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.