Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Chocolate Frog Box and Cards

I have debated about sharing this, and about posting this on the website. It took a lot of work to design and make, and even then, I ended up printing each box twice--once for the background colour, and once for the cutting and folding lines. I also had trouble lining up the fronts and backs of the wizard cards, and used a cardboard cutout traced rom the bottom of the box as a stencil to manually draw in the lines.

To share them would mean realigning things, and I am *not* very skilled at this.

So to those who have emailed me for directions, please know that I have not forgotten you and that I'm trying to develop a reliable way to fix those problems. I also have some copyright issues with sharing some of the cards, so when I post these, I will only include the few I designed completely myself, then dig up the link to the others that I used.

I hope this will help! I will do my best to have what I can up on the site over the next few weeks.

I ask that you respect all of the work that went into these, and use them for personal use only. Aside from any legal copyright implications, it is just morally wrong to financially benefit from someone else's design. My views about this are much like those mentioned on The Leaky Cauldron website. Sure, you might not get caught, but that doesn't make it right.

If you really want to use them for any other purpose, please contact me with the details, and we'll see if we can come to an arrangement.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Advertising on Lemonade

I recently read a post from a fellow blogger about how she was tired of people asking her to advertise on her blog, in ways that were not completely transparent. Without getting into the details of her post, it seems it may be time to clarify Lemonade's advertising policy.

Advertising is not something I am proud of, but it is necessary in order to allow Lemonade to continue. Maintaining a large website is time consuming and costly. Most of the time, the advertising does not cover all of the costs, but it does help offset them somewhat. I am determined to offer the resources for free so that those who need them most can benefit. I have also not included a donation button (which may happen in the future). Each of the experiments and resources has been tested by our family at least once. In addition, I have created/developed many recipes, crafts, games and experiments completely from scratch.

Although it is not entirely ideal, I only use Google Adsense, mainly because I find it easy to deal with. I spend a lot of time filtering out advertisers who I find unsuitable, such as formula companies, diet/weight loss schemes, diet supplements, religious recruiting, etc. While I can shut out ads by category, there are limits to the controls I have with Adsense, and occasionally I miss some.

One thing I promise to do, however, is to keep all advertising as transparent as possible. I will never embed ads for items in the text on the blog or website; anytime I mention a brand or product (which is very rare!), you can rest assured that I do so because it works for the project I am describing where others may not. I have never been reimbursed in any way for recommending a product, and I refuse to do so in the future.

All ads on Lemonade occur on the sidebar or in the header or footer area. On the blog, they also occur between posts. Each advertising box is labelled as google ads. I also have a google search bar which can bring in revenue if someone chooses to do a search, follow an external link from my site, then make a purchase. On my blog I also have an Amazon sidebar, but no one has ever clicked on anything there. The books featured are ones I have chosen, and the only compensation I will receive will be if someone chooses to buy from that link.

If you have any comments or suggestions regarding advertising on Lemonade (or anything else about this blog or website) please share them below, or email me.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The French River

We recently paddled on the French River. It took many years for us to get there--other places called loudly to us, and the motorboats and cottagers tend to cramp our style. But there is a certain history there, and after our travels in eastern Canada, and especially Montreal and Ottawa, it only made sense to take the kids on the French River where the voyageurs once travelled.

Although we went during the week, it was still mid August, so I expected crowds. Luckily I was wrong. We did see several other groups each day, but the rugged nature of the area dominated. The landscape was as if Temagami, Georgian Bay and Algonquin Park all got together and had a party. The wind was favourable, and we even let the kids paddle us around our island campsite out on Georgian Bay. We saw a water snake, a giant muskie, many frogs, several turkey vultures, golden eagles, terns, and cormorants, just missed a bear and saw lots of evidence of elk.

The kids had fun exploring the geology of each site and along the shore as we travelled. Some of the stunted trees by the bay looked similar to the tuckamore we saw in Newfoundland.

Although there is much history, between the Voyageurs, the Couriers de Bois, logging camps, the Group of Seven, fishing lodges, cottages and kids' camps, as well as various man made dams that came and went over the years, the area was still very rugged and natural, and I had the impression that nature was dominant. Within the history that echoed throughout the glacier-scraped landscape, human activity was a mere punctuation mark.

As we crossed Wanapitei Bay at the end of our trip on Saturday, more and more motorboats began to clog the waterways, and I could tell that we had timed our trip well.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Importance of Personal Integrity

Integrity is something I value highly.

In a world full of media messages and standardized tests, where screen time dominates and routines and structure are the rule, how many of us forget to take the time to reflect on our own personal paths through life, to evaluate our choices and actions against our own personal values? How many of us can still hear our own personal beat amidst the hubbub of messages and frenzied activity around us? How many of us have lost our own sense of self in the rush for more, for better, for faster, for easier, for the need to fit in at any cost?

This sort of personal alienation is something we can control.

Can you teach someone personal integrity?

I had an excellent history and "man in society" (I'm dating myself here!) teacher who had each of his students write out their own personal credo. A credo is a creed, which according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary means:
"1: a brief authoritative formula of religious belief
2: a set of fundamental beliefs; also : a guiding principle"

In this case, I refer to the second definition listed.

My grandmother used to tell me to always "remember who I am". My fifth grade teacher told us to keep our good names (reputations). But it was the act of actually writing a credo that brought the idea home for me.

Since my eldest child  is headed into the "big, bad world" of institutional education, I thought it would be a good time to have him start thinking about his own personal credo. I have told him that showing it to me is optional; it will be himself he has to answer to when his values are challenged.

This is all sounding rather preachy, but what it all boils down to, for me, is this: at the end of my life, when I look back on my choices and actions, it is myself that I will need to answer to; only I will truly know if I have lived a good and full life, and it is my own value system that will be my measuring stick. True satisfaction and accomplishment comes from following my inner compass, although my path and yours may be quite different.

My credo has served me well over the years.

So I am passing this tool on to my son, with the hope that it will help guide him the way it has helped me. Perhaps you will also find it useful.