Monday, December 19, 2011

My nerd is showing.



Yes, there is a doll with detachable torsoes in my house now.  If your first thought was Borg Queen, then you're as big a nerd as I am.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's that time of Year....

The tree is decorated
Music is practiced
Performances are made
Treats are wrapped and cookies are prepped.

Costumes are donned in Church basements...
...For Pageants that tell an old, old story (but sometimes a Shepherd wants to take a day off)
I hope you and yours are enjoying this busy holiday season!!  Many best wishes from my home to yours.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Write my post!

I have been blessed with an empty house this morning.  I am taking a break from scrubbing and unpacking (yes, yes, Mom, I am not unpacked yet) to play on the computer.

I came across this little scene on my computer desk one day quite a while ago and took a picture of it.  There is a story here, I can just see it.

Can you?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Miss me?

We took a little trip this week

A little trip into the Rocky Mountains

Mason Jar Luminaries lit the way to something Very Special that happened while we were there.

Baileys-spiked hot chocolate and this lovely fire kept us warm while something Very Special happened

I am posting a smokey picture of The Very Special Thing that happened to respect the privacy of my brother and my lovely new sister in law. 

This is not a smokey picture but I am posting it because I think we cleaned up pretty well for the Very Special Thing that happened.
How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Be the Voice

Disclosure – I am participating in the Barbie I Can Be campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Mattel Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Raising a girl to be a strong and capable woman is hard work.  Despite all of the great strides our fore mothers have made in giving women equality, there are still so many roadblocks in the way. 

From the time girls are little, they are bombarded with messages that try to tell them so many conflicting things. Since I choose to send my daughter to public school I now have the added challenge of helping her deal with peer pressure and trying to show her that even though things happen one way in her friend's families they don't necessarily happen that way in our family. (this argument usually comes up when she wants to watch TV shows that I deem are inappropriate.)  

When I was growing up I remember some very special women who helped me realize my potential.  It started in Girl Guides.  My Girl Guide Leaders helped me learn valuable life skills and taught me to think for myself and seek out and learn new things.  As I grew up I also found allies in a two Aunts who I spent time with and confided in.  They were always there to give me unbiased advice on things I was sometimes afraid to talk about with my mom.  As a teenager I think I realized that some grownups were better at helping me through things than my equally inexperienced friends were.  My circle of mentors grew as I started my training to be a nurse and found strength and wisdom with a couple of very special teachers whose education went beyond the walls of the classroom or clinical floor.

Now that those days are behind me and I have my own girl to raise my community of mentors has also grown thanks to modern technology.  I have found a very special community of women from around the world who have opened their arms to me.  They come from all walks of life and experiences and I can always find non-judgemental, caring advice from them on everything from potty training to how to accessorize a special outfit.  I am also finding helpful advice from this woman: Terry Carson, The Parenting Coach.  She is a mother of four, has a masters degree in Education and is a certified Parenting Coach.  She has created a website to help us navigate the often stormy waters of parenting. Every month she will be updating her website with new articles on raising children.  One of my favourite dolls is also in on the action.  Barbie wants you to visit Be the Voice and meet some incredible women who are giving great gifts to the world.

I am now trying to pay it forward by mentoring my own group of girls.  My little group of Sparks are the youngest members of Girl Guides of Canada and in amongst the games I play and the crafts I oversee I try to build their confidence.  I try to plant little seeds of curiosity and caring.  I try to teach them how to make little decisions today so they can make big decisions tomorrow.  I am trying to let them stretch their wings a see new things.  

Who has helped you become who you are today?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Emmett takes art classes at our local gallery on the weekend.  They have been going bonkers for Halloween this past month.  I came home to find this guy sitting beside my bed after class one day.  He has since been moved to the kitchen where his eyes are partially blocked by my African Violets.  That is one creepy stare this zombie has!
Emmett made the googly eye jack o'lantern at art class

This was the best picture I could get.

