Things I Love Thursday: Nic’s Sticks

tilt.jpgWorks-For-Me-Wednesdays is on hiatus while Shannon enjoys the summer with her kidlets, so I searched for another blog carnival that offers great links that parents can use. This one is called Things I Love Thursday, and is hosted by The Diaper Diaries. The rules are simple: Try and pick an actual “thing” that you love. Feel free to do a product review, but make sure to let your readers know that you have been supplied with the product to review so we are keepin’ it honest. I suspect it’s a young carnival, because there’s a very manageable number of links—you might like that. Here goes!

The kids and I go north once a year to The Lodge, a phenomenal lodge that was once a working guest lodge and now has been taken over for family and close friends. The weekend we go there are upwards of 14 kids, predominantly Continue reading


10 rants from this mum, plus a heartfelt thank you

Taberon Kaiju, Tokidoki Version, is Italian designer Simone Legno’s contribution to the Kaiju For Grown Ups project. Graydon is fascinated by these. I thought this one looked like a good rant visual. See more of him and others here.

The title of today’s post will be tackled in reverse order: my heartfelt thanks to those readers and friends who took the discreet way to respond to yesterday’s questions by using my email. Property damage is a serious thing, even when it wasn’t intentional. Thank you very much for your ideas and support. I’ll keep you posted how things work out.

It’s a rantin’ kind of day here, so I’m providing 10 rants. If I could start a meme (the blogosphere’s version of tag), I would. So I’ll do the next best Continue reading

Teen Takes Responsibility for Damage

popsicle1.jpgMy Monday morning blog was going to be “The kids, the three of them, and I had a wonderful weekend visiting my brother, his wife and their two girls in New York State. I left my keyboard at four-thirty Friday afternoon and didn’t touch a computer or Palm or even a keypad until this morning, and I feel great!”

But, nothing, absolutely nothing ever goes to plan with three kids, give or take two or so, and same here. Oh, the weekend was fabulous, great visit, another sister, brother-in-law and niece and friend of hers were there too, so it was a full house. Lots of fun activities, excellent food, a food discovery (more on that later), amazement at what my brother and his wife have achieved together (more on that later too). We arived home mid-evening and before we’d even unloaded the car, disaster. Continue reading

Guest blogger: Formula One, snail style

dsc05956.jpgIn yesterday’s post I reported whined about my raspberries and the incredible amount of rain we’ve been receiving. For parents taking care of kids in the summer, a rainy forecast is OK once in a while because it gives you a chance to work together in close quarters on projects, arts and crafts, reading, Wii challenges. But day after day after day of rain can make even the most ambitious parent paralytic. So I posed the idea of a snail race to my kids, bolstered by a breakfast show that made a video blog of how to hold one. Tessa and Luka had their own race, on THE KITCHEN FLOOR (it was raining too hard to hold it on a table or patio stone outside). I will say no more, except to mention that thanks to a comment yesterday, my snail problem may have a garlicky lining after all.

GUEST BLOGGER TESSA, take it away!


The Snail Race!

Formula One, Snail Style, started with me and my 7-year-old brother picking two perfect snails from our raspberry bush. We found two that we figured were either dad and baby or mum and baby and decided they would be PERFECT. Their names? The big guy is Simba (because he was huge and sluggish) and the small one was Jimmy because my brother thought it was just a great name.


When the race started it looked like we had our winner chosen out already, and surprisingly it was Jimmy! He took off for the outer circle of our target, the finish line, like crazy.


Simba, our parent snail, was much too cautious and very hesitant to leave the safety of the centre target.


When Jimmy caught onto this worry of his parent he turned right around and went back to the middle. This race, we figured, was never going to end.

We thought maybe the snails needed a spritz of water but they just hid in their shells after that (they must have a phobia of puddle drowning on kitchen floors).


Maybe some food was our next idea, so out came some lettuce to give them some energy. Sadly, this backfired. Simba downed that lettuce like it was the tastiest thing he had ever seen in his short, snail life.


Jimmy fell asleep.

In the end we called it a tie between the sleeping snail and the hungry snail, deciding to cut the poor things a break and return them back to their beloved raspberry bush in our backyard. They may not have been the speediest creatures but they were surely two of the cutest (and slimiest).

Tessa (the big sister), Luka (the little brother), Simba (the big guy), and Jimmy (the cutest snail alive)


NO QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY!! Have a great weekend, this third weekend of July, and make the summer count! I’ll talk to you on Monday.

