Christmas List Update

Monday, December 13, 2010

I have about a million things to do before Christmas.

Must do list
Get a tree – Done but it’s not decorated yet.
Buy presents – Not done yet but I have a list and I’m getting closer to being done.

Want to do list
Make Christmas cookies – Will be doing this on Wednesday or Thursday night.
Make homemade gifts for my coworkers - Will be doing this on Wednesday or Thursday night while I make the cookies.
Decorate the inside of my house – As done as it’s going to get.
Buy some LED lights – Got some for outside and installed them backwards but they still look good! Next year I’ll know how to put them up correctly.
Get stockings for DH and me - Done
Get a new Christmas CD – Done – Got a Motown Christmas and now I’m wishing I’d bought the Annie Lennox Christmas CD.
Plan a get-together or two – Not likely to happen as we were busy all this weekend and we are next weekend, too. We don’t have any free weekend nights between now and Christmas!
Go see Santa - Nope
Mail Christmas cards – Not gonna happen!
Re-decorate my whole house to make the Christmas decorations look better! – I wish. I’d be happy if our new dishwasher gets installed before Christmas. We had problems with the latch, but a couple of weeks back, blue smoke started coming out of it during the wash cycle so we decided to get a new one. I’m tired of washing the dishes by hand.

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New Post Over a 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Head over to 5 Minutes for Special Needs to see what I posted last week.

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Wardrobe Update

Friday, December 10, 2010

About a month ago, I went on a scrapbooking retreat with two girlfriends. It was an hour out of town, and now that we have a second car, I was able to drive up on my own and take advantage of the Thursday night option that was offered. My friends were only coming up on Friday, and since I had the Thursday evening, and Friday to myself, I decided to do a little shopping while I was out of town. For all my talk of buying only quality pieces, I still love Smart Set and always find myself getting excited when I go in that store. The prices are so amazing.

I showed up on the Friday morning when the store opened, looking for a pair of dressy jeans for work. Almost 2 hours and $500 later, I left the store with an large number of items. I felt a thrill, but later a little remorse as I could scarcely afford $500. When the weekend was over, I asked DH to help me decide which things to return. I ended up bringing back about $150 worth of items.

I did find those jeans I wanted, and I feel like a million bucks in them! They're dressy enough for Fridays at work and look fantastic with heels.
I got this casual shirt for the weekends. I'm so in love with gray right now.
My jeggings. The 20 year-old girls on my hockey team make fun of me for wearing these, but they wear their pants so low that their underwear and butt cracks show - so I think they're the fools! Call it a generation gap. These jeans are comfy and don't have any big buckle or buttons to accentuate my tummy.I got this tank top in dark gray. I plan to wear it to a cocktail party tonight under a plum-coloured velvet jacket with black cigarette pants.



I can't believe how many compliments I've gotten on this necklace. I love the black beads as it gives it a bit of a vintage feel.
I haven't had a chance to wear this one yet, as my 'country' beige sweater is at the dry cleaners.
I've been living in this vest. In fact, I'm wearing it right now! It looks great over a white blouse and under my dark gray blazer and work. On the weekends, it looks good with my brown cords or jeggings, over a long-sleeved scoop neck t-shirt.I also got two long-sleeved t-shirts, a teal cowl-neck sweater, a pair of dark gray dress pants which fit beautifully and which I can wear with my oh-so-sexy orthopedic shoes, and dark gray casual, cotton jacket, double-breasted with oversized buttons. I love to wear the jacket to work on Fridays, and it is wonderful to keep warm on the weekends.

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New Wheels

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We were proudly a one-car family for about 4 years. It was one of the ways we kept down our expenses when I was off work for 2 years, then part-time for 2 years. When I went back to work full-time and we switched from a nanny to a home daycare in our neighbourhood, I figured I could walk the kids home from daycare every day. The weather conspired against us, plus the lack of sidewalks on our route home meant that not only was it raining for a week straight, but our shoes, feet and pant legs were getting soaked, too. Precious was so tired after her first full days of school, that getting the kids home on foot was pretty miserable.

