written by Kait Fowlie Popcorn has been a big holiday symbol through the ages. A Saxon custom back in the 1840s, it all started when Queen Victoria expressed a desire for a Christmas tree adorned in popcorn, ribbons, flowers, and […]

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Best New Christmas Songs of 2014 (VIDEOS)

Posted December 12, 2014 by Jes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The middle of December, when you are still in the Christmas spirit and not yet wanting to off yourself due to the never ending Christmas carols.I mean, I don’t know how one could ever get sick of Mariah Carey’s…

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Reader’s Diary #1099- Libby Whittall Catling (Writer) and Alison McCreesh (Illustrator): Twelve Days of Christmas in Fort Reliance

Posted December 12, 2014 by John Mutford

There were a more than a few precedents causing me some hesitation with this book. First off, I should say upfront that I am a big fan of Alison McCreesh’s artwork. However, I wasn’t sure we needed another parody self-published at that of the Twelve Days of Christmas. I had flashbacks to the poorly scanning, generally terrible A Moose in a Maple Tree from a few years back.

And while I still wish Catling wrote something wholly original, I’ll concede that the two collaborators have done a wonderful job with Twelve Days of Christmas in Fort Reliance.

Fort Reliance, to my southern readers, is a Natural Historical Site at the Eastern end of Great Slave Lake. Catling and her husband live there in a cabin, 270km from the nearest road and off the grid. Catling and McCreesh use this fascinating and remote location to the book’s advantage and so there’s value beyond the parody as an educational resource. Wisely, they’ve also modeled it after the better educational picture books in which the teaching is not invasive. On the first page, for instance, we get the first verse of the song; “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a bucketful of snow ice cream,” and an inset at the bottom of the page provides a handy recipe for snow ice cream. Subsequent days bring gifts and information about snowmobiles, chickadees, racks of dry-meat and more. For the most part, the rhymes work and scan well, and I’m relieved to find a self-published book not ruined by typos. McCreesh’s paper collages are absolutely beautiful and fascinating— bound to get anyone’s creative juices flowing.

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Donny & Marie Bring Christmas Fun To Toronto

Posted December 11, 2014 by Sonya

I know what your thinking. Donny and Marie Osmond? Yes, remember them? I certainly do! They are in Toronto with their annual Christmas Show bringing everything they’ve got. They’re here until December 21st playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre […]

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Air Canada vs. WestJet in the Christmas video Battle 2014

Posted December 8, 2014 by Jes

The battle is on! Air Canada and WestJet are the two main competing airlines in this great country of ours, and it looks like they are giving us a new tradition.The airline battle of the tears.WestJet did an amazing Christmas Miracle video last year an…

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Christmas Traditions For Every Family

Posted December 8, 2014 by Guest Author

Written by Lindsay Ducharme Growing up we had many family traditions for birthdays, seasons and holidays; however, none were more special than our yearly Christmas Eve traditions.  Without fail, each year we would attend church and come home to find […]

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How To Host A Cookie Swap In 2014

Posted December 5, 2014 by Anonymous

Written by Kait Fowlie If the term “cookie swap” conjures an image of festive-sweater-wearing ladies pouring over plates of cookies to Christmas carols as an apron clad host breezes around spreading cheer, you’re not alone. The tradition may be as […]

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Making Wishes Come True

Posted December 2, 2014 by Loukia

The other night, my children begged and begged for me to put up our Christmas tree. It was a beautiful evening, the snow was falling, and we were snuggled up nice and warm indoors after playing outside. Well, with hot chocolate in hands and festive music playing in the background, I complied and we put up the tree. Sure, it’s early, but I’m in the mood to celebrate all things festive already, and so are my children. After all, it is such a magical time of year.

I have so many wonderful memories of the holiday season from my childhood—decorating the tree, baking cookies, singing carols, writing letters to Santa, asking for the perfect gift (My Little Pony, a guitar, a globe, Rainbow Brite, and Strawberry Shortcake are some gifts I remember asking for and being so excited to receive!). For my sister, I’m sure her favourite and most memorable Christmas memory is when she received Cricket—the big talking doll. One memory that has stayed with me is of staying up really late to attend midnight mass and then coming home to eat a very late Greek dinner. We’d then get to open one Christmas gift before finally going to bed.

The holidays are all about family, togetherness, and making wishes come true—it’s such a wonderful time, especially for children. It’s amazing to see the sparkle in my children’s eyes as they discover the magic of the holiday season, from giving back to those in need, to asking for, and receiving, that special something they’ve been longing for.

I remember flipping through the Sears Wish Book, and circling all the toys I wanted when I was younger; now I watch my children do the same thing, with excitement. It’s fun to hear their giggles and excitement as they plan out what they want to find under the tree each holiday season.

