Friday, 29 April 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Looks and Personality


I've had a lot of people commenting lately on how much Vivian's looks are changing.  All of a sudden, she's not a little baby anymore it seems.  I can't quite put my finger on what it is - if it's just that she's getting bigger and growing into her looks, or the fact that her hair is really coming in now, or just more of her personality coming through.  She's definitely becoming her own little person though.


Just last week, she really discovered herself in the mirror.  Is it possible for her to realize that her reflection is actually her?  Because I totally think she knows.  Her room has mirrored closet doors, and I've always shown her herself in the mirror after diapers changes and naps.  I'll hold her and say things like, "Oh, who's that pretty baby in the mirror?  Is that Vivian with mom?  What a pretty baby!"  Or if she's crying after waking up from her nap, we'll talk to the sad baby in the mirror until she smiles.  Normally she just smiles at "the baby in the mirror", but last week when we were saying hello, her eyes got huge and she lunged forward and started banging on the mirror.  Now it's all she does - lean in and bang her hands against the mirror and get so excited about it.  I've started putting a mirror at her level on the floor so she can play and talk to the mirror.  She loves it, she might be a little vain already.



She's also been really showing us her temper lately.  I swear, if she had the motor skills to stomp her feet right now, she totally would.  She's got the back arching thing down to a science - it usually comes out when she's in her "I'm really tired and need to go to sleep, but I don't want to miss anything" mood.  She yells and throws herself around until she finally goes to sleep.  She's going to be a wonderful toddler, I'm sure.

On another note - of course, today is the Royal Wedding.  Vivian woke up just as Prince William was leaving for the Abbey, and fell asleep after the vows.  So I can officially tell her when she's big that she did, indeed watch the Royal Wedding.  I hope one day she appreciates that and doesn't just think her mom is a giant nerd.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

I don't know about this, Rachael.

I haven't been posting many Rachael Ray menu plan recipes on here lately for a couple of reasons.  We've still been doing them (it's really all that we eat anymore, I rarely cook anything rogue) but I found that they posts weren't getting much traffic and I wanted to try and focus more on personal recipes and posts, rather than just posting a recipe that I've tried and commenting on it.  If anyone is still interested in her menu plans that we follow, let me know and I can continue to post on them.  You can also find them here, or through the handy new widget at the bottom of the page.

Anyway, like I said, we have still been consistently using her meal planners as our cornerstone as far as meals and groceries went.  It made it easy to go grocery shopping with Vivian, since we weren't wandering around saying, "What do you want for dinner?"  "I don't know, what do you want for dinner?"  You know how it goes.  So we were happy with our meal plans - 7 meals, $100, lots of variety and healthy options.

Then I got my Rachael Ray Every Day magazine for May.  And they've changed everything.  The whole magazine got a makeover - including my beloved menu planner.

Now instead of a full week's worth of meals, it's only five meals.  They hype it as "Shop on Sunday, feed your family 'til Friday."  Now, I suppose that's not so bad.  To be honest, it took us a long time to make our way through the seven meals.  It would usually take us closer to two weeks to work through the one week plan, and then we would end up with having to get some of the produce again, or substituting things that had gone bad in the meantime.  It seemed like between leftovers, meals at my mom's, and dinners out, we just never got through them in a week.  Hopefully with the five meals it will be better to balance it with our daily lives.  Also, this leaves us with room on the weekends for cooking some old favourites or breaking out the barbeque for some simple burgers and hot dogs or something.

My biggest complaint with the new meal planner?  The size.

Size matters, people.

Here is the old meal planner compared to the new meal planner.  See what I mean?  I threw a pen in there for scale.



It's much smaller.  But, they do spread each recipe over two pages, so it's not too squished on the page.



What I do like about the new format is they offer helpful suggestions through the recipes on how much to use.  I've often been cooking something and realized too late that I used too many mushrooms or something, and have none left for another night on the planner.  In the new version it says things like "2 scallions, thinly sliced (use more of the bunch Wednesday).  So that's helpful.

I just can't get over the size.  I don't know why they would have shrunk it down, but it is what it is.  At least the recipes look yummy.  (Coming up - Catfish sandwiches with sweet potato "fries", Bistro steak and egg salad, Chicken tikka with Indian-style sweet potato salad, Meatloaf patties with carrot slaw, and Chili-rubbed pork chops with black bean salad)  Yum.