We couldn't decide what vehicle to get. A small, commuter car? A minivan? Another sedan? If we got a van, everyone could fit in it and we could even get in a friend or two. What about gas mileage? Cost? Style?

We kept trying to picture our future needs, but that was pretty useless. I don't think we're very good at that!

Finally, DH just decided and picked out a new car for us. I went to test drive it and liked it. Our new Mazda 5 has three rows of seats, so it seats 6, one more than our Altima. It's pretty good on gas, and it's versatile as each of the 4 back seats can fold down independently.The car is slightly taller than our Altima, but not as long. That being said, I guess it looks like a minivan. Beside our Altima, it doesn't look like a minivan to me, but I'm willing to concede that it could be considered a mini minivan.

My favourite things about the car are the decisive brakes, the cleanliness of it, the ease of buckling the kids in, the sliding doors on the side (no more worrying about the kids smashing other cars in a parking lot!) the thermostat-controlled interior heater and being able to plug in my iPod into the stereo. Now if only I could remember to put my iPod in the car when I'm driving somewhere!

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Hockey 2010-2011

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mr. Boy decided he wanted to play hockey this year.
At the pre-season warmup that Andy organized, Mr. Boy had a great time and Daddy helped out on the ice.

After the sort-outs, Andy called DH to tell what team Mr. Boy was on and to convince him to be the head coach, even though it didn't take much persuasion.

DH has put his heart and soul into this team and had taken various courses, planned all the practices and has been eating, breathing and sleeping hockey! Mr. Boy practices every Saturday and Sunday, and DH is there early and is the last to leave. He is dedicated to getting the most improvement out the boys possible.

Mr. Boy had his first ever game last weekend and he did great. I was so impressed with how much he had improved since the beginning of the year, and at how well the team did. I had my video camera with me, and on Mr. Boy's first shift, he got a breakaway! And I got it all on tape!

Here's DH behind the bench.

And Mr. Boy on the bench. He's a big kid and he seems to have a real knack for defence. Daddy makes the practices fun and Mr. Boy is thrilled to be playing hockey.
This weekend, DH hosted a mid-season party for the boys. Ten boys, and two assistant coaches came and they played street hockey, had pizza, ran around like maniacs and played Wii hockey, or so I'm told. I was asked to clear out for the duration of the party so I took the girls out to see the movie Tangled and for a snack after.

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Seeing Things In a Whole New Light!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mr Boy got his reading glasses recently. He says it is clearer when he's doing his marathon reading sessions. And I think he looks pretty cute in his glasses. He only needs to wear them when he's working at his desk or when reading at night, so he keeps them in his backpack in their case.

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Christmas Countdown

Monday, November 29, 2010

I have about a million things to do before Christmas.

Must do list
Get a tree
Buy presents

Want to do list
Make Christmas cookies
Make homemade gifts for my coworkers
Decorate the inside of my house
Buy some LED lights
Get stockings for DH and me
Get a new Christmas CD
Plan a get-together or two
Go see Santa
Mail Christmas cards
Re-decorate my whole house to make the Christmas decorations look better!

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Blogging over at 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'll be posting over at 5 Minutes for Special Needs every Sunday afternoon. Come and check out my first post.

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Field Trip Top Three

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I took Friday off of work and accompanied Mr. Boy's class on a field trip. They were going to the Museum of Civilization and learning about the First People and New France.

Supervising only five well-behaved, polite grade 3's for a day - awesome.
Learning about how hard the voyageurs worked, how many beaver pelts they traded and for what, and what the First Peoples found attractive - interesting.
Holding hands with my boy on the field trip and knowing that he's not too old to be seen hugging and kissing Mommy in public - priceless!

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I used to be a 10, but now I'm an 8.5

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I went to see a pedorthist a few weeks back to get some better shoes. My stiff big toes have been bothering me a lot lately, so I've been wearing really floppy, loose shoes, which are hideously ugly, but at least they weren't pinching anywhere. Turns out, I was in a downward, vicious cycle since the loose, floppy shoes were actually making my toes hurt even more, causing be to be unable to wear stiffer shoes, which might have made things better.