Waking up on Christmas morning is always so amazing, and now with children running through the house to see what Santa left them, it’s even better. Children grow so quickly, and though they won’t believe in the magic of Santa forever, the early memories will stay with them a lifetime. And even when they’re old enough to understand it’s not Santa leaving the gifts under the tree, they’ll still appreciate the magic and wonder of the season, because they’ll still receive that special something they’ve asked for.

Have you or your children had the chance to flip through the Sears Canada Wish Book yet this year? I’ve got a few items circled off myself, and so do my children. Hey, as long as there is a healthy balance with giving, I see nothing wrong with receiving, especially at this time of year.

To help get you in the festive mood, Sears Canada is giving away three $50 gift cards to three of my readers so that you can make someone on your shopping list very happy this Christmas. Simply leave me a comment below telling me what you love best about the holidays, and what a favourite holiday childhood memory is for you! (I’ll be randomly picking a winner on December 5th, 2014.)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Sears Canada, however all views and opinions are my own. 

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Enter For A Chance To Win A Kurio Kids Tablet

Posted December 1, 2014 by Anonymous

The safest, most fun Android Tablet built for kids is Contest #5 in our Holiday Wishlist Giveaway Extravaganza! The Kurio takes kid tablets to a cutting-edge level with its improved design, features and technology. The easy-to-use Parental Area is password […]

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How To Make Your December Baby Feel Special On Their Birthday

Posted November 25, 2014 by Anonymous

You’ve been hit with a double whammy—the holidays mixed in with your child’s birthday. Depending on who you ask, having a birthday amidst all the holiday mayhem isn’t very convenient. But as a parent, you don’t want your child’s special […]

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Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

Posted November 24, 2014 by Angela (Oh She Glows)

My dad is coming to visit this week. This means two very important things are on my “what to make dad” menu. 1) Chili, always and 2) Caesar salad. Those are essential food groups for the guy. Anything else is icing on the cake. Plus, I always welcome the opportunity to use my huge bamboo […]

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Mixed Media Angel Block

Posted November 23, 2014 by Gail Bartel

The Christmas rush is coming…I’ve spent the last week doing all the clay projects, I have 2 more weeks of Christmas themed projects and then I’m prepping for Christmas craft day.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it :)

Here is a angel that Grade 6 will start tomorrow.

The substrate is wood. I had my carpenter ‘father in law’ cut hundreds of these for projects.  The planks are 1.5″ thick and 7.5″ wide. They come in 8 ft lengths and are cut square.

You could also use canvas, cardboard, or canvas board.

They are thick enough to sit on a mantle or shelf.

I’ll give you the full “how to” in just a minute but first…

from Ulysses Press

…how about a giveaway!

Daily Zen Doodles is a new book by Meera Lee Patel. It’s a little workbook filled with prompts for doodling and inspirational quotes to help you relax and focus during your busy year.

With the holiday season upon us we all need a little time to slow down and quiet our minds a bit.

I try to do some drawing everyday, whether it’s faces, my corner of the staff room, or what I see outside my window. It calms me and helps me think so I can plan out those 24 different Christmas projects or whatever else is on agenda.

This book is a great way to get you started.

I’ll put the give-away details at the end of this post.

Now back to the angels.


- substrate, mine is wood and is 7.5″ square
- acrylic paint in white, blue, and purple
- some everyday items for printmaking, pencils, lids, cups, etc.
- sandpaper, optional
- metallic acrylic paint in gold and silver
- Crayola Model Magic, you’ll need a golf ball sized portion
- tacky glue
- iridescent glitter glue, I use an opal or clear type that works with your base colour
- wax paper
- scrap of kraft paper or a brown bag
- tan coloured card stock
- coloured pencils
- old book page
- some embellishments, I used a sequin star and some metallic foam (a placemat)
- mod podge for sealing
- printed text from the computer, “all is calm, all is bright”


Take your wood, sand any rough sides if needed.

Paint the 4 sides and the front with white acrylic paint.

Set aside to dry.

Take your scrap of kraft paper and paint it white.

Set aside to dry.

Take a piece of wax paper, 6″ or so wide, and crumple into a ball.

Flatten out the wax paper.  Using the leftover white paint print some shapes onto it with some everyday tools.

I using circle shapes.  I like to use ends of pencils and dowels, little shooter cups I get from the dollar store and corks.

While our painting is drying we will make the body of our angel.

Give each student a golf ball sized portion of model magic.  I like using model magic in my mixed media projects.  It’s expensive so we only use it for one part and I tend to use my 40% off coupons at Michael’s to buy it.