Tonight, the  kids went on their annual rounds of the neighbourhood and are now stuffing themselves as much as they can before we declare bath time.

I hope you had a safe and spooktacular Halloween in your neck of the woods!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween at my house.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Allan Candy Company program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Halloween is next week.  Do you have your costumes ready?
My kids love Halloween.  They plan out their costumes months in advance.  We are old-fashioned and let the kids trick or treat around our neighbourhood.  I love carving jack-o-lanterns, and even have the special little saws that let me do more intricate designs.  I so wish I had a digital camera the year I did the full haunted castle carving.  It was amazing and I was so proud of it I took it to the nursing home where I worked at the time and it decorated the main nursing station's desk for a few days.  (hint: rub petroleum jelly over the cut edges of your jack-o-lantern to make it last longer)
When Emmett was in Kindergarten his teacher asked me to bring a special snack for their party.  I gleefully set myself to the task of making Alien and Eyeball cake pops with gruesome red velvet cake as the filling.

This year I don't have to send treats to school, but thanks to Allen Candy I am very well prepared for the little ghosts and goblins (and Princesses and Storm Troopers) that will be ringing my doorbell next week.  I was happy to get a big box of an assortment of their candy line including Allan Intense Jubes & Jellies,  Allan Chewy Rascalz (including my favourite Big Foot, which is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year), and Allan Fruit Buddies.  If you choose Allen Candy to give to your trick or treaters you can rest assured knowing you are giving Canadian-made candy that is made in a peanut-free facility.  Every treat is individually wrapped to ensure freshness.  I opened a bag to sample and was taken right back to my own childhood when I popped a Big Food into my mouth (and then a Sour Big Foot, and a Green testing was very thorough.)

This year I will be sending a witch and pirate and something to be announced out in to the neighbourhood to trick or treat.

What do you do for Halloween?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How was your weekend?

My friend from high school, Tara, came down to my neck of the woods to run a trail race.  She asked me to come since she couldn't find the trail without me.  It is a favourite place for me to take the family hiking so I said I'd love to take her.  I have not been running since early this summer, but I have been walking more and more so on a whim I signed up to run the 5K while she did the 7.5.

When we got there I was really happy to find more friends to run with and ran/walked the 5K.  My time was not the fastest, but that was really not important to me today.  I was just happy to be enjoying the company of so many friends.  It took my mind off how chilly the wind was and how steep some of the hills were! 

We are running out of sunny warmish fall days around here, so it is best not to waste them.

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Our Fight Isn't Over

Click here to view the trailer for Miss Representation and then come on back and read more
(a small warning about this video:  there are images from media that show rather scantily clad ladies in various forms of submission to men.  You may want to wait for naptime to watch this movie if you have youngsters around.)

I make no bones about the fact that I am a feminist fighting hard to raise my girl to know she is more than a pretty face. I am trying hard to raise my boys to see women as more than pretty faces.

It is an uphill battle given how media portrays females.  This video (an extended trailer for a movie) is proof that the battle is far from over.

This video has been going viral on Facebook, but I really want to share it with you, my readers as well.  I realize that I am largely preaching to the choir, but this is very important to me, especially since I am raising a daughter.

This is why I am a member of Girl Guides.  I get to empower more than just my little girl.  I get to teach these young girls that they are smart, strong, and capable.

I am fighting against a Pink Tide at school.  Charlotte is deep into Barbie, Princesses and anything Pink and Sparkly.  I am using bedtime story time as a weapon in my arsenal against the stereotypical princess template.  Here is my Feminist Princess Bedtime Story list:

The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews  this book is about an everyday little girl with dirt under her nails and scabs on her knees and a crown on her head.  It teaches girls that Princesses accept and respect everyone and all have gifts to give.

The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch a classic storybook from my own childhood that has stood the test of time.  No Feminist Princess bookshelf is complete without it.

Not all Princesses Wear Pink a great book to show that Princesses come in all shapes, sizes, and skin colours.  They also can also play sports, use power tools and climb trees, all while wearing their crowns.  A great book for girls to show that Princesses can do anything they want.

