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My Son Is Nuts

OK not really. But at the age of 4 1/2, he can use a nutcracker as well as an adult.


"Boy" strength showing up early, I guess. I think part of it might be that he applies all of his wee brute strength with no regard to where the pieces fly, whereas when I crack a nut I try to be tidy and hold back a bit.

The end result is that lately he's been eating lots and lots and lots of nuts, which leaves him open to the inevitable comments of "hey, you are what you eat, you know!".

On the plus side, nuts are pretty darn good for you, and while I've been munching on my secret stash of leftover chocolate covered almonds, he's been eating them sans-crap, right out of the shell.

Mommy approved!!
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My First Blog Award!

I've been awarded the Fabulous Blog award by Lady Banana (awesome - thanks!!)

So now it's my turn to list five of my addictions, and pass this award along to five other awesome blogs. Here goes:


1) Chocolate!!!
2) Sushi
3) Twitter
4) Blogging
5) Good coffee

Five more fabulous blogs:

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Family Organizer Calendar

Last year, a friend of mine gave me a calendar made by It was a "family" calendar, and on each month it contained a separate column for each member of the family (it had five blank columns).

We love it! It hangs on the side of the fridge, and we can all see at a glance, all four schedules and how they overlap and interact. I went to the website of the publisher today and couldn't find the 2009 version - I guess they've stopped making it.

Well! That didn't stop me ;-) I made one myself, and here's how:

1) Using Excel, I created a spread sheet with 33 rows and 7 columns.

2) Down the first column, starting on the third row, I numbered 1 through 31.

3) On the left side of the top row, I typed "Month:" and left the space after it blank (to create a perpetual template - after I printed it, I had Alyssa write the months at the top of each sheet in the blank space).

4) Across the second row, I entered column headers as follows:
Date, Day, Name1, Name2, Name3, Name4, Other.
(Under the "date" header are the numbers 1-31; under the "day" column are blank spaces to insert the days of the week).

5) I adjust the column widths and row heights so that the document would fill two pages when printed, and then printed using 8 1/2 x 11 card stock.

6) I printed 12 copies (24 sheets), and trimmed the bottom of the page 1's and taped them to the top of the page 2's.

7) I used a hole punch and three key rings to fasten them together at the top.

Now I have an 8 1/2 x 22 family calendar for 2009. It may not look quite as slick as last year's, but I know it will be a scheduling life saver.
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Parenting Tip #3,482

Never (unless you have money to throw away), leave your pump dispenser of Joico K-Pak Leave-In Protectant on the counter, or your four-year-old could mistake it for hand soap, and decide to clean the sink for you.


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Wart Removal With Nail Polish

Interesting... watching The Doctors, and there was a Mom on the show who used nail polish to get rid of her son's wart.

She used an old bottle that she didn't want anymore (I don't think you'd want to use it on your nails after applying it to a wart), and she covered the wart on her son's foot. A few days later she picked the nail polish off and the wart came off with it - painlessly and effectively.

I think it probably works on the same principal as duct tape, in that it triggers an immune system response. When I used the duct tape it took several weeks, whereas the nail polish supposedly works much faster.

I think this is a remedy I'm going to try if we ever have another wart appear.
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So Busy Lately!!!

A quick post for today as I continue my running like a headless chicken...

A & J are on their way to the bathroom to brush their teeth before school. The family dog is devouring A's leftover breakfast.

A: "Mommy! Can you please save my peanut butter toast? I want to eat it after school."

(oops ;-)
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School Lunch Ideas

Just discovered these the other day: Mini Honey Mandarin Oranges.

Yum! They're sweeter than larger Mandarins, and they fit in the palm of your hand - perfect for little fingers (the pic below is Joseph peeling one of them).

Even picky Alyssa agreed to take one in her school lunch, along with the following comment: "Mommy you know that's a language too, right?"

Too cute ;-)

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How Do You Remove Play Doh From Carpet?

Ohhhhh.... just figured this one out!!

Let it dry, then use the narrow plastic vacuum attachment to "scrape" it off. The dried Play Doh gets flaked off the carpet fibres and then sucked up into the vacuum (wahoo!!).

This is the best method I've found so far (and believe me, I'm pretty sure I've tried almost everything).

Re: staining - I haven't noticed any, and our carpet is light grey. Not sure about cream or white carpets - I have no idea if Play Doh stains or not.

(Of course you can always do what a good friend of mine does - keeps the Play Doh in the basement where they have laminate flooring ;-)
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lol Here's One More:

Just now:

Me: Hey! Get out from behind the TV, please.

J: But Mommy!!! I can do anyfing I want!! And you always can't!!

Glad we got that straight ;-)
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Coversation With Lil' J

Yesterday, walking to school to pick up Alyssa, talking to himself:

Normal voice: Hi Grass!!

Squeaky voice: Hi Joe!!

Normal voice: Grass, why are you so slippery?

Squeaky voice: Because of da snow!

Normal voice: Can I walk on you?

Squeaky voice: OK! It doesn't hurt!

(Well that's good at least...)

Riding Smart Cycle, with the dinosaurs cartridge:

J: "Mama look!!! Look at da Dinosaur!!!"

Me: "Oh, it's so big!"

J: "Ya!! Isso big it can even fit in my tummy!!!"

(Hmmm. Maybe he needs breakfast).
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Getting Grains In Little Tummies

My son loves this porridge recipe, so I thought I'd pass it on:

1 1/3 cup water
2/3 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tsp honey

Heat ingredients above, stirring until porridge thickens, then remove from heat.

Top with:

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

It's nice if the blueberries are still frozen because they help to cool the porridge.

This is a quick easy way to get some healthy grains and blueberries into little picky eaters :-)
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Birthday Party Idea

Here's an idea that a friend of mine just did at her daughter's first birthday: a time capsule!!

LOVE it. She just had all her guests write notes to her daughter to put it in the time capsule, but I think it would have been neat to take it a step further: tell your guests about it in advance to give them the opportunity to bring in something to add.

Soooo cool.... !!! My kids are past their first birthdays, but I may still consider this for another milestone birthday (such as ten).
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Try Bingo To Help Reading Skills

Here's an idea for a custom Bingo game that reinforces early reading skills:


  • Card stock paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen

To make:

  • Use two (or more) sheets of card stock as your Bingo cards.
  • On these cards, draw a grid of squares (4x4 or 5x5 works well).
  • In each square, write simple words that you think your child will be able to read.
  • Cut more card stock into small squares that will fit in the squares drawn on the cards (these are your Bingo chips).
  • Copy the words that are on the cards onto the chips as well, making sure that there are the same number of word chips as there are cards (so each player has the same word chips).
  • Make an extra set of word chips - these are your "caller" cards.

To Play:

Turn a caller card over to reveal a word. Each player finds their matching word card and places it on its spot on their Bingo card. The first player to make a line wins.

My daughter and I play this all the time, and her four year old brother plays as well. He is actually able to match up the words based on the letters they contain, even though he can't yet read them all (he can sound out some simple three letter words). Because this reading practice is presented in the form of a Bingo game, they have fun without realizing they're "doing homework" ;-)

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How I Taught My Son Our Address

I made it into a song.

I used a random melody that begins and ends on the same note (so it makes sense to your ear) and sung the address over and over. He loved hearing it, and asked me to "sing it again, mama!! sing it again!!". Tonight as I was tucking him in for bed, out of nowhere he sang it, with the address correct.


I don't think he'd be able to recite the address without the melody, but that doesn't matter. What does matter (lol) is that I don't think he knows it's his "address"; as in, if someone asked him for his address, he wouldn't know to sing the song.

LOL, oh well, one thing at a time, right?
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Bratz Dolls Will No Longer Be Sold In 2009

Have you heard? This was news to me but here's a link from a CNN site:

Apparently Barbie and Bratz (or the makers of ;-) have been in a legal dispute and the Barbie side has won. After the current holiday season, Bratz dolls will be pulled from store shelves and no longer available for sale.

LOL If you were a collector/investor, wouldn't now be a good time to stock up?

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Treating A Child's Fever

I am not a nurse or a doctor, just a Mom trying to figure out what the right thing to do is.

J has had a fever for a couple of days, and has not had his usual energy level (when he voluntarily lies down on his bed instead of playing, you know something's amiss!). He's still a happy little guy, talkative and smiley, and there's been no vomiting - just coughing and a "sniffy" nose. And the fever.

Last year when this happened (it usually does about once or twice a year for him - Alyssa is not as prone to fevers but Joseph usually gets them), I gave him ice packs to cool him down. This made him shiver, and yet he got hotter! Once I did a bit of research I understood why:

Fever helps the body fight off in infection of course. What I didn't know is that if you ice a fever, you actually cause the body temperature to increase.

We all have an internal thermostat that keeps our body temperature around 98.6F. Unfortunately this is an optimal temp for bad bugs to thrive, so when we get sick the internal thermostat resets to a higher temp, and the body works to maintain that new setting (a. to help kill the bug, and b. to optimize our immune system's performance).

So when you ice a fever, you're fighting against the body's natural immune system response, requiring that even more heat be generated to try and reach that new internal thermostat setting.

Here's a link from a Nursing forum with a conversation specifically about icing kids' fevers:

Bottom line, I've discovered, is that you're better off leaving the fever alone (assuming it's not too high, of course - then you may want to see your Doc) and focusing on making your child comfy. Lots of fluids, comfy PJ's, favourite show on tv, and naps if they're willing.

There goes my timer again - I have to get A up for school. I'll be back!
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5 Steps To Using Words, Not Fists

My son (the lil' hammer dude) is like most kids - impressionable and teachable. (I see this as an upside to having kids, because if you don't censor your own bad behaviour, they pick it up!!).

note to self - hide the candy wrappers better so my six year old doesn't see them in the garbage and get upset when I won't let her have any

Anyway, more about Lil' J. He has learned to talk about his anger, rather than hitting. Here's what worked for us:

Step 1) Intervene if he is hitting, pushing, or otherwise being physical with his anger.

Step 2) Sit down at his level and wait for him to calm down.

Step 3) Ask him why he is angry, listen to what he has to say.

Step 4) Tell him that it is OK to be angry, but that it is NOT OK to use his hands to show anger.

Step 5) Show him another way to express his anger: for example, by using words.

Steps 4 and 5 are particularly important. I truly believe that kids are not born wanting to hit or be violent - they just don't know how to express themselves. I also think it's important that he deal with anger, so that it's not bottled up inside.

This morning, for example, he didn't get to play in the school playground like he usually does because of the rain. He was very upset, but because we've been through the five steps listed above, he walked nicely with me, holding my hand, and talked about how angry he was. I told him that I understood, I'd be angry too, it's OK to feel that way, and I was very proud of how he uses his words to tell me.

Because he had been taught how to express himself without getting in trouble (which would have made him angrier), he got over it in about two or three minutes, and started laughing talking about something else entirely.

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Stupid Toys For Kids

I don't usually complain, and I try and see the educational upside to everything, but sometimes....


J has a toy tool bench that came with a hammer, which understandably I hid for awhile. Today I came across it and gave it to him, to see where he's at with that sort of thing.

He immediately started to hammer the wall. Since he had lost another hard plastic toy for several days because he had chipped the wall paint, I quickly put a stop to this new experiment.

"No buddy, NOT the wall. Only soft things, like the carpet."

He started hammering the carpet, and I told him that was fine. Then BANG BANG BANG his hammer found the kitchen lino.

"Noooo!!!! Only SOFT things. The kitchen floor isn't soft, ok? Just SOFT things like the carpet or the couch."

He then went over to the dog, and I caught him just in the nick of time.

"NOOO!! Buddy, come on. We love puppy, and yes he is soft, but we don't want to hurt him!!"

He nodded, and stood and pondered this for a few minutes. He then wandered into the living room, and called me:

"Mama, is the TV soft?"

Needless to say, the hammer has been taken away again.
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Getting My Kids To Eat

I've figured out the secret (for my son, anyway). Brace yourself, 'cause it's not, um, palatable...

Add Ketchup!!!

To anything... I just add a squirt on the side of his plate and he dips, or mixes, or whatever. Somehow it ends up in his stomach. I'm amazed his poo isn't tomato coloured.

Tonight, for instance, I served him a plate of pork roast (slow cooked with rosemary, salt and pepper... mmmm!!), with roast potatoes (cooked in the drippings... mmmm!!!) and gravy, and he wanted no part of it. He wanted me to "make the gravy into ketchup".

Ohhhh kay.

I made another plate without gravy, squirted some ketchup on the side, and "mustard too, please Mama", and now he's eating it.

Whatever works!!
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A Good Diaper Bag Gift Idea

I just thought I'd pass this on while I'm thinking about it... for anyone looking for a gift idea for an expecting family:

When I was pregnant with Alyssa, one of my gifts was an Eddie Bauer diaper bag. It was like any other diaper bag - it came with a changing pad and all the necessary compartments for baby gear.

The thing that separated this bag from others that I've seen is that it is mostly black with tan suede accents - it looks more like a camera bag than a diaper bag. I still use it to this day, and my kids are 4 and 6. It's practical, convenient, and stylish - a great gift that will get used long term, not just for a year or two.
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5 Easy Ways To Make Reading Fun

I'm lucky that Alyssa loves to read, so getting her to practice is no struggle. Still, the more fun we have, and the more ways I can "sneak it in", the easier it is. Here are some things that have worked for us:

1) Word search puzzles. You can find children's word search books at places such as Chapters, or you can always make your own. This is what I did initially - I used graph paper, filled in simple words to start, and then filled in the blanks with random letters. Making them yourself is actually an ideal way to start because you can customize them to your child's level. Make sure the first few puzzles have only a few words (i.e. 4-6), so that your child has a feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing the puzzle.

2) Leave the close captioning on the TV. We did this by accident once and Alyssa actually learned how to spell a few words by watching and reading along. Since then we've left it on.

3) Play Hang Man. This is another favourite of A's. You can use short phrases as well, and whenever your child is ready, he/she can create the puzzles for you to solve. Humour takes the work out and turns it into play: Alyssa made a puzzle for me to solve, the answer to which was "do not fart". She was pretty amused, let me tell you ;-)

4) Communicate with notes. I leave notes for A in her lunch, and taped to her bedroom door. You can take this a step further and play "treasure hunt" with notes - so much fun :-)

5) Make books with your child. I use coil bound notebooks from the dollar store and write short stories in them, and Alyssa will illustrate them after she's read them. The nice thing about writing them yourself is that you can tailor them to your child's level and interests.

Happy reading!

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Toy Packaging Woes


I'd like to, um, find and give my two cents to the person who came up with those little metal twisty things that hold toys captive in their plastic and carboard packaging. C'mon. Quit spoiling their fun. How are they supposed to have their "middle of the night in the deserted store toy parties" when they're tied down like that?

Then there's those little bitty need a microscope to see 'em elastics (not that my eyes have sustained laptop damage or anything). If the metal twisties and elastics aren't bad enough, to add more stupidity to the mix, there's tape as well.

I wonder if the toy packaging people have young children, and have heard of something called "getting things done" time. As in, by the time my daughter is bored with birthday gift #1, all my "getting things done" time has been used up trying to extract toy #2 from its plastic prison and then recycle the packing.

What ever happened to the days when you opened the box and the stuff just fell out?

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Surviving Skating

We did it!!! J and I both survived :30 on the ice without any lasting ill effects :-)

My back was a bit sore, mind you, from leaning over his chair (which he did NOT want to get out of). I spent 99% of the time bent over pushing him around (it was one of those little kid chairs).

Twice I managed to get him out:

"It's Mommy's turn to sit!!"

"Nooooooooooooo!!!! I wanna stay in da chair!!!!"

I'd somehow manage to haul him up out of it and fall down onto it myself. My goal was to force him to stand, but no such luck. He kept trying to climb into my lap. Not so much fun with skates on!!

All in all, though, it was ok. No tears and no injuries!!
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Skating With Preschool

Ohhhhh boy.

Lil J's preschool class has skating today (they do this twice a year) and each child must be accompanied by an adult. My husband is at work, so that leaves... um... me!

I can't skate. I seem to be in the minority - most people I know can slap on a pair of blades and glide around without looking too foolish. Not me. I need a chair, or a cone, or the boards or something. So J and I will make our way out there and more than likely sit with our butts on the ice and watch everyone else.

Which leads me to the question - do I qualify for another adult to help me???


The upside is that it's only for half an hour...
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Party Preparation

I have a big bag of Cheetos and a big bag of Ruffles on my table, plus a flat of juice boxes, ready to take to A's birthday party. Apparently I've been too busy blogging to hide them.

Lil' J: "Mommy can I have some cheeeezeees?"

Me: "Not today Buddy. You'll have them at Alyssa's party."

Lil J: "Pweeeeeeeze Mommy? Pweeeeeze?"

And on it goes. He wasn't happy with carrots as an alternative ("but they're the same colour - look!"). Hmmm.

(Nice try Mommy ;-)
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Goodie Bag Success!

I found what I was looking for at another dollar store: I was able to get enough pencil cases for the boys and the girls. I've stuffed them with candy and trinkets (pencils, erasers, stickers, etc.).

I like the contents to be useful, and as a parent any time I can promote writing or drawing I try my best. With that in mind, I don't think I've ever done a goodie bag that didn't include a pencil/pen/crayon of some kind.

One year for goodie bags I gave each child a pad of construction paper and a small box of crayons. An added bonus to this approach is that if you have leftovers (I usually make a few extra bags), then you have usable craft supplies for your own kids.


Kids And Computers


Hubby (talking about Lil' J, who's 4): "He's on your computer. Whatever, he seems to know what he's doing." ...wanders off to the bathroom.

Um, 'scuse me? It's not the computer I'm worried about - it's everything else in my office.

I went downstairs and extracted him from potential complications, only to find him down there a few hours later with his sister, who is five.

Alyssa: "Mommy I like this one." I look at the screen to find her at Google, typing words into the search box.

Um, NO. Not without parental filters, or constant supervision, and I am not spending the next hour standing over your shoulder as you type at the speed of slug. I love you.

The rate at which kids become computer friendly is inspiring and alarming at the same time. I am a big believer in the policy of no Internet in bedrooms. One of these days I'll have the time and the energy to move my desk top upstairs so that both kids can "surf supervised".

Meanwhile J will just have to be content watching his sister on one of three sites: Starfall, Webkinz, or totlol (I keep meaning to look at and bookmark more, like Nick Jr., for example).

Now he (J) is trying to climb on my lap, so that's all for now!


Goodie Bag Tip

A friend of mine used Oriental Trading for the goodie bags for a theme party she threw for her daughter last year. She was very happy - they were affordable, and very prompt with their shipping. She said she'd use them again.

Just thought I'd pass that on...

(Hey, this is my 100th post!! Wahoo!!)



More On Goodie Bags

So Hubby is off work and was able to stay with Lil' J and A while I ran up to the dollar store on my quest for goodie bag stuff...

I like to give something that will last, and fill that with trinkets. I think I mentioned in my last post some of the things I've used (i.e. fanny packs, etc.).

Today my trusty ol' dollar store came up short. They had tube shaped pencil cases that I liked - Disney Princess for girls and Batman/Spiderman etc. for boys, but guess what? Not enough. So far I have 11 girls and 7 boys, and there were only nine girl cases (about 30 for boys - go figure).

There is another dollar store close by that I'm going to check out tomorrow, but Hubby will be at work so Lil' J will have to come with me while A is at school. Oh well, such is life. If that's my biggest problem, things aren't so bad, lol.


5 Goodie Bag Ideas

It's that time again... A's birthday is in a few weeks and I need to make goodie bags for her party.

The party doesn't really have a theme - it's being held at a local indoor play centre, and there are quite a few kids coming. My approach with goodie bags has always been to get them something useful and fill that with little things, rather than just give little things wrapped in a plastic bag. I've given pencil cases, fanny packs, pails and courier bags, to name a few. Some time this week I'll head up to one of our dollar stores and see what I can find.

While I'm on the subject, here are some fun goodie bag/party favour ideas that I've seen at other parties we've attended:

1) Take home craft: each child was given a small gardening set and during the party they planted some seeds as well as a small flowering plant. They took home their tools and the things they had planted.

2) Another take home craft: sunglasses that each child decorated.

3) A bucket each of sidewalk chalk.

4) Costumes: at a Hawaiian theme party each child went home with a lei and a grass skirt.

5) Build-A-Bear! My kids have always loved being invited to Build-A-Bear parties.


Does It Get Any Easier?

Ah yes. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

For those parents out there dealing with the perils of "age four" for the first time, take heart in knowing that it does get easier. Alyssa is turning six in a few weeks, and is soooo much easier than when she was Lil' J's age (4 1/2). At the moment he is a holy terror ;-)

I remember back when A was that age, I thought to myself "she's difficult because she'll be an easy teenager". As it turns out I'm getting my rewards sooner than I thought :-)

Hmmm. I wonder, then, what her adolescence will be like???? Ahhhhhh!!!



Heavy Rainfall Warning

You know how it is... when you have nothing to blog/talk about, there's always the weather ;-)

Today we have a heavy rainfall warning. We get those quite often where I live (the south coast of B.C., Canada). Yup, heavy rainfall.

This meant that my daughter had no choice (because Mommy is the Dry Clothes Warden) but to wear her rain boots and then change into her shoes when she got to class. It also means that The Boy (because he is Mr. Trippy) will change clothes several times today.

Last but not least, it meant that we were late for school today, because Mommy Warden thought she'd be clever and keep Mr. Trippy and Miss Too-Much-Of-A-Diva-To-Change-Her-Shoes out of the rain as long as possible, but messed up on the time. As a result, Miss Diva missed the second bell and needed a late slip from the office.

Oops. Baaaad Mommy...


Pinata Tip For Birthday Parties

Alyssa went to a friend's birthday party the other day and they had a pinata. Her Mom had an idea for filling it that I'd never seen, and I thought I'd pass it on.

We've had pinatas at our kids' parties in the past, and endured the mad scramble and ensuing madness as all the kids try and grab as much loot as they can. For the less aggressive, there can be hurt feelings if other party goers end up with more candy and are not well mannered enough to share.

As a solution, my friend prepared in advance small baggies of candies and put those in their pinata. That way each child got the same amount.

So simple, yet such a great idea!!! I'm definitely doing that if we ever have another pinata.


The Effects On My Children Of Setting The Clocks Back

Never mind them... the effect on me is that bedtime is an hour later!!!!!

OK, I'm a grownup. I can handle it. I think.

It hasn't been too bad - there has been only one crying episode so far today, and at the moment they're both playing nicely. Not bad considering if we hadn't set the clock back, lil' J would be asleep by now.

So far so good, and only ten minutes or so left until I can whisk The Boy away to the bathroom to brush his teeth...


Sneaking Nutrients Into Food

I'm always looking for ways to sneak nutrients into my kids' food, and here something I tried the other day that worked (good thing they don't read my blogs ;-)

I sprinkled some wheat germ into their peanut butter sandwiches.


The idea is to not go overboard or they'll notice. Better to have them eat sandwiches with a little bit added each time, rather than have them reject them entirely.

This is a handy trick if your kids are very "bread colour oriented". My kids prefer white bread because it's softer and it's what Daddy eats, but if I simply say "not today!" for white, they will eat whole grain, and I never pack anything but whole grain in A's school lunches.

However, I know there are kids out there who won't eat bread unless it's white, so sneaking some wheat germ (or flax, or bran) inside might be a solution that works.


Finding Socks That Fit

Our niece, who's petite, can wear her ten year old's shirts. A friend of mine has a twelve year old daughter who, at 5'7", towers over her and borrows her clothes. Being the Mom of a four and five year old, I'm still a few years away from this.

Or so I though ;-)

I was out of socks this morning, and starting digging in the clean hamper for whatever I could find. The last time I was at Zellers I bought J (my four year old son) some socks that are a bit too big (the next size down would have been too small). I was thinking at the time that he might get more wear out of the bigger ones.

Little did I know, so would I!!

They fit me better than they do hm. Now the only question remains is when he notices (and oh he will), what will his reaction be?


Healthy Tacos?

Hey!!! Who put wheat germ in there???

Seriously. I'm going to try it. Why not? Kids and Hubby never read my blogs, and with all the taco seasoning that goes into the meat, they'll never notice.

Wish me luck.

Now if only I could get them to east salsa, then I could puree some fresh tomatoes to add some lycopene (do you think they'd notice the tomatoes mixed in with the grated cheese instead? Yes?). sigh.

I'll let you know how the wheat germ works out...


Healthy Kid Lunches

I was scouring the net just now looking for some new ideas for my daughter's school lunches... it seems like I pack the same things for her day in and day out, and I want to add some new items.

Then it occurred to me that other Moms might be doing the same thing, so I thought I'd post my list in case it gives someone else some new ideas :-)

The following are some things I have packed for my daughter for school lunches:

  • Cheese sandwich on whole grain bread

  • Frozen juice box as an ice pack

  • Cheese string

  • Mini carrots

  • Banana

  • Granola bar

  • Apple sauce

  • Fish crackers

  • Cheerios

  • Fig Newtons

  • Green grapes

...see what I mean? It's all good stuff, but there's not a whole lot there. My daughter is pretty picky. I guess I'll just keep surfing and see what else I can come up with...


Chewing Hair

My daughter has hair down to her waist.

Kind of.

Now she has two mid-cheek length fringes on either side of her face. The layered look? Yup. A hair dresser? Nope. She chewed it that way herself.

That's right, she chewed her hair. Chow down, baby... and pass the ketchup.

It was cute for a couple of days - you know, kids and their weird and endearing habits - until I noticed that some of her hair has been significantly shortened.

Um... hang on.

So today after school when she put another big chunk in her mouth, I couldn't help myself - I threatened her with a real hair dresser appointment (as in, scissors - not teeth).

"If you're going to chew it off, I'm going to take you in and have it ALL cut off!"

I was then the recipient of a narrowed eyes dirty look.

"Well Mommy, I could still chew it!!"

(Um... EXCUSE ME??? You want to take on your MOTHER???)

She's got spunk, I'll give her that. But for all her tough kid comebacks, I haven't seen any hair in her mouth since...


How To Keep Kids Quiet While Others Are Sleeping

What? You think I know?

Hubby works shift work, and I think the poor man has given up on having a quiet house to sleep in.

The kids mean well (when they remember). Asking a four and five year old to remember something for longer than 30 seconds is like asking me to stick with a diet.

Anyway... at the moment my Dad is visiting and sleeping in our basement, the sleeping area of which is located directly below our living room. Anyone who's lived in the basement suite of a house built in the 70's knows how noisy the ceilings are when people walk overhead.

So my daughter very thoughtfully turns down the volume of her Bratz DVD player ("Grandpa is sleeping!"). They sing along to the Barney music in nice quiet voices, trying their best to be good.

The song "If You're Happy And You Know It" comes on, and they quietly demonstrate their happiness by... stomping their feet.


Pass the ice cream!!!


Saving Money On Birthday Presents

Here's a quick tip for saving money on all the birthday gift madness your kids inflict on you...

(I haven't learned the art of saying "I'm sorry but - insert child name - won't be able to make it, but thanks for the invite".)

This is what a friend of mine does. Her daughter is only ten months old, so she can get away with it, without being hounded by her own child. (Me? I'll have to wait until A & J are BOTH in school full time so they're not shopping with me, and there to wail, whine and wallow in the misery of Mean Mommy Aways Says No.)

Anyway, my thrifty friend has a "gift closet", and any time she sees something on sale, she buys it and hides it in the closet. She never, ever, ever (did I mention ever?) pays full price for kids' gifts.

This is definitely on my to-do list for the future...


Blog Book - The Self Publishing Option

Ohhhh!!!! Look what I found:

I've been toying with the idea of taking this blog and putting in paper format as a keepsake for my kids.

I used to scrapbook, but don't really have time anymore (blogging is faster and easier 'cause you don't have to have anything printed). Then it occurred to me that if Blogger ever shut down, and my PC (with all the post e-mails) crashed, I'd lose all my content.

Another neat thing about blogging is that quite often you record little moments and thoughts that you (or I, anyway!) might not scrapbook about. It's like a daily journal of your kids life.

I think I might do it... I just have to figure out where the cut off should be. Maybe a yearly book - we're getting close to the of 2008, so maybe in January of 2009 I could create a 2008 book?

I'll keep you posted on what I decide, and how it turns out...


Inspiration, GI Jane, and My Daughter

Demi Moore really kicked some serious, um, butt in the movie GI Jane. (I loved that show - I watched it about ten times.)

The training scenes were particularly impressive. The determination and relentlessness with which she pursued her goal of Navy Seals acceptance was inspiring. She was like a snarling dog with a bone - seemingly unable to release her obsessive grip.

Kind of like... like... oh let me see here... my 5 year old daughter and the monkey bars!!! Day in!! Day out!! Up, down, backwards, forwards.... flipping!! Hanging!! You name it - she'll try it and she won't quit until she's conquered it.