Any changes rocked your world lately?  Have you been missing my RR recipes?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Extreme Couponing

Have you watched Extreme Couponing on TLC yet?  If you have, you're probably either hooked on the idea, or you think they're just organized hoarders.

I first heard about the trend of extreme couponing from reading this article on Offbeat Mama some time ago.  It sounded interesting, but I couldn't quite wrap my head around it just from reading about it.  It seemed crazy.

Truth is, it is crazy.  Crazy awesome.  Once I saw the TLC special back in January, I was hooked.  I love the idea of couponing, and it's absolutely amazing what these people can pull off.  Call them hoarders, call them selfish, I don't care.  I think it's awesome.  It's even more awesome when they show extreme couponers that do give back by using their skills to donate items to various charities.

Yes, some of them have come under fire for stockpiling things that they don't need.  Two instances in particular are someone who stockpiled diapers and didn't have children and someone who stockpiled cat treats and didn't have a cat.  Sure, it might seem crazy, but the fact is that diapers don't expire (and I would totally do the same if I was getting them for free like she was!) and one of the very important aspects of couponing is that sometimes you have to stock up on items you don't need because it can make you money, which offsets the entire bill for items that you may not have coupons for.

I love the idea of extreme couponing, and I definitely think that I would put in the time and effort that it takes to do it.  Maybe not to the extremes that these people do, but I would put in the effort, even if only to stock up on laundry detergent or something.  The fact is though, I just don't think that you could coupon to that extent here in Canada.  Correct me if I'm wrong (please, do!) but I don't know of any stores that double or triple coupons, and we just don't get the sale prices that they seem to get in the States.  I know a lot of people who do their grocery shopping in the States to save some money, so maybe planning a monthly trip across the border would be an option for us.  For now though, I'll keep watching the show and clipping my own little coupons - every little bit helps.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

FCBD 2011!

It's almost that time of year again!  Free Comic Book Day is right around the corner.  If you're not doing anything on May 7th, I strongly recommend you take a trip out to your friendly neighbourhood comic book store.  This will be our third Free Comic Book Day, and of course it will be Vivian's first.  I really hope it becomes a tradition that we can continue with her.

It's an awesome day out for kids or adults and you get free stuff - what could be better?

Check it out!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Royal Wedding

I don't know if you've heard, but there's this wedding that's happening on Friday.  It's kind of a big deal.

Because I was born in 1982 (sorry if that makes anyone feel bad!) I missed the whole Princess Diana wedding deal.  So the William/Kate wedding is a pretty big deal for me.  I want to watch it, and be able to tell Vivian when she's older that we watched it together, even though she'll probably (hopefully) be asleep while it's on live.  I want to save the newspaper from that day and get her commemorative magazines and the whole bit.

My dilemma, however, is this.  Do I really want to get up at the crack of dawn (most coverage is starting at 3:00 a.m. with the ceremony on at 6:00 a.m.) to watch it live?  Or should I just DVR it and watch it later at my leisure?  Part of me really wants the experience of watching it live, but another part of me really likes to sleep.  I keep trying to imagine one day telling Vivian, "Oh yes, of course I watched the royal wedding!  I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed, so I just watched it later.  You know, when I could fast forward through all the boring stuff."  Doesn't quite seem right.

Issue number two?  What feed do I watch?  Do I go classy and watch one of the networks feeds, which will no doubt be very serious about the whole thing (but might get incredibly tedious - especially if I heard the phrase "modern fairy tale" more than 78 times) or do I watch something a little more fun like the E! or TLC coverage?  (Clinton Kelly reporting!)

What do you think?  Are you planning on getting up to watch this whole deal go down?

Friday, 22 April 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Little Miss Independent

All of a sudden, Vivian has become little miss independent.

Did you just get Kelly Clarkson stuck in your head?  No?  Well then allow me.



All of a sudden, Vivian wants to do everything for herself.  She wants to hold her own bottles, feed herself her cereal, and put herself to sleep.  Don't cover her up with a blanket - she'll just kick it off.  Don't put socks on her - she'll just pull them off.  Everything has to be her idea.  I think she just wants to be treated like a person, not a baby.  I brought her to my book club on Tuesday night and she was quite content to just get passed around from person to person.  As long as she's involved in the conversation and has someone interacting with her, she's quite happy.

