Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Can Your Children Trust You?

When I was 9 I got one of these for Christmas and it made me really angry.

It wasn't because of the gift, in fact, it still stands near the top of my best Christmas gifts ever list (usurped only by the electric typewriter I got a few years later). What upset me was the fact the I got it from "Santa".

I knew Santa wasn't real but my parents, my stepdad in particular, insisted on perpetuating the Santa myth. I was mad because when I tried to thank my parents (because holy crap, BEST GIFT EVER!!!), my stepdad kept saying, "Don't thank me, it's not from me, it's from Santa." I appreciated this gift so much and I was mad because I couldn't properly thank them for it.

The next year the same thing happened when I got this.
insert fan-girl squeal here
I knew by the time I was 12 that when I had kids, I wasn't going to do the Santa thing.

The first few years after we had the boys was easy, they were too young for Santa anyway. Two years ago, I decided to tell the kids the truth, that Santa isn't real. At first my reasoning had to do with greed and debt and shopping stampedes and giving credit for the best gift ever to some fictional fat guy. And as I did this I realized that I didn't want to lie to my kids.

I don't want to bribe my kids to be well behaved by telling them that someone is watching them while they're sleeping and awake. Santa withholds gifts from naughty children and gives to the "good" ones. But tell me, if your kids really are naughty, will you be withholding their gifts? I want my children to trust me and to know that I'm always doing the best I can for them and lying to them just doesn't fit.

 So I told my boys that Santa isn't a real guy that flies around the world with reindeer pulling his sleigh, creeping into your house in the middle of the night leaving presents. We spoke of how Santa is a representation of the season of giving, how we all have a little Santa in us that we can share with other people. And a funny thing happened... they survived.

We had a few scary patches last year when they decided they wanted to share their knowledge with their friends but we've since fine-tuned our tradition.

Now, our Christmas season has become magically wonderful. The boys know that Santa isn't "real" but they also know that Santa is the spirit of the season. They enjoy watching Christmas specials with Santa in them, they run around the house pretending to be Santa and his reindeer and when I took them to see Santa at a local event, they looked at me with such knowing little looks, going along with the fun and thinking it was hilarious that other people *actually* believe this stuff.

They've also taken the story of Santa being the spirit of giving to heart. They've both been playing Santa at school, leaving little treats for their friends in coat pockets and on desks. They've both gone shopping with their own money to buy a gift for a child they don't know and even as we were driving to look for random driveways to shovel on Sunday, they were excited to "play" Santa for someone we didn't know.

Instead of bracing yourself for the day when your kids realize that Santa isn't real, and dealing with the heartbreak, loneliness and mistrust that follows, why not tell them the truth from the get-go? We've had a lot of Santa fun in our house without once having to worry about what will happen down the road when they find out the truth.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Perfect Playdough

By far, the favourite activity in our house for a long time has been play dough. It's one of the few activities that my boys will sit down and play with for an hour WITHOUT FIGHTING. So obviously, I always make sure we have some on hand.

I've been making this particular recipe since I was about 13 and had tiny sisters. I have no idea where the recipe came from but it is by far the best recipe I've ever used. It's also way way better than that name brand stuff that sells for a small fortune.

So here's my recipe for absolutely perfect playdough. 'Tis the season for sharing.

Perfect Playdough (makes 2 lbs)
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 Tb cream of tartar
1 Tb oil
2 cups water
4 Tb cinnamon (optional but oh-so worth it)
Food colouring

Mix all the ingredients except for the food colouring in a saucepan, stir well and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until it becomes a big clump.

Remove from heat and knead for about 3 minutes. I'm lazy and often make triple batches so I use my KitchenAid mixer but it's simple to knead by hand. Separate and mix in any food colouring at this time. I like gel food colouring because I always have it on hand but liquid works well too, although the colours won't be as vibrant.

Stored in an airtight container or plastic bags, this will last for months.


My oldest son is very "feel-y". He loves it when I pop the playdough into the microwave for about 15 seconds before he starts playing with it. I have to admit, it feels great between your hands when slightly warmed. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Standing Still

A couple of well-meaning history buffs are attempting to bring a little {still} life into Kitchener's Victoria Park.... by erecting 22 bronze statues of former Prime Ministers surrounding Victoria Parks Commons (that giant open space near the clock tower).

The Statue Project

The Statue Project plans to raise $2 million towards the project and has asked the city to kick in $300,000 toward the statue bases and installation. They have also asked the city to provide charitable receipts for donors.

