Saturday, December 15, 2012

CST-Connecticut Standard Time

I'm learning to blog from my cell phone, which essentially means I wrote a blog post, hit publish and it never was seen from again.   Last night I got an email about a sale ending at midnight CST. And as I was thinking about what time that actually is for me, n view of yesterday's tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary, it popped into my head that CST could stand for Connecticut standard time. The frozen in time moments as the tragedy unfolded in their community. The agonizing drag of time while parent's waited to learn the fate of their children and the school staff. And the painfully slow crawling forward of minutes as today as they have to adjust to life without their loved ones.
Why did the murderer do this? Who can say why. His mother worked at Sandy Hook, so maybe he was jealous of the time his mom devoted to her students there? His attack was clearly premeditated. He killed his mother then took her car to the school, and entered before the 9:30 am locking of the doors. This was not an accident. I can't fathom the fear of the children and staff as they grasped what was happening, the feelings of the families and the community as they come to grips with this horror.  I hugged my kids a little tighter last night. I heard people commenting that gun control could have prevented this, or they are glad to be in a community/country/whatever where they feel safe.Without the guns he would have just found some other way to cause this level of horror, it wasn't spur or the moment. It was premeditated.  
It was a tragedy- plain and simple, and the people of Newtown felt safe 25 hours ago. I guarantee you that.  
My heart goes out to the people involved in this tragedy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

All I want for Christmas...

So my husband asked me what I would like for Christmas this year. I haven't given him a list yet, because in reality, my list would read something like this-and I know it's not what he's looking for.

1. 5 effing minutes to myself.  

Seriously, the list could stop there. But it won't.

2. My boobs back. 

Someone slapped some saggy 40 year old milk bags on my front and took off with mine while I was sleeping. Not sure when, since I haven't slept more than 2 hours in about 6 years. 

3. No belly fat. (hey if someone can steal my boobs in the night, why can't they make my fat disappear?)

4. Just 1 dinner where I don't have to help another person eat. Or go to the bathroom, or blow their nose or get ketchup, or  anything other than eating.

5. A turn in the bathroom where I'm actually alone. The.entire.time.

6. Shopping for a few hours without kids. 'Cause I can't even make a list of things I'd like because I don't even know what's out there.

7. 5 more minutes to myself. Because I'd like some minutes in the bank for future use.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spy Party

Spy party for a 6 year old

I always want to host a fun party for my kids.  I used to have a bit more room in my budget to work with when my older two kids were little, so they had pretty fun parties, magic when Harry Potter came out, complete with Quidditch, potion making, homemade "cloaks", chocolate frogs and the works. (and that was back before you could just go buy harry potter candies. I had to make that stuff myself).  We've done bouncy castles,spa party,gymnastics, nature centre, survivor , all complete with loot bags that went with the theme, and games/competitions, etc.
But I've been feeling more burn out the last few years- my daughter so far, has wanted and had sort of lackluster princess and the pea party (3 year olds who arrived as beggars, and left as princesses complete with the "pea" under the mattress test), last year was a ballerina party, they all left with homemade tutus.   This year I wanted her party to be as fun as she is- She asked for a spy party... 
So here is what we did, because with back to school it's always a tight budget time of year-

For the loot bags, I bought 4 packs of 2 buttons that could be decorated-(target when I was cross border shopping, teacher's back to school section) and printed out their secret agent code names on them.    We got 3 packs of mini notebooks from the dollar store,they were tiny hardcovers that looked spy-like. I printed out dossier files on each of the kids, photo, code name, stats, etc and glued it into the first several pages of the books so they'd have files on each of their co-spies. I also jumbled up their names and made a name scramble for them to sort out, and glued it in after the agent files so they could figure it out easily since they're not all solid readers yet.

I grabbed tiny telescopes a the dollar store 3 in a pack for $1. Magnifying glasses from the dollar store (lucked out there, they were decent ones). We got mini periscope/spy scopes at a local toy store, they were 1.25 each, but work pretty well so it was worth it. We also included mini flip notebooks, a pen, disguise glasses with fake nose/mustache on them, fake beads for dressing up, I printed out some free online spy word search printables,  and then they had loot bag candies from the pinata as well.