The pedorthist was aghast at the shoes I was wearing when I showed up at our appointment three weeks ago. She got a history from me, did an exam, and measured me for orthotics. Then she gave me a list of things to look for in a shoe, the names of some companies that make good shoes for my foot condition, where to buy them, and a followup appointment for three weeks later. She also measured my feet and told me that I wear an 8.5. That's news to me since I've always worn a 9.5 or a 10. Turns out, I didn't need the length, but I did need the extra height of the bigger shoe.

I wasn't sure how I was going to find the time to get to the shoe store, Solea, as I assumed it wouldn't be open late on weeknights, it being a speciality store and all. Turns out, it was open late on Thursdays, but since I had Thursday and Friday off work, I was able to get there during the day on Thursday. After lamenting the poor selection, I managed to find a pair of orthopedic, rocker-soled shoes which I wouldn't be horribly embarrassed to wear in public. . I had hoped to come out of the store with a pair of dressy shoes, winter boots, and some slip on shoes to wear as slippers at home. At $260, plus $50 for HST (harmonized sales tax), I did find this pair of casual shoes, and it's a good thing there weren't any other shoes I liked. I'd be broke!

I had such a bad time at Solea, that I headed over Glebetrotters, and had an even worse time, there. The clerk kept going on about how we were in between seasons, and he didn't have any shoes because winter was almost here, but when I asked him about getting some winter boots, he used the same excuse! I left there frustrated and empty-handed.

I showed up for my pedorthist appointment on Friday night, and the pedorthist was pleased with my choice. She fitted my new orthotics in the shoes and I've been wearing them around the house, for a little bit longer each day.

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To Tap or Not to Tap

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When I wash my hands at work, in an airport, or in a shopping centre, I notice the habits of the other hand washers. Most people do a decent job and I don't cringe when I need to use the handle after them on the way out of the bathroom.

The one habit I can't condone is sink tapping. I figure a bathroom sink in a public place is covered in germs. Why would someone wash their hands with soap, and rinse their germs into the sink, and seconds later tap their hands in the sink? To pick up their germs again?

I get that people want to remove some of the excess water on their hands, but they could use my drip and shake method quite successfully if they gave it a try.

Any sink tappers out there that can explain the attraction?

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Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat

Friday, November 5, 2010

Last Saturday, we went to the National Arts Centre with the kids to a family concert put on by the NAC Orchestra. I once dreamed of playing clarinet in the NACO.

We dressed up and headed out, despite feeling a little sluggish after our Halloween party the night before. I decided to pull out my old Chi-Chi's restaurant uniform from 1989 and take the braids out of the wig I wore when I was dressed up as a Viking. I was a Mexican senorita. Hopefully that is obvious.
I was happy to have another chance for the kids to wear their rather expensive costumes. Precious decided to pull out the clown costume she wore last year, which was a neighbourhood hand-me-down from now-high-school-student-Claire.

The concert was great. Four year-old Precious was rapt. She spent much of the concert with her hands pressed together, poised to applaud. Six year-old Sweet Pea insisted on sitting in the seat closest to the middle so she wouldn't miss anything. 8 year-old Mr. Boy saw that there was a Harry Potter song on the bill and kept asking me if they were there yet.

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2nd Annual Halloween Party

Sunday, October 31, 2010

We had our 2nd annual Halloween Party on Friday night. We spent time every night last week preparing for the party. We rehearsed the song we were going to perform. I made palmiers, chocolate fudge cookies and roasted red pepper and gouda dip. We bought M&M's, a veggie tray, meatballs, chips and Lone Star salsa. We mixed up some black martinis and filled the coolers with beer, Pellegrino, mango juice and pop.

We wore another 'couple's' costume this year. We were vikings, both of us with long, braided wigs.

The kids went to my mom's for a sleepover, and thank goodness, because the last guests left at 3:00 and we were glad to get to sleep in until 11:00.