For me, it's nice to see her being so independent, but it also makes everything just a little bit harder.  I try to bundle her up to go outside (since it's still winter, apparently) and she just wants to pull the blanket off of herself.  Cereal gets flung everywhere at mealtimes and dressing her takes forever since she has to grab at everything that comes near her.

On the other hand, it is really awesome to watch her right now.  She really thinks things through, and I love seeing her grab a toy and turn it over in her hands to examine it and try to figure out how it works.  Turns out, all toys work by shoving them in her mouth.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Babywearing

Before I had Vivian, I knew that I wanted to try babywearing.  I had read such good things about attachment parenting and the bond that you can get by wearing your baby.  Of course, like everything else I do, I researched the heck out different carriers.

Initially I wanted to get a wrap, like the Moby wrap.


I liked the flexibility of it.  They seem to be really popular right now, and it looked really comfortable.

Then, just before I was due, I ended up winning a sling from a Under the Moon, a local store.  I won an UpMama sling.


I found it was really great for when she was tiny, but right now it's difficult to hold her in it.  I also never felt totally comfortable going hands-free with it and always kept my arm under her just in case.  I think it will be better when she's a bit bigger and I can hold her on my hip like in the picture above though.

Next stop on my babywearing adventure was the classic Snugli.


I liked the Snugli, but I found I could really only wear it for about an hour at a time before my back started aching.  It seemed to really put all the weight right between my shoulder blades, and I knew as she got bigger it would only get worse.

I then went to an Infantino carrier after seeing a friend with theirs.  It seemed to be a little bit better constructed than the Snugli, and I managed to find one on Kijiji for $15, so I figured it was worth a shot.

It was better, but it still seemed to focus the weight between my shoulders.  The version that I have also maxes out at 20 pounds, so I knew it wasn't a forever solution.  Although, they do seem to have a lot of different options that might be better.

After much research, I decided to go with an Ergo.



Everything I was reading kept coming back to the Ergo.  People raved about how comfortable it was and how long you could wear your child in it.  I was lucky enough to score one off Kijiji (oh how I love Kijiji).  The woman who sold it to me was just heartbroken to see it go, but assured me that I would love it.

So far, I absolutely love it.  It's super comfortable to wear, and I love how adaptable it is.  As Vivian gets bigger, I can wear her on my front, hip or back.  I love the little sleeping hood that snaps on the front, it provides perfect cover for her from the wind, sun or rain.

I think the biggest difference between the Ergo and other carriers that I tried is that with the Ergo, your baby is being held against you, and with the others she was hanging off of me.

I haven't used it too much yet, but I'm planning on using it a lot this summer.  Specifically, I'm excited to use it for Free Comic Book Day.  That was really what started this whole quest.  I knew that I wanted Vivian to come with us for FCBD, but I didn't want to bring the stroller, so I knew I would need something that would be comfortable to wear her in for hours.  Bingo.

For trying so many options, I lucked out with not spending a lot.  I won the UpMama (a $90 value), the Snugli was $30 (bought with a gift card), the Infantino was a $15 Kijiji find, and the Ergo was a $75 Kijiji find.

If you're shopping for a baby carrier, I really recommend doing your research.  There's a lot of different options out there, and it's important to know what you're getting into.  If you know someone who has a carrier, ask to try it on and see how it fits you.  Trust me, there's a huge difference between one that's comfortable and one that isn't!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

"Let's go to the movies, let's go see the stars..."

I came across this article on Entertainment Weekly a little while ago.  Don't feel like reading the whole thing?  That's okay - the gist of it is that seeing movies with crowds is awesome.  I totally agree.  There's nothing better than watching a movie with a group of people who are totally into it.  It makes scary movies scarier and funny movies funnier.  I think everyone has an instance of going to a movie where the experience has totally transcended the actual movie that they're watching.

I have always enjoyed going to a great movie on opening weekend.  The Matrix, the new Star Wars movies, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter...I have fond memories of waiting in line for hours with people who are just as excited about the movie as I am.