It was supposed to be an outdoor party. We were going to do water balloon toss (the balloons look like bombs). Water balloon passing until the balloon popped, was the plan. Obstacle course, face painting for disguise training, and then follow clues to locate the pinata and smash it up.
On the driest summer I can remember... it began to pour rain at midnight the night before party. We had to change the games pretty quickly.
We ended up doing relay races with the bombs and claw  gripper hands, one girl would run with the balloon bomb and pass it to another girl who would have to run back using her claw hand and drop it into a basket. They enjoyed that one a lot. We then modified it and they had to line up in two teams and run with the balloon between their knees and drop it into the basket. Whichever team got their bombs over the fastest, won. 
They sat in a circle after that and we played bomb passing. An essential skill for agents. When the music stopped the one with the bomb was "blown up" and out. 
For round two we added a balloon, and round three, another. 3 balloons, 8 kids, it was loud and crazy, they had trouble hearing the music stopping and starting over their laughter-
We also played what time is it Mr spy, where they had to creep up and steal bombs from the head spy and get back to the starting line, and statue freeze where one person counted then they all froze in a position and couldn't move while the person who was "it " was looking at them. 
 They liked that one too, but more space to play (vs my tiny living room)would have been good.  We also blindfolded them and they had to put the secret documents into the briefcase (pin the tail on the donkey basically). 
For our pinata, since outdoors was still not an option, I used spy decoder markers to write clues to where I hid the pinata, like "it's not in a room with a fridge", and then I folded them up and inserted them into bomb balloons and blew them up. (one written clue per kid).  We also took a photo of the closet where we hid the pinata, and cut it into a simple puzzle and did the same thing, put it inside bomb-balloons and blew them up. 
Then the kids were all given one of each. first the decoder clue ones. They had to use the special pens to reveal their message. Luckily from the clues alone, none of them knew the location. They "detonated" their other bombs and worked together as a team, taping together puzzle pieces and then they went off in search of the door they revealed. 
We couldn't let them swing a bat in here, so they got to tear at the pinata with their hands, for 5 seconds each. less time might have been better, because with 8 of them, the last kid almost didn't get a turn. 
The candy bags popped out and there was much rejoicing!
Then we did presents and had some cake. It was da bomb! Literally. It was shaped as much like a bomb as I could. My daughter had wanted fondant spies creeping up the sides, so I did one climbing the side to put out the "fuse", one hanging on the number 6, one running from a bomb ...some spy foot prints and a magnifying glass, the word "kaboom" on it. And made it rainbow layered inside. 
The kids seemed to think it was cool, and my daughter was happy.   Overall they seemed to enjoy the party. There was a ton of laughter, and no crying, so I'm going to say it was a success, and it really didn't cost that much. I think I spent under 60$ including food.

We printed little agency thank you notes (who even knew there was an agent font in word?) and stapled them to their bags.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


There are so many things I could blog about, but one topic that drives me nuts, and unfortunately drives up my blood pressure, is people who pretend to be something they are not.
The absolute fake facade irritates me. As an example, I know one person who professes to be enlightened and embracing a gentle loving lifestyle, including blogging about it, and making a job out of it. And yet she is brutally vicious and mean, making up lies about people to keep them apart and to place her in the advantage position. I don't really understand how you can be beautiful on the surface and so dark and unpleasant and selfish on the inside.  She is not the only person I know like that, but in this case, this person attempted to wreck my life. I'm not pretty. She is.  I'm not fancy because I give every penny i get and put it toward caring for my children. She has 300 dollar hair cuts and looks gorgeous. It's easy in our society to choose the pretty package over the dumpy frump when it comes times to decide who to believe. It completely saddens me that   so many people in our society are so naive and willing to just take things at face value.  
And then it saddens me that people need to guard themselves against such abusers of trust and honesty. Why can't people just be honest?   Or truthful? it would be a lot easier if everyone looked the way they acted wouldn't it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday-Monday blues