I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of all of the guests at the party, but I did get a lot of them.
There were so many good costumes, but I was partial to Greg's Mad Hatter, and Phil and Kathy's Mexican wrestlers "Captain Keg" and "Captain 6 Pack".

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Music Mayhem

Saturday, October 23, 2010

DH is a major music fanatic. He is the proud owner of many musical instruments, all of which he plays to some extent or another. He took organ lessons for 8 years and can play a mean polka. The organ isn't far off from a piano, which we also own.

Since DH likes to write and record his own music, he has Ableton Live for the laptop and some various and sundry equipment, the purpose of which I can only pretend to know. What I do know is that is is a lot of equipment and setting it up on couch cushions and leaning over a synth on a coffee table is a less than ideal setup.

DH setup everything in the basement last week, and after seeing how much music stuff he had when most of it was in one room, I told DH he should look into getting a music studio setup for the basement. We planned some space for it in our basement and right now it's just housing some dolls and cradles.

If I had my way, we'd have a white metal L-shaped desk installed. It would be semi-industrial-looking and would have multiple shelves to hold all of DH's equipment. Of course function is critical, but I want it to look good, too. And I don't want DH to have to hunch over the coffee table anymore.

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Raking

Monday, October 18, 2010

While I was spending obscene amounts of money at Costco on Sunday, DH was home raking the back yard with the kids. I pulled in just as they were filling the last bag. So cute!

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A new record

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I went to Costco this morning when it opened. I was in and out in 48 minutes and spent $480. Yep, for every minute I was there, I spent $10.

DH couldn't imagine how I could spend that much on groceries. I looked at my bill and noticed a few big ticket items

Shrimp $13.79
Salmon fillets $24.99
Cashews $14.99
Pantyhose $18.99 (it's fall and winter's coming, I've gotta have these for work)
Cat food $36.39
Kleenex $14.79

Not to mention all the little things that add up, like

Yams 5 lbs $3.99
Bananas $1.89
Caesar Salad dressing $4.89
Eggs $3.29 (for 18)
Crackers - 4 boxes $7.99

Later in the day, Mr. Boy cashed out his allowance account, all $48 and bought his first big ticket item, Super Mario Bros for the Wii. He is learning about money, trade-offs, priorities and saving. And buying that game made him really, really happy.

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friday was a pretty relaxed day of work after the crazy week we had. The big presentation we had been preparing for all week was at 2:00 on Friday afternoon. The place was half empty because it was the Friday before a long weekend.

Friday night, DH and I went to the see the movie The Social Network, which was entertaining.

On Saturday, Sweet Pea had skating in the morning and Mr. Boy had hockey in the afternoon. DH is the head coach of Mr. Boy's team and he takes his duties very seriously. He is bound and determined to get the boys on his team to the absolute peak of their potential. It's wonderful seeing DH so passionate about this, and I feel it really enhances Mr. Boy's hockey experience, too. Not only does he have his dad as the coach, but his dad is a good coach, too.

Saturday night, we watched the Toronto Maple Leafs embarrass the Senators, although I have to say it was entertaining nevertheless, because Toronto played so hard. Now that we're both working full time, we have all three kids in piano, and Mr. Boy plays hockey twice a weekend, plus Sweet Pea skates and Precious has gymnastics, DH and I were so beat that we didn't even stay up past the second period. Oh, I forgot to mention that my hockey season started this week, it was Meet the Teacher night at the older two kids' school, and I had a book club meeting, as well as my annual physical at my GP. Every week seems to be crammed to the gills lately.

We got a second car last week and DH spent yesterday cleaning the garage to see if we can fit it in there, alongside our old car and with the motorcycle. I did the groceries and went to the gym, and not much else.

Last night was Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's. Everyone brought something and the food was delicious. I had a turkey wing for supper, along with the stuffing, candied yams, brussel sprouts, etc, then keylime pie and pumpkin pie for dessert.

