Welcome to my new home!

momblog1Gosh, it looks almost like my last blog’s home, except I don’t have the classy Canadian Living magazine banner across the top, and I don’t have all those national advertisers, and I don’t have three other bloggers covering off kitchen life, the green life and the national food beat. But I feel cosy all the same, because it’s the same blogging software (thank you, Bill and William), and after doing my blog on their site, with the help and tutelage and encouragement of Helen, Kat, Daniela, Jennifer and Christina, I feel I can go this on my own now. BUT, and there’s always a but, isn’t there???

It’s March Break, and I have promised the next four days to my three wonderful, creative, funny and cleaning-challenged children.

So I will start up with much enthusiasm next week. If you find me on purpose, please say hello! If you find me by accident, please say hello! If you know any good jokes, please leave them. I have a feeling setting this up is going to be labour-intensive, and I’ll be needing all the funny I can get!


Paraskavedekatriaphobia, Episode 2, 2009


No unlucky Friday the 13th black cats for Graydon, only Happy Welcome Money and Good Fortune Cat

No unlucky Friday the 13th black cats for Graydon, only Happy Welcome Money and Good Fortune Cat

Wow, it seems like only last month I was whingeing on about Friday the 13th—it was! One lousy month ago I was pretty upbeat about getting through the day unscathed, but now I see the true evil—it’s what’s sandwiched in between two Friday the thirteenths when they’re only a month apart!!! And it’s a 28-day cycle. And I saw the full moon yesterday morning at 5 a.m. and this morning again at 5 a.m. And, it’s THAT time of the month. (TMI? sorry.) And I’m rocking a sore throat that has robbed me of my dulcet tones for the last three days—kids, coworkers, puppy rejoice—and I’m in a high cycle of insomnia, as is Tessa, my 17-year-old. The car died and cost a fortune between those two Fridays. The fridge broke. Graydon was turfed from school and residence. Fish died (don’t tell anyone). 


So I’m taking the backroads home tonight. Making dinner that doesn’t involve the stove (or it’ll break too). Taking Nyquil, zipping my lips shut and watching TV. Tomorrow morning is a new day. The 14th.

Weekend project for the whole family!

While checking out the bloggers who took part in yesterday’s Things I Love Thursdays, I came across Kaycee, who is a sewer and a recycler (images of beautiful quilts come to my mind). Her blog is called In the Moment: On life, motherhood, food and balance.

This week she referred back to making her own pair of skinny jeans from an already-owned pair of non-skinny jeans (she even did a tutorial!) And she showed some projects she’s been looking into for inspiration.

Well, I found mine! Before tying up the charity bags of clothing this weekend, we’ll be going through them on the lookout for hunks of material to make the bags you see here. I think we’ll improvise on the sizes—I see Graydon with a huge one in camouflage material, a medium one for Luka in Star Wars (old pillow cases) and something girly for Tessa. Me? I’ll wait for inspiration. The instructions to these are so easy it’ll be each kid for him- or herself, and no sewing required! For full instructions, and an incredible site, check out http://www.livingcreatively.com.


Check back on Monday for the results (hahahahahaha) and the first day of our March Break! Have a great weekend!

Things I Love Thursday: a new book—Do I Need to See the Doctor?—and a giveaway!

DoINeedToSeeTheDoctor_CovertiltWell hello, and I’m back on the Things I Love Thursday blog carnival! In the few weeks that I haven’t played, the number of bloggers have increased threefold—yay Jill! What I love about Things I Love is the fact that these are honest endorsements by real folks.

Things I Love is a self-explanatory theme, but I’ll go ahead and explain anyway—or rather, I’ll let Jill explain:  “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.” Yes, this is an endorsement to be sure, but I borrowed it from a friend, and now the two copies I have been supplied with are going to be given away to two of you! For more excellent things that we love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.

Here’s a quiz: Every time one of your kids has a symptom, what is your first thought?

  • I told him not to play in the sandbox
  • can ringworm be that perfectly round?
  • what side is the appendix on?
  • how long has that been like that?
  • do I have any thermometers left?
  • do i need to see the doctor?


“Do I Need to See the Doctor?” is the title of a new home treatment encyclopedia—don’t groan, it’s a concise 218 pages long—that was written by three working doctors—Brian Murat, Greg Stewart and John Rea— (personal observation: all three of them are cute, married and with kids. oh well). What I love about this book is the in-your-face design, nature and writing. It mirrors in print exactly what your mind is grasping for when you have a sick kid. There are tons of photos, charts, sidebars and a flow chart for each illness that I wish I could reproduce here to show you. The page first presents the topic, say Umbilical Cord Care, then gives a summary of what it is, and what should happen to it. Next, the flow chart begins with a big circle that says START HERE, with an arrow pointing dow. Don’t you already feel like these doctors know how to take care of you so you can take care of yours?

Then there are a series of questions, which you answer, and your answer will direct you to

  1. See your doctor
  2. See the section Home Suggestions, and then start the flowchart again after a specified time limit. 

Home suggestions are good, common sense measures, tricks, treatment and care to undertake in the hopes you can cure the ailment and alleviate any discomfort along the way. After you’ve tried the Home Suggestions, you go back to the flowchart and assess the condition again.

This is an excellent book for parents and even parents-to-be, since a range of just-post-birth conditions are covered, as are baby, toddler, child, teen and adult illnesses. The doctors even cover issues of mental health, from depression, anxiety and psychosis to domestic violence and dementia.

I love this book. And you can too! The lovely rep at Wiley, the publisher, has given me two books to give away, so answer even one of my questions in the comment box below and you’ll be entered to win! I’ll pick the winner April 2, so pass the link on to anyone you think would like to win!

MY QUESTIONS FOR YOU: when you make the big decision to keep a kid home from school sick, do they stay in their bed all day LIKE WE USED TO? Or do they get to run around and play the computer, watch TV, wear no socks and ask for gingerale? (this is my house, if you haven’t yet guessed). Do you often feel like a dork taking your kids to the doctor just to be told “It’s a cold. It’s going around.” Got any secret family remedies you’d like to share?

Best of luck to you all!

Works for Me Wednesday: one-handed bracelet fastening

Time for a ride on the Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival, now hosted over at We Are That Family. I was flipping through a gadget catalogue the other day—one of those catalogues I scoff at at first, then wish they had a store nearby, and finally have to talk myself into throwing it into the recycle bin before I make an order. Early into this catalogue I happened upon a one-handed bracelet fastener for $9.95.

Hey! I do that myself for free! I take a piece of tape—masking, scotch or sensitive skin first-aid—tape down one end of the bracelet on my wrist and with one hand, squeeze that little claw together and voila, a fastened bracelet all by my lonesome!

For more inspired tips , check out We Are That Family!

And be sure to check back tomorrow for a giveaway—a copy of the new book Do I Need to See the Doctor?

Early morning To-Do Lists: way too ambitious!

Apparently I fell asleep mid-sentence while reading Scaredey Squirrel to Luka last night, and woke up bright and early this morning at 3:33. That’s half of 666. At the time, I wondered if that was significant, and then rolled over to empty my mind and fall back to sleep. After conjuring up visuals of empty slates, warm seas and vast white sand beaches, my purring Angel curled up in the sun, a row of bleached wishbones on a pristine window ledge, a martini glass with an empty pick in it, EVERYTHING I could think of that made me feel content and devoid of thought, it was 3:45. People often say if you can’t sleep,  get up and do something, but quarter to 4?

So I started a list of to-dos:

  1. make sure Luka has been registered in soccer
  2. sign papers for Graydon to go on school trip
  3. hope nothing really new is required for this trip (I’ve heard the horror stories of skis and boards and boots and pants and jackets anad it all seems insane when these trips are halfway through March and we do NOT live in New Zealand)
  4. find out when Tessa’s first dance competition is
  5. see if this season of new makeup colours and companies are carried at Shoppers, then thank heavens for that Optimum card and when is the next 20x the points weekend???
  6. catch up on the blog
  7. plan future blog entries
  8. see if I can write a charitable blog about Octomom
  9. see if it is too late in the year for Luka to try out Cubs
  10. check bank balance (did. didn’t like it.)
  11. fill-in my workplace survey
  12. fill-in questionnaires and tests for Luka so he can be tested for ADD. This will give way to a week or two or three of postings about ADD and everything that comes with an actual diagnosis
  13. follow up on the lengthy psycho-educational testing Graydon has been having. (I’m looking forward to these results more than I looked forward to any report card of my own!)
  14. better make an appointment to have Clover de-boyed. Shut down the baby-making factory. Give up hopes of him ever developing a manly bark
  15. gather up all Luka’s jeans that he was worn through at the left knee (air guitar slides, what can you do??) and put them in a bag with sewing junk. Throw in car. Mend while waiting in stupid places.
  16. make Rice Krispie squares
  17. put chops in marinade for supper tonight
  18. make tabbouleh salad
  19. start shopping for puppy-proof garbage receptacles (we’re sick of having bags of garbage at eye-level, the only way from keeping Killer (a.k.a.Clover) from digging through them and tearing around the house and up and down the stairs with his plunder

So that list was roughed  out by 4:15 a.m.

I laid back on freshly wrangled pillows and closed my eyes, listening to the summer night selection on my Obus Forme sound-maker, a tiny symphony of crickets and cicadas and owls. And no sleep.

So the day began at 4:25 a.m.

From 4:25 until waking Luka at 7:45:

  1. made coffee
  2. put in two loads of laundry
  3. folded one load
  4. unpacked fabulous frugal deals from No Frills (details to come) and distributed to correct places
  5. made coffee
  6. wiped down kitchen counters
  7. knocked down a new tub of ice tea mix, which had been opened and not closed properly, so when it hit the kitchen floor the lid shot across the room and 680 g of what is essentially powdered sugar flew everywhere
  8. hit my personal wall (figuratively)
  9. grabbed puppy and coffee and went outside to backyard
  10. surveyed the 100 or so man-hours of work necessary to make backyard respectable
  11. as clumps of wet snow started to fall, I thought happily of the lily of the valley, lilacs, bleeding hearts, irises, glads and raspberries that will eventually come up, played with the puppy, finished off coffee
  12. came inside
  13. forgot all about kitchen floor
  14. wet puppy saw cat in doorway to kitchen, gave chase, slipped and slid through the ice tea mix, wrestled cat, rolled through ice tea mix, I screamed, he thought the chase was really on and tore through the house
  15. I give Clover an unplanned bath
  16. cleaned kitchen floor, what, four times over???

at 7:45 I was soaked with doggy bath water, sweat, sticky socks

Gosh, it is so great getting a jump on the day!!

From the mouths of babes: a 15-year-old babe this time

My Graydon, my son, my cancer kid, my challenge. He is very, very bright, leading me to have as one of my mantras during meetings with helping professionals, “Use your smarts for good, not evil.”

At a school re-entry meeting on Thursday (yes, to need a re-entry meeting at school, one must have been turfed from school in the first place), in the first few minutes of the meeting as attendees straightened papers, found pens and opened diaries, Graydon let us in his latest telephone solicitation solution.

“So, I answer the phone, and it’s one of those ‘It has come to our attention that your car’s warranty is running out…’ ”

We all nod and agree, yes, we’re all getting those calls.

“So I say, ‘Oh yeah, really?'”

Graydon is 15, and only dreaming of getting behind the wheel.

“So, he says he has to confirm the spelling of my name, and I say Graydon, G-R-A-Y-D-O-N, Ponzi, P-O-N-Z-I.

“So then he says, ‘Now I have a few questions for you,’ and I say ‘Now I have a few questions for you,’ and he says, ‘Can I have the make of your car?’ and I say, ‘Can I have the make of your car?’ and he says, ‘Could I have the year of your car, sir?’ and I say, ‘Can I have the year of your car, sir?’ and he says, ‘Do you want to hear about our car warranty?’ and I say, ‘Do you want to hear about our car warranty?’ and then he says, ‘I’ll be putting you on our no-call list then, sir?’ and I said ‘Yes, thank you!”

Nice going, Graydon!