For example...

"The Return of the King".  I remember going to see this with my boyfriend and his cousin.  We had tickets to the first show on opening day.  There must not have been a midnight screening at that point, so we had tickets for like an 11:00 a.m. show or something weird like that.  Since it was the first show of the day, and we wanted to make sure we had good seats, we all lined up inside the mall.  (The theatre is attached to the mall, and since it was winter, no one wanted to wait outside).  So there we were, probably 20-30 people in a line in the mall near the theatre, some in costume just waiting for the doors to open.

"The Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day".  This was a fun one.  For some reason, Jagger and I decided to go to the late show on opening night.  Because the show was at like 10:00 p.m., the crowd had had lots of time to drink or participate in any other activities before the show.  As usual, I insisted on getting there early so we could line up to get a decent seat.  As we sat in the ever-growing theatre, the stragglers started coming in.  You know the ones.  The ones who walk in ten minutes before the movie starts and then stand there looking around for a seat, seemingly amazed that there are so many people at the movie.  The crowd had been getting louder and louder, yelling quotes from the movie and whatnot, and by the point that these stragglers were walking in, people started randomly applauding them.  Can you picture that?  A theatre full of drunken Trailer Park Boys fans applauding and cheering as people looked around for seats.  It got even better as the trailers started and people started to heckle the trailers.

"Scott Pilgrim v. The World".  This wasn't on an opening weekend, but rather an outing with L.A. Mood, our favourite comic book store.  They often will rent out a theatre for a comic-themed movie field trip.  In this instance, the crowd reaction didn't come from the movie, but from the crowd reaction to a trailer.  Remember the movie "Devil" that came out last summer?  No?  Let me refresh your memory.



Everything was going well, people were chatting and seeming interested in the movie until the moment the screen showed "From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan".  A collective groan came out of the crowd. That's right - as soon as people saw his name, everyone lost all interest and respect for the movie.  What an incredible, spontaneous moment.

"Sex and the City: The Movie".  I went to see this movie with my friend, Kimberly.  Of course, we were there super early to line up so we could get good seats.  I had no idea that opening night for this movie was the girl outing of the year, apparently.  Crowds of girls were everywhere, and most in matching T-shirts.  Everywhere you looked, people were taking group photos of themselves and all I could think was "All of these girls are going to go home and immediately change their profile picture on Facebook."

Yes, there's something super special about going to see a movie with a crowd of people who are just as excited as you are.  I love that little shiver of excitement that goes through the air when the first few notes of the Harry Potter theme play (the next time that happens I'll be so sad because it will be the last one!) and the spontaneous applause that often comes at the end of a movie on opening weekend.  There's just nothing quite like it.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin'...



Doesn't she look cozy?

I love my stroller.  I was lucky enough to get some really good advice before I bought a stroller - do your research.  My mom and sister had spent enough time and money on strollers before me to advise me to really do my research and go for a stroller that I really love that has great features instead of a cheaper one, even if it meant finding one that doesn't match my car seat.

Because I won my car seat at a prenatal fair, I had a bit of a unique starting point.  I think most people today automatically gravitate to the travel systems, where you buy a stroller and a car seat combination.  It's great because it's a bit of one stop shopping and they match and you know that they are compatible.  Because I already had my car seat, I had to make sure that my stroller would be compatible, among other criteria.

I knew I wanted something that was going to hold up to a lot of use.  I'm a big walker, it's not uncommon for me to go on 7+ km walks on a daily basis, and I knew that with a baby I would be doing that for sure.  I also needed something that would fold compactly and be light since I have such a small car.  I liked the look of strollers with bassinet options, but didn't think I would be able to afford one.

Turns out, I was wrong.

I settled on the i'coo Pacific.  It's an awesome, awesome stroller.  What really sets it apart from other mid-range priced strollers (it's similar in style to the Uppababy Vista) is that it really is an all in one.  Most strollers seem to offer a bassinet option, but the bassinet is a separate piece that has to be purchased.  The same goes with the car seat adapter, rain cover, etc, etc, etc.  With the i'coo Pacific, it's a package deal.  the seat easily converts from the bassinet to an upright seat (which can then be put in a forward or rear facing position) and it comes with both the car seat adapter and the rain cover.  For me, I would rather pay one price for everything than being nickel and dimed by every little add-on.



