Sunday, August 31, 2014

Painting Time

Yesterday the boys and I got a bit artistic.  We painted using watercolours and poster paints.  Here are our best pictures:

Baby Boy slashed around with red paint and gusto!

Little Boy, as usual, created very linear, modern art.
This took him ages to complete because he carefully placed every stroke.

Big Boy started by sketching with a pencil and created a very well-proportioned Ninja Turtle.
He even included a scar on the turtle's front.  

I was holding Baby Boy while I experimented with watercolours.
I gave up when Baby Boy started "helping" with his own wet and soggy brush -
you can see his contribution above the orange flower.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Big Lots! and Tuesday Morning

I had to kill a bit of time this week and I was in the same neighbourhood as Big Lots! and Tuesday Morning.  I had never been into either store so I thought I'd pop in to both.  I had about 10-15 minutes for each.

Big Lots! reminded me a little of an Aldi but without any of the fresh produce.  It had a fairly random selection of groceries, household items, toys, and other bits.  I actually bought something here - a bag of Bob's Red Mill beans and grains for soup.  I'm not sure it's a place I would buy things on a regular basis - it's a store that requires quite a bit of "hunting" and I usually don't have time - but I think I'd look there from time to time.

Tuesday Morning was a bit of a "crafty" store.  I think I could spend some time here browsing for notions and decorations.  It also seemed to be have different party supplies to other shops - I will definitely check back there when I'm planning birthday parties.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Driving By....

This morning when I was driving with one of my boys there was a bit of a traffic snarl.  Traffic was very backed up at a particular intersection by a public monument.  We sat and waited with the other cars and as we moved up I saw that loads of police cars were blocking one part of the road and traffic was travelling slowly down the other side.  As we got nearer I saw media cameras as well.

We drove closer and I could see that the police had taped off a section of park and I looked over and saw a dead person laying on the ground.  I won't go into a description about how the person looked, but it was far worse than what I've seen on television.  It was the worst thing I have ever seen.

According to the news, the police are conducting an investigation into what happened.  I drove by the same spot a few hours later and everything was gone - a couple was actually sitting on the bench having a drink of water.  I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way, but it seems horrible that (1) whatever happened happened; and (2) there is no trace of it anymore - no candles, no pile of flowers, no notes from loved ones.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beauty Box Five

I decided to try a beauty box subscription.  What's a beauty box subscription?   Essentially it's a service that sends you a box of beauty products once per month.  You subscribe to the service and then fill out a questionnaire regarding your beauty routine and preferences.  A stylist sends you a box of beauty products (some full sized and some sample sized) to try out.  

I looked at a bunch of different beauty box subscriptions and I decided to try Beauty Box Five (  I ordered my first box. The normal cost is $12.00 per box but I had a voucher and the cost was $6.00 for this box.  Beauty Box Five always contains 5 items (imagine that!).

This is how the box looked when I got it:

The box came with:  a hair treatment; travel wipes; a lip gloss; a sunscreen; and a nail polish.  Inside the box there was a card describing each product and how to use it.  The card also sets out the retail price of each item.

The sunscreen, hair treatment, and travel wipes are all products I will definitely use.  I love this brand of sunscreen but it's expensive so I don't normally buy it (it retails for $55.00 for 1.7 ounces and my sample is 0.5 ounces).  

The lip gloss is a bit of a shocking pink.  I tried it on with a full application and it looked a bit trampy.  But after blotting it was a nice healthy glow.  I actually quite like it....and I would have never picked it at the shop!

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My favourite thing is this nail polish.  It has some "confetti" in it and I can't wait to use it to do a pedicure.  

I'm not sure if I'm going to be a subscription "addict" but I'm pretty happy with this box and I will continue my subscription to see what September brings.  

Beauty Box Five doesn't currently have a referral program but they may in the future.  If you want to check them out after reading this, please use my referral link:  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I have piles of school paperwork and school-related "chores" to do, so I just have time for a brief catch-up.

Big Boy is doing well in school.  He likes his teacher and seems to be settling in well.  It helps that some pals from last year are in his class.

Today was my first morning with all 3 of my boys in school - I had fun doing some errands alone and drinking a leisurely cup of coffee.

We had a busy weekend.  We swam all 3 evenings.  Swimming in the early evening is just lovely here. The pool water is warm from the sun and the air is no longer scorching.  

All 3 boys are getting more comfortable in the water.  Big Boy "swims" around and retrieves diving toys but he doesn't really do any actual swimming strokes.  Little Boy is becoming braver every day.  Now he jumps into the pool and will kick around following Big Boy.  Baby Boy was too brave a few weeks ago.  He developed a taste for jumping in and would jump whether someone was ready to catch him or not.  Now he also kicks around in the pool, happy as a clam.  He also loves to float on his back.