--I have also been told I should check out Princess SmartyPants  and Cinder Edna by an Invsible Internet Friend. 

Have you empowered a girl today?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Playing with the Boys

This week's Taekwon-do class went much better than last week's.  Richard took Char this time and he reported back that she did very well.  She listened, paid attention and had fun practicing her punches.

My girl even turned some heads this week.  You see, for the previous few classes Charlotte has been changing into her uniform at home.  I was told last week by the school's owner that she needs to change there. The owner referred to Charlotte as "my boy" because of her short hair.  I gently corrected him and things were just fine.

This week, we found out that many of Charlotte's classmates had no idea she was a girl either--until she showed up before class wearing her eye-searingly pink corduroy pants with a pink shirt covered in sparkly hearts. 

I feel like my girl is growing up to be a very well-rounded, strong female who is not afraid to be pink and sparkly when she wants to and kick ass when she needs to.

That's my girl.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time Out

As many of you have figured out from reading about my family here, my Charlotte has a rather strong personality.  She has many opinions and she makes them very well known.  All.  The.  Time.  I work hard with Charlotte to teach her about how it is inappropriate to interrupt adults.

Last week at taekwon-do I found an ally.  Charlotte has been struggling with learning this new skill ever since she insisted that she was tired of dance and wanted to take martial arts instead.

There are a lot more rules in a martial arts class.  Respect and decorum are very important.  You must bow to your teacher and stand still and listen.  Charlotte decided she needed to talk over the teacher at her last lesson.  She then found herself sitting in the corner.   She never got a time out in dance class for fooling around and not paying attention.  I like this new teacher.  Charlotte is less than impressed and talks about how much she misses dance class.

I am trying very hard to encourage Charlotte and keep her motivated to come to this new class.  As with all new skills, she is on a learning curve and not to the point where she is having fun yet.  I need her to stick with this.  I need her to be in this class to learn some boundaries and manners.  I need her to see that I am not the only adult in her world that finds interruptions unacceptable.

I am hoping this new class can help channel her energy and fire and give it a productive place to grow.

Am I expecting too much?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giving Back

It is Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada.  This seemed like a great time to blow the dust off of my blog and tell you about something I got to do last week.

Remember a while back when I had that diaper giveaway sponsored by Seventh Generation?  Well, it isn't only lucky blog readers that are getting free diapers from Seventh Generation.

Seventh Generation is aiming to reach their goal of giving away up to 240,000 diapers to 40 shelters in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. This means a donation of up to $160,000 in diaper value to a charitable cause that rarely sees corporate assistance.  I also got to be a part of their diaper donation program and was sent four packages of diapers that I was tasked with giving away to a worthy charity in my own community.

I called up our local women's shelter.  I told them that Seventh Generation gave me a case of diapers that I needed to give to a local charity.  They were more than happy to accept them.  Women's shelters are always in need of diapers.  When I told the shelter employee that they were fragrance, chlorine, and latex-free diapers that were unlikely to irritate sensitive skin, she was extra happy to accept them. 

Now, at this point in a blog post, you would usually see a happy picture of the actual charitable donation being made.  Women's shelters have to be very, very careful about security and confidentiality so I left my camera at home.  But, as Matthew as my witness, the diapers were delivered in a timely fashion. 

If you want to help, all you have to do is buy a package of Seventh Generation Diapers anywhere in Canada during the month of October and Seventh Generation will donate a package of diapers to a participating shelter.  Don't have a kid in diapers?  Buy a package anyway! You can toss it in the donation bin by the back door of your store and donate two packages for the price of one. 

If you join the Seventh Gen Nation you can get coupons and be notified of special offers, as well as learn more about the diaper donation program.  

I am very Thankful that I got to help out women and babies in need this holiday weekend.  I am also thankful that I have a loving family to spend Thanksgiving with in a warm, safe house and I don't have to worry about where my dinner is coming from tonight.  