So far, I've been thrilled with how it has handled.  I've walked with it in the snow, slush, ice and country roads and it's handled it all great.  It's light and easy to fold and the foot muff cover has kept Vivian warm and toasty this whole long, cold winter.

I was going to do a whole photo essay or video of what the stroller does, but then I got lazy and found these great videos on YouTube that do it much better.








My favourite features?
  • Love the bassinet.  I didn't know if I would actually use it, but for the winter it was perfect.  Vivian was still so small, it was nice to be able to bundle her up and lay her down in there instead of having her in the car seat.  I find with most strollers, once you have the car seat on it, it seems like the baby is sitting up really high and they're really exposed.  With the bassinet, she was totally protected by the wind and was still able to get fresh air.
  • I really like that you can change the position of the handle on the stroller.  Sometimes I want to have my hands higher or lower, and it just takes the push of a button to switch things up.
  • I love how easily you can change it - forward or rear facing, bassinet or upright seat - it's nice to have so many options while you're out of the house, instead of having to really plan what you want to bring with you.
  • I haven't had a chance to really use the raising and lowering mechanism yet, but I'm really excited about it.  The big feature on that that sold me was that you can raise or lower it so you can use the stroller as a high chair in a restaurant.  Right now, I prefer to keep the stroller lowered with the car seat on it, and raised with the seat on it.  I find it seems really high when the car seat is on.
Downsides?
  • No cupholder!  Not a huge deal though, a $15 add-on cupholder from Toys R Us fixed us right up.
  • It doesn't have the option of adapting to a double stroller.  I have heard that you can use other stroller brand toddler seats with it, but haven't tried myself.  This wasn't a huge deal for me though, since we don't want to have another baby for 3-4 years anyway.
  • It is big when I fold it up, but that's because I just learned from the video that you shouldn't fold it up unless it's in a specific position.  It does fit in my trunk though, and I drive a Ford Focus ZX5, not exactly a spacious vehicle.
  • It has a little plastic clip that is supposed to hold the stroller together when it's folded.  This was broken within 3 days of having the stroller.  It's not essential at all, and every review I read said that this was the first thing to go.  A little frustrating that they didn't just make this piece out of something sturdier, but it's not a big deal.
  • I tend to keep both the car seat adapter and the main seat portion in my car at all times both for storage and just for ease.  I would hate to be out of the house without one part and not have it.  It is kind of a pain having all that in my car all the time, but what can you do?  It would be great if you didn't have to have a second piece for the car seat, but that's just the way it is.
  • I find the basket underneath to be a little smaller than I would have liked, but I get around it because my diaper bag is able to hang from the handlebars so I don't really have to keep much under there anyway.  Still, it's always nice to have more room!
They have awesome customer service too.  I was having a hard time with my stroller on the weekend, so I called the 1-800 number for some help.  A person answered right away, and I was literally on the phone with her for less than 5 minutes and we had the problem solved.  Awesome.

Basically, it's a great stroller, and a great deal.  We managed to score ours on sale for 40% off (it's a 2010 model and they were on sale to clear them out before the 2011 models came in) so with taxes it ended up coming to just under $400.  Initially I didn't want to spend that much on a stroller, but I'm so glad we did.  It really is something that I'm getting a lot of use out of, and I just don't think I would be satisfied with a lesser model of stroller.  If you're looking for a stroller that works just as well as a pricier model, with all the bells and whistles and a smaller price tag, I highly recommend the i'coo.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Look what I did!

To continue with my project of making the basement liveable for as little money as possible, I came across an awesome deal to give me a wall full of solid wood storage for $100.

That's right.

Ever since we moved in, we've needed bookcases.  The problem was, we needed a lot.  What it basically boiled down to was either we cheap out and buy a bunch of bookcases from IKEA which will just be particle board and fall apart in a couple of years (and still cost us a few hundred dollars for what we need) or wait until we can do something in solid wood.  The problem with the solid wood is that it just hasn't been in our budget, and it doesn't look like we would have that budget for them anytime soon.