Kitchener City Council heard the pitch and has decided to move on with public consultation in the New Year. Local councillors raised some good points, wondering why a project like this should be based in Kitchener, rather than Ottawa. Our own capital city doesn't even have statues of every Prime Minister. While raising questions, Mayor Carl Zehr admonished councillors for making it difficult for the project to move forward, calling it a "gift" to the city.

While I rarely agree with Kitchener City Councillors, I was in complete shock when I heard voices of reason. Why would a project of this magnitude not be looking for federal funding? This is hardly the kind of project that should be solely funded at a local level. Why in Victoria Park? Why Prime Ministers?

James Howe wrote and suggested that the statues, instead of being placed around the only open space in Victoria Park, be placed at the rapid transit stations that will be part of the much argued about Ion system. I'd go a step farther and question the choice of Prime Ministers as statue subjects.

Do we really need more reminders of the privileged white men who are taxing us on a daily basis? Do the homeless that sleep in Victoria Park need reminders of the men who have continually cut services and funding, possibly contributing to the position they are currently in? Were our former Prime Ministers good people? Bribery, alcoholism, Hitler-admirers and the fathers of Residential Schools...  (*edit: read more about the good, the bad and the ugly of Canada's Prime Ministers over here at My Contention)

Does anyone care about our former Prime Ministers outside of history books? Do we need a reminder about how close Woodside was to closing only last year? If people are not visiting the former home of a former Prime Minister, one who graces our paper money no less, will they travel to visit Victoria Park because it has some statues? Councillor Frank Etherington thinks the project will bring tourism to the region. Likely?

Something I see from local residents is the suggestion of having statues (somewhere) yes, but not (solely) of Prime Ministers. Why not statues of prominent Canadians? Visitors to the KW area WILL make a special trip to Victoria Park (or elsewhere) if they could pose with a statue of William Shatner, Margaret Atwood, Chris Hadfield, Wayne Gretzky, Terry Fox or David Suzuki. Statues of GREAT Canadians. Statues of people we as Canadians care about. Kim Campbell may have been our first female Prime Minister but for a job she held for less than 6 months, is she deserving of being immortalized in bronze for a lifetime?

Victoria Park has one completely open space. It is used for soccer games and yoga classes, music festivals and extreme frisbee. It is a truly wonderous space and in my humble opinion, should not be messed with. What are the chance of these statues getting damaged during set up or tear down of park events. Will the placement of these statues change the way events need to be set up? Will it take more time? What are the chances that someone will get hurt in a soccer or frisbee game with these statues surrounding the playing field?

I wouldn't suggest statues in our park at all but, if that's the only place the statues could go, I'd suggest spreading the statues out throughout the park and turning the entire park into our own version of Canada's Walk of Fame.

Mayor Zehr calls it a gift to the city. But there are some gifts we are not in a position to accept. If the gift is not cohesive with our local arts plan, if the gift will cost us money and if the residents don't want the gift, we cannot accept it.

Even IF, the Statue Project founders offered to fundraise ever last cent of the project and asked us for nothing, does that require the city to accept the gift? Absolutely not. Obviously a flat refusal is out of the question but I think we can dig deeper and try to collaborate on a spectacular project that will be a boon for our city. One that supports local artists, respects resident wishes and celebrates the diversity of our area.

Leave the politicians in Ottawa. 

If we're going to support any sort of statue project in Kitchener, make it one that celebrates people who are unique, innovative, enlightening and glorifying.... the kind of Canadians who make us proud.

Friday, December 6, 2013

PS, I love You

Last year I scaled back big time on my volunteering, in part so I could take a bigger part in being a part of our school community. I joined the school council, took over the greening efforts at the school, started working for the Nutrition For Learning snack bin program within the school and amped up the hours I worked at our Nutrition For Learning Breakfast Club at the church across the street from the school.

Working with the kids in our school has by far, been the most rewarding volunteer job of my life.

I love walking through the halls and hearing "Hi Nicolas' Mom!" I love getting a chance to peek at my children during school time when they don't know I'm watching. I love being on a first name basis with so many staff. I really love when I work in the staff room because I get to overhear teachers talking about techniques they use to help kids "get it".

But most especially, I love walking through the hallways after all the kids have gone home, before the custodians (bless their souls), have swept up and finding stuff like this:

Because Moms, you are awesome. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Experts Aren't Always Right

**There is an update below the original post...

They say you shouldn't write a blog post when you're angry but I figure what the hay, I do angry well.