We took our annual Thanksgiving photo in front of my mom's tree and it turned out alright. I've also booked our Christmas 'portrait' at the grocery store photo studio. I booked it for a week after Precious' 5th birthday. I saw proofs of her school portrait and it was so awful, I have to get new ones taken, plus I want to get one of the whole family.
You just gotta love long weekends!

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Gappy

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My almost-7-year-old daughter lost her two from teeth in a span of three days a couple of weeks ago. I keep asking her to say "Ethel Thayer" (obscure On Golden Pond reference).
She's adorable with her teeth, and might be even cuter without them, especially with chocolate ice cream all over her face.

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Dishwasher

Saturday, October 2, 2010

About a week before I went back to work full-time, the latch on the dishwasher stopped working so the dishwasher wouldn't complete a cycle without having to hip-check the dishwasher closed every time it stopped working, several times through the cycle. It was annoying, but not bad.

I called the dishwasher guy to come on our Nanny's last day here, a Thursday. I knew she would be home and could let the guy in. He came, adjusted the latch and $90 later, my dishwasher worked. For one day.

I realized early that Saturday morning that adjusting the latch wasn't going to fix things and the dishwasher wasn't working again. The first day the repair guy could possibly come back was my first day full-time and the second week that DH was working at his new job. Neither of us really wanted to take time off, and I'm a 50 minute bus ride each way, and with the dishwasher guy giving us a three-hour window when he might show up, neither of us could do it.

My mom (the saint) volunteered to wait at the house the next week for the dishwasher guy to come back. He was in an out in a minute, and said that he needed to order a new part and would call when it came in, and schedule yet ANOTHER visit to the house where someone would have to sit and wait for up to three hours.

By this point, the frustration was getting to me. It'd had been weeks since the dishwasher had worked properly, and the latch seemed to be deteriorating even further, meaning that the hip-check method to clean dishes was no longer effective. We had to bring out the big guns!

DH rigged two kitchen chairs and cube and wedged them between the dishwasher and the fridge to get the whole cycle to complete. This meant a difficult hurdle when I wanted to use the kitchen during the wash cycle, and I also couldn't get access to the fridge.
Mom volunteered yet again to wait for the repair guy on his third visit, when part in hand, he fixed the dishwasher properly. It cost me another $96, which was really annoying, but at least the dishwasher was fixed.

The next morning, I came downstairs to get ready for work, and found the chairs and cube set up like the photo above. I almost flipped, thinking that DH had tried to run the dishwasher the night before and it hadn't worked! Turns out, it had just become a habit for him to set up the chairs and he had forgotten that the dishwasher was fixed. What a relief when he told me that!

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Richmond Fair

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We have been going to the Carp Fair on and off for the last 7 years or so. It's close by and in September, like all good fall fairs. I've always enjoyed it except for the fact that the Carp Fairgrounds are dirty and dusty.

When I was little, I always went to the Richmond Fair and I remembered that it was grassy, so we tried it out this year. It had all of the same things as the Carp Fair, but it was cool and mostly on grass. The kids enjoyed the rides and Mr. Boy was really into the games this year. He did really well on one and won twice in a row.

We had junk food for lunch and watched a bit of the horse shows.

Sweet Pea on the slide.
Sweet Pea is a thrill seeker and she loved the scrambler. I loved it too, but my neck started hurting by the end!
Mr. Boy playing the games.
Precious had her face painted like a cat.
The girls went on one of the kiddie rides.
Sweet Pea got the Princess face.
And she got a pony ride.
And so did Mr. Boy.We enjoyed our day and we'll definitely go back.

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Chips are Good

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yummy.
So yummy.

A little too yummy!

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Fall is in the Air

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When the air gets chilly in the morning, and the kids go back to school, and fall starts to arrive, I inevitably get the nesting instinct.

I subscribe to Canadian House and Home and Style at Home magazines.

I watch HGTV. A lot.

And I dream about furniture, painting my house a new colour, and tearing down walls or re-configuring rooms from time to time.

So when my co-worker told me about a Habitat for Humanity house tour, I was confused. A Habitat for Humanity house in her upscale neighbourhood? She pointed me to the website and explained the story to me. Here it is as it appears on the website.