I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, but was waiting to find just the right deal.  I finally found it on Kijiji last week.  Someone was selling vintage 1970's apple crates for $5 a piece.  I decided to go with 30 crates, so I got a deal and got them for $100.  I started out wanting 20, then 25, then decided to go with 30.  I'm so glad I did!

The people I bought them from suggested putting a clearcoat on them to make it easier to dust them.  I shifted uncomfortably and agreed, "Uh, yeah, of course...I dust my stuff all the time..."  Yeah, no.  I just gave them a quick wash and they were ready to go, at least for what I wanted out of them.


I set them up a bunch of different ways before deciding how I wanted to keep them.



I tried using some crates that I already owned to help fill in the space, that's why a couple look different.




That's the combination I finally decided to go with.  It leaves me with an extra crate from this purchase, plus the ones I already owned, so I can use them for something else.  The first time I set them up like this, I could fit a couple of crates under that bulkhead, but when I set them up like this again, I couldn't get them under.  I figured it wasn't a big deal because I could just fill that space with books stacked up there anyway.

Initially I was going to stagger the crates and leave some negative space, but once I saw how nicely the 30 crates filled up that area of wall, I just left it.  They're not permanent - one day once we finish the floors and whatnot, we'll mount them all to the wall so it's nice and safe.  For now though, they're just stacked, so it's relatively easy to switch things out if we have to for whatever reason.




I have always wanted a giant wall of bookcases for media - books, CDs, DVDs, whatever.  Finally, I'm pretty close.



Comics up top...


And even two crates for all my V.C. Andrews books.

So there you go.  That's how we got a huge wall o' solid wood storage for just $100.

I'm so freaking happy and excited about it, it just makes me so happy.  There's even room to add more books!  Hooray!  This isn't even all of our books, there's still a bunch hanging around upstairs, but it makes me so, so happy to see most of them living together happily in the basement!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Teething

Another week with Vivian has brought the joys of teething.  We've been wondering if it's been happening for some time, but now it seems it's really here.

She's drooly, she sucks her fingers, she sucks her lip, she's crying in her sleep, she has rosy cheeks, her nose is running, she's whiny and crabby...it's pretty awesome.

I suppose it had to happen sometime.  I feel like this might continue for a long time before she actually cuts any teeth though.

To help her out, I have her wearing amber teething jewellery.  She wears an anklet at night and a necklace during the day.  They say that they really help with teething, so we'll see.  I figure it's a better option than just pumping her full of Advil and Tylenol all day.  (Although we do have both on hand, don't get me wrong.)

In other Vivian news, she's become insanely wiggly.  I put her down in her crib for her nap, and when I go back to get her when she wakes up, she's wiggled her way over to the opposite end of the crib and is usually stuck with her legs between the bars or something.  I've even caught her playing on the floor and getting her knees up under herself already.  I'm in no mood for her to start crawling early, but it looks like it might happen.  Blair was crawling at 6 months, so we'll see how it goes.  It's not a race though, Vivian.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Basement Progress

I've managed to make a little progress in the basement.  It's not much, but I did get it cleaned up a bit.


I really lucked out that the piece of remnant carpet in the spare room in the basement perfectly fits the living area in the basement.  It's too bad that I painted furniture on it, but it's okay for what our purposes are for now.




Nothing terribly impressive, but you get a better idea of how big the space is now that the piles of books are gone.  I'm hoping to make some more progress in the next couple of weeks, so there should be something new to show you very soon.

And yes, I have an excessive amount of tables.  I have a little project in mind for a couple of them, so hopefully I'll be able to share that soon too!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Driving Tunes

I have a habit of bringing CDs into my car and leaving them in there for years at a time.  It drives Jagger a little crazy because he's the total opposite - he brings two or three CDs in his car at a time and listens to them, then switches them out for something new.  It's a good system I suppose, but I prefer to have a few standbys.

Most of the CDs in my car are mixes, but there are a few actual albums that have been living in my car for ages and I always reach for when I need a good soundtrack for a drive somewhere.