A snail’s race at a snail’s pace…

images-11.jpgI was out in the garden this morning, early, to pick another cup or two of raspberries. We’ve had a huge output this season, thanks to all the rain. Tessa said the berries weren’t looking good yesterday, and there was too much rain to pick any. I figured they were getting overripe. So I went out with a big container to find that 90 per cent of the raspberries are bad—they are small, and have a black blight-type thing on all of them. I almost cried. I picked maybe half a cup, and even the good ones look sad.

Continue reading

How to fit a year’s worth of reading into your purse

Get a HUGE purse. Or check this out — the Sony Reader.

I went to a conference last year as a work thing, and one of the presentations was on e-books. The concept is that you buy a book online, download it to your computer or handheld, and read it onscreen. I don’t know about you, but just as I will never sit at my computer to watch a television program or movie, I will never read a book for pleasure sitting at my desk. Or with a laptop on my lap. Leisure reading must be portable — in the purse, to the dance studio, in the bag, to the doctor’s office, on the subway, in the coffee shop, back home, lying on the couch.

In the conference take-away info was a little brochure with a cover that looked like a PDA, or Palm Pilot-type of thing, only it was the size of a paperback. And the type said:

Are you a Reader? SONY Reader

images-10.jpgIt was a promo for a device that Sony was developing that would be the size of a paperback, as thin as a large Jersey Milk or Hershey’s bar (like that analogy, huh?), that would hold up to 160 books. I was sold. But it wasn’t out yet, so I could save my money.

Here’s what it looks like.

It’s out now in Canada (American friends saw it before us), and I’ve tried it, and I LOVE it. It’s slick-looking, like “oh, yah, I am uber-cool and technologically superior now,” and super light. As long as you have a PC at home (or admin privileges at work), a 12-year-old can do the downloading. Then, the experience of reading.

The page on the screen looks like the page in that particular book — typeface, everything. There is no glare on the screen. You can read it from an angle — yes, that woman beside you on the bus will be able to see what you’re reading, but so will you if you have to tilt it. You turn the page with a button, but there’s one on either side of the screen, so no matter how you’re lying in the hammock or on your towel, holding the Reader with your left or right hand, you can turn the page. You can change the type size to three sizes — forgot your reading glasses? Who cares! One battery charge is good for 7,500 page turns. It fits in a purse, a clutch, even down the side of a lunchbag. I am so sold.

Frugal readers? The Reader costs around $300. The very latest hardcovers cost about $15 each. So in 10 books, you’ve more than made up the cost of the Reader.

Did Sony give me one of these? I requested one to test, and I got the tester for two weeks. Do I get to keep it? No. Is Sony paying me to blog this? No. This is truly one of the coolest pieces of electronics I’ve ever used, and since everyone I know is either in a book club, or has a stack of books they’re wading through, or reads 30 pages a day, I think this is a great thing to share.

Don’t get me wrong—I love books. I work in books sometimes. Some books have to be in book form, but they don’t all have to be. In a de-cluttering mind-space and world, this thing is perfection.

Check out the actual e-book site and see how many of these books you’ve bought, or plan to, or wish you could. Then check here for a very sweet Sony-inspired review by Katie (oh my gosh, this electronic world freaks me out!) where you can learn all about it. You will be hooked.

TODAY’S QUESTION FOR YOU: would anyone like to contribute to my buy-this mother-the-James-Patterson-Special-Edition-bundle??

TODAY’S REAL QUESTION OF THE DAY: how do you decide which books to keep? What do you do with the ones you can’t keep? You can reveal all, because I have college textbooks and books I read as a kid on shelves in my house. Trixie Belden rules!

Don’t forget to check out other Works For Me Wednesday tips — there are tons!

See you tomorrow!

Works for Me Wednesday: The solution to messy kids’ rooms.

wfmwbanner1.jpgI’m relying on the wisdom of my mother again for this Works for Me Wednesday tip. She had four kids in five years, and our beds were made rugs straight and books on the shelves and toys in the toybox for years. She sewed my next youngest sister and me the most exquisite bedroom linens in a blue willow pattern, complete with fancy birds, pretty girls on swings, little men on ornate bridges. She made coverlets, bed skirts, shams with ruffles, even elaborate draperies in several tiers with fancy tie-backs. What little girls in their right minds wouldn’t want to keep that room company-ready??

Fast forward to today. The cute Laura Ashley Owl and the Pussycat border exists only Continue reading