"Recently, Habitat for Humanity-NCR received the biggest donation in our history; a nice home in a great neighbourhood. Our plan is to turn this gift into a major marketing campaign and capital funding drive. We plan to renovate the home (it has been untouched since it was built in the 60’s) using our very talented volunteer design pool in the Nation’s Capital. In the early summer, we will have open houses (over the course of four weekends) for public viewing, before we sell the home. It is our hope that, with the sale of this home, the special events and the Capital Campaign, we will raise $1,000,000. That translates into the ability for Habitat for Humanity-NCR to house 10 new, low-income working families."

Since then, a lot of work has been done, and the house is on the market for well over a million dollars. What was once a traditional home from the 60's, built by the same builder as my house no less, is now a modern and stylish family home in a nice neighbourhood. Since they're charging $10/person for the open house, I hope they make even more money for this worthy charity.


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New Daycare

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our nanny's last day was Thursday. She's been with us almost two years. She took care of the older two kids after school and all summer, and she took care of Precious all afternoon, as she was in half days at school and preschool the last two years.

Jenny is a wonderful and caring childcare provider. Precious loved all the cuddles and reading that Jenny did with her. She and Jenny even took the city bus together to school some days.
It was no problem for Jenny to find another job. My girlfriend was looking for one for the end of her maternity leave until her son starts Montessori. Live-out nannies are hard to find so my friend is happy, and Jenny will be thrilled to have a little boy to play with and cuddle.

The older kids start their new daycare today. They're going to my friend's place every day after school. It's about 1 km on foot, there are a couple of grade 3's going there, and it's right beside Precious' school-provided daycare.

I feel so excited about this new arrangement as the new daycare provider is lovely and I know the kids will love being with other kids after school.

I'll be taking the bus home from work and taking it an extra few stops to get off outside Precious' school, where she is in the before and after school program. Then we'll walk to the other daycare, which is on the way home, and walk the rest of the way home together. Mondays should be 'interesting' as Precious starts piano at 5:30, giving us very little time to get home and eat.

Walking 2 kms a day will be good for the kids, and I need to remember to bring comfortable shoes!

And today is my first day working full-time since 2005! Wish me luck!

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On the Very First Day of School...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The kids were raring to go on Tuesday. Even Mr. Boy put his clothes out the night before. Sweet Pea has been looking forward to this day almost since school let out in June, and most definitely over the last few weeks.

I had the morning off because we were meeting with Precious' kindergarten teacher at 9:30 that morning. The bonus for me was that I could be with the older two on their first day. The five of us ate breakfast together, made lunches, brushed teeth and hair and headed to school.

The kids didn't need new backpacks or even new school clothes this year, although Sweet Pea got a pair of skinny jeans and some hot pink Converse from Grammy and Mr. Boy got a cobalt blue hoodie.
Of course, there were cars everywhere on the first day. All the buses were late. For us walkers, the first day of school is pretty treacherous and busy compared to a normal day.

Because it was raining, we got to school and the class lists weren't taped to the walls so we could find out the teacher's name and who was in the kids' classes. Odds were that Mr. Boy was going to be in a portable, since in grade 3 now, but I wasn't sure about Sweet Pea.

Turns out Sweet Pea is a grade 2 in a 1/2 split. I'm still not sure how I feel about that, but it does mean she's in the school rather than in a portable.

Mr. Boy is in a class with a few kids he knows, and a teacher with a very good reputation. She sends daily emails to the parents, which is a HUGE change from the teacher he had last year.

My older two kids are very adaptable and the first day of school is fun and exciting for them - as it is for me!

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Christine is a Genius

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I was dreaming of my white kitchen with an island but I was stuck in a paradigm where interior (non load-bearing walls) were not removable. Once Christine suggested I 'steal' some space from my dining room so I could get the kitchen I wanted, I got inspired.

