Friday, March 30, 2007

The $0.59 Depot

Yesterday evening we were all out and about for one of the kidlet's evening activities. On our way home, we stopped at a local dollar store.

On the way in, I couldn't help but notice the neon green handmade sign written in bright marker complemented with copious amounts of coloured sparkles. It was hanging in the window by way of copious amount of clear packing tape. It advertised everything as 40% off...until March 31. At the dollar store. Actually, it's not even a dollar store. It's the $0.99 Depot. And they're having a sale. In my limited experience, I have never seen such a thing.

We picked up a couple of things. Brown packing paper and bubble wrap for those of you that really have to know. Oh, and some thread for the sewing bag. So three items came to $2.02. At the dollar store. That's $0.59 x 3 x 14%tax.

Over the course of the evening I began to think about this. They had lined paper and birthday cards there. And binders. I'm sure they had other useful things there as well. I was particularly thinking about the things I could stock up on for the school shelf. Like pencils. And stickers. I like stickers. And fancy scrapbook papers. Paintbrushes and tennis balls. All at $0.59 a piece. Modelling clay. Tracing paper. Yarn. Tape. Index cards, hot glue sticks, gift bags and balloons.

So these thoughts were tickling my brain all evening. I mentioned it to Brian. We should really stock up on the things we use. I'm usually not But I somehow can't but help the little urgings I'm feeling after reading the '40% off Until March 31' sign. It'd be a shame to miss the deals only to have to go out and spend an entire dollar on something I could have had a deal on. What if the store is closing and the poor shop owner is stuck with unsaleable merchandise. After all, if the store is closing, they have probably already lost money on their business venture. It would be a shame to have them lose more on items that I might find useful.

Oh, the things I get excited about. So, the kids and I are off to the...$0.59 sale. <sigh> There will have to be a short preliminary briefing before we depart so as to incorporate some math concepts into our venture. I knew this could be educational.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

DITL - Wednesday, March 28

Today was errand day.

Every now and then I recall that I have a rough plan in my mind where the things I need to get done are allotted their day. It's a great idea. However, as it usually happens with such things and I, I actually pull it off once every 8 weeks or so.

So, today was errand day.

By some brilliant stroke of luck, I woke up at 6. Yes, A.M. I enjoyed some quiet time with a cup of tea at the computer. I like to read my favorite comic strips and the news. I like to poke around Blog Land and see what I can find.

Brian was up and out by 7:15. He was a little off kilter as I was so alert and mobile. The kids got up as he was leaving. We had a bit of a chat and Kori put a Star Wars movie on. Her latest creative writing is Jedi-esque and she needed inspiration. Raiden showed up with his mini hockey sticks and turned the kitchen floor into a goalie crease. I headed up to my room, read a few chapters in a novel that my mom passed to me and then jumped in to the shower.

When I emerged, the kids had made toast and granola for themselves. I ironed a couple of Brian's shirts while the kids got ready for their day. They did some household chores and I got some laundry started. The dog, who was outside, had lay herself in a puddle. So we chased her down when she came in. Got her toweled off. I asked the kids to join me at the table and we planned our afternoon out.

At 10, I started Brian's lunch. That usually includes cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast. Today I had the privilege of included last night's dinner dishes with breakfast's. Raiden worked on some math practice pages (I don't always remember to have the kids sit down to do side #2 of their daily math page). Kori finished Shane's card. I remembered I needed to dry my hair so I quickly did that and then we drove Brian back to work.

We zipped back home and had lunch. We gathered every library book in the place and, with a heavy conscious (they were a wee bit overdue), we loaded up the car. Got to the end of the driveway and pulled back in. Got the Girl Guide Cookies from the house. Headed out again.

First stop was Staples where a lady stole the photocopier right out from under me. Well, it was sort of beside me. Next time I'll sit a child upon the machine I intend to use. Rai's still kind of little. I can lift him. I soothed my frustration by browsing the stationary...the organizational tools...the markers, stickers and pens. I eventually remembered to mosey back to the copiers and I copied the activity pages I needed copied.

Then we browsed the books store. I have a gift card to spend and I have a good idea of the books I'd like to get. Unfortunately, our weeny book store (I really like it, I do) had none of the books I was interested in. For some strange reason, I like to hold a book before I buy it. Next, we were off to the small cafe to spend our gift certificate on cookies. $10 gets your 2 dozen really good cookies at Ogie's Cafe. We had to eat one before we left.

Drove downtown to the library making a couple of detours on the way. Kori dropped off some Girl Guide cookies. She had accidentally brought home 2 cases of the things. Turns out, that was a good thing as the chocolate/vanilla sandwich cookies pretty much sell themselves. At the library, we ran into the lovely children's librarian who has been away for a while. She asked Raiden if he would like to sign up for Spring Chess Club. He was very excited. This is the first time he's been old enough to attend. I exercised restraint in my literary selections today. We signed out only a small stack fitting comfortably in our canvas library bag. I also paid our library fine...they gave me a receipt. Is that bad? I've never got a receipt before...Turns out that when the library updated to a new and fancy software that allows you to control the library universe from the comfort of your own home, they also upped the library fines in the children's department by 150%. Glad to know. That makes 17 books overdue by 4 days cost me $17. Yikes. We headed back to the car with 3 minutes to spare on the parking meter.

Drove across town, which took us about 15 minutes as school had just got out and traffic was heavy. Landed at WalMart for only 2 small items. Well, one thing I bought two of. Small paint trays. I'm excited about our new paints, but that's a post for another time. The kids said they were tired so we left quickly without a plastic shopping bag. I'm trying to figure out how to do without such things. Again, a post for another time.

Our last-ish stop of the day was the grocery store. I had a few things in mind to get. You know, just enough to see us through the weekend. How the Europeans shop each and every day is beyond me. I suppose the tiny refrigerators have something to do with that. It was one of those days in the grocery store where the shelves were empty of most sale items and they didn't have a good selection of the stuff I like to buy. Like sprouts. And whole wheat wraps. And Kori's yogurt. And why doesn't Del Monte make a smaller can of Mandarin Magic?

On our way home, we took a long detour and dropped off the last of our pre-sold cookies. I called Brian on the way home to see if I had time to drop the groceries off before we picked him up. He thought we did. So we went home. We brought the groceries in. Brian called. I threw the fridge/freezer stuff away and we loaded into the car to crawl through the going-home traffic all the way across town again.

Once everyone had finally landed at home for good, we slowed the pace way down. Groceries trickled away. Raiden ate a dinner of leftovers. Kori and I watched a show about Red Pandas and ate omelets for dinner. Around 8 we took the dog for a quick walk around the block and up and down the street. I knew Rai was either tired or not feeling well as he stopped running ahead shortly into our walk. He insisted that we keep going quickly, he didn't want us to slow down. So he happily trailed behind. Gradually I slowed the pace so he caught up for the last stretch home.

I washed the last of the dishes as the kids were getting ready for bed. Instead of climbing into bed at 8:30, the kids came back downstairs to watch a little of the hockey game (Buffalo vs. New Jersey). Kori watched from the computer where she typed away at her story. Between periods, she and I talked about plot and character development and how to stick in important descriptions where necessary. Around 9 they trudged up to bed where they fell asleep quickly.

Brian and I watched a couple of shows. I read a bit (Lynn Truss' Talk To The Hand) and it was lights out for us as well. Tomorrow is a stay-at-home day. Math lessons are ready to go, if the kids want. As well, we might get to some SOTW pages. Hopefully, it will continue to dry up and we can spend some time outside.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Birthday Wish for Shane!

Today during our school work, Kori decided to make a card for Shane.

This is Shane -->

Shane is 7, turning 8 in May. He's at CHEO being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It is his wish to receive the most birthday cards ever. We're going to take a few cards up when Raiden has his appointment on April 13. They have a big box for the birthday cards right at the main entrance. Shane can get his cards the same day they arrive. If you're visisting from cyber-space, send a card to the address in the poster.

Shane is doing really well. This project is really making him happy. A card doesn't have to be fancy. Raiden is going to decorate a piece of paper with stickers because he doesn't 'do' crafts. Please send him your best wishes. For more details, check out the entry at

Monday, March 26, 2007

This Morning...

This morning we opened a new book. Grandma M. and G. sent it up from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We opened it slowly, reading the pages before getting to the good part. Then we spent the remainder of the morning watching shuttle launches and landings on You Tube, poking around the NASA site and checking out the look of the International Space Station.

The kids were pretty impressed with the look of the final fold-out pop-up product below. It's definitely a multiple person job to hold the model steady so it doesn't fold in on itself. I'm sure the threat of implosion like that will lessen once we break it in. Raiden informs me that there are two handy-dandy holes in the sturdy cover of the book in order to hang the contraption from the wall. Clever. But then again, we're dealing with rocket science, so I would expect no less.

Thank you Grandma M. and Dr. G!! Thanks for thinking of us while you were away! xoxo

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Of Mice and Men

I wanted to share this picture. This is my Provider-Problem-Solver-Rescuer-From-Bugs-and-Noises doing what he does best: taking care of us.

There's a happy medium when it comes to talking about your loved ones on the internet.

Most blogs I've come across struggle to know what the happy medium is. For example, there is the popular My Boyfriend Is A Twat. Too much information, in my humble opinion.

Then, there is the other end of the scale. I won't link, but I'm sure you've seen them. You'll be reading along and see a reference to 'my partner'. There will be no gender specific pronouns to be found anywhere on such a blog. The children (are they really children, or...cats?...plants?) are referred to as FunnyOne and BookWorm. Of course, people have varying degrees of information-sharing-comfort. So we'll leave everyone to their own individual struggle.

With that all said, I wanted to tell you about my wonderful companion. Heck, I'm comfy. He is my loving husband. He would probably rather I didn't say anything. I'll compromise with him by trying to be vague and brief.

He loves his dog. He loves his kids. He's pretty darn good to me. He's a good problem solver. He earns Brownie Points by keeping my PC running smoothly. He's tolerant. I know that because sometimes, and only when provoked, I might get a little dramatic...and emotional...bordering on irrational, maybe. I think hormones are usually involved. And then other times, I might clean up occasionally. And I have been known to move things when cleaning up. Like papers that someone might have written an important phone number on. Or furniture. I like to move furniture around. Or things that have been peacefully in the same place for a number of years I will suddenly feel the need to put them in a new place. And then the first place, now devoid of 'things' looks all clean and fresh and new and useable.

My lawfully wedded husband doesn't say anything about all of this unless absolutely necessary. And when he does, he says it with all the love and affection a guy could dredge up: 'Hun, I'm so happy to be married to you. I know you have a million and one things to think about throughout your day. But please take a look at the back door. Does that look locked to you? We live in the city. It's not as safe as the country you're used to. Perhaps we could try to make a new habit of checking the back door before we go out somewhere? Maybe especially when you and the kids come to pick me up at work? Because I get worried when we come home and I see the back door unlocked.'

He saves me from bugs and noises at night. He tells the kids that I mean business and that I'm not going to tell them again. He makes them use manners. He's pretty quiet. He likes hanging out at home. He's pretty great. The other lovey-dovey stuff that is included in his repertoire of wonderful-ness is best left unsaid. So I'll leave that part to your imagination.

Now, my Provider-Problem-Solver-Rescuer-From-Bugs-and-Noises tells me there are mice in the garage. That is not a good thing as the garage is attached to the basement. My loving husband is willing to take care of the nasty, dangerous, infiltrating vermin all by himself. Even while I tell him that I can't stand the thought of killing the innocent little creatures. However, my guy stands strong in the presence of my pitiful whining.

Snap-traps. Snap-traps will fix the mousey problem. Fifteen of those suckers loaded with peanut butter scattered about the floor of a single car garage. These worked well for the first night. But after they turned up empty of bait the following morning, my dearly beloved was not afraid to up the ante. And it was called the Bucket Trap. You can see it being carefully prepared in the photo above. Nuk is supervising. She loves peanut butter. See?

I won't even begin to tell you the sordid details. But we are now, fairly officially, a mouse-free zone. All due to the efforts of my very own Provider-Problem-Solver-Rescuer-From-Bugs-and-Noises-Who-Doesn't-Back-Down-In-The-Face-Of-Constant-Female-Persuasion. After all, if it had been left up to me, we'd have a cage full of cute, furry, saved-from-Winter, disease ridden rodents spreading who knows what to my babies.

See how good he is for me? And most of the time, I forget to notice. He's a keeper.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Killer Time Change.

This time change is killing me.

First, I rocket out of Raiden's bed today (We like to play musical beds at night sometimes. It's great fun). It was 20 after 7 and noone was up. I woke Brian up, who, quite impressively, was off to work not 10 minutes later. I let the dog out (she's 8 sneezes in a that bad?) and currently have enough adrenaline in my system to fuel a racehorse. The crash is coming. I have tea waiting. I must not go back to bed. Even if the kids are still sleeping.

Yes, lets talk about the children. Pestiferous troublemakers. Irksome tyrants. They landed themselves in bed early last night. That wasn't popular. And now they're sleeping in. And since I'm up before they are, the tv isn't going on this morning. Won't they be surprised? Last night, I prepared a few lessons for them and I have the books all laid out, ready to go. I'm hoping to go out this afternoon and I'd like to try to get our school work in before we go.

Oh. Hear comes the aforementioned crash. Goodness, I seem tired.

I was going to talk about the time change. And how it was pushed up to coincide with the Americans. And how it is designed to be energy saving, you know, the extra hours of daylight and so on. And how there is an extra hour or so in the evenings to drive around and do stuff. And the gas shortage. And doesn't that negate energy savings if we're just using more energy in different ways? But I think I"ll just go with this: Wow. The Spring time change is always the hardest to get used to for us.

In other good news, there's a local homeschool webpage up and running! I'm very excited. There's not really an official area support group as most communities might enjoy. I think many of us moms are very aware that if we start something, it will need managing, running, operating, organizing. Enough of us have been caught up in the '20% of the people doing 80% of the work'. I like having a co-operative principle to run things. If you want it, organize it. That way, we have many minds bringing forward many different ideas. Well, in principle, that's what it means. I think the webpage will really facilitate participation. Many of the area homeschooling families are far flung and don't always use the city as their base of operations. I think the website will be an easy tool for those of us who want to connect. So far, some of us in the area are planning to attend an area conference. There are plans in the works to bring the kids' work to a local book-binder. There's two upcoming Museum programs which always turn out to be a good time. We're expecting another Coffee & Chat next month. I'm looking forward to seeing what else takes off.

Otherwise, life is puttering along. Brother Matt has actually broke the radial bone in his wrist along with two others. That would explain the continued pain. His lovely lady is off to Scotland for a couple of weeks. So his survival is questionable. You can survive on cold food watching basketball on tv while living in pajama pants in between dragging yourself to classes one-handed...right? Anything is possible when you have Tylenol with Codeine. I have great faith in Matt. He'll be fine.

Sister Janie and her lawfully wedded husband should have arrived home in the wee hours of this morning. I'm hoping the kids and I can go and (wake them up) hear about their trip later today.

On the homefront, things are, as I mentioned, puttering along. Not much is new. Hockey is over. Awards and registration for next season is on Monday. Big, stress inducing dental appointment for the kids next Tuesday. Raiden's having some work done, Kori's having a spacer removed. I'm keeping an eye out for summer activities for the kids. Kori's decided not to go to sleep-away camp this year. The dog survived her trip to the kennel and is loving on us again. I'm planning to bring her back there just for a visit in the next few days. I'd like to meet the girl who runs the place (It was her mom when we were there before.) and the kids would like to see the set-up.

So I'm off for the day...math and laundry, perhaps painting and visiting, history and book writing, The Hobbit and some German, dishes and cooking, some picking up around here and maybe some dusting, if I'm lucky. Aak! I hear the upstairs tv! I'm off to ruin some little munchkin's morning!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ree's at the Bloggies!!

Best of luck to Ree, our exceedinly well-adjusted and normal Pioneer Woman, that she will get though the day with her usual style, grace, good humour and with all facial bones intact.

Bloggies 2007

Check out the link above!!!!!!!! SHE WON! WOOT! Yay Ree!! Best kept secret no more!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wedding Photos

Part of my procrastination comes from my Photoshop frustration. I think I need a tutor. Either that, or more regular intellectual stimulation. I've read the Photoshop Help and it's just too much! I wonder if there's a simple version? There's just so much information! I will not give up, I'll just keep plugging away at it...but I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably won't be posting prettier images for a while yet.

Here's a pic of the backseat. Everyone's all ready to go. The dog is being dropped off at the kennel on our way. She was blissfully unaware. She was so excited to be included in the packing. She stood in the way at the door while I ferried out the luggage to the car. She almost fainted with joy when we touched her leash to put her in the car after the luggage. She was so devastated to be torn from us three minutes into our trip. She was still ticked at us when we picked her up the next day.

The wedding. It was great. They wanted simple, they pulled it off. Dinner was pretty fancy, but then again, stir-fry at our house is fancy. The kids had a great time hanging out with their uncles and their significant others. We got a couple of quick swims in. We took care of Uncle Matt, who unfortunately, managed to break his wrist the day before the wedding...while snowboarding. Long story meant for telling on a different day.

The pics turned out ok. Very candid. Pics before the wedding were snapped on the fly. The bride was rushing us and pictures were low on the priority list. Pics after are a little dark as it was...night. In the lounge/bar area of the chalet.

See? Before the wedding. Notice the bride's reluctance to stand still and receive attention. This is one pic I hope to clean up and make pretty with Photoshop.

And here's the kidlets. Kori, acting very grown up with punch in her hand. This was taken in the reception room where the ceremony was held. Lighting was funny. Raiden, very snazzy in his NHL tie - a gift from the bride and groom.

And that's about all I have to say about the wedding. The happy couple is schlepping around the Canary Islands in a fancy convertable. They're due home sometime this week. The kids are not very impressed that an 8-day extend-a-honeymoon was taken. Hopefully my new brother in law has taken some time to get used to his new title of 'Uncle'. The kids are just about bursting to overuse it.

Friday, March 2, 2007

So much excitement!

Saxon has arrived!! I'm excited. The kids say they're excited. Many thanks to Grandma M. and G. for helping to provide. I think they're excited that I'm excited.

I have a small box all ready for the number cards and the fact cards. Kori's 'Question Of The Day' cards are started. I have to write them out on 3x5 cards. I will keep these for when Rai gets to them.

Aren't new books and grandparents wonderful?!?

The excitement doesn't end here. We're all off to watch Raiden play during the first period break at the Braves game. Then it's home for the little ones' bedtime and cheesecake and tea for the rest of us.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My Books Came! My Books Came!!

I'm so excited! My books came!

Isn't it great to first, shop and then second, to wait and then finally - the best part - to receive your order?!

I feel a little naughty buying the science encyclopedia for only $30 cdn. However, they've published it in paperback and then they've also reduced the size of the pages by a couple of centimeters. They have not reduced the content, though. It is so full of just everything. No more 'we'll ask Dad 'why?' at dinner tonight' conversations. We can just look it up. AAAaaaannnnnndddd it's internet linked. Which means we can look up what we need to know, and then pop online and find relevant, interesting, kid appropriate websites to help further explain and demonstrate the material. For $30!!! Did I mention that?!

The German pack is beautiful as well. Raiden is convinced the tape is trying to confuse us because they talk so fast. I told him that soon he'll be able to say the German words as fast as the Germans. We'll get basic pronunciation down first. The "cht"s are tripping them up a bit. But we've just started, so I'm not worried. I'm hoping with all the verbal repetition that they won't be so cantankerous when it comes to narrations and reading aloud - both things I try to include in our school work. Apparently they're 'shy' to speak in front of their sibling. But, I digress.

My books arrived! I'm so excited. But I think I mentioned that already.