I work with a group that works with kids. Because our kids eat, we also provide toothbrushes for them.

Last year (and years previous), the toothbrushes were stored in a box that was fitted with a few (brand new) heating grate covers. The heating grate covers worked well, they stored the toothbrushes upright and had separators in them that made sure the brushes stayed about 2" apart from each other. Each toothbrush also had a travel cover on it and was marked with the child's name.

When we asked Public Health to provide us with toothbrushes this year, they told us they didn't like our storage system and they came in to give the kids toothbrushes and show us how to store them "properly".

When the day finally came, the Public Health officer provided each child with their own toothbrush, travel cover and tube of toothpaste and put them in a plastic ziploc bag. I questioned the bag and asked the official why, knowing that the toothbrushes would not dry out if sealed in a baggie. Our team was told, "They may not dry out completely but at least this way, the kids will only be getting their own germs and not someone else's."

After the Public Health officer left, our team still questioned the practise but decided that we needed to follow the rules laid out for us.

Now we fast forward to today, as I help a child find his toothbrush bag in the bin. As I'm rummaging through, I start seeing some really gross bags. Upon closer inspection, a serious case of mould growing in many of the toothbrush bags. *gag*

My germophobic self springs into action, showing the bags to my team and gathering up the supplies to get our kids new toothbrushes. I'm shaking with anger and disgust. Normally, I would have been at this job earlier in the week and would have caught the problem sooner but my a different member of my family has been sick each day for the last week. I'm wondering how many of these kids were brushing their teeth with a mouldy toothbrush yesterday and the day before. I'm wondering why I was brushed off so lightly as I brought up these concerns when Public Health visited us in October.

It's a good reminder that sometimes, you have to go with your gut and against the recommendations of so-called experts.

As a parent, I know my kids are sharing germs every moment they're alive, especially at school. Frankly, I'd rather take the chance of them sharing a few germs because their toothbrushes are under a cover and stored 2" away from another child's toothbrush than brushing their teeth with a mouldy toothbrush that's been festering with bacteria because it's in a sealed baggie with no chance to dry out.

Would you want your kid brushing their teeth with this on it?
Photo: Courtesy
I've asked my team leader to immediately go out and purchase the products we need to make a new storage box. Long term, it may not be the perfect toothbrush storage solution but for now, I'd rather say screw it to the rules than chance any of our kids brushing their teeth with a putrefying bacterial time bomb.

**UPDATE (12/8/2013): Public Health has been looking into this issue. So far, they have let us know that they won't be suggesting this storage method anymore. They are still concerned about infection control and they have asked us to suspend our toothbrushing program until they have decided on a better storage method for toothbrushes. It is not ideal from our point of view but hopefully a new solution will be presented to us soon.

Monday, December 2, 2013


So I went to my first book swap 2 weeks ago and it was a revelation. FREE BOOKS. Yeah, I know that the library lets you borrow books for free but they also have all these rules and restrictions that require you to return books on time and if you don't, they hit you with fines.

Courtesy: Jumpmen
Oh, the fines. I can't afford the fines and I am an irresponsible library card holder so sad as it may be, I tend to avoid.

But back to the book swap. I picked up a pile of fiction and was ready to happily set on my way when I saw the first three books of the Twilight series. I've never been even remotely interested in reading them before but seeing them sitting there, unread and wanting to be loved, I took the plunge and grabbed them, wanting to get to the source of why my sister, cousins and so many others I know are all "Team Edward!" and "Team Jacob!"

Then late last week I was convalescing in bed for 2 days and there were no unread books in the house but those vampire books, staring at me menacingly. So I picked the first one up and started reading.

And I liked them. I read the first three books in those two sick days and when I finished the third, I was honestly upset that I didn't have the fourth on hand. They're not challenging reading by any means and I had a hard time getting into the whole vampire thing but as far as teenage angst and love stories go, they were (surprisingly) good books.

The night I finished the third book I was still stuck in the twilight spell so I decided to watch the first movie. I paid $3.99 to rent it and regretted it within the first 10 minutes. Holy crap what a bad movie! It looked like a home movie, the quality was poor, the acting was terrible and Edward, who was kind of charming and loveable in the books was totally creepy. BUT being my stubborn self, I was determined to watch the entire movie and get my $3.99 worth. The movie stay horrible throughout with one exception... the baseball scene. Some of my favourite geek fantasies involve watching all my favourite superheroes play baseball so it hit close to heart.

I haven't grabbed the last book yet, I'm determined to stick to my guns and only read it if I can get it for free. I likely won't watch any more of the movies even though my sister tells me that the rest are so much better. But I do feel better admitting my secret shame.... I read Twilight and I liked it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Workout Journal - Nov 18-24

After a few months off TRX after my health scare and pure laziness, I returned last Monday. Holy DOMS, people! I was SO sore the next day... I can lift weights and do cardio for hours and never feel the same as I do after a single TRX workout. I'd tell you what exercises the class consisted of but my eyes were rolling to the back of my head by the time we were finished.

Tuesday I hit up the Cardio Fit class. I used to hate group classes because I'm so awkward and uncoordinated but I've come to love them in the last 6 months. There's always someone in the class that's going a little bit harder than you are so I find it easier to push myself. Plus, the instructors are always so darn happy to be there, it's kinda infectious.

Wednesday was technically my off day but I did level 1 of the 30 Day Shred at home. While my husband watched. That won't be happening again.

Thursday was yoga, my favourite class of the week. 90 minutes of zen. I dig this class so much because there's usually only 4 of us in the room which gives the yogi plenty of time to come around and correct us. I do desperately need to remember to take a sweater on Thursdays, however, as the room we're in is quite chilly.

Friday I got sick. I wasn't feeling too bad early in the evening and we headed over to my sister's house for a movie night. As the evening wore on I got snottier and snottier (TMI?), coughing and generally feeling gross. So gross, I didn't even snack. I know, right?

So the weekend was a bust, filled with germs and such until late Sunday night I got out for an easy 3K jog to fill my aching lungs with some fresh air. I thought I would die from hypothermia, outside running is going to hit the backburner until Spring.

I'm still counting the workout week successful, germs and all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chia Willie, Book Swaps and Ironic Kids

I feel a tightening heaviness descending upon my chest. I'm loading up on vitamin c and lemon ginger tea with honey, sugar be damned. I'm sure that creating germ incubating schools was the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies who want us sick all the time. This thought, of course, led me to google conspiracy theories involving big pharma. 10 hours later, my kids begging to go to bed dragged me out of the rabbit hole.

My 7 old is so funny. Months ago, he wanted to buy a Barbie rolling suitcase from the thrift store. His dad wouldn't let him so he picked out a pink Dora one instead. We were out shopping this week and he wanted to buy princess underwear. I ask him why and he replies, "It's funny because I don't even like princesses."

Book swaps are officially the greatest thing in history. Bring in books, leave with new books. WHY ISN"T THIS A THING ALL THE TIME? I've heard of these things called libraries but they're full of rules and fines and I may be wanted in several cities due to unpaid library fines. Oh Librarian, why you gotta hate on my extraordinary procrastination practises?
Conversations with Stan: It's like a giant black hole of limbo from which you can never escape. DH and I are discussing the boys want of knee socks for Christmas, which you have to shop for in the girls section, and Stan pipes in, "Just buy them some long johns."

Me: "But long johns aren't socks."

Stan: "Sure they are. You can cut them off at the knee. Then they'll be manly and not girly."

DH: "But they don't want PANTS, Stan, they want socks. You know, the things that cover your toes and feet?"

Stan: "We didn't wear those until I was almost 30. We wore long johns. Even when it was below 30. You sure knew when your boots were leaking."

Me: "You didn't wear socks at all when you were a kid?"

Stan: "Yes we did. We wore long johns."

I give up.

It's like Movember on steroids all year round! No thanks.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Roundup

- ohmygosh I've been in a total news hangover for a week. At first, I had fun with the whole Rob Ford thing because I've never been a fan of his and seriously, A MAYOR THAT SMOKES CRACK MUST BE MOCKED but now I'm over the high and I'm just so saddened.  Here's a guy that's openly racist, homophobic, drives drunk, drives while reading, admits to smoking crack and buying drugs while in office and then goes on the radio to talk about how his wife and their bedroom activities OH MY GOD HOW IS TORONTO STILL STANDING? And how on Earth are there still members of Ford Nation? I get it, he's a people guy, a real normal I have problems and I'm not afraid to admit it kind of guy but still people, you're okay with all this?

Get off my TV, radio and out of my head, Mr. Ford. I can't take any more questions from my kids about crack or stupors, I just can't.

- I went to parent-teacher interviews and I love my kids even more than I did before. Mr7's teacher said to me, "He is just so helpful, so friendly, so bighearted. One of the other grade 2 teachers told me I'm so lucky to have him in my class and I agree."

- Took our 50-ish, mullet-ed, camo-wearing neighbour Stan, out on some errands the other day. In line at the surplus store, he starts checking out some slingshots. The man in front of him comments:

Man in line: "Those look like they'd be fun toys."
Stan: "Toys? These aren't toys, they're tools."
Man in line: "What do you use them for?"
Stan: "Hunting squirrels."
Man in line: "Oh. You do that often?"
Stan: "Squirrel is much cheaper than chicken."
Man in line: "Oh yeah? I don't know, I saw chicken on sale for a buck a pound last week!"
Stan: "But squirrel from the backyard is free!"

You know what? This is what happens when I do nice things for people. Also, I think a regular posting on the stuff that happens when I hang out with Stan is in order.

- I've become a giveaway whore. I can't stop entering blog contests. At this point, I'd probably enter your blog contest to win 12 packs of Kool-Aid.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mommy, what is crack?

Being a parent is tough. Not only do you lose sleep and forever lose your ability to sleep in but kids also ask a lot of tough questions.

Why is the sky blue?
How are babies made?
Are there dinosaurs in heaven?
Why do flies like gross smelling stuff?
When are you gonna die?

and of course,

What is crack?

We should probably discuss the answers to the earlier questions someday but for now, I give you the top anti-drug PSA's of all time...

Pee Wee Herman Says No To Crack

They're Not Candy

Clint Eastwood Think Crack Is Whack

And the last one isn't an actual commercial but it could've been an actual commercial made by actual drug users. Just as scary.

Don't Do The Drugs

JACKASS OF THE MONTH - November 2013

Who doesn't like to complain a little? I'd like to introduce you to the kind of blog feature I can really get on board with....

The Jackass of the Month

The Jackass of the Month award is not your average award. This isn't for the jerk that cut you off in traffic this morning or your neighbour using his chainsaw on a Saturday morning, it's reserved for the real jackasses that actually, willfully, make the lives of other people worse on a daily basis.

And the award goes to....


This one goes to the assholes who let their dogs poo on the property of a school and leave it there. For the people who willfully ignore signs that say "No Dogs Allowed".

Do you know what happens when you let your dog shit in a schoolyard?


There's a reason I don't own a dog, I'm smart enough to know that I don't want to clean up another animals poo. Wiping my own ass is enough, thank you very much.

What's worse is these shitty dog owners actually have the nerve to get verbally abusive with caretakers of the school property when confronted about their dog's anal butter. I watched a dog owner as he watched his dog drop some rectal feedback, smile and pull his dog away before he shoved his snout all up in that nasty smelling tootsie roll. I watched a woman in office attire glance around furtively as her 150-lb Mastiff dropped a massive steamer and then started to run, in her heels, away from the scene of the ass sneezing. Another yet, made an attempt to kick some dirt over the doggy sausage her German Shepard annihilated the playground with.


So beware, assholes who let their doggies leave toxic turds on the schoolyard... Parents get mad when their kids come home covered in shit, by-law officers come patrolling at random hours of the day and you never know who will be taking pictures...

*I can't take credit for all these wonderful, shitty words although I wish I could. Many thanks to Brenna Lorenz for compiling the Poop Thesaurus.

You'll find a Jackass of the Month Submission Form at the bottom of this blog... nominate your favourite asshole today!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


my co-conspirators

I have 2 amazing sisters and the youngest one turned 21 yesterday so of course, a little surprise was in order.

We hit up a discount store near out house and saw this...

what 21st birthday is complete without creepy clowns?
 And set off with bag of vandalism surprise tools.

We decorated the front yard.

we were going to completely fill the door up with balloons but
the ones we bought were garbage, immediate headache after
blowing up the first one so we gave up after only a few

And the back.

the co-conspirators used silly string for the first time,
they decorated each other more than the house

And lastly, a little surprise for when they opened the curtains and a nod to my favourite blogger.

Some people would get mad but like I said, my sisters are amazing.

Why spend life being serious when you can have so much fun?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Has Your Gym Done For You Lately?

When my family started using our local YMCA 2 years ago I had a hard time getting started. I took the kids faithfully and dropped them off for classes and escaped for an hour with a book. With the shift my husband was working those days, it was the only free time I would get all week.

Then one day, as I sat outside in the sunshine, reading my book, listening to music and smoking a cigarette it finally came to me,

I should probably be using my membership for more than free babysitting.

(I'm slow, what can I say?)

After just a few short workouts I got bit by the bug and I turned into a full-on gym rat. It was over a year ago that I started working out at least 5 days a week, and as often as I can with a fit buddy or trainer.

Then last May, I was suddenly hit with EXTREME pain in my left calf. I've got tattoos, I've given birth to children, injured and endured surgery on my knees and still, I've never experienced pain like this. But as soon as I stopped running/jumping the pain disappeared. For a week, I continued to visit the gym and tried low-impact workouts. But the pain started popping up at other times, like when I was running up the stairs at home or turning suddenly. 

I mentioned something to a trainer at the Y and she encourage me to run (not walk) to the doctor.**


I immediately started on a low-dose blood thinner and had to have blood work taken every six days. Ultrasound quickly became a part of my daily lexicon.

For the first 2 weeks I was constantly on edge, every ache, every twinge had me in fear that the blood clot was moving toward my heart. I thought I was going to die. For reals. For the first time in my life, I actually did every single thing the doctor told me to do. Followed instructions to the letter.

I cleaned my house, had long tea dates with friends and told my kids about 7 million times a day that I loved them and always would.

I was actually preparing myself for death.

After 8 weeks the blood clot cleared and the doctor deemed it was okay for me to discontinue use of the blood thinners. 

So yeah, not only has the YMCA helped me get into great physical shape, boosted my confidence AND given me free babysitting kids classes, it's also saved my life.

*Smoochy, sloppy kisses to all the staff at the A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener. There's no better place I can imagine to take my family to have fun, keep fit and make new friends. Also? You saved my life so I guess I owe you one (or a million).

**But not actually run, because that would have hurt, ya know?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Forget the Kids, Lego is for Grown-Ups

I like Lego. Like, a lot.

So when the Ignite Waterloo team decided to build a massive Lego trophy as a mascot of sorts for the event, I jumped all over the chance to be the builder.

And here it is:

Have Mercy. Isn't she wonderfully majestic? Yes, the trophy is a she, she told me so. It's an intimate relationship, the one between builder and buildee.

She is made of 1396 pieces of Lego, took 15 hours to build and 3 designs to get just right. In related news, Lego Digital Designer is a bitch to use and I'll probably never go that route again.

During the final build, and only about 6 hours before I was due to deliver it, I drop the prototype of the cup and had to redesign on the fly, while gluing. And that gorgeous butcher block she rests upon? $5.50 at a garage sale. Score!

Thanks for allowing me to become a part of Ignite history, Ignite Waterloo, this was fun!

Friday, October 18, 2013

At the Intersection of Little Kid and Big Kid

My kids love Thomas. Popping in a Thomas DVD on a Saturday morning is often the only way I can get a quiet shower in before we head to the market.

But the lights are fading.

The boys are 5 & 7 and they're quickly realizing that they're the only ones in their class that watch Thomas so I've found they're starting to improvise a little more in their Thomas games.

Like tonight. We're driving to the YMCA and they're pretending our SUV is Thomas and Diesel 10 is chasing us. They're watching out the back window and yelling for me to hurry because Diesel 10 is gaining on us. We beat Diesel 10 around a few corners and lights but eventually it happens... we get caught by a red light. Diesel 10 is bearing down on us and I can see Pinchy reaching out from the top of the engine raring to crunch up my Ford Escape until there's nothing left of it.

I yell back to Mr5, "Quick! Throw some cookies out the back door, Pinchy can eat those and then he won't crush us!"

The boy quickly reaches into his pretend bag of cookies, opens his window and tosses the cookies out behind us. I cheer, "You saved us!"

And the boy, in the most serious voice EVER, tells me, "We don't have to worry about him anymore. Those cookies were poisonous and he'll be dead soon".

And in that moment, our happy Treehouse, Thomas and Bubble Guppy childhood died.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Please tell me

that not all the parents have already prepared perfect little bento boxes of smiley foods

or labelled all the water bottles, containers, shoes and jackets.

Please tell me that somewhere out there some other Mom is searching frantically for the leftover labels from last year

and wondering why there is one shoe missing when she could have sworn it was still attached to the other brand new shoe.

Please tell me that somewhere there's a Dad who still hasn't got his kids back on the school year bedtime routine

and hasn't even started school shopping.

Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are They Made From Real Girl Scouts?

My kids are outside right now telling the neighbour kids that the watermelon has real sugar babies in it.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

clearance is my favourite word

You know that commercial where the woman runs out of the store screaming "START THE CAR!" to her husband? It totally happened today.

We went school shopping and stopped at the children's resale store my sister works at. And these happened.