  • Anything by "Say Anything".  "Say Anything" is probably my favourite band.  There's just something about them that I find so easy to listen to.  The lyrics are clever and the songs are always catchy.  In my car I keep the following albums - "In Defense of the Genre" discs 1 and 2, "Baseball", "...was a Real Boy" and their self-titled album.  Honestly, when a new Say Anything album comes out, I listen to it constantly for months on end.  I should actually cave in and take these out of my car, because half of the discs don't even work anymore because I've listened to them too much.  Thank goodness for backing things up on iTunes!
  • Gwen Stefani, "Love Angel Music Baby" and "The Sweet Escape".  In general, I don't like female singers.  I've never been a big fan of them for some reason.  I do love me some Gwen though.  These usually get pulled out in the summer when I just want something fun and something I can crank up for a drive with my sunroof open while I sing at the top of my lungs.
  • Jimmy Eat World, "Chase this Light" and "Invented".  I love Jimmy Eat World, and while these aren't my favourite albums of theirs (I love, love, love Bleed American) they have found their way into my car and aren't likely to leave it any time soon.  Jimmy Eat World are associated with the fall for me.  Something about the weather getting cooler makes me want to listen to these albums and just enjoy those beautiful clear fall days.
  • Gorillaz, "Demon Days".  Another album that I bust out when the weather is warm and I want to listen to something loud with the windows down.  I don't pull this one out often, but when I do, it's totally worth it.
  • Modest Mouse, "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank".  There was once a time when I had way too many CDs in my car.  Like way, way too many.  It drove Jagger crazy and he took it upon himself to trim down the collection.  For some reason, this one remained in the car.  I think it was a new album at the time.  It's not one that I listen to often, but it's in there all the same.
  • Cold War Kids - "Robbers and Cowards".  One of my all-time favourite albums.  This is the perfect driving soundtrack - it's great for early morning quiet drives, late night after concert drives and every drive in between.  This is also my favourite atmosphere album, the perfect background noise for a group of people hanging out.  If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend you check it out.
That's basically it, except for the burned mixes like I said.  Maybe one day I'll do a post on those, if the time calls for it.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Thrifty Finds

I got out to Value Village and Talize the other day and came back with some pretty cool finds.  I'd like to start making a point of stopping in and checking things out more frequently, but it's hard now that I'm not in London every day.  There are a couple of interesting thrift stores in Strathroy that I haven't checked out yet, but I'm hopeful that they will yield some good finds!

Here's what I picked up this time at Value Village.  Now, I tend to find Value Village to be a little pricey (I know, I'm possibly the cheapest person ever).

I picked up a couple of frames to add to my gallery wall.  They were $2 and $3 respectively.






See, I think that's a little costly for thrift store frames.  I thought they had some interesting character to them though.  Of course I promptly broke the glass on the wooden one as soon as I got it home.

I found these great old Diet Pepsi glasses.  There was a set of six, but I not only don't have room for six new glasses, but they were also priced at $2 each.  EACH!  I only picked up two, one for Jagger and one for me.  We're pretty big Diet Pepsi enthusiasts.



My last Value Village find was this little chair.  They didn't have much in the way of furniture, but I spotted this little guy and told myself if he was less than $10, I would have to bring him home.  Luckily for me, it was $7.



I assume it's a chair that once went with a sewing table, since it's just a little shorter than the stool at my sewing machine table.  It has a nice deep storage area to it, and I love the colour.  Of course the cats claimed it as their own the second it came into the house.

I got less at Talize, but I'm more excited about my finds there.  I love Talize for housewares, I've had some really good luck there, and I find their prices are better than Value Village.

Have I mentioned that I have a thing for vintage office furniture?  If I haven't, I'll tell you now.  I love vintage office stuff.  It's just so old and Mad Men-y.

This little card box was $2.  I'm not sure what to use it for yet, but I'm so happy with it.


This was my jewel though, my favourite find.  Not only is it an awesome vintage piece in an awesome colour, but it was also only $2.  A no-brainer.



Right now it's being used to house our comics that need to be read.  Sure it's a bit cumbersome, but you can't beat that colour!

Have you had any luck thrifting lately?  I can't wait for those summer yard sales!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Four Months


Vivian is four months old today - hard to believe.  I still don't have my camera back, so we took a quick picture on the webcam for you all.

At four months old, Vivian is rolling around like crazy.  Typically, I'll put her down on the floor on her back to play and she'll immediately roll onto her stomach then forget that she knows how to roll from her stomach to her back and get upset that she's "stