Friday, April 29, 2011

Making Grocery Shopping a Game

I've been vaguely aware of my local supermarket's policy of price matching.  Basically you bring in somebody else's flyer, they give you somebody else's sale price. I've tried it a couple time, on a few small items, but today I went all out.

The hardest part of the grocery price-match game is actually having the flyers. The store won't accept printouts of the online version (I've tried) and most of the time the newpaper is recycled/lost/destroyed by a mischievous young princess. Also the paper seems to alternate between the useful food flyers, and the not so useful clothing and electronics flyers.  But today, against all odds I had all the grocery store flyers, on a day that I actually wanted to go shopping.  As I wrote my shopping list on my iPod, I meticulously examined the sales flyers of six different super market, noting the best deals in each one.

Then, armed with a stack of coloured newsprint, I drove to the store and filled my cart.  My son added a few non-sale items to the stack, but almost everything else was on sale somewhere out there.

While my two offspring wandered about the candy machines, a manager rang in my purchases (it had to be a manager because underlings do not have the authority to price match).  This is where I should have been more organized.  All my groceries were mixed up together and it wasn't always easy to remember which sale was at which story.  Next time, I'll dedicate a special bag for each of the fliers separating the foods by which store has each on sale.  Brilliant, right? 

Not exactly extreme couponing.  I'm not evern sure if I've saved any money in this ridiculous endeavour, but I the important thing is that I feel like I've beat the system.  I win!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I give up

Caught red handed with a tube of toothpaste in our bedroom.  Adam's side of the bed now smells minty fresh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My New Toy

In light of the conflict between my two (highly lucrative) careers of writing and motherhood; my extra sexy husband purchased me a netbook so my writing can be more portable.  My new toy is pink, small enough to fit in my diaper bag, and supposedly lasts ten hours on battery power.  I took it to Little Goobers today, and read all my writers' group files while the offspring were somewhat occupied.  Of course I had to race both children down the slide twice, rescue Jadzia from the treefort, serve snacks and lunch, extract my daughter from the exersaucer, and do up William's pants after a trip to the washroom.  I never did get to my own writing, so time will tell if this little machine will solve all my problems.  Now all I need is an agent, a publisher, a maid, and a nanny.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baby-proofing fail

Days after Adam installed a baby-proof lock on the bathroom cupboard, Jadzia defeated said lock, dumped the cupboard's contents onto the bathroom floor and decorated several walls with mascara.  What she's holding in the above pic isn't the mascara, but another lid she found that won't mark anything.  I let her keep that.  Let her think she's won.  (Because she did).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Voting For Candidates Based on Looks 2011

*Disclaimer: this is meant as a bit of fun.  You should probably not actually base your vote on how the party leader looks.

So I watched the leadership debate last night after an exhausting trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  The candidates gathered in a circular set, awkwardly coloured in oranges, greys and blacks, and bickered relentlessly offering little of substance.  Many a media organization is racing to offer you, the voter, an in depth analysis of the exchange, but only here will you get a guide to voting for the candidates based on their looks.

Gilles Duceppe.  I may not agree with all his separatist ideals, and I can't vote for him anyway, but I have to admire this guy's sense of style.  His tie print featured either butterflies or flowers, wonderfully complimenting his pinstripe suit.  Compared to the other fellas drab ensembles, Gilles came across positively flamboyant. Perhaps this is a Quebecois thing?  Of course, as always his pointed ears and piercing eyes make him look like a vampire (not Edward Cullen or Bella Lugosi, more like Nosferatu).

Stephen Harper.  In the first voting based on looks post, I compared Steve to an aging ken doll.  I suspect he is actually an android.  His hair never moves and skin is unblemished and shiny, particularly his lips.  Also his hand gestures remind me of the animatronics at Disneyland.  The debate began with a one-on-one exchange between Nosferatu and the robot.  Pointless, yes.  Hilarious, mildly.

Jack Layton.  What a trooper this guy is!  He has cancer, has lost a bunch of weight and is walking with a cane.  Not only does he not let it get him down, but he actually made a joke about it, saying how he would have to lend Harper his crutch to stay in power.  Zinga!  Did anyone else notice that Jack's skin is the exact same orange as the set backdrop?

Micheal Ignatieff.  I think he's gotten greyer since he took over the liberal party.  Maybe this was on purpose, because for some reason it makes him look friendlier.  He's trying really hard not to seem like a slimey car salesman and I give him props for that. He's also the only leader who wore a tie that matched his party's colours and the one with the bushiest eyebrows.  When Jack and Mike go at it I keep wanting to yell at them to kiss and make up.  If they joined forces they could do some serious robot butt-kicking!

Elizabeth May.  She wasn't there, and she's hopping mad!

If, for some reason, you need more than just looks to decide on who to vote for, the CBC has this nifty little tool.  You put in your stance on certain issues, and it tells you which party's views are most similar to yours.  It didn't really tell me much that I didn't already know but it makes the decision process into a fun quiz game!  Incidentally, I think I'm probably going to vote Liberal.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spontaneous Vacation

Yesterday morning my husband announced that he wanted to take the day off and "do something".  So we spontaneously went to Great Wolf Lodge, a hotel with a large indoor waterpark, an arcade, and a woodland creatures theme.

Jadzia, normally an animal lover, was terrified of the animatronic creatures so that every time we even went near the lobby where the moose, bear, and tree were chatting away to noone in particular, she would bury her head in my shoulder (or Adam's) and cling to me (or Adam) with the two-year-old equivalent of a death grip.

We paid extra for a room that had fun bunkbeds made to resemble a tent in the woods (one that was being raided by a family of cartoon bears).  I don't think the extra money was worth it.  For one thing, I banged my knee getting out of the bunk bed and now have an ouchy bruise.  Also William didn't want to sleep on the top bunk, and ended up on the pull out couch. 

We spent the majority of our time divided between the waterpark and the arcade.  I have absolutely no pictures of the waterpark, because of water's reputation for destroying electronic devices, but it was a sight to behold.  All kinds of water buckets, and spraying things atop a ridiculous metal climbing structure vaguely made to resemble wood.  We spent a lot of time hanging out around the four kiddie slides. Jadzia was too short to go on them, despite her insistance on walking on her tiptoes.  William slid like a pro, listening to the lifeguards far better than he ever listens to me.

Adam and I took turns riding the "grown-up slides" while the other supervised the offspring.  Canada Vortex was the best, the slide lets you out in a giant funnel and you never know just when you're going to get out of it.  The first time, I slid out backwards.  Some of the slides needed more than one person to ride, so I cornered a random mom and her daughter and rode with them.  The girl, about nine, said "I haven't screamed once".  Well, then you didn't have as much fun as me!   

The photo above is obviously from the arcade, where we spent a ludicrous amount of money on tokens.  William wanted to play every game involving a gun, while Jadzia's faves were the mall-style rides.  Jadzia was also quite proficient at Wack-a-Shark, and this peculiar game where you catch ping pong balls in a popcorn bucket.  Most of our tickets were earned in a machine which drops a ball into a slot at the push of a button.  We ended up with about 2000 tickets to spend on dinky toys.  This translated into a bouncy ball and a stuffed dragon for Jadzia, an airplane and a grenade for William (yes, I said grenade, complete with exploding sounds), and assorted candy for the ride home.  Sugar gets a bad rap, but it's so sweet, and comes in so many colours and flavours.  We gorged ourselves on fun dip and nerds.  I know this is not good for me, thought I, (and it isn't even that yummy) but it tastes like childhood.

We got home in time to watch the leadership debate.  So stay tuned for my post on voting for leaders based on looks, which I'll write later when I feel like it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011