Why just as I was writing this (in a notebook to be blogged later) she tripped in the gravel while running from one play structure to the next. She fell palms open, slapping the sharp stones with all her 39 pounds behind her.

"Owwwwww!!!!" she cried.

I put down my notebook and went over to her, but by the time I'd crossed the 30 or so feet between us, she'd brushed the jagged rocks off her palms and said:

"It's OK Mommy - it doesn't hurt that much. Not enough to stop playing on the monkey bars!"

Which leads me to the realization that I don't need some high budget Hollywood creation for inspiration. My very own long haired, pint sized spitfire provides plenty of it.

Off To The Park

Ahhh!!! Another sunny sunny Sunday: a Pajama Day spoiled by perfect play outside weather!! Only this time, they're dragging me to the park...

What, the back yard that's big enough to fit a second house, complete with a Sunray play structure, Dora playhouse, and trampoline, isn't good enough for ya? Huh? Huh? Waddya mean the Sunray trapeze bar isn't big enough and you have to go to the school playground to use the monkey bars there? Aren't you at school five days a week already? (Oh, and could ya just sit still for five minutes??)


I guess I'm walking to the school yet again... (they're lucky I love them ;-)


Kids Are Good For Your Health

As I was writing this post on my Last Ten Pounds blog, I was reminded yet again how my kids have improved all aspects of my life, not just my health (in the case of that post, they help me out by being the "candy police" - if they weren't following me around watching everything I do, I'd be eating more of the Halloween candy ;-)

Having kids is almost like reliving your youth, with the added bonus that you can abstain from those parts of youth you were happy to leave behind.

Like for instance, because of my kids and their school skating trips, I'm forced to lace up and learn the sport myself, only without the self-conscious worry and peer related stress I would have had as a pre-teen. A friend of mine enjoys the same music as her twelve year old, but listens to the songs she likes, rather than the songs that tell other tweens that she's "cool". You get the idea.

LOL not to mention the fact that I could write an entire blog, never mind one line in one post, about the increased physical activity I've had since having kids. So although some days it feels like they've taken ten years off my life, in reality they've probably added ten years :-)


How Much Does The Tooth Fairy Pay?

Good question. I think it depends on zoning in their region (or something), or their local of the TFU (Tooth Fairy Union).

This was us (me and friends over visiting with their kids) backpedalling and scrambling for a story when our kids, two of whom each lost a tooth that day, started comparing payout rates.

(oh geeez!!!)

Visiting boy: "I get $2.25. So I've made $6.75 so far."

Visiting girl: "I've heard some people get ten bucks a tooth!!"

Me: lol "we can't afford that!"


Me: "Um, because, uh... then if our tooth fairy paid ten bucks a tooth then we'd have to buy bigger birthday presents. Not that we only spend ten bucks on birthdays, but uh... oh, you know. I think our tooth fairy, uh, invests the extra tooth money in tooth paste research."

(not sure how that went over)

My daughter: "Hey! I only get $2.00 per tooth!"

Me: "uh, honey don't forget the stickers you got, too, with the first tooth. That's like getting an extra $0.25. Then there were the hair clips with the second tooth! Don't forget about that."

There's no way to equalize tooth fairy payment amounts across the board, but it does pay to have some kind of story ready, for when the kids start comparing. (Oh yes, and never ever ever forget that it's the tooth fairy who pays ;-)


Ha! Listen To Your Mother - She's Usually Right

So there ;-)

I was right - it's raining today. Drizzly hazy stuff that not even an umbrella can protect against. Blech.

I'm trying not to gloat (about the being right thing) - it's wasted on a five and four year old anyway (better used with Hubby ;-)

Instead I tried to turn it into a lesson:

Me: "See? Aren't you glad I made you go outside yesterday in the sunshine? Look at it now! Yuck!"

Alyssa: "Yes but today we could use our umbrellas, Mummy!!"

It occurs to me now what my problem has been all along: I expect them to think like adults...

5 Things I Am Thankful For

I have the two most wonderful brats-oops-I-mean children in the universe, so limiting this list to five things will be hard. In no particular order, here are five things that popped into my head:

1) Lil J's sweet singing voice (he just finished singing "Gone Fishing" from Thomas The Tank Engine).

2) Barbie and Lightning McQueen laptops... now the three of us are at the table, each with our own laptop ;-)

3) Good manners and inside voices!!!

4) Glorious good health :-) :-)

5) Hugs xoxoxo

6) 6,342,874 other things at least...


Pajama Day

It's sunny though. Beautifully, glaringly, shade your eyes or lose your vision sunny. Is it wrong of me to force them to go in the back yard?

Winter is just around the corner, with rain rain rain and oh yeah, rain. So what if it's a pajama day, with no school, preschool, skating or swimming lessons? (Ya gotta have a pajama day now and then. You know, the days when you have no obligations or commitments, and they really can stay in their jammies all day, and then change into fresh ones for bedtime?) It's a rare treat in this nutty, over scheduled life that we lead.

But not today. I know that once they're out in the roomy, grassy expanse of the sun filled yard, the urge to run will take them over and they'll be happy that I made them get dressed. (I'm still waiting for that day when they'll figure out that Mommy is usually right about these things.)

What the heck... maybe I'll even join them and go work in the garden.


Nicer Version Of Rock-a-bye Baby

My daughter insists that "the bough will NOT break, Mommy. They wouldn't make a song about babies falling!"


Another Mom told me this version - not sure who wrote it (sorry - did a quick Google with no luck), but it's much nicer (it's now the one I use):

Rock-a-bye baby
Safe in your bed
Soft woolly sheep
You count in your head

Over the fence
They jump and they prance
Close your eyes now
And dream of their dance

Ahhhh.... that's more like it.


Adventures In Footwear

I'm fortunate because both my kids are pretty good at choosing things to wear. Alyssa, being a girl of almost six, is quite savvy at matching co-ordinates. Even lil' J is pretty good about picking pants and shirts that somewhat go together.

Lately he's been on this dress shoes kick. He has this adorable pair of black Tommy Hilfiger boys dress shoes, and he wants to wear them everywhere.

Today it was to M&M Meats, with his track pants on. He insisted, to the point where I didn't think we'd be able to leave the house unless he wore the shoes of his choice.

Oh yeah, they're a bit too big, and fall off his feet easily. Oh and he's a "trippy" guy to begin with, even with shoes that fit properly.

...clop clop clop scuff clop clop scuff scuff (mommy wincing) scuff clop

"Mommy! My shoe fell off!!"

clop clop scuff clop scuff clop shuffle shuffle (wet grass) clop (back on the sidewalk) clop scuff scuff (fyi, Tommy Hilfilger shoes are the same colour all the way through, so the scuffs are not as visible) clop clop

"Mommy! My shoe fell off!!"

clop clop THUD

"Mommy I'm ok!!! My shoe didn't fall off!!!"

...and on we go, to AND from the store.

We have to leave in about five minutes to pick up A from school, and I just sent him to get shoes on.

"Mommy I can't find my dress shoes!!"

(See? I can learn ;-)


The Upside To Freezing Your Children

OK not literally (back off, Child Services).

In my efforts to be a bit greener and keep the heat down, I've noticed another upside - The Boy is more willing to cuddle up under a quilt on the couch and watch Caillou, thereby giving me some time to get stuff done.

When he does come to see me, it's now more about hugs and cuddles (which I love :-) instead of asking to pick a Totlol vid on my laptop.

The down side, of course, is if I cuddle with him under the quilt and watch t.v., I won't get any blogging done ;-)


I Have Three Children


I get ahead of the game by buying Halloween candy early this year. I exercise restraint by purchasing less, because every year I end up with a bunch on my hips. I put the candy up high, out of reach. My son and daughter can see it, they know what it is, and they know they have to wait.

Then Daddy comes home.


Poor Lil' J...

...just had another bad dream.

I asked him if it was the giraffes (from a Baby Einstein vid!) or the pine cones (not sure where that one came from), and he said "No... it was the food. On the tracks."

Alrighty then! Not going to try and understand that one. Fixed it with a cuddle, and now he's back asleep...


Building A Bigger Brain (for ME ;-)

What the heck, might as well (since I'm multi-tasking anyway).

I was colouring with J, and he was on the right hand page of the book and I was on the left. We're both right handed, so this presented a lack of space issue for me.

Being the grown-up, I decided to switch hands rather than making him move. This would mean that my colouring might not be quite as superior to his, but this is one of the sacrifices we make as parents. Besides, I could always say Daddy did it.

As I clumsily slashed my Thomas The Tank Engine picture with an awkwardly held blue crayon, it occurred to me that this off handed work of mine might be stimulating an out of ordinary brain response (btw, I'm a nerd).

Turns out that activity such as colouring with your weak hand does indeed help to increase communication between the two brain hemispheres, thereby improving overall brain functionality.

Cooool!! Who knew...


This Is Me Venting


My hubby is the best dad - he really is. And we ALL have lapses in judgement.

However, the next time you see Spiderman, with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, ask yourself if it's suitable for a four year old. He (hubby) meant well, but thanks to his little detour from common sense, poor little J has had nightmares for the past two nights.

There's not much I can do, other than be there whenever he wakes up crying, and trying to make him feel as secure as possible. This too shall pass.

Hopefully so will hubby's denial that I am usually right about this stuff!!! (pffft... men.)

Talking About Speech

Joe is taking a turn on Alyssa's new Barbie laptop, and says: "I want it back to Ing-goo-wish!!!" (English... he'd accidentally switched it to French).

"Ing-goo-wish" How cute.

They both held off on speech until they were two. (Now I can't shut them up ;-) For A it was eerie silence - she'd look at you (through you!) but not make any sound. My doc thought she had hearing issues and sent her for a test, which she passed with flying colours. She just didn't want to talk. (so there).

In J's case, he grunted. He communicated verbally with nothing but grunts, until a few days before his second birthday. Then all of a sudden one morning he started picking up lettered blocks and naming them (oh my!!!). He had a name for all 26 - sometimes he called them by the letter names, and sometimes by the sounds they make. It was a happy day for Mommy.

A's venture into speech wasn't nearly as dramatic. My Doc sent us to a Hanen workshop, where we applied for a program. There were limited spaces and A was younger than most of the kids (as in, they needed help faster), so we didn't make the cut. Instead we got four private sessions with a speech pathologist for the Hanen It Takes Two To Talk program.

I was never really worried about A, 'cause I knew she could hear and I knew she was smart, but I was still tickled when after two weeks she'd gone from no words at all to about 30, and then two weeks after that she was starting to string words together into short sentences.

Now she's almost six and her brother is four, and our house is filled with the sweet sound of little yammering voices from dawn until dusk.

Yammering voices. Dawn until dusk. (sigh) lol


Oh CanYouStop...


OK, not forever.... but... maybe just for a few minutes??

You KNOW I love you, and you're the best kid in the world, and I'm SO proud of how you sing "Oh Canada", but maybe you should rest your voice? Just for a few minutes?


(Mommy loves you!!!)


With Glowing Hearts

Yes that title was a shameless attempt to get Google traffic to my AdSense blogs... lol...

But I tell ya, my heart was sure glowing at a friend's daughter's 4th birthday today - I was so proud of my two!! They were the best behaved kids.

At the food table, mine were the only two that sat nicely waiting for pizza while the other kids roamed around. Either I nag my kids more or I don't feed them enough.

In the play area, they were nice children (I'm still trying to figure out where Alyssa and Joseph really went and who the impostors were). They had a blast but did not misbehave.

There was a ball pit, and Alyssa watched carefully to make sure she didn't jump on anyone whenever she jumped in. Joseph hugged a younger child on the trampoline, and was good about taking turns on the slide. He even used their bathroom to, uh, do number 2, which is a stretch for him.

"Mommy are you so proud of me?"

You bet :-)


Pass The Honey, Honey!!

My niece and I were talking one day about natural alternatives to OTC meds, and she told me that her Mom always used honey whenever she and her sisters (all adults now) had sore throats. So when I saw this article in the Vancouver Sun detailing the antiseptic properties of honey I read it with interest.

An amusing aside is my own daughter's ploys to get more of the sweet stuff:

A: "Mommy I have a sore throat!! I think I need more honey!!"


Me: "Would you like some ice water? You can gargle with salt and warm water, too, if you like."

A: "Um, no, it's ok - it feels ok actually"

RIGHT. Sore throat, or sweet tooth??


My Singing Daughter

Awwww.... so cute..... they're learning "O Canada" in school now. She and I surfed the net to see what was out there, and found this You Tube clip of Avril Lavigne when she was a child, singing our anthem:

Alyssa LOVES it, and asks for it repeatedly, and sings along with Avril. It takes me back to when I was a kid and we used to sing it in school. I don't know if I feel proud, or really old!!!



To Skate... Or Not!

The kids started their current skating set on Saturday... or at least Alyssa did. She LOVES to skate, but Joseph has always been reluctant.

This time he wanted his skates off almost immediately, but I managed to keep them on with this deal: "you go out on the ice just today, and if you really don't like it you can come off and Mommy will cancel your lessons."

Things actually started off OK - his teacher got him on his plastic chair and lined him up with the other four year olds, and proceeded to start the "this is fun!! C'mon, everyone!!! Let's lie down on the ice!!" bit (they start on small chairs, then get down on the ice, and then learn to stand up with the aid of the chairs). At one point I looked over to see Joseph sitting on his chair smiling at the teacher, but not five minutes passed before he was crawling off the ice looking for me.

I kept my word - I tugged off his skates and helmet, returned them to the rental counter, and then asked him if he wanted to watch his sister. He agreed, and we went to the Plexiglas.

"Look! He fall down!!" Joseph squealed at the sight of a tumbling toddler.

"See Buddy? Everyone falls down when they're learning. It's OK to fall."

"Yes, Mommy, and that's why I no like it!!"

Good point! Can't argue with that...


French Immersion Help

I can't recall if I've mentioned that Alyssa is in early French Immersion. The benefits are many - I won't go into them here (that's another post!).

It has required of me that I brush up on my high school French from, uh, a "few" years ago. (Hey, they had electricity back then, so cut me some slack).

Anyway, I just did a quick Google and found a page:

I haven't explored it in too much depth, but what I like about it so far is the help with pronunciation. There is both audio help as well as phonetic spellings.

I'm definitely going to bookmark this page for future reference...


Full Day Kindergarten

Our government is considering implementing full day kindergarten to begin in 2009.

The more I sit on this idea, the more I think that I am opposed. Not from a logical and rational perspective, but from an emotional one. I don't think I'm ready to spend a whole day without both of my kids yet!!

I was gearing up for September 2009 when I'd walk both kids over to the school, send Alyssa off to her grade 2 class, and send Joseph off to Kindergarten. Then, 2 1/2 hours later, I'd walk back and get my little man. We'd go home and hang out, and then return a few hours later to pick up big Sis. Now the thought of being without them BOTH for the whole 6 hours makes me a little sad.

Not that it wouldn't be convenient!! WOW the stuff I could get done... wahooo!!! I could even... (shockers) NAP or something. Shop, watch tv, clean the house... (ok maybe not THAT).


Plus I think there are social and educational advantages to all day Kindergarten that shouldn`t be ignored.

But.... awwww... my little boy!! What will I do without him!!

Not yet. Let me keep my baby a bit longer...


It's Like You Tube For Kids

Here's an interesting website I looked at today:

It's a collection of videos that have all been screened and are deemed kid safe. The target audience is 13 years and under. It's an entertaining, kid friendly alternative to You Tube, with all the, uh, unsavory content omitted.

I only watched one video, but it was cute and child appropriate. So far so good - I'll definitely let my kids have a look at this site.


Is discovering poop in a four year old boy's bath one of the normal trials of parenthood?


Thank goodness for the box of wine in my fridge, that's all I can say ;-)


And It Begins

Walking with The Boy the other day while The Girl was at school:

"Mommeeee!!! I meed a tissue!!!!"

I cup his chin in my hand and tilt back his head, and can't see a thing. Clear perfect little nostrils look back up at me (can nostrils look? anyway...)

"Mommy pweeeze! I meed a tissue!!"

Hokay. I dig through my bag and pull one out for him, which he proceeds to use with vigor as we walk.


He hands me the crumpled paper, seeming content. I look at him again and NOW I see it... big and green and chunky, stuck to his cheek. (Ha! So he really DID need it ;-)

Now they're both full out sniffly coughy snotty watery eyed miserable. Ah yes, the arrival of the back to school cold! Hello again old friend. Nice of you to think of us, but uh, we're busy. Maybe another time? And call first next time. Oh and don't let the door hit you on the way out...


It's All Good

So far so good!

Alyssa loves grade one. The fact that one of her two former Kindergarten teachers is also her grade one teacher doesn't hurt. She was all smiles when she told me.

I know at this age they ALL love school, which makes our jobs as parents so much easier. I just wonder how long it will be before the bubble will burst ;-)


Tough Love

When Alyssa started Kindergarten last year, I had to walk into the school with her and take her all the way to the classroom (there was no crowbar handy to pry her from my leg). Luckily my hubby was there (he took the day off) to stay with then three year old Joseph and the stroller, which I hurriedly left in a mad panic to keep up with the the class as they disappeared into the school.

The next day she was fine.

This year, same thing. On the first day (yesterday), I had to drag her into the school. Again hubby had taken the day off (thank goodness) and stayed with Joseph in the playground, while I walked with the kids up to the class, into the class, and peeled Alyssa off my hip and plunked her into her big girl desk. Then I ran like mad (OK not quite, but you get the picture ;-)

The next day, she seemed fine. At the last second though, as the line was filing into the school, she turned to me with a panicked look on her face, and cried "Mommy!"

Since it was just me and the boy (hubby was at work this time) I had no choice but to stand my ground.

"I can't!! I have Joseph with me - I can't come in. Just GO!"

This of course flies right in the face of every nurturing motherly instinct that I have. Here I was, shunning my poor child, in her moment of need!

She was fine of course. She went, she conquered, and came out smiling five hours later. That's my girl ;-)


Fun With A Vacuum Cleaner

I'm a bad Mom.

OK, rephrase: you know everyone is ready for "get the bleep out of here and go back to school already" when chasing your children and pretending to suck them up with the vacuum cleaner is insanely funny to all involved. I think I had as much fun as they did.

One of the many upsides is that the children are now as dust free as the carpet.


Should I Be Worried?

My four year old son:

"See Mommy? My cheese string does talk!"

Ohhhh kay. (He's... creative and imaginative??)

"The carrot sticks don't though."




What ARE these spots, anyway?

I've never heard of a doctor prescribing anti-viral meds for Chicken Pox, but that's what my doc did for my four year old son.

He broke out in spots the other day, which were unlike any I'd seen on him before. He has a history of food sensitivities and rashes, so I wasn't initially concerned. However when they were worse the next day and he hadn't eaten any suspect foods, I took him to our doctor.

For the record, I like this doc. She's always been right (even when I've argued with her and she humours me with further testing, her initially diagnosis always prevails). I thought it was a little odd, though, when she looked at my son's spots, and said "It has an unusual presentation for chicken pox, but everything else fits. We'll assume it is, and put him on anti-viral medication."

A million questions start filling my "can't-leave-anything-alone" mind. When did they start medicating chicken pox? Isn't there a blood test she could have done? Maybe there's something else out there that's nastier that the docs know about but we don't yet that actually warrants an anti-viral prescription? Hmmmm... If it's not chicken pox, what else could it be?

That last question I voiced aloud. Her reply was "it could be an allergic reaction to something."

Uh-huh. My son? Never (insert sarcasm).

When you consider the additional facts that he was vaccinated for chicken pox, and has had no fever OR itching, it becomes even more perplexing that she would prescribe anti-viral meds that have side effects and must be taken for the full course of ten days, much like antibiotics, when it might not even be a virus.

Still love this doc. I think she's great. However, as time goes on, I have less and less faith in our cash strapped and under staffed medical system. A blood test would have incurred cost, after all.

The first pharmacy that I went to couldn't even fill the prescription. "We found a bottle in our Vancouver store, and might be able to have it shipped here by tomorrow."

I took this as a sign (keep talkin' universe ;-) and decided to wait a day and see what happened. I had my husband drive to another pharmacy and fill the prescription just in case (of what I'm not sure) but I held off giving any to my son.

I still haven't given him any, because the next morning (this was yesterday), the spots had faded considerably. Today they're even more faint. In another day or two they'll be completely gone. If it had been chicken pox, the spots would have gotten worse and become pus-filled and blistery.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story is, other than as usual, parenting is filled with occasions when it's hard to know what the right thing to do is. Would it have really been so bad to give him unnecessary drugs? Does he actually have something that's viral but is not chicken pox? Am I over-analyzing it all?



I'll Be Baaaaack...

....after August 18th. We're away on a family vacation until then, so I'm posting this same message on all of my blogs.

(I thought I'd be organized and write some posts and post date them for while I'm gone, but that never happened. Life got in the way, I guess ;-)

See you soon!


Stories Bedtime Son's My

My four year old son finds everything funny. If you cross your eyes at him, he'll giggle for 20 minutes.

There are many upsides to this of course - one being that when he's tired, instead of becoming cranky and prone to crying like most kids, he turns into a completely giddy, giggle monkey (although this is more fun that crying, it can make brushing his teeth tricky).

A downside to this is that his latest favourite source of chuckles is having his bedtime stories read to him backwards. I mean completely backwards - from the last page, starting with the last word.

Now this is not as easy as it sounds (granted he wouldn't notice if I messed it up slightly, but I'm too OCD for that ;-) Our brains are so programmed in our language that certain word combinations come off our tongue in the correct order, even if they're not read that way.

For example, consider the following phrase:

"Suddenly Thomas began to feel a pain in his boiler." quickly backwards (by me!) would come out like:

"Boiler in his a pain feel to began Thomas suddenly."

In order to over-ride your brain's automatic word order sorting process and actually read every word in reverse order, you have to read the text much slower. This makes story time take much longer.


Smart kid.


Surprise Stew ;-)

On the surface, it looked like chunks of stewing beef and potatoes in thick brown gravy. Little did my husband and kids know, it was spiked with veggies!!

(Heh heh)

I was nervous initially, because shortly after I added my purees, you could really taste them (oops). However after simmering for a couple of hours, the flavour of the meat had really come out, and it was delicious.

Here's what I pureed and added:


I also made a "spice juice" to add, made with fresh spices from the garden and some water:


I threw in some peppercorns as well, although those weren't from my garden ;-) And of course there was beef oxo, to tie it all together.

My husband and kids all enjoyed it and cleaned their plates...


3 Parties In 2 Days

Phew! Glad that's over. Don't get me wrong, we had loads of fun, but now I get to have a "down day" on Monday.

I told Alyssa we had NO plans for today. (It was yesterday when I told her that... as I write this, it's about 1:30 am on Monday.) She said "Really? Can't we make some plans?"

Uh, nope.

No park trips, play dates, parties, swimming lessons... nothing. Yippee!!! Now I have about 300 photos to edit and a few discs to burn (I love all things photography related, though, so that's a happy chore for me).

I don't know where the summer has gone!! I know we're only half way through, but I had this vision of summer being this vast expanse of free time. What was I thinking.

Off I go to get some sleep...


A Tip About Flossing Sticks

I use flossing sticks for my kids' teeth - this saves me trying to fit my big fingers in their little mouths and enables me to floss between all teeth, not just the easily accessible front ones.

I tried a new brand recently and thought I'd pass on this tip for anyone interested in trying flossing sticks. I forget the name of the brand, and I won't bother going to check, because the key point has to do with the handle: if it's flat, it's easier to use.

The new brand I bought has round handles, and they're really hard to hold in place. They slide around in my fingers, especially once they're slippery from being wet. The flat handled sticks are much easier to grip.

From now on, I'll only buy the flat handled kind...


Ruby Fleetwood

Ruby Fleetwood, the six year old daughter of Fleetwood Mack drummer Mick Fleetwood, was injured critically in a pool accident in which she was doing somersaults in the pool, and apparently swallowed too much water and lost consciousness. Luckily it seems that she is on the mend and could make a full recovery.

Last year my husband bought one of those Dolfino Simple Set pools (14 ft x 37 in). At that time our son had just turned three, and our daughter was four and a half.

One year later the pool is still in its box in our house. My husband shakes his head at me, and some of our friends crack jokes. Both of our kids are in swimming lessons, and our daughter can swim well in water over her head. Maybe as well as Ruby Fleetwood... or maybe not quite. My son can't swim in deep water at all yet, but is making progress in his lessons.

While in their swimming lessons, my kids would never be permitted to do any kind of activity that is beyond their skill level (i.e. somersaults that could disorient them). However a backyard pool creates a scenario where even the most prudent parent or caregiver can become too relaxed and comfortable in their child's ability. Needless to say, our Dolfino pool will stay in its box for at least another couple of years.

A final note for the swim enthusiast parents out there: I have many friends with kids who are wonderful swimmers, including one who has a five year old who dives competitively, all from rec centre lessons and without the aid of a back yard pool. These kids have not suffered at all or been deprived by not having a pool just steps from their back door.


Say Cheeeeese!!!

I take my hat off to anyone out there with more than two kids who manages to keep their house clean (no nannies or cleaning ladies allowed ;-)

I have only two kids, and well... nice weather we're having!!! (not talking about the state of my house).

I'm not even going to blame it on the blogs, 'cause I usually write short posts anyway, and that doesn't take too much time. Hmmm. Today I think I'm going to blame...

Ooh!! Here's one: the digital photographic revolution. (seriously). Because, you see, thanks to all things data, we can now EDIT every single photograph we take ('cause why not make them all better). AND, thanks to not having to "pay by frame" (i.e. film cost), I don't know about you guys, but I take WAY more pics. At the moment, as a result of Playland, a recent birthday party and some play dates, I have somewhere around 600 photos to look at.

I won't edit them all (which won't be easy on my OCD ;-) but I will play with them endlessly (file, sort, edit some, e-mail, burn to disk, print, etc. etc.). And in spite of it all, I won't get much done.

After Alyssa was born, I meticulously scrap booked the entire first year of her life. Then along came Joseph and... well, let's just say the second child always gets ripped off. Now I have hastily labelled disks in sleeves tucked in empty albums, with scraps of mementos and things stuffed in there as well. ONE DAY.

I have this vision of myself sitting with the kids when they're a bit older (8 & 10?) sifting through heaps of stuff, as they prepare to create pages for their albums themselves. lol. Child labour? Outsourcing? Nah. Bonding time!!!

Meanwhile I write meandering blog posts as dishes sit in my sink, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of digital memories continue to wait for my time...


Heh heh heh cont'd ;-)

My latest conquest involves cauliflower puree in homemade mac 'n cheese. Hubby and kids didn't skip a beat and ate it all.

Cauliflower is a good vegetable to use because it has a low key, pleasant flavour and an easy to blend colour. I had my doubts because my husband likes his mac 'n cheese pretty bland and basic, so any changes in flavour should have been noticeable. As it turns out the cauliflower complimented the cheese, so it worked out well :-)

Heh heh heh...

In addition to the staples of tomato sauce, onions and garlic, I smuggled in celery, carrot and red pepper puree into the lasagne I made tonight. Hubby and kids had no clue - they ate it and loved it.

I also added fresh spices from the garden: rosemary, savory, basil and thyme. I washed them, and then pureed them with about 1/2 cup of water to made "spice water", which I dumped into the sauce. Yum.

I had other veggies I could have added, but I have to tread slowly because my husband has the most annoyingly acute sense of taste (AND he thinks vegetables are evil). Why he is still alive is a mystery to me.

One final note about the celery puree - it's a bit fragrant and has a strong flavour, so if your intent is to camouflage it, don't use it in a dish that isn't spicy or flavourful in its own right.

Now I'm plotting tomorrow night's dinner... heh heh


Now What???

I have the veggies ready, grated and pureed, and the dinner hour is looming. My only problem now is figuring out what to make.

I'm not going to complain about lunch... I offered pancakes (in which I could sneak zucchini and wheat germ ;-), but that was flatly refused. Really??? even with the syrup? Instead they had apple slices with peanut butter, cut up avocado, mini carrots, and a cheese string. Like I said, not complaining.

Hmmmm. Hey!!! I think I'll try homemade mac 'n cheese, and mix in some leftover cauliflower puree...


Mashed... Potatoes? Really?

Alyssa: "Mommy, what's that?"

I'm scooping out pureed cauliflower from my Magic Bullet. "It's cauliflower, honey. It's for my smoothies."

A: "Oh. I wish I could have a taste."

I gave her a bit on the tip of the spatula, which she gingerly took on her tongue.

A: "Mommy did you put some of that in our mashed potatoes?"

Arrrgh... busted!!! Geez, what now. I suppose I could lie....

Me: "Hmmm... I guess I could have done that. Do you want me to next time?"

A: "No thanks!"

Alrighty then (tell me how you really feel ;-)

Will I add more to the next batch of mashed potatoes? Absolutely! She ate them all this time, so we're good to go for next time. (My real triumph in this case is the fact that I put some in hubby's potatoes, and he ate them too!)

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