Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our (crazy) house to yours, a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Look What the Cat Dragged In...

The Captain is back!

After about 48 hours of travel and delays, he got home and immediately dropped unconscious into bed. And I had to seriously hold myself back from taking a pair of scissors to those horrific handlebars...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

More Big News!

After yesterday's whine-fest, I thought I'd follow up today with something a little more positive.

For security reasons, I can't give exact details, but take a look at this picture of my front window and see if you can guess what's happening here this week:

Yes, it's true! The Captain is coming home--and just in time for Christmas! It's been a looooong six months!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Tis the Season...

...to have your credit card information stolen!

This morning, I got online to do a little banking only to discover that some jackass had stolen the Captain's information and used it to rack up almost $600 on our credit card!

And since we are not people who enjoy debt, we are also not people who have more than one credit card. So my poor husband is currently halfway across the world with a cancelled card! Thank goodness he knows how to cheap out everywhere he goes, or this could've been a complete disaster!

And just so no one worries that we're having heart attacks over this, it's been dealt with. The lady at the call centre says we'll have our money back in 6 weeks or so. It's annoying, but we're not destitute.

So, a friendly reminder to all my blog friends, when shopping online this holiday season, remember to use secure sites and never, ever give out your info to someone who calls you on the phone. Not that we have ever done that, or shopped anywhere other than Amazon. But let's not make things even easier for these dirtbags!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Big News!

Well, it's official. We're being posted!

We've lived in Manitoba for almost 8 years now, which is actually several lifetimes when you're a military family. We should've been posted someplace else a good 3 or 4 years ago, but got some special consideration (a rare thing with the Canadian Forces) because RB was in some intensive preschool therapy. But now that the kids are in school, the army's goodwill has run out and they're sending us back to Ontario. The Ottawa Valley, to be specific.

The problem with living somewhere for 8 years is that we've put down some serious roots. I have managed to almost blend in to our small town, and I hate to leave the friends I've made. A good chunk of the people I run into in town I can now identify by name. And of course, both the kids are in school and have a great team of people working with them. So for this reason, a big move to another province is a daunting prospect indeed.

BUT...I am a firm believer in the idea that doing things that make you uncomfortable helps you grow as a person. And the internet has certainly helped make the world a smaller place than it was 20 years ago. So I will keep in touch with my friends, and forge ahead!

On the plus side (if you consider this a plus--I'm still deciding), we will be living in a more populated area, so there will be more opportunities for the kids to actively participate in their community, and hopefully more opportunities for me to get off my butt and run errands on foot. If we can go down to one vehicle and reduce our carbon footprint, I'll consider that a huge bonus. And, of course, we'll be close to family, which will also be fantastic!

When the possibility of this was first being thrown around (and let's be clear, I've had MONTHS to get used to this idea), I was very resistant. Humans do not like change, and when change threatens to turn my kids' lives to chaos, the mother bear in me surfaces with a vengeance. When I told Firstborn the news he cried, but has since come around to the idea--after seeing that a lot of the houses in the area have swimming pools...good grief. After RB heard the news, he had the worst week at school he has ever had, and I have more grey hair than I've ever had. But that too has passed, and we're trying to focus on the positive aspects of this for the sake of the kids. My new mantra is: ONE DAY AT A TIME.

This move won't be happening until next summer, so for the time being I'm reading Stress Management for Dummies, Meditation for Dummies, and Yoga for Dummies. It turns out if you take a big situation, break it down into tiny bits and deal with one thing at a time, all while breathing deeply and pushing out of your mind all those nagging worries about things that may never even happen, anything is do-able.

Right now, I'm on the lookout for someone who is interested in buying a house in the middle of nowhere that may or may not fall down around them the minute they move in.

Any takers?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another Birthday!

Yes, it's taken another birthday for me to get around to blogging again. My only excuse is the usual one--life has been busy. With the Captain still overseas, and the fact that I completely lost my marbles after ten years off work and signed up to sub occasionally at the kids' school (which has been a lot of fun, I must admit), my blog--like my house--has found itself completely neglected. But some big changes are on the horizon, and I plan to blog about all of them, so bear with me here.

Yesterday was RB's 8th birthday. It seems like only yesterday I was walking around feeling like I had a bowling ball between my legs for two straight weeks wishing he'd just hurry up and make his appearance!

Here he is sometime around his first birthday, still rocking the George McFly hairdo we all thought was so funny. At one point it looked so much like a comb-over that the other mothers at our playgroup started calling him “The Donald”.

And here we are 7 years later. This was the first year RB blew out his candles without any prompting. As you can see, his older brother was feeling a little protective about letting him loose around open flame, but RB really didn't need any protecting. He knew exactly what he was doing--and exactly where those 3 sad little cupcakes were about to end up!

It was a low-key day, with just the three of us around to celebrate, but as always, we managed to have some fun. And in our house it is tradition the day after RB's birthday to start ringing in the silly season. 24 days 'til Christmas! Yikes!!

Big news coming soon, so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Two Days Late and $50 Million Short

A very belated Happy Halloween from my little Halloweenies!

That's Indiana Jones in a costume that's about two sizes too small, and a character named Om Nom from something called Cut the Rope. Don't ask me--I just make the costumes!

In other news, I did not win the $50 million jackpot this weekend. I had new shoes picked out and everything. Very annoying!

Happy November!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Knits of Yesteryear

Last weekend was a little rough. One of the dogs had a bit of a health crisis, and because both of my dogs are now 12 years old, it forced me to face the fact that they're not going to be around forever. One expensive trip to the vet on Monday, and the animals were once again chasing each other all over the house and generally behaving like idiots. But after a weekend of doing little more than crying and feeling sorry for myself, I felt I needed to make a concerted effort this week to bring my spirits back up. So I interrupted my ongoing Breaking Bad marathon and started watching a very funny sitcom instead. I have to tell you, cackling like one of the witches from Macbeth is a real mood booster!

And then, during an internet search for a DIY sewing project, I came across something that made me laugh even harder. And that sent me on a search for more of the same, which brings me to today's blog post.

Friends, I give you the hysterical knits of yesteryear!

First up, did you want to look super cool in 1986 but just weren't sure where to start? How about with a little personal flair inspired by the A-Team?!

I pity the fool who didn't buy this pattern book before it inexplicably went out of print.

I don't know about you guys, but the classic colour combination of poop-and-purple is one I'd like to see making a comeback.

That rifle really adds a masculine touch.

And what is more reminiscent of the decade that taste forgot than a classy pair of knitted gaucho pants?
Even the dog looks embarrassed to be a part of this nightmare.

Does anyone know why we didn't have to wear bike helmets in the 70's?

Because EVERYONE could see us coming!

Have you ever wondered what would happen if James Bond and Austin Powers had a love child?
Groovy, baby! YEAH!

This one is just a little confusing...

It's cold enough for a sweater and train-driving hat, but not pants? Where does he live?!

And last but not least, it seems only appropriate to honour the upcoming long weekend here in Canada.
If this isn't enough to stop you from eating too much turkey this year, I'm not sure what else I can do for you.

Laughter really is the best medicine. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Oh No! One-Oh!

Well, it seems I'm down to posting here only when someone has a birthday, so maybe just expect to hear from me four times a year now.

I'm kidding! I have so much to share, I don't know where to start. I just need an extra six hours in my day, and I'll be right back to daily blogging!

But onto the main point. Today is Firstborn's tenth birthday. TEN! Where does the time go? If life carries on at this pace, I'll be dead in no time!

Here we are minutes after he was born. Notice the Captain is nowhere to be found. He was somewhere far away having fun with the army. So for those first few months, it was me and Firstborn against the world.

As you can see, his wayward father did not go completely ignored in all of this. My mother made Firstborn his very own army uniform, complete with an ID patch on the jacket. I believe his rank was "QT Cadet". Whatever else you might say about my mother, she knows her military hierarchy.

Flash forward a decade, and here he is a couple of weeks ago waiting for the school bus with his brother on the first day back. So grown up! I wonder what he'd say if I showed up at school now and called him my little QT Cadet. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that it wouldn't be anything I could repeat here...

So tonight, we're having cheesecake (his choice, of course. Chip off the old block!) and I'm letting him stay up late so we can watch Blade Runner together. If you find it amazing that someone as youthful as me has a ten year-old, get ready for an even bigger shocker. I've never seen this movie! Apparently, I've been living under a rock...

Have a great weekend, blog buddies!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Woman of a Certain Age

Today, I bid adieu to my dirty thirties. And for the record, the only thing particularly dirty about that decade was the never-ending pile of diapers.

In an attempt to infuse as much drama as possible into our lives (because life isn't quite dramatic enough on its own?), we humans have this weird obsession with attaching extra significance to birthdays that end in a zero. When I turned 30, I was exactly where I figured I'd be: career established, and enormously pregnant. 40 is a bit of a different ball game. When you're young, 40 seems so far away you don't even really picture yourself there, and when you start creeping closer, you're wrapped up in a busy life as a thirty-something.

So, where am I supposed to be at 40? Do I try to re-establish my discarded career? Go back to school? Keep doing what I'm doing (which is mostly just surfing Pinterest between loads of laundry)? Make one last desperate attempt to achieve my childhood dream of getting into the roller derby?! Whatever I'm supposed to be doing, I'm hoping it doesn't involve bringing in any more pets.

A recent discussion with my brother, who turned 30 this year, helped me to put this little conundrum into better focus. After I posed all these questions about the meaning of 40, he pointed out that maybe the question isn't what I'm supposed to be doing but what I want to be doing. What a concept!

So today, I celebrate a milestone, I celebrate making it this far, and I celebrate the beginning of a decade of doing whatever the heck I want!

And let's not forget, there are some advantages to being this old:

Now...where did I put my roller skates?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Fun

I'm starting to slide back into my old blogging ways! But rest assured, the only reason you haven't heard from me is because we are having lots of fun this summer!

Last week we went to another fair about an hour down the road. We found a great new thrift shop on our way there, and the fair itself was just the right size for my boys. Firstborn walked in insisting that this was the year he was going to ride the Skyscraper and the Zipper, but one bounce on the frog ride for toddlers and he decided the big rides were not yet for him. Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I took one ride on the little kids' roller coaster, and felt queasy for the next 30 minutes. I also screamed louder than any of the 3 year-olds on the ride every time we rounded the corner. Even Firstborn was embarrassed! I think it's safe to say that this kind of thing is more our speed:

And of course, the most important part of visiting the fair is eating all those overpriced, trans-fat laden fair snacks. Those mini donuts are like crack! 

As you can see, Firstborn's caramel apple was a big hit. I've promised to make him some at home. RB looks rather serious (ironically, the happiest, smiley-est child on the planet has trouble smiling for the camera!), but he's actually just protecting his box of popcorn.

We came home exhausted, rested up over the weekend, and now we're ready for another week of summer adventures! Stay tuned!

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Fair

Our town fair was actually held on Canada Day, which puts me about 5 days behind in blogging about it. Better late than never?

The cake decorating contest theme this year was 100 years of 4-H, and guess who won first prize! Which sounds impressive until you learn that I was actually the only person in town who entered a cake...

My "winning" entry.

I'm not complaining though. The week before the fair was an ungodly rush. The Captain swanned off to have fun in the Middle East, the kids finished school and there were teacher gifts to make, and to top it all off, it was hotter than a teapot for the whole week before the entries were due in, so baking was a terrible chore. In short, my mojo was nowhere to be found, so I'll take a first prize wherever I can get it!

Wishing all my friends and family south of the border a wonderful 4th of July weekend, and a happy belated Canada Day to all my Canadian blog pals. Jump for joy everyone--it's Friday!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Our Natural Disaster

To quote Winston Churchill, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

As natural disasters go, I certainly can't claim to be dealing with what my friends in Calgary are living through right now. But I got just a tiny taste of that horrified, sinking feeling when I took RB out to play in the yard after a thunderstorm last week, and found this:

I'm used to having to deal with the odd emergency here and there when the Captain is away for a long stretch, but this happened 3 days (THREE DAYS, people!) after he left. Seriously???

So I got up on the ladder to discover that the wood under the rain gutters had completely rotted away and needed to be replaced before the problem could be fixed. Off to Home Depot I went for treated boards. With a little help from a friend (long boards need someone to hold them up at either end if you want the job to be painless!), I got everything ship-shape again:

So here we are. One week into a six-month deployment, and I've learned how to fix rain gutter. If things go on like this, I'll be a licensed roofer by Christmas!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pillowcase Dress

I promised you something impressive. Hopefully this week's craft won't disappoint.

I had two yards of stretchy navy fabric that needed to either be used or donated. I believe I paid something like $6 for it. Here's what I came up with:

What? Not impressive enough?! I admit that waistline does have a bit of a 70's mu-mu vibe going on. Not exactly flattering, especially on my body type. The overly interested cat doesn't do the whole look any favours either. But look what happens when I cinch it in and pin the excess with a brooch:

Instant hourglass! I could actually wear this to one of the Captain's wing-dings--not bad for six bucks! I left the hemline long enough for heels, but if I ever have the urge to waddle around the house in a comfy maxi dress, I can put a thin belt around my waist and let a little extra fabric spill over the top:

Again, not the greatest look for me, but this kind of thing seems to be all over Old Navy right now, so who am I to judge?

You might be surprised to discover that this dress required only the most basic of sewing skills and no pattern. If you want to make one yourself, here's a good tutorial for a kids' version (for an adult size, just make the fabric wider and longer--not rocket science, I promise!): http://www.theribbonretreat.com/blog/pillowcase-dress-tutorial.html

Technical notes: I also attempted a shorter version of this dress in a non-stretchy cotton fabric. It was okay, but I much preferred the way this stretchy one hung on me, and with a stretch knit, you have the added bonus of not having to hem the thing because it won't fray. Hooray for laziness! I like the feel of this one much better too. That said, I need all my clothes to feel like I'm wearing an oversized t-shirt, so I might be being a little nit-picky here. Also, some stretch fabrics are very hard to sew with, so you have to weigh the pros and cons.

And now the pressure's on to complete teacher gifts and town fair entries. If I'm successful, I should have all kinds of things to show you next week, not to mention a full account of our latest natural disaster! Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Here We Go Again!

Well, the Captain has deployed for a third (and hopefully final!) time to Afghanistan. No break in the middle of his tour this time, so we won't see him until sometime around the winter solstice. Perk up your ears. Can you hear me ripping my hair out? Don't worry if you can't. It'll get louder and louder over the coming months.

As a result, I'm a little behind in posting my latest crafts. Rest assured, I have something positively impressive to share with you this week, just as soon as I get my photos uploaded. With the town fair approaching fast (so far I've made absolutely NOTHING on my list of about 10 planned entries), you might have to bear with me. In the meantime, here's a little something I found on Pinterest that should give you an idea of where my head is right about now:

Only 24 more hours until the weekend. Hang in there, everyone!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shield Your Eyes!

I got a little behind in posting last week, but when you have a craft to share that could potentially blind your loyal blog following, it's not the sort of thing you want to go rushing into.

I decided long ago that wearing ratty old sweats to bed was not my thing. And just in case you're now worried that you're about to see a picture of me in some skimpy lacy leather thing that covers next to nothing, rest assured--that's not my thing either. But I do like something comfy that is also not falling apart at the seams, so every so often I make myself a new pair of pyjama pants.

This past week, things warmed up considerably in these parts. Finally, it actually feels like June! So I was in the market for some lighter weight PJ pants to celebrate the rising temperatures. I've been trying hard to stay out of the fabric store and instead work through some of my stash downstairs. Put on your sunglasses, people. This is what I came up with:

Yes, they're crazy. No, I'm not sure if they'll glow right through the blankets and keep me up all night. But, I have to say, they're kind of fun! I inherited this wild fabric from my mother, who was perhaps planning to make herself a clown costume??! So, my new PJ pants were completely free. As well they should be...

In other news, my Monday started off with the Captain departing for a few days at an ungodly hour. RB was also up and raring to go at 5AM, and Firstborn dragged himself up the stairs, late as usual, and greeted me with the obvious question: "Mom, what's an orgy?"

So apparently it's going to be that kind of week...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Movie Date

Yet another busy week, and no crafts to show for it!

The Captain will be deploying to parts unknown shortly, so last night, Firstborn and I took the opportunity to   see a movie together. GI Joe: Retaliation was playing at the local theatre. As it turns out, I simply do not have the attention span for action films. From the 30-minute point onwards, I was repeatedly asking myself where the heck Channing Tatum had gone. I'm still not sure what the answer is, and I don't really care enough to check Wikipedia to find out. Throughout most of the fight scenes, I wasn't sure who were supposed to be the good guys, and who were the bad guys. And at one point, I fell asleep. Thankfully, when I woke up the credits were rolling. What I could understand of the plot was pretty silly, there were a lot of unnecessary explosions (though to be fair, it was rated 14A and I took my 9 year-old anyway. Mother of the Year!), and Bruce Willis' joke about having high cholesterol just made me feel old and sad. Bottom line: Firstborn thought it was awesome.

I should have a craft to share next week. Really.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Front Tooth

Well, I didn't complete ANY of the crafts I started this week! Between a few home renovation jobs that needed doing, and the fact that my children now have more active social lives than I do, things were rather busy.

We did have a little excitement when RB's front tooth, which has been poking out something terrible for a good two weeks, finally dropped out on its own. While I'm sad that I'll never see that little baby-toothed grin again, I have to admit, the jack-o-lantern look kind of suits him:

Wishing all my friends south of the border a wonderful LONG weekend. And as for the rest of us, it's back to the grind tomorrow, so enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Crafty Week

This week I got extra crafty and completed two quick and easy projects! Sadly, I was nowhere near as productive in the area of housework...

First up, my little hanging tooth pillow:

RB lost a tooth this week, and the idea of trying to get a toonie* under his pillow was just too exhausting. The Captain is away and my patience is at a premium, so I've decided that from now on the tooth fairy can visit our dining room instead.

I used some leftover felt scraps and a simple technique similar to this one, except I cut my pieces tooth-shaped and added a ribbon on top so it can be hung on a doorknob if necessary. There's a pocket for teeth and money on the back that I naturally forgot to photograph. It was a 15-minute project (tops), and now no one will learn the traumatic truth about the tooth fairy by waking up one night to find me swearing as I dig around under their pillows looking for lost teeth.

My second project was a spur-of-the-moment attempt at using up some fabric I've had lying around for ages. My mom gave me some stretchy white eyelet stuff last year, and I happened to have a smaller piece of solid white jersey leftover from a previous project, so I thought I'd attempt a maxi skirt for summer. I'm never mad for sewing with stretch knits, but for some odd reason, this one came off without a hitch--and in a mere 30 minutes or so start-to finish. My stars were obviously aligned this week! Here's how the skirt turned out:

Sorry for the dreadful photo--the eyelet pattern is hard to see up top. 

There are a million tutorials out there for making stretchy skirts without a pattern, and I used a method much like this one (minus the hem--truly, I am as lazy as they come), made 2 skirts and then attached them together at the top when it was time to put in the elastic. Like every project I complete, this was so easy-peasy, I could've just gotten one of the dogs to do it. As an added bonus, I happened to run across a shorter, but similar, version of it being sold at Old Navy later in the day. So apparently, this frumpy, middle-aged mom is right on-trend!

Happy long weekend, everyone!

*For my non-Canadian friends, a toonie is a $2 coin. Prices have really skyrocketed since I was a kid...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Not sure where this one originated, but it spoke to me! Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Friday, May 10, 2013

BR-Inspired Budget Necklace

So, after promising you photo tutorials of all my projects, I pulled out my camera and proceeded to take pictures of everything I was doing with fabric, paint, beads, paper, and whatnot. Through this process, I learned something very important about myself:


Luckily for me, there's this great thing called the internet, where everyone-and-his-mother has created a photo or video tutorial of anything you could ever want to try. Looking to connect two soup cans with string so you can stay in touch with your next-door neighbour? There's a tutorial for that! Want to turn your cat's hair into a sweater for your husband? There's a tutorial for that! Need to rebuild your car's engine using only old plumbing supplies and a roll of electrical tape? There's a tutorial for that!

Okay, I have no idea if these specific tutorials exist, but a Google search does tell me there are a LOT of tutorials out there. So I'm going to reword my promise. When I post pictures of my latest craft project, I'm also going to post a link to the best photo or video tutorial I can find of that craft. This way, you can be shown how it's done by someone who knows how to work a video camera, instead of watching an out-of-focus video of me covering something in fabric, swearing when I spill the glue, and walking off to yell at the dog halfway through the project. My life is not exactly tutorial-friendly.

Which brings us to this week's craft project.

For years I have been making my own costume jewellery. People seem to be hugely impressed by this. And when someone raves at the unbelievable news that I made this necklace or that pair of earrings all by myself, I smile modestly and thank them, and I let them think I did something amazing. But the shameful truth is that I did not actually do anything amazing at all. Wire-and-bead jewellery is about the easiest, simplest craft a person can do. Once you get the hang of fiddling with the small parts, you have yourself a skill that provides almost instant gratification. 

I recently came across a Banana Republic ad featuring this necklace:

Online, the materials used for this necklace were described as follows: “Base metal setting, goldtone hardware, acrylic stones.” In short, this is regular old costume jewellery made of base metal findings and plastic beads. The price tag: $55. Too rich for this cheapskate.

So off to my craft room I went and dug out some bits and pieces. This is the necklace I came up with:

Like I said, my photo skills could use a little work...

My necklace is made with base metal findings and glass and shell beads. It's not identical to the original, but I achieved a very similar look with what I had on hand, and the quality is comparable. My cost: $4.88. A savings of over $50, for about 30 minutes' work. If this doesn't convince you that beading is a worthwhile hobby, nothing will!

If you'd like to give jewellery-making a try, have a look at this video tutorial, which will show you everything you need to know to make your own beaded necklace:

Happy beading!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Look What I Did!

After seeing Debra's gorgeous new blog header, I was struck with the extremely rare urge to learn something  tech-related. So after a little googling, I came across this great site where I fiddled around and learned to make my own free blog header. Using this excellent tutorial, it was very easy, and now I feel like a computer pro. Which I am most definitely not.

And this is why no housework has happened at my place this morning.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This One Never Gets Old...

May the Fourth be with you!

Have a great weekend, and a happy Cinco de Mayo to one and all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Statement Necklace

After seeing about forty billion "statement necklaces" this spring (if what we've been having in these parts could be called spring...), I decided to make one for myself.

I've had these sparkly blue beads kicking around since I was in high school, if you can imagine back that far. They belonged to my great aunt, who passed all her jewellery onto my mother. I inherited all the costume stuff, including a string of these beads, and have been trying different things with them ever since.

Now that I seem to be back in the swing of things blog-wise, I'm going to try to kick it up a notch and start including photo tutorials with these crafts. It's all very well for me to post pictures of my projects, but if I'm not posting a how-to for the odd newbie crafter out there who might stumble across my little blog and want to try something simple, what good am I to anyone? I think we all know by now that if I can make something like this, so can your pet gorilla. All he needs is a little instruction.

Stay tuned for some life-changing tutorials, and have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tote Bag

My project for this week was a tote bag. Since having kids, my purses have slowly gotten bigger and bigger. Now I can't leave home with anything smaller than my kitchen sink.

It's pretty basic. I did put a couple of pockets on the inside and on the front, but they're so lopsided and terrible-looking, I was too ashamed to take a picture. Nonetheless, it's a roomy and sturdy bag, and it used up a little of my fabric stash. If I carry it with this side out, I don't think it screams "HOMEMADE!"

And on a completely unrelated note, that 70's faux-wood paneling you see behind the bag covers the entire length of the entryway to my house. Key party, anyone?

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Well, my plan to post a craft project every week has already gone awry. Unfortunately, the most artsy I got this week was when I created this little masterpiece:

Yes, it's a barf bucket. I was hoping to make it through this winter with no stomach bugs, but Firstborn hurled all over the living room floor on Thursday morning, and then proceeded to keep absolutely nothing down for the rest of the day. His appetite is still a little low, but the hourly requests for more video game time tell me he is now on the mend.

On the plus side, I became the last person in North America to discover Costco this week. Heaven help me.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I just have one knitting project to share with you this time. And technically, it was 99% finished two weeks ago. But this week, I finally got off my butt and spent 30 seconds adding the final finishing touch: the tag. Here's my first attempt at a knitted Paddington Bear:

I've been trying very hard not to buy any new craft supplies since the new year because, like most DIY-ers, I have a craft room in my basement that is bursting at the seams. This has presented me with a few challenges and forced me to get extra creative with what I have. For this project, I didn't have toggle buttons, but I did just happen to have two wooden beads that were approximately the right shape. I'm happy with the way it turned out.

And just in case you could use a good laugh, I've been sharing these old clips with my family and friends all week. This guy taught me early in life that anything can be hilarious, and that laughter is infectious. I could watch his goofy pranks all day and still laugh every time.

Long live Harvey Kneeslapper!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Awareness 2013

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. For some of us, every day is autism awareness day, so welcome aboard!
Now that I've been living with this for a while, it occurs to me that after years of taking, taking and taking some more from professionals, books, the internet, other parents, and the knowledgeable people at the health food store, perhaps I am finally in a position to give something back. A strange and audacious idea, but we've come a long way around here!
When RB was 2 1/2 and still not talking, I started getting a little nervous, so naturally I googled the problem. And always, when you google “speech delay” the first ten sites that pop up diagnose your child with autism. So I kept an open mind  and started clicking on links. Every site I looked at gave me the same handful of signs to look out for: speech delay, lack of eye contact, lining things up, repetitive rocking, inability to smile socially. At that time, aside from the speech delay, RB exhibited none of these other symptoms, so I shrugged my shoulders and figured he'd talk when he was ready.
There's a saying that if you've seen one child with autism, you've seen ONE child with autism. As it turns out, RB had lots of symptoms, just not some of the super-common ones. If I'd known what to look for, he'd have been diagnosed sooner. And he's not alone on this. So I'm going to share, for the benefit of anyone trying to puzzle this thing out, some of the lesser-mentioned warning signs that my own child exhibited:
  • Seeking out or avoiding sensory experiences (Poop smearing! Lucky me...).
  • Not seeming to know how to play with toys, or just not being interested in them.
  • Doing things that are dangerous, without any fear for his own safety (Leisurely solo walks down the side of the highway. Yeesh!).
  • Excessive climbing, or wandering in circles.
  • Attempting to escape the home or classroom to go on solo adventures.
  • Problems sleeping through the night.
  • An excessive inability to accept being told “no” when he wants something (AKA perseverative behaviour).
  • An unusually high tolerance for pain (Dancing barefoot on broken glass, while bleeding and laughing his head off. I kid you not.).
  • Sudden little bursts of energy that have to be physically let out.
This list is, of course, to be taken with a grain of salt. Many perfectly normal toddlers will do a few of these things, and certainly if you look closely enough at anyone on the planet, you will find symptoms of autism. Still, I hope I've done my part to raise a little bit of awareness today.

Autism is not what you think it is.




Sunday, March 31, 2013


Last night I dreamed it was Christmas Eve and I hadn't updated my blog since February. Do you think my subconscious might be trying to tell me something?

I wrote an entire informative, hilarious and frankly legendary post for today, and then something was wrong with Chrome, and I promptly lost it forever when I hit publish, so let's make a long story short. I've started creating one Pinterest pin a week, and I'm going to try to share what I make with you every week, in hopes of getting back into the habit of posting regularly. A few of you have stuck with me loyally despite the fact that I now go a month plus without making so much as a peep. Truly, I am an ungrateful jackass. Let me make it up to you.

This week's crafts are all peg people. Here in Canada, you can get wooden pegs from Lee Valley for around a quarter each. The deals are better in the States, but we have free health care, so let's call it a draw.

First up, my peg superheroes. These are for my little nephew. I like Superman the best, but the Hulk does make me giggle. I should probably have given him nipples.

Next, here's an example of how to make peg people slightly more useful. I put an eye hook into the top of each head, and now we have Thing 1 and Thing 2 Christmas ornaments for my boys. The feather hairdos are a little unruly, but that's the way we roll around here.

These are my current favorites. My brother (the doctor) was a big Star Trek TNG fan back in the day, so I made these for him. Let me begin the nerd critique process by snottily pointing out that Data is at least three shades too green and that Worf's sash is so obviously non-regulation, it looks like something that was generated during the biweekly holodeck malfunction. Burn!

More to come—I'll be back next week, I SWEAR!

Happy Easter!

**One quick note. It seems Blogger is now inserting links to ads when I use words like "deals" and "next"(??). Please ignore them--I have no interest in selling you anything!!**

Friday, February 15, 2013

My New Identity

Is this seriously my first post of 2013? Yeesh! My blog is starting to look like that one yard on the street that never gets mowed, has garbage all over it, and features a large man in a stained undershirt rocking away on the porch with a bottle of bourbon in one hand, and a sawed-off shotgun in the other.

Perhaps it would help to explain that I've been working feverishly on my New Year's Resolution of carving out some sort of identity for myself. And guess what! After much soul-searching--and only 6 weeks into the new year--I've done it! Drumroll please...

As it turns out, I am a Dummy!

It started a few years ago when I bought Guitar For Dummies and actually managed to teach myself to play a few basic tunes for my kids. Whether or not I continued to practice and improve my skills is something we'll discuss some other day.

Then last month, with a Chapters gift card I received for Christmas, I bought a copy of Feng Shui For Dummies. What an eye-opener! It turns out all of my problems in life stem from the clutter found all over my house. The piles of laundry in my career and family areas are blocking the energy flow something terrible, and the chi is bleeding straight out of my wealth area with the force of a gunshot wound. No wonder my lottery numbers never get picked!

Realizing just how easy these books are to understand, I got straight onto bookcloseouts.ca and started searching for heavily-discounted Dummies books on all the other areas in life that I clearly need some help with. Here's what I found:

So as you can see, my absence from the blog world has not been due to laziness or poor time management. Though, to be honest,  I do suffer from those problems too. My next resolution is to get my act together and post here a bit more regularly.

I wonder if there's a Dummies book for that...