Some days it feels like every day is a long bad monday for me.   When something in the house is off, and by something , I mean my spouse, everything else is harder to deal with. I feel the disapproval and dislike rolling off him in waves and it makes me feel like crap frankly. Right now, he is cranky because he imagines "I" spent all "his" money. For mother's day he gave me two nights in a hotel, kid free. That didn't happen. I ended up going one night, with our oldest daughter and doing american grocery shopping, etc instead.    Never mind that the trip was his idea, and the stuff I got was for him and the kids, and the groceries. Yes, I spent money on me, but he told me to buy new shoes. I spent almost 2x as much on him, on the things he wanted, but he has the nerve to say "what did you do with all my money!" Since then he's been sulky and cold. I'm not really interested in putting up with that.  I think I've reached an age in my life where I don't need to put up with sulky immature behaviour. Haven't I?
It alarms me that the second there is tension in our marriage (which is all the time lately it seems like), but the second it's there I just feel like leaving. I really don't feel like putting up with it anymore.   I hate when he's like a grumpy raincloud hovering in the house and raining on all activities. It makes our lives so much harder and I start to ask myself if I shouldn't leave. Should I leave? Maybe. Do I have a way to do it without causing him a ton of financial difficulty? No, I don't. Which doesn't seem fair to me.  I tell myself, just a few more years and then I will go. After the youngest is in school. But it seems so far away when the days are clicking by and I feel like a worthless leech with no value. Don't get me wrong, that is all he said, then he stomped away without waiting for a response,and when I attempted to say something, he just said,  Drop it, and sulked off to bed.
But I've gotten so low right now that to be honest it would be easier to just lay in bed and not bother with life. The most immature thing of all, is that usually when he leaves for work, it's "love you have a good day." Last two days, nothing, just have a good day.  Oh yes really mature. Withdrawing love for money. The stupidest thing is, the money is mostly just in another account, but he didn't listen long enough for me to tell him that.
Being married is hard.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not waking up awesome.

I read a blog post yesterday about being awesome. I'm sure you all know the one I'm talking about, it's being circulated pretty well everywhere
It's tres inspirational, and frankly really nice.
My daughter wakes up the way every day. She is a perpetual sunshine. I'm not sure if we are even really related.  It must be amazing to wake up happy all the time, and know that the day is full of adventure and excitement.
 I don't remember that feeling. I don't remember ever having that feeling. I was bullied from such a young age that honestly I can't recall any awesome mornings once I entered the educational system.    Unfortunately, lately, every morning before I even wake up, my brain says to me, hey loser pants, what are you doing? Get up, and stop being I can't even write the words my head tells me, and incidentally I even dream of how non-awesome I am.  Sigh. it is one of those days and I'm trying to shake it off so i can go about the job of being a mom, without sucking the awesome out of my children.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today is a sunny day at the end of over a week of less than stellar occurences in my life.
Right this second there is a child standing on the chair I'm sitting on pretending to eat sparkles from the air, which sadly are likely dust motes.
As always, I'm only a few sentences in and already miles off topic. I found this cool old cookbook/yearbook put out in 1912 by a company called Nyal's. They clearly put it out as a promo to try and sell their own products, but looking through it is a total peek into Canada's past in many ways. Other than the fact that it lists the weather predictions for the year, by month, the horoscopes, and a bunch of things like measure conversions for baking etc- it also lists Canadian facts as they were then - Canada had the largest buffalo herd on the continent. Gooo Canada!
There were some interesting "Household Hints" as well. For example
In buying fish, the gills should be red.

Corns promptly removed by Nyal's corn remover. 25c a bottle.

Sprinkle places infested by ants with borax and you will soon be rid of them.
(modern version. give the kids a shoe. environmentally friendly...)

A true test for eggs is to drop them in water, and if they long end comes up , they are fresh.

Paint stains that are dry and old may be removed from cotton or woollen goods with chloroform. It is a good plan to first cover the spot with olive oil or butter.   (well geez I need to get down to the kidnapper store and get myself some chloroform! I didn't even know people could buy that.)

When a broom becomes shorter on one side, and the ends of the straws become sharp as needles, dip it into hot water, trim it neatly and evently with the shears, and you will find a broom nearly as good as new.

That's all I have for right now- though the book is chock full of interesting ideas. I'll have to post later on the benefits of ironing lice off of your hair and stuff. Good times to be had there for sure!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18 2012

 So March came in like a lion in Southern Ontario. Snow, the worst snow we'd had all winter actually, and it was chilly! On Friday March 9th it was so snowy that I was driving unable to see the car in the lane next to me while passing through the city of Guelph. By Monday the  12th, that bit of snow was melted. Friday the 16th, hot and sunny, and my lawn is even dry enough for the kids to play. Today, Sunday, it was 91 degrees at one point on my outdoor thermometer. My husband is making comments about turning on the air conditioner. It is March! I can't remember a March quite this nice...ever.   And I also don't recall ever being this sick either. All march break the kids and I were sick, and I'm still not better. Combined flu, and horrible cough thing. blech!