What are you Thankful for?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do Something Little, Help Something Big

Disclosure – I am participating in the Energizer Canada & Evergreen “Do Something Little, Help Something Big” program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Energizer Canada & Evergreen. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

 Energizer Canada and Evergreen are working together on their “Do Something Little, Help Something Big” initiative in which Energizer is proud to contribute $100,000 to Evergreen to make cities more livable.
·       For each pledge, Energizer will donate an additional $1 to Evergreen. 
·       Evergreen is a not-for-profit organization that is committed to making Canadian cities greater and more liveable… creating a more sustainable future for all of us. 

It really doesn't take much to make the world a better place.  If we all just start with little things in our own backyard, the ripple effect could be tremendous.

I have been to the Energizer website and made the following pledges:

  • I will clean up litter in my neighbourhood park. --I am actually taking my Sparks group to help me out with this one!
  • I will hang the laundry out to dry (weather permitting). -- I am sad that I am quickly running out of days to hang laundry in my neck of the woods.  
  • I will plant a native tree in my backyard that is suitable for the ecozone I live in.  I actually went out with my Emmett's Cub Scout pack yesterday and helped them plant 500 White Spruce trees (our official provincial tree) in a park very near to our home. You wouldn't believe how little time it takes to get 500 trees in the ground when you have all the boys and girls we had show up all pitching in together to get the job done.  That was truly this campaign in vivid action.
  • I will tell my kids how much I love them. --Do I need to explain this one?
  • I will donate to a local food drive or food bank. --In my city, the local community college goes door-to-door on Hallow e'en night to stock their food bank and I always make sure I have a few cans of food sitting with my trick or treat candy to give to them.
  • I will donate clothes I no longer wear to a local charity.--this one benefits my closets and my local landfill!
  • I will smile and say a kind word to create more positive energy around me.  Try this one in the checkout line in the grocery store where everyone seems to be quite frazzled.  Just watch what happens.
Here is Emmett with a bundle of baby trees ready to go into the ground.

The things I pledged to do  really didn't take a lot of time and none of them cost me any money, but I feel good knowing that I am making the world a little better where I live because of the things I have done.

Click here or click the Energizer button on my sidebar and make your own pledges. 

Come back and leave me a comment if you want. I'd love to hear about what you are doing to make your wold a better place.

More Winning!

The winner of my Seventh Generation Give away is.....
Thanks for playing!

Friday, September 9, 2011

We have a winner!

Random (dot) org chose this comment as the winner for my Coach giveaway.  She has already been contacted and her prize is on it's way.  Congratulations!

There is still time to enter my Seventh Generation Giveaway.  Leave me a comment here letting me know what you are doing to live a more eco-friendly life.  Get extra entries by liking my blog on Facebook and Tweeting a link to my blog.

Have a great weekend!

Say Hello to my Little Friend

Last week my mom and I took Emmett and Charlotte to our local pottery painting place.  This little guy decided he wanted to come home with me.  He is currently living in a houseplant that needs some TLC.  I have heard garden gnomes are good with plants.

I have been calling him Gnomey, but I think I could do better.  What do you think I should name him?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy New Year!

The new school year started for us yesterday.  I now have a third grader and a first grader.  Much to the surprise of Emmett's teacher, he is shockingly close to the same height as her.  Char is very excited to get to stay for lunch and then take the bus home every day. (I am very excited I no longer have to fight with the horrible parking situation around her school and wrangle Matthew while waiting for dismissal.)  Matthew and I have his dance class, playgroups and a homeschool pre-school curriculum to keep us occupied during our days home together now.

The rest of this week will be fairly quiet as the kids ease into school routines.  Next week, a steady trickle of permission slips and fund raising forms will begin to come home. Extra curricular activities start and resume.  That is when the reality of a lazy summer being officially over will really hit me.

I was a bad mama who could not find the camera in the early-morning rush yesterday, so you get pictures from my phone of my big kids heading off on their first days:


Friday, September 2, 2011

Now you are four.