Have the kids flatten out the model magic. Our backgrounds are 7.5″ square so we don’t want our body too big. Around 9cm or 3.5″ max. I pre cut some strips of paper to use as a guide and you could also get the kids to measure with their rulers.

Model magic is easy to cut. We just use a plastic knife.

Cut a nice triangle shaped body.

Now we want to texturize our model magic.  I’m using a bottle lid and a glue lid.  I’m also using my new favourite clay tools. These are cupcake decorating tools that I found at the Dollar store. I get 8 tools each with 2 ends for $1.

I bought 12 sets!

Leave your model magic to dry overnight on a paper towel.

When the wood slab dries we want to add our background colour.  We are going for a distressed look, we want to see some white poking thru.

Using a dry brush and being careful to only use little amounts of paint at a time brush on the background colour.

Let dry.

When it’s dry you can distress it further by sanding some of the paint off.

Your kraft paper should be dry by now.  Using the inside of my masking tape roll as a template I traced out a circle for my halo.

I want a rich detailed design for my halo.

Squeeze out a little gold and silver paint. To make my design I use cut pieces of cardboard, dipping the ends into the paint and making lines.  Corrugated cardboard gives you a nice ripple. I’m also using my glue lid again, end of a pencil, and the end of a paint brush or wooden skewer.

Let dry.

I use up my leftover metallic paint by painting my old book page.  Metallics tend to be translucent but you can add a bit of water so it’s more of a wash.  You want to still see the text.

This will be used for the arms so each student only needs a quarter of the page.

When your model magic is dry paint with acrylic paint.  I used purple.

Squeeze out a little glitter glue onto your wax paper and then using your finger smear it on top of the paint.

While my body and halo are drying I work on the face.

I have a range of flesh toned card stock for the kids to choose from.  They only need a little square.  Using a plastic shooter cup (yes it’s those same ones from the Dollar store) trace out a circle.

Using coloured pencils I add the hair and rosy cheeks.  With a sharpie I add eyelids and a smile.

Your angel could have open eyes if you prefer.

Cut out the halo and glue near the top of the background.

Glue the face into the middle of the halo.

To make the wings fold the printed wax paper in half.

Cut a leaf shape on the fold so you have 2 wings.

To attach to the background I use mod podge.  I use the mod podge instead of glue because I want it to dry clear.  Glue can sometimes dry cloudy and you would see it thru the wings as they are a bit translucent.

Glue on the body of the angel.  I just use tacky glue.

For the feet I cut 2 circles from a gold placemat. (Dollar store again)

Cut the book page into strips for the arms.  I added a sequin star.

I printed out the text “all is calm, all is bright”.

I added some colour with some disk tempera.

Glue onto the background.

Finally you can add a coat of Mod podge to add a nice shiny finish and help keep everything in place.

That’s it.

If you are interested in winning your own copy of “Daily Zen Doodles” by Meera Lee Patel you can enter by doing one of the following:

- leave a comment on this post
- like or comment on this post on my Facebook page
- or send me an email at

I’ll make the draw on Friday Nov 28th/14.

Good luck everyone.

A big thank-you to Ulysses Press for sponsoring this giveaway!


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UrbanMoms Holiday Wishlist Giveaway: 10 Prizes To Be Won!

Posted November 17, 2014 by Anonymous

We’ve made our list, checked it twice and it turns out all our UrbanMoms aren’t naughty, they’re nice! So we’ve put together our Holiday Wishlist Giveaway to help you fulfill your holiday dreams! Every week for the next six weeks, […]

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10 Jaw-Dropping Gingerbread Houses You Must See

Posted November 17, 2014 by Anonymous

Looking for a wonderful tradition to start with your family this holiday season? Why not throw on the aprons, bust out the icing and decorate your very own gingerbread house! They make a wonderful centerpiece for your holiday dinner or […]

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How To Prepare For Pictures With Santa

Posted November 12, 2014 by Anonymous

It wouldn’t be the holidays without your child’s annual Santa photo. It’s a great Christmas tradition where your children get to spill all their holiday hopes and dreams to good ol’  Saint Nick — that’s if they’re not already bawling their […]

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Christmas Is HOW Many Days Away?

Posted November 6, 2014 by Anonymous

I received a very alarming email this morning. I was going about my day, dealing with an overflowing inbox (as per usual) when Outlook informed me I had a brand new message. “There are only 49 days until Christmas!” the […]

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(Not) In The Pink

Posted September 3, 2014 by Chandra Clarke

Chandra Clarke

In general, I am not an Angelina Jolie fan. I see her face far too often in the tabloids at the grocery store checkout, and usually the news about her has been, well, weird. One Jolie headline, however, raised my estimation of her a notch. Supposedly, she offended her in-laws by refusing to dress a […]

Chandra Clarke – This material is safe for work. No really, it is.

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