On a much less pleasant note. My mother -in-law's health had been rapidly deteriorating these last few months,and I'm glad we managed to get down there a few times this past summer, fall and winter to enable the kids to say goodbye. She passed away in her sleep Saturday morning, St Patrick's day-I think she might have liked that, a special day of the year to remember her on, and exactly one month after her birthday. And I'm glad we were there to celebrate that with her too. (Her birthday).
I baked a three tiered cake, that's like 7 cakes worth of cake in there. Fondant, pinks, greens, a cupcake shoe on top. I really hope she liked it, and understood the hours of work I put into that to try to make her feel special.
I certainly have never done that for my own mom, or aunt who is like a mom. I guess maybe I should.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Snow painting

This winter has been a shockingly skimpy snow year for us where we live. And I'm not complaining. it also was fairly warm overall this winter. A handful of days where the windchill made the kids cry, that's it.
But... with not much snow, there is not much for the kids to do outside. The ground alternates between mushy and muddy to frozen and filled with sharp ice.  When we got a nice fresh snow cover the other day, followed by only mildly chilly weather, I sent the kids out to play, only to watch them slip on the barely covered ice yard, and not be able to roll up a decent snow ball even. I decided to let them get a little artistic, and paint the yard.
I'd done this before with my older kids, and have once done it during a party where it was so cold the "paint" was freezing before they could even squeeze it out. They had a blast though!
This time I had only two empty bottles that were squeezable, so I poked some holes in the lids, filled them with water and a few drops of food colouring. My little two loved it! They came back for a refill so many times that we ran out of liquid food colouring, as we used up a box of 4 colours-which I don't think I'd even opened before that.  It's good relatively clean fun! And if it's cold enough out, the water freezes and any food colouring that gets on their clothes can be brushed off pretty quickly.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parenting a success when you're a failure...

In the terms of society, I am a failure. Anything I try to do doesn't work. A few business ventures I have attempted in the past didn't work out. Too soon, too late, whatever. I was clueless as a child- as an example, I never heard of soccer until I was in university. I didn't know people with kids could live in apartments. I lived in a rural place and  seriously this was before satellite TV and internet, it was before computers even.For a rural kid, there was not another way to get information really. I didn't even know that moms could work full time. Unless they were divorced. All the moms I knew pretty much worked p/t if at all, because who has time to work when you are running a farm and raising 4 kids? My dad used to get back from the city around 6:30 at night , often later. His attentions were not focused on teaching me the ways of the world. There is always stuff to be done on a farm, and once my brother started hockey, my dad coached that in the winter and baseball in the summer.
As a whole, I am not a successful adult. I got pregnant in University, where I only ended up by chance and I didn't even really understand the options available to me. It's hard to believe, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only kid out there in my generation who had no idea the plethora of educational opportunities available at university. I met someone taking B-Ed and I remember the slow dawning in my brain, like wow,you go to University to become a teacher? I felt so stupid.  But ...anyway, I have a BA, Honours at that, in a program that only accepted 25 or so kids so I guess that's pretty alright. Impractical, but better than nothing.
I worked two jobs while pregnant and finishing school, for as long as I could , but quit the one when I realized around  that the chemicals might not be great for the baby. (again, no internet existed, there were not a lot of ways to look up information outside of what was provided by the Dr or the library.).
Luckily I was an avid reader from age 5 on, and have learned a lot from books, otherwise I wouldn't even be a functioning adult I'm sure of that.
How will I be able to raise my kids to be able to be adults, with jobs and friends and a happy life?.
I have done my best to encourage them toward real jobs in the real world. Starting early discussing possibilities, pointing out different jobs as we encounter them, or even those we don't- marine biologist, genetic engineer, teacher, manager, so many job possibilities out there. Things I never dreamed existed.
I am smart, don't get me wrong- Testing wise anyway.I left high school with a very solid A average (nearing an A+ if it weren't for math dragging my average down.) I am well read. Classics, new stuff, whatever, I read it all, always have. Ok, so I haven't read Stephen Hawkings -brief history of time, nor the Briefer history of time, because I just haven't yet. Have you?
My concerns are many for my children. The world has changed so rapidly in the last 20 short years. It's hard to believe, but 30-31 years ago we didn't even own a VCR, and a non 8track tape deck was a big deal still. Prices have skyrocketed out of control, compared to incomes.
How can I prepare the kids for life in this world that spins and changes with such speed that I can barely hold onto it myself? What will their lives be like in 5-10 years ? Am I preparing them for jobs that will be of no value? Right now my son wants to pursue computer science as a University major, or a math related opportunity. My daughter is toying with environmental sciences, planning, etc. (Even now I don't truly understand the opportunities I am attempting to position my kids for! )  We can't afford expensive music lessons or camps. Most days we can barely afford milk to be honest. I just don't know how I can make my kids a success in life -and by this I don't mean a CEO, I just mean successfully happy, and able to be self sufficient and have a treat  like a trip or new shoes now and then.
If I could go back and do it again, I would. I'd have to go pretty far back, but I think to give my kids a stronger chance for a good future, I'd do it.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

10 words to describe parenthood (to start)

Lately I've been  reading blogs about parenting, and insightful, inspiring and well written. I don't feel like my thoughts on parenting will ever be expressed that eloquently. Or in some cases their words cause uproar, outrage or outpouring of sentiment. 
Rather than a long essay on parenthood, and it's ups and downs, I'm just going to jot down the first 10 words that come to mind and describe parenthood in some way! I have a toddler, two teens and an sk, so  that gives you an idea where my parenting experiences are coming from!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sometimes I have ideas for posts and by the time I get to the computer they've slipped completely from my mind. It's absolutely maddening. Other times I'll be writing something and I feel like maybe I ought to not be so frank, or "vulgar" or out there I suppose.  Some days my mind is leaping around like a million tiny grasshoppers on caffeine are in there. Yet the second I touch the keyboard my mind is as blank. 
I suppose it's the need to feel like you are posting something relevant. Why? If no one reads it, does that make it less important? No, either way they're still just my thoughts. 
Dig the photo up above? I took it at the border of Quebec and Vermont, where the kindly border guard let  us use his washroom.  A bit cloudy and hazy, took it with my crummy blackberry camera.
Seriously I had no real idea we were even reaching the border, it was just out on a tiny two lane road in piddly squat no-place. So weird! Canaan, that is where we drove through. I would not suggest going that way- However, it was really beautiful, I've never seen  real mountains, nor have I driven through them before. All the ones near here are older mountains, and worn down, less impressive.  -Blue mountains, etc- 
I didn't love coming down the twisty dirt lane my GPS chose, in the pouring rain feeling like the van was going to have the brakes fail and shoot us over the side...but I digress. The view was stunning .
I have seen pictures of the mountains in Banff, etc and those are so ruggedly awesome. The mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire were so green.  I wish we'd had time on the way back home to stop in a few of the Vermont side of the road stops. There were so many scenic opportunity spots- but we had so far to go and we were not getting anywhere fast. Because I'd blown the power steering fluid cable, but didn't yet know it.
Travelling north through NH and VT we ended up suddenly coming upon the border without being aware we were close. Anyone who has crossed at Niagara Falls on a crap day will know why i say I didn't know the border was coming up. One minute I'm on the highway, then suddenly the gates were right there! At Niagara...well, I have been in traffic about a KM from the bridge entrance waiting to get over. I have waited 3 hours to cross going one direction before. Not a treat. More commonly the wait is between 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.  So pulling up and going immediately through a one lane the border was a total novelty to me. Word of warning, anyone going the back roads with kids- there are no places to go to the bathroom for literally hours in the backwoods, and not enough room to pull off the road in a van in most places either. Coming back up the more main highway there were several food and toilet options thank goodness!

Anyway again I'm off track and blabbity blabbing.  Coming back we ended up in Stanhope I think it was called. By this time my power steering was screaming so we got gas and fluid and returned to Canada. Where we were lucky enough to immediately come upon this!

considering we went out of our way once on a road trip to see Foamhenge, coming across the stanstead circle at the 45th parallel was a stroke of absolutely weird happenstance!