Everyone helped decorate the cake.
All aboard the Chew Chew Train!!

Happy Birthday, my big boy.  How did you grow so fast?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seventh Generation *Giveaway*

Disclosure – I am participating in the Seventh Generation program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Before I had kids, I didn't put a lot of thought into what I cleaned my house with.  I usually let my nose lead the way.   I didn't go out of my way to choose eco-friendly cleaning products.  After I had Emmett and had to learn to deal with his very sensitive skin and asthma symptoms, I started to explore different options to help him feel better.  This started with using cloth diapers, as the chemicals in most disposable diapers caused him to have severe rashes.  I had to change to unscented laundry products and shampoos and body washes as well.  Then, as he learned to move around and explore his world I realized that everything he touched went in to his mouth (That is Rookie Mom 101).  I started to look more carefully at what I was putting into our home environment.  I started to phase out my usual cleaners for safer options.

This is why I was really excited to have the opportunity to give Seventh Generation Cleaning products a try recently.
Here are the products I tried and my impressions of them:
  •  All-purpose cleaner:  Unscented, non-toxic and biodegradable. De greased the underside of my range hood with very little effort.  Shined my stainless steel tea kettle beautifully. (It is a permanent fixture on my stove top so it gets grungy quickly.)
  • Natural 2X Concentrated Laundry Liquid:  Lavender eucalyptus smells amazing. The detergent is non-toxic, biodegradable and uses plant-derived cleaning agents.   Clothes were left very clean, with no lingering perfume odor.  Stinky shirts and nighttime "accident" bedding were left clean and fresh.
  • Chlorine-Free Baby Wipes:  Dye and fragrance-free.  Uses plant-based cleaning agents and contains no chemicals containing chlorine.  Soft on the skin, effective for cleaning up my messy boy.
Believe me when I tell you I tested the laundry detergent very thoroughly!

If you join the 7th Gen Nation, you’ll have access to coupons, special offers and great tips for green and healthy living.  You can find them on Facebook too!  Take a break from playing Sims and "Like" them while you are there.

I want to give you  chance to win a 100% organic cotton Seventh Gen Eco lunch bag as well as coupons for a FREE package of Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers, Free & Clear Baby Wipes and dish washing products so you can try them for yourself. Just leave me a tip for living a more eco-friendly life in the comments.  

If you want more entries in my draw, tweet a link this post and or "Like" my blog Facebook, and then come back and let me know you did that.

Give away is open to residents of Canada only, and the contest closes on September 16th.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Little Things

Before.  Messy messy!!
I have a cabinet in my kitchen that holds my glass mixing bowls, baking pans, and casserole dishes.  The top shelf is a catch-all for random office supplies and coupons and other odds and ends.  It always looked cluttered, even when I tidied it up.  I hit my breaking point this week and tried to figure out a solution.  I posted this picture on Facebook and got some excellent feedback from some creative friends.  I took the opportunity to go shopping this afternoon since my kids were off with a couple of Grandmas.

I ended up in the Big Craft Store down the street and found out they have a whole aisle dedicated to organizing crafting things.  I found what I needed, rounded up Richard's drill (and was delighted to find the battery still had power in it), put on an episode of Rizzoli and Isles and set to work.

After.  Neat and tidy!
I want to get some adhesive vinyl and make a tree grow up the drawers to break up the stark whiteness of the storage cube, but aside from that I am very happy.  Everything has a place and I don't have to stare at random piles of junk anymore.

A little thing can make a big difference, can't it?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All by myself.

As my regular readers know, we have a lovely respite worker that comes to our house one evening a week.  That evening happens to be cheap night at the movie theatre so Richard and I watch a lot of  movies together.  These past two weeks we have not been able to agree on a movie to watch .