My kitchen currently sits in a narrow space behind the stairs, in between the family room and dining room.
By removing the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, and moving the eating area into the former dining room, and moving the dining room into the former family room, it isn't too hard to get an island AND a pantry into my 'new' kitchen. The island is long and narrow, but makes a perfect place to hang out when people are cooking and gives both more counter space and more storage underneath.

The pantry is similar in size to my current pantry, which I use constantly. There's a landing space on BOTH sides of the cooktop, and the dishwasher is located right across from where I would store the dishes, making it a lot easier to load and unload it. Beside the sink, I would have a pull-out drawer so I could have the paper recycling, composting, and plastic recycling, as well as the garbage. The fridge would be accessible to the eating area (for milk refills), and I could have my TV in the eating area for when I'm cooking. My dining room would be much bigger than it is now, which is great since I have a HUGE dining room table which easily sits 12. It's actually my brother's, but I'm borrowing it.

Since the dining room would be too big, I would love to steal a few feet from it expand my mud room and/or put in a small workshop, but I don't want to give DH a heart attack just yet, so let's not talk about that right now.

We have an over-sized living room which we are currently using as a dining room. It has our piano and a wood-burning fireplace, and it would be perfect as our family room. I wonder what it would do to re-sale to remove the separate living room and family room and instead have the same amount of space re-configured from three rooms to two.

Since this is still just for fun, although DH jokingly gave me the go-ahead on the project last night - if I can get it done for $7,000 - many of the details would change, but I can see the overall space would work.

I could still have a lot of fun tweaking the locations of appliances and drawers, deciding what kind of uppers I would have (ie. glass doors, open shelving, no uppers, etc.), thinking about a backsplash, figuring out where dishes, pots, glasses, etc. would go, but I'm happy to have this basic plan worked and to dream.

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I'm Dreaming of a White Kitchen

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I don't really need a new kitchen. My 'old' kitchen is from the 90's, and we did a mini-update with new handles, countertop and backsplash about 6 years ago.

It's a nice-looking kitchen, BUT there are a few things that really annoy me about it.

  • The lighting stinks. We have two huge flood lights that make the room hot.
  • The fridge/freezer is tiny (18 cubic feet for 5 people - are you kidding me???) It came with our old house when there were only two of us.
  • We don't have enough room for compost/paper recycling/plastic recycling and garbage under the sink.
  • The dishwasher needs to be duct-taped and propped closed to work.The bars holding some of the fridge door items in are broken and have been replaced by a bungee cord. Classy.
  • The floor is cream with teal and pink highlights!
  • The oven runs about 25 - 50 degrees hotter than I think it does so everything cooks in less time and/or burns.
  • The hood fan over the stove doesn't exhaust outside, although it hardly matters as it's broken too! It turned on spontaneously one day and the only way to shut it off was at the fuse box.
  • The only logical place to store the dishes is immediately above the aforementioned dishwasher and you cannot load the dishes in the cupboard when the dishwasher door is open so everything has to be unloaded to the counter first, then the cupboard.
  • There's no island or anywhere for people to hang out when we're entertaining.
  • The under-counter lighting is flaky and will turn on and off spontaneously, plus the apron that covers the lighting comes down so low that the back of the counter-top is basically inaccessible.
What I do like about my kitchen
  • The skylight.
  • The back splash.
  • The pantry built into one wall.
  • The sink overlooking the backyard.
  • The double sink and single-handle faucet.
  • The big pot drawers which we use for tupperware, small appliances and spices.
  • The lazy susan in the corner cupboard.
The IKEA catalogue came recently. I noticed all the wonderful kitchen ideas in it, and had already downloaded the kitchen planner, so I plugged in the particulars of my own kitchen and started playing with the cabinetry. What I could come up with? Could my kitchen actually fit an island? Or at least a peninsula? Could I make it look anything like the kitchen in the movie Something's Gotta Give?
I played with a bunch of configurations. In one, I even got my dreamed-of island (at the expense of a big fridge and a pantry). Since I captured these images of my white kitchen in the IKEA kitchen planner, I've gone through at least 5 other changes, including making all the upper cabinets black or making all the lower cabinets black, or just the pantry, etc. It's still black and white, but just different amounts of each.
If we did put in this kitchen, some other things on my wishlist are:
hardwood flooring with perhaps a tile 'mat' near the sink
a little flat screen TV easily visible to the cook
a place to put the laptop while I'm cooking or for kids to play on the computer at the kitchen peninsula.