Kids shoes for $3.50? Sign me up.

Then we went to a discount store in the same plaza (think Giant Tiger, K-Mart kind of place) to look for lunchbags. That was a bust but while waiting for my sister to pay for her pillows I spotted a table with clearance items on it.

But this was no regular clearance sale. O.M.G.

First up, this gigantic mirror was regularly $14.99.

50¢! Sold. And the "crack" is about 1/2" in the bottom of the frame that no one will ever see.

Then I saw a multi phone charger. Since my hubby stole mine this morning (which, yeah, was technically his...) I was in need.


1 broken adapter, which isn't even actually broken, the casing just snapped off. So, another 50¢ item.

We don't usually use bug spray but we've got a big hike coming up that may need a little more than my homemade version so I splurged another 50¢.


 Broken lid? Big deal.

Then some eyeliner.... I've never used this brand but for 25¢ I'm willing to try once.

And finally this guy... who wasn't on the super giant clearance sell-out rack but was super cute and my kiddos have been begging for a sprinkler. We splurged on this one at $2.99.

So we had a major shopping spree for a total of $11.73 today. We never did manage to find suitable lunchbags though...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Boys and their Toys

Once, a friend broke away from our conversation to holler, "Caleb! Stop touching your penis, that's private!"

I laughed that nervous I don't have children laugh and sighed, "Boys. Once they find their penis they never stop touching it."

Fast forward 12 years and 2 boys later I finally have a revelation....


Ohmygoodness some days I'd swear that every other word in my house is penis. Penis jokes, penis playtime, it's a 'let's be naked and grope ourselves all the time' funhouse around here.

I realized it the other night, lamenting with my sister who is also lucky enough to be the Mom of a boy, that ALL the stories we share about our kids involve penis stories. It's not because we want to talk about our kids penises all day but because WE HAVE NO OTHER STORIES TO SHARE.

"Mom, why are they called beans and wieners?"
"Because sometimes people call them wieners instead of hot dogs."
Boy stands. "Wiener! Just like my wiener!" Gyrates his hips at the lunch table. *classy, my boy, so classy*

"MOM! Look how big my penis grew overnight!" *how do I explain morning wood?*

"Mom if I pull this back it's a surprise!" *SURPRISE!*

Boy, running away from my desk with a ruler. "I'll be right back Mom, we just have to check something!" *Comparing... already?*

"Hey N, let's use our penises like swords and be knights!" *Is THAT what they used on the battlefield?*

"Knock Knock"
"Who's there?"
"The letter P"
"P who?"
"P-E-N-I-S and you don't have one!" Hysterical laughter.

So, you know, just in case you wondered what I do all day, this is it. I listen to penis talk and penis jokes and since my kids want to be nudists forever, I get to look at them flopping around while they do the most graceful things like somersaults and wrestling.

Ain't life grand?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sounds Like Science Fiction To Me

Sharing a picnic table with a senior at the park yesterday, he asked me what I was doing on my "gadget".

Me: "Reading the newspaper."

Him: "You seem to be forgetting the paper part."

Me: "Indeed I am, but it's really quite convenient."

Him: "Sounds like science fiction to me."

Me: "I still find it amazing, the things these phones can do."

Him: "If it's so advanced, why does the glass crack?"

PHOTO CREDIT: AndroidCentral

You win this time, old man in the park.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


This makes me mad.

AUTISM isn't on board. A PERSON affected by autism is on board.

It's a small distinction but one that is very, very important to make.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Badass Cats Wear Top Hats

Me: If MoMo (the cat) could wear a hat, what kind of hat do you think she'd choose?

Him: *blank stare*

Me: Really, I'm serious. Would she be a tiara kind of gal, top hat, baseball cap, fedora....? Please, really, I'm researching.

Him: What kind of job do you have again?

Me: She'd wear a top hat, I'm sure of it. Only the most badass of cats could pull off a top hat.

Him: *blank stare*

Me: You don't get me at all, do you?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yesterday, I did a deadlift for the first time. 90 lbs, 3 sets of 12 reps. Holy moly, my legs and arms are jello-y today, good thing it's an off day!

At another point yesterday, I helped someone across the country in Vancouver find a shelter spot and clothing AND helped a person in another part of Ontario get some food delivered to their house.

All this, and I can't get a job interview at Tim Hortons. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An open letter to residents in Waterloo Region

Dear friends,

Tonight, Kitchener council sits and listens to carefully spun stories of economic development, boatloads of money, jobs, tourism and more from a proposed casino in our area.