Last week I wanted to see The Help.  Richard wanted to see Cowboys and Aliens.  Our usual tactic when this happens is to find a movie that meets in the middle somehow.  Since neither one of us wanted to see Final Destination 5 or The Smurfs in 3D, (or any of the other movies playing at the theatre) we couldn't find a compromise.  I REALLY wanted to see The Help.  Richard REALLY wanted to see the Cowboy movie.  The babysitter was coming any second.  We decided to go our separate ways at the theatre.  My movie was sold out when I got there.  I ended up buying a ticket for Glee 3D. (Glee is a guilty pleasure of mine).  

I felt a little strange while looking for my seat in a theatre that had only a couple of rows filled with teenage girls and their flashing cell phone screens, but once the movie started, it was pretty great.  It was quiet.  It was cool.  The music was super cheesy and fun.  I had a great time and felt relaxed and happy.  Glee will do that to a girl.  Not having a husband seething with resentment and rolling his eyes beside me made me happy.  I know he felt the same way not having a pouty wife sitting next to him at his movie.

This week we faced the same dilemma (Why is Final Destination STILL playing???? Gah)  Richard said that he would go see The Help with me.  I printed out our tickets at home and went to the theatre.  When we got there, the place was almost full.  We searched around for seats and had to ask random strangers exactly HOW many seats they were saving.  We found two orphan seats a row apart.  I sat down and as Richard made his way to his seat a cranky old lady threw her purse in his seat and said that was her spot (cranky old bags...why must you always be so rude?)

That clinched it for him.  He was not going to fight over a seat with an old woman for a movie he didn't really want to see anyway.  He looked up at me and said "I'm going to Conan.  I'll meet you in the lobby when your movie is over."  The women in my row laughed.  They know a long and stable relationship when they see it.  I watched my movie. (Wasn't as good as the book, but the stuff they cut out would have made the movie too long, I suppose.) He watched Fright Night and the teenager taking tickets let him in with his Help ticket and didn't charge him extra for 3D glasses. (Conan had already started and the teenager taking tickets pointed him towards the Vampire movie.  He was eternally grateful.)

Hopefully there will be a movie that we can both see coming soon, but until then, going to movies solo has not been as strange and pathetic-feeling as I thought it would be. 

Have you gone to movies by yourself?  How did you feel?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're all in this together.

Today was Back to School Shoe Shopping Day.  A day I dread every year.  This year was extra fun since two weeks of fun and sun at Grandma's caused Emmett and Charlotte to both grow out of their shoes while away from home.  I had to buy them two pairs each.

We got to the mall bright and early to avoid the crowds.  We found both pairs of Emmett's shoes and one pair for Charlotte at one store, and then had to go looking at another store for one more pair for her.  (She is blessed with my very narrow heels so shoe shopping is turning in to a quite an ordeal for her, poor girl.)  On the way to the second shoe store we had to walk past a terrible store.  A horrible store.  The worst kind of store you can imagine.  A toy store.  Matthew bee-lined into the store and buried himself in the Thomas Train section.  I let him shop for a moment while I chatted with the sales associate (a friend of mine from Guides) while I mentally prepared myself for the melt down that would occur when I removed him from the premises for more shoe shopping.  As predicted, the melt down was spectacular. 

The melt down did not end in the shoe store, and was added to by a chorus of "I'm tired.  I need to rest.  I'm hungry." from Emmett as Charlotte tried on shoes.  Matthew's melt down got louder when I told him we would not be buying the Thomas umbrella he found in the shoe store that he decided to carry around.  My blood pressure rose ever higher.

While my kids were blocking the aisles at the shoe store a brave customer walked over to us.  She looked at me sympathetically.  She said to me "Back to school shoe shopping really sucks, doesn't it? Kids hate trying on shoes."  She even had a Thomas sticker in her purse that she gave screaming Matthew.  (She is another resident of the Island of Sodor.  If you don't know where that is, then you don't have a kid who is mad for Thomas in your house)

This conversation could have gone very differently.  There could have been dirty looks at my crying kids.  There could have been comments about my lousy parenting in hushed tones to her shopping companion.  She could have come up to me with tactless advice I am glad she took the high road.  We all need random strangers to help us out when we are deep in the trenches. I need to remember to be that random stranger more often.

We really are all in this together.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What's in Your Purse? **Giveaway**

Disclosure – I am participating in the ABREVA program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline.  I received a Coach wristlet as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.
Today I am going to chat about something that happens to a lot of people.  Something that no one really likes to talk about.  Cold Sores.

I suffer from them from time to time.  They are embarrassing, unsightly, and can feel like they are taking over your whole face when you are having an attack.  They usually come when your body is stressed or getting over an illness.  They can be very uncomfortable.  My worst cold sore attack had my bottom lip swell up so badly I couldn't eat for two weeks.  I looked awful and was in constant pain until the sore healed on it's own. 

That attack happened before I discovered Abreva.  Abreva is not like any other topical OTC cold sore treatments on the market.  Other ointments merely moisturize and temporarily relieve pain (if that).  Abreva has a medication (docosanol 10%) in it that actually stops the cold sore virus from dividing so it can stop sore from fully developing and can greatly shorten the duration of an attack.  If I start applying my Abreva at the first sign of the tell tale tingle or itch I get on my lip when an attack is starting,  I can keep that awful cold sore from even developing.  If you don't catch that sore before it develops, Abreva can still help shorten the length of the attack and can keep the virus from spreading on your skin and forming new sores.

If you suffer from cold sores, GlaxoSmithKline would like you to give Abreva a try.  Visit their website,, between August 15 and September 13 to get a coupon for $5 off of your purchase.

Now, you are going to need something chic to carry your Abreva around in.  Leave me a comment telling me what you must always have in your purse and you can have a chance to win a very cute Coach Wristlet.

The contents of my purse are quite practical.  Besides the obvious cell phone/wallet/keys combo that everyone has, I never leave the house without a  favourite lip gloss/lipstick duo, ibuprofen, expandable tablet washcloths, and  my asthma inhaler.

So, what's in your purse? 

Contest runs from August 15-September 2, and is open to residents of Canada only.  (Sorry, American readers!)

Saturday, August 13, 2011


My garden didn't give me much this year, but I did get this precious handful of summer.

Maybe next year my thumb will get a bit greener?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Off the grid.

The kids are off on adventures with their Grandparents and Aunties and Uncle right now.  A few days ago, Richard and I packed a few things, and then hopped in the car to join them.

I had never been to the cabin where they stay every summer.  In fact, I had never been as far north as this cabin, ever.  I got a real feel for how big my province really is.  Usually, when we travel we go horizontally, along the more populated areas along the Canada/US border.  If you drive 8-9 hours in either direction you are sure to pass over one provincial border.  If you drive that far South, you will pass an international border and probably more than one State line.  If you drive that far North you get to see three very distinct geographical areas emerge, and you can really appreciate the diversity that is on your back doorstep.

We drove over some mighty rivers.  We passed by huge hydro towers that seemed to play cat's cradle with the treetops.  Hydro electric power is a major export of ours.  Those massive towers are probably funneling kilowatts to outlets that are allowing some of my American readers to look at these pictures.

Once we got to the cabin we really were off the grid.  My cellphone coverage stopped about halfway there, and the cabin is only accessible by boat.  There is no running water and taking a bath is really going swimming in the lake with soap.  I loved snuggling down in my tent at night with the wind blowing through the trees and the waves lapping up on the shore to  lull me to sleep.  (We had to sleep in a tent because the cabin was full)
The kids have a ball, riding on the sea-doo with cousins, running barefoot around the island with the neighbour's kids, roasting marshmallows on the beach,  fishing off the dock--this is the stuff memories are made of.  I can't wait to go back next year.
Our trip started out on the bald-headed Prairie.

The trees get shorter and scrubbier the further North you go.  The deciduous trees get harder and harder to spot.

The land gets so rugged that rock had to be blasted away to build the road.

Amusing bathroom grafitti at a rest stop.  

At another rest stop, just off the side of the road, we found this. 

The view from the beach at the cabin.  So peaceful.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Anthropoligical Study

While I was away at camp, our long-awaited new-er car came home from it's trips to the auto body shop and mechanic.

We bought this car at an insurance auction in the very early Spring, while there was still snow on the ground.  I have been waiting a very long time for this vehicle.

It is kind of interesting to buy a car at an auction.  You get it completely as is.  The previous owners literally walked away from this car and left a lot of stuff behind.  Here is what I know about the previous owners of my new-er car:
  • They had a pet with a lot of very long white hair who liked to travel.
  • They really loved the black tree-shaped air fresheners.  (After removing around five of them from the rear view mirror I am now paranoid about what sorts of odors they were covering up and when I will discover them)
  • Given the sheer number of ponytail holders found all over the car, they had at least one girl.
  • They are missing one pink glove.
  • The driver liked Tim Horton's.
  • They preferred Crayola crayons.
  • Someone had a Nintendo DS, and they are missing their hard-sided case. (Emmett thought that was awesome.  Free DS Case with purchase!) 
  • They liked eating crackers in the backseat.
  • and oranges
  • and raisins
  • Someone smoked, but not very often in the car.  The ashtray was a little bit dirty, but there were no telltale stains on the ceiling of the car and no scorch marks anywhere.
  • They didn't use the change caddy for money, but preferred to melt candy in it instead.
  • A lot of sticky drinks were splashed around. (8 cup holders, ALL sticky)
  • They used their car as an instrument for auditory torture did not have the same taste in music that we have. (Celine Dion, Nickleback, and Kidz Bop CDs were all left in the car.)
When I first saw the condition of the interior (and that was after Richard cleared out the fast food fliers and random papers and some garbage strewn about) I thought "These people are slobs!  How could they let their car get so dirty??"  And then I cast my eye around the Big Blue Dustbuster that I currently drive and realized that because it wasn't MY junk, I noticed it so much more.  When you fill your car with garbage bit by bit, I don't think you really notice how much is piling up until it reaches a critical mass.

What does your car say about you?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hi Honey, I'm Home!

A couple of days ago I returned from my annual trip to The Lake to work as the First Aid Officer at a summer camp.  I love this camp.  I love going.  This year I patched together enough help that I could leave the kids with their Dad and a few Grandparents and go ALONE.  I know!  What a concept!

Now, I wasn't really alone as I had to watch over the staff and campers, but I had my own cabin, and my own time to do whatever I wanted.  I read.  I knit. I watched cheesy movies.  I went swimming with a lovely black Lab and her sweet owner. I sang the same campfire songs that I have sung for decades.

The dark circles that are always under my eyes disappeared, even after a couple of 16 hour days of tending to the various and sundry illnesses and injuries that happen at a summer camp.  The tension that is always lingering between my shoulder blades and in my forehead almost disappeared.  I feel refreshed and restored.

Of course, all good things have to come to an end, and my re-entry into the real world is not coming without some speed bumps.  I still have a bit of unpacking to do.  Laundry.  I brought home the bulk of it as my mom loves me and always sends the kids she looks after home with clean things, but now that we are all home the daily laundry added to my camp laundry has set me back a bit.  When all of the kids are trying to make up for my absence for a week by all clambering for my attention I feel the tension in my shoulders creeping back in and I have a "Marge Simpson" moment.

It was sooooo worth it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It was the Perfect Summer Day

It was a gorgeous sunny day.  The perfect day for a hike.
Emmett needed lots of encouragement to go hiking instead of sitting indoors playing computer games.
We stayed at the back of the line and looked at butterflies...
...and dragonflies.
A couple of kilometers is a long way for a little guy.
He had to stop and smell the flowers sometimes. 
We saw a lot of these.  I have no idea what they are, but they sure are pretty, aren't they?
Of course, the spell had to be broken in the car on the way home, when everyone was overtired and bug bitten.  (you don't want to know how many wood ticks came off of these three!)