A girl can dream, can't she?

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End of Summer Bowling

Friday, August 27, 2010

The summer is almost over. The weather is cooling off at nights and I find myself wearing a jacket occasionally. School starts in another week.

This summer, I had a list of things to do with the kids.
Cottage
Water Park
Camping
Pony Ride
Petting Zoo
Mini Putt/Driving Range
Bowling

We didn't make it to the water park this year, but maybe next year.

We've done the cottage and camping, the petting zoo and mini putting and the driving range.

Ever since we got the Wii and played Wii bowling, Sweet Pea has wanted to try 'real' bowling.

We finally made it on Wednesday. We got there just after 10 a.m., since Precious had speech therapy at 1:00 (which ended up being canceled by the SLP).

Sweet Pea was hoping for loud music, which she got. It was a bonus that they had black lights and cool shoes that glowed in the lights. We all had fun bowling. Mr. Boy was pretty good at it, as was Sweet Pea. Precious was hopeless at first, but was able to bowl independently by the 8th or 9th frame. The kids wanted to stay longer, but we had to get home for lunch.

Now I want to organize a bowling tournament!

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A Week in the Muskokas

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I've been out of commission on the blogging front because I took three weeks of vacation and was out of town for much of it.

My first week off, we were lucky enough to get an invitation for to stay at our friend Bob and Sheila's family cottage.

The cottage was originally Sheila's grandmother's, and it's in a community of cottages that shares a beach, volleyball court, play structure, boat launch, etc. The cottage itself is rustic (ie. no potable water and only an outhouse). It's one of those classic cottages with hand-me-downs, and quirks about it. It was perfectly suited for the two families and was wonderfully comfortable.
The boys slept in a tent outside and the girls shared a small bedroom with bunk beds and a single. DH and I were lucky enough to have a nice room with a double futon. Surprisingly, I've never had less back/neck issues than I did that week as the futon mattress was firm and perfect for me. Bob and Sheila shared the other 'big' bedroom.
The family has a canoe and a motor boat (and now a kayak!) so Bob and DH took the girls for a boat ride to one of the islands on Lake Vernon. They were gone a long time and based on the photos they brought back, they had a great time.
The weather and the beach were just perfect. There was shade at the beach, muskoka chairs and picnic tables, as well as a play structure, and lots of sand and water toys. There was a big, metal slide for sliding into the water, and a raft pretty far out, with a diving board. The kids loved getting noodles and heading out to the raft. Precious loved making sand castles with the other girls.
In the cottage, there was lots of reading and playing of games. Guess Who was particularly popular. Mr. Boy and Duncan took turns reading pages from Harry Potter 4. I was knitting a lot and the adults read the paper and various books in the evenings.
One day, the boys went to the community association's cliff jumping spot and jumped off the 'small' and 'medium' rocks. I'm glad I didn't get to see it! It was really high! On the last day, the boys jumped again, although Mr. Boy said the medium rock made his stomach feel funny and he didn't want to do it.
But that didn't stop DH from trying it!
Or Duncan!
On the second last night, we watched Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs at the beach, with free popcorn.

On the second last day, the community association had their annual fun day. There was face painting and old fashioned games.


Earlier in the week, we had gone to Bob's sister's cottage for the day. She's on the exclusive Lake Rosseau, home of celebrities and sports figures. Her cottage was beautiful, completely wood inside and out, and perched on a cliff with a wraparound deck, and stairs and decks all the way down (way down) to the water.

Bob's sister has three young girls, so add my three and Bob and Sheila's and it was 8 kids between 8 years and 2 years.
Here are all the kids starting supper on the top deck, with DH admiring the panoramic view.
The bottom deck.We had a wonderful time in Lake Vernon and hopefully we'll get invited back!

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