I bought Little Boy and Baby Boy each a Stearns Puddle Jumper (  It is a combination life jacket and water wings - quite brilliant - and it keeps the child afloat and upright with their face out of the water.  The child can move his arms and kick around to control the direction of travel.  Also, Baby Boy can roll onto his back and float on his back (Little Boy would never try to float on his back).

While I would never ever leave any of the kids alone in the pool and I would never let Baby Boy or Little Boy stray far from me, the Puddle Jumpers give my boys a bit of freedom to jump into the pool and to kick around in the pool without being held.

We also bought Big Boy a desk for his homework this weekend.  It was from Ikea so there was much assembly required....but it was worth it.  He has used it for all his homework so far, and I think he enjoys the grown up work space.

Little Boy went to a birthday party this weekend at a gymnastics club.  Despite his initial worry and tantrum he had a great time!

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School Interview - Big Boy

Big Boy had the last first day of school for our family this year.  This morning he started into his new year and here is what he had to say when I did his interview:

Big  Boy - About to Start Grade Two

1.  I am 4 feet and 1 inch tall and I weigh 55 pounds.

2.  My favourite thing to play is:  Lego

3.  My favourite colour is:  Green

4.  My favourite book is:  Harry Potter

5.  My favourite TV show is:  Kung Fu Panda

6.  My favourite food is:  Hamburger

7.  My favourite activity is:  Karate

8.  I really like:  Transformers

9.  I really don't like:  Radishes

10.  My favourite thing about myself is:  My awesomeness

11.  This year I want to:  Learn how to play tennis

12.  When I grow up, I want to:  Be a Swimming Teacher

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Our Day (subtitled: Thanks Scammers, I have nothing better to do with my time.....)

Today I took Big Boy back to Wonderwilder.  I was hesitant because a day after our last play session my shoulders were so sore that I couldn't lift my arms above my head.  I spent far too much time on the Tarzan rope!  My abs were also sore from driving around the pedal go-kart.

We had a blast!  I actually stopped in Ross on the way over and bought some athletic (yoga-style) capris* so that I could play with him on the equipment.  We arrived and I changed while he decided what he wanted to play on first.  We had fun bouncing on the trampoline pillow for a while and then drove in the cars.  

Then we went onto the ropes course....and I fell!  We played for about 15 minutes and then when I was coming down from the top level on a rope mesh ladder my foot slipped out of its hold and I fell down the mesh and bit through my lip.  It bled pretty hard and swelled up, but thank goodness Big Boy and I were the only people on the playground so no-one else saw (it was very embarrassing).

I cleaned myself up and we rode the go-karts some more before other kids started showing up about an hour after we had arrived.  Then I sat down on the bench with the other mothers and found a lady to chat with.  

Big Boy found some great kids to play with today and we waited until the last minute to leave.

After I left I picked up Baby Boy from his school and found out that he had a perfect potty day at school! (This is jumping forward, but it actually ended up being a perfect potty day all day....!) I was so pleased.  To celebrate we picked up lunch from El Ray.  That was a bit of a mistake.  I got green salsa in my lip hole and it burned until I I washed it out under the tap.  Now I know how much that sucks!

As we were sorting out lunch I looked at my phone and there was a message about my car insurance.  I called back and it was from Allstate.  The message was that my auto insurance payment was overdue and they would send a notice of cancellation if I didn't pay $84 immediately.  I'm not in charge of paying that bill in our household so I started to panic because I wasn't sure if we had accidentally forgotten to pay.

I pushed the buttons to navigate the system because I wanted to ask a few questions - the amount didn't match any of our usual payments, so I was wondering what it covered.  I couldn't find a "human" to talk to.  Then it dawned on me that we don't use Allstate for our car insurance.  I quickly rang up our own insurance company and confirmed that I didn't owe anything....the lady just laughed and told me to be careful of these scams.  What a waste of time!  And it's disappointing because it all sounded so legitimate and professional.

After the kids took naps (...maybe I napped too) we walked over to pick up Little Boy with plans to go swimming. Unfortunately the pool was closed due to mechanical issues so we couldn't swim.  

We had supper and then went to Big Boy's "Meet the Teacher" night.  We signed up for activities and met his teacher before hurrying off to karate....what a busy day!

As I'm writing this I'm exhausted....and also I can feel my shoulder muscles and back muscles starting to get sore....maybe I should learn to act my age.

*Just an aside - I love these yoga capris.  They are a brand called "The Girls" ( and they are very nicely made.  

The capris are comfortable with a high enough waist to remain modest whilst bouncing on a trampoline or swinging on a Tarzan rope but they are also modern looking. They are not sheer at all but the fabric is lightweight and sweat-wicking (I sweated a lot at the play centre today so I tested this feature!).  I am comfortable with the price point of this brand and I will look for it in the future.  Their products are also available in "tall" - not an issue for me, but I know some people who get excited about "tall" clothing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wonderwild - Houston Heights Location

Yesterday I took Big Boy for a play at Wonderwild in the Heights (  Wonderwild is an indoor play centre.  It is divided into two sides - Wonderwild for younger children (ages 8 and under) and Wonderwilder for older children (ages 5-11).  You pay admission based on whether your child can walk and which side your child will play on.  I paid for Big Boy to play only on the equipment for older children and the admission cost was $10.00.  That seemed a little steep when I was paying it, but after seeing the facility I think it's pretty good value (assuming your child wants to stay a while).  The facility has free wifi with the password prominently posted at the front desk.  There are beverages for sale for $1.00 but no cafe or other food services.

The play area is a large warehouse bay divided with a coated chain link fence to separate Wonderwild and Wonderwilder.  Wonderwild had a 20' inflated slide, a very large climbing area, a jumping pillow, a soft play area, and bike track.  I'm sure there are other attractions but this is what I could see from the Wonderwilder side.  There are also benches for parents and some cubbies to store your stuff.  The smaller kids seemed very happy playing here.

Wonderwilder consisted of a jumping pillow, a bike/go-kart track, a soft play area with blocks that looked like enormous 3D tetris pieces, and a multi-story rope and net play area.  We were the first ones at the play centre yesterday morning morning and we were alone for about an hour so I tried out all of the attractions with Big Boy.

I loved the jumping pillow.  Big Boy and I spent a long time making up "fancy" jumps (like a jumping jack or toe touch) and trying to bounce across the pillow.  I found the go-karts difficult to drive (yes....some of them were big enough for me) and after trying to maneuver one around for a few minutes I noticed that the rules sign said adults were not allowed on the go-karts.  I got off the kart but Big Boy loved driving around and around the track.

The ropes play area was amazing.  It was fun swinging like Tarzan, faux tightrope walking, and scaling a wall.  Some of the ropes tunnels were not exactly adult-sized but I managed to fit through all of them.  I couldn't figure out what we were supposed to do on the tyres.....

I was least excited by the soft play area, but Big Boy loved putting together the giant tetris pieces.  I honestly could not see the appeal, but he would have played there for hours.

Once other children started arriving I stopped playing and took a seat on the benches with the other mothers.  I am hurting today....I think my body is not used to playing like a kid!

Overall, Big Boy had 2 hours of solid, sweaty, fun at Wonderwild and I hope I can take him back soon.  He had a great time and so did I.

I tried these karts - quite tough!

Big Boy loved these go-karts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Big Boy and Harry Potter

Last night, Big Boy finished reading "Harry Potter at the Philosopher's Stone" (the first "Harry Potter" book).  I am so proud of him - it's a major reading accomplishment!   

Reading the book (on Kindle) has taken him about 6 weeks (he started on the airplane on the way to Calgary), but he has also read other books and comics during that period.  (He's like his mother - he enjoys having multiple books on the go at the same time.)

I think this is the modern "boy" equivalent to reading "Anne of Green Gables" when I was young.* I'm guessing most little Canadian girls of a certain age read "Anne" as one if their first novels - it was a pivotal read for me.  "Anne" and "Harry" are confidence-building reads that pave the way for a series of books with increasing length and difficulty. A first step for any serious reader!

"Anne" and "Harry" are very similar stories.   In both, an orphan marked by a distinguishing physical feature (red hair and a lightening bolt scar) journeys into a better life filled with friendship and adventure.   Both protagonists enjoy a bit of mischief and become central to their new community.  It's interesting that two stories published in such different times and places are so similar ("Anne" was published in 1908 in the U.S.A. (although it is set in Canada) and "Harry" was published in the U.K. in 1997). 

*Perhaps this is a bit narrow - Harry Potter is appealing to both genders but I can't help but to see it as a "boy" book. 

Measure Once, Cut Twice.....Right?

Today I set to a sewing task....making Little Boy a pillow case for his nap pillow at school.  Over the weekend I purchased and washed the fabric and today I just needed to cut, iron, pin, and sew.  I didn't bother with a patterns because I assumed it would be simple.  Right.....

I measured and cut out the fabric and sewed a really nice edge.  I was about to fold it over and sew it into a tube shape when I noticed that it looked too small.   I measured again and figured out that I had cut enough for one side, not the whole case!

I pulled out my beautifully straight seam and cut another piece then ironed and pinned the pieces together.   It was a quick job to sew it together.  I reinforced the seams but gave up on the fancy cuff so that I could spend some time with the kids.   I compromised by sewing a decorative double seam around the mouth of the pillow case.  

The end product is not perfect but it is definitely usable and tidy.   I haven't used a sewing machine to do anything but hem trousers in a long time, so I need more practice!

My "decorative double seam"