Let's hope our councillors listen to their level headed constituents  before they start getting wowed by the dollar signs being flashed before their eyes.

How much will a casino benefit our community?

We hear promises of millions of dollars per year. Where do these dollars come from? Our own citizens, losing. When we ENCOURAGE our people to lose in order for our city to gain, we can be sure that the fabric of our community is broken.

Gamblers are disproportionately more from low to medium income demographics than high ones. By encouraging people to lose, we are encouraging some of our poorest citizens to bet their hopes and dreams for a big payday... one that will be gained only by the OLG.

In the last 10 years, our own economic development fund has put over $100 million into the revitalization of our downtown core. Independent and big businesses are making their home in our core, starting to flourish and bringing PEOPLE back onto those downtown streets.

Encouraging our own citizens to travel outside our core, to the outskirts of our city, to lose their money at a casino will be in complete disregard to the work put in to make our downtown a viable, vibrant, exciting place to be.

Shall we enter the realm of the social and moral implications?

Just a few weeks ago, 250 leaders of different faiths came together in Toronto to say no to a casino. When was the last time you saw that many leaders of that many faiths agree on something?

The reason? Many of the people who seek help for gambling addiction, from the addicts themselves to their family members, turn to clergy for counsel because by the time their lives have been ripped apart, they can no longer afford private counselling for the matter. These clergy men and women? They see the worst of the worst of these cases every single day.

Lastly, let's think about our brand.

We have Blackberry. We have Desire2Learn. We have Google, EA Games, Christie Digital, Toyota and OpenText. We are home to 2 renowned universities, a college, a distinguished concert hall, the Perimeter Institute and CIGI. We are host to festivals that people travel from across the globe to attend.

All in all, Waterloo Region is a pretty kickin' place to live, work and play. Our "small town" is known across the globe and we didn't need a casino to get us there. Is preying on the ignorance of some of our citizens for a few dollars worth the loss of dignity and branding of our great community?

Stand up, residents of Waterloo Region and join me in saying no to a casino. If nothing else can sway you, consider this: Rob Ford, the man who hates bikes, hates gays, reads while driving and doesn't know the difference between Winnipeg and Windsor thinks that having a casino is his town is the best thing since sliced bead. If we can't rally together to be the opposite of everything he is, we probably can't do anything at all.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Love is Love

While we lie in bed, discussing our day and plans with friends, N turns to me and says, "E has 2 dads. Why can't I have 2 dads? Or Mom, can I have 2 dads AND 2 moms? Because that would be super cool!"

And as I see blind acceptance and love for a friend whose family is different than our own, I have to wonder... If we are born with a magnificent love that accepts everyone, how do some eventually decide that what they felt before is no longer right? Why can my children see that love is love, regardless of who the love is between, and yet the adult sitting beside me on the bus cannot?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

If You Give a Moose a Cruller

Sometimes, a story comes across your desk that just gives you a bit of (strange) inspiration.

Photo Credit: CBC 
Sadly, this moose was sick and didn't survive. But hopefully my version of a kid's favourite story will live forever in our plaid flannel hearts.

If You Give a Moose a Cruller

Credit: Foodology

If you give a moose a cruller, he's probably going to ask for a double double.

Credit: BareNaked Nutrition

After that, he'll feel guilty and want to have a Body Break.

Then he'll hear the Hockey Night in Canada song and want to watch the game.

Credit: Red Mittens Canada

After seeing the ice, he'll feel a little cold and ask for his toque

Credit: Brady Brady 

And he'll ask you to read him his favourite Brady Brady book.

Credit: Jasper National Park

He'll start to get sleepy and ask if he can retreat to his igloo bedroom

Credit: Sally Cole, The Guardian

He'll get cozy under the blankets, look out the window and see a Newfie, playing the fiddle

Which will make him want to sing a song!
Of course, he knows all the actions to Skinamarinkidinkydink.

When he's done that, he'll probably be thirsty and ask for a double double

Credit: rainbowofcrazy on etsy

And chances are, if he asks for a double double, he's going to want a cruller to go with it.

Much love to Laura Numeroff for writing the original If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book as well as the subsequent If You Give a Moose a Muffin book which was the inspiration for my Canadian version.

And even more love to Steve Bentley, Stephen Vaz, Robb Farago, Dana B, Wes Prankard, Amanda Stratton, Beck and Craig Smith for sharing their ideas of the quintessential "Canadian" doughnut. Find these great people on twitter!