  • The kids brought all the steak knives downstairs and used them to gouge holes in the wall.
  • William trashed my parents washroom by decorating it with toothpaste, shaving cream, and shampoo.
  • William undoes his seatbelt in the car whenever he's annoyed at us.
  • And of course you already know about the ketchup and the yogurt incidences.
This lead to the conclusion that:
  • The kids need more attention.
  • The kids need more supervision.
  • Our house needs to be more kid proof.
And so:
  • We've put away the kid's computer and locked out the tv, so that the kids will have only the good kind of play time.  Too often William refuses to go anywhere because he's too busy watching tv or surfing youtube.
  • Adam has gone hogwild with baby proofing.  Since our kids aren't babies, this requires a little creativity.  Any lock I can figure out, William can figure out too, so we have to keep things out of his reach (and hope he isn't determined enough to get a chair).
  • We've changed William's booster back to a 5-point harness.
  • We're going to try and actually pay attention to our kids.
Today was our first test of our changes.  We went to the zoo. So we were having good parent/kid relations, and giving them a fun outting, but we kind of cheated because we didn't have long to deal with the no tv and computer thing.  I dread not having the screens around to "babysit" the offspring when I have writing to do during the week.  Of course, the fact that I'm so dependent on these devices makes me feel like a neglectful parent. (Plus the tv is a lousy babysitter, it did nothing to prevent the knives in the wall).   No longer!  From now on I will play hotwheels tracks and go to the park at least as often as I sit down to write.  All I have to do is get up early, and possibly clone myself.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Best Day Ever

This morning I got up early and finished my daily word count so I wouldn't have to ignore my kids all day to complete it.  I wanted to get the kids out of the house to avoid anymore ketchup or yogurt messes, but the morning sky looked grey.  So I invited my friend Becca over for a playdate instead.  William and Aedan have literally known each other since they were infants and they were very excited to get this opportunity to play.  After a nice chat, lunch, and cuddling of baby Amelia, Becca and family had to be on their way.

Once they had gone, I realized that the grey sky had turned a beautiful blue. So I got William and Jadzia outside on their bikes.  At first William didn't want to go downhill because he was afraid to go too fast (he is my son, after all), but he soon conquered his fear.  He raced down the steepest portion of sidewalk again and again, a proud grin glued on his face.

When the hill became tiresome we biked to the park.  By this time my youngest was getting tired (partly from the excitement and partly because she insists on lifting and dragging her trike instead of using the pedals).  After a short time both whined at my inadequate swing pushing, so I bribed them home with the promise of chocolate chip cookies.

As always, the kids helped me get all the ingredients together and mix them.  For those who are interested, I always use this recipe but modify it based on my mood and what I have in my cupboards.  Today I made the following modifications:  omitted the cocoa, put half brown sugar and half white, added a cup of oatmeal, a cup of chocolate chips, and some coconut. I cooked them for 11 minutes, left them in a turned off oven for 5 minutes, and let them cool on the cookie sheets for 5 more minutes.  Holy Q, they were perfect; melty chocolate chips, soft chewy consistency, subtle coconut taste.

Of course none of this avoided food mess.  I left the cookies on the stove too long and my daughter helped herself.  I was finding half-eaten cookies all over the house for hours afterwards.  Of course I saved them.  Cookies this delicious should not be wasted.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Independence is good. Right?

One of my very few house rules is that food must be eaten at the table.  Food must not be eaten downstairs (with pop corn being an occasional exception).

I think these guidelines are perfectly reasonable, but William finds them the height of unfairness.  "But I'm hungry and I want to watch Treehouse," says he.

Well today I gave the kids some grapes for snack, and the moment I wasn't looking my son carried his plate downstairs.

"Where's your plate?"
"It's already in the sink," William said while attempting to block my view of the basement.  Then, when it was obvious that I could see the plate sitting on the couch: "Jadzia brought it down there."

I told him he could not have anymore grapes because he broke the rule about not eating downstairs and then lied about it.  He was upset for a short while, but then I considered the matter settled.

Later, my son came to me with his face covered in yogurt.
"What's that all over your face?"
"Jadzia just put yogurt on my face."
Apparently my two-year-old daughter had also brought a chair from the dining room to the kitchen, removed an entire package of single serving yogurts, and eaten them/spilled them on the downstairs carpet. 


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Kids are cute.

This past Saturday my beautiful niece turned one, and a celebration was held in her honour.  These sorts of family gatherings are a collage of special moments.  Here are some of my favourite shots from the event:

Both my Dad and my husband insisted they were "smiling" in this shot.  So why does Jadzia have to frown to blend in?

If she looks guilty it's because this is the forth cupcake that Jadzia has licked the icing off and then left.

My brother is such an adorable Daddy.

"You're funny, William!"  Violet says it all with a point.

In addition to consuming yummy dinner, snacks, and cake, I also managed to capture the next "Star Wars Kid" video.  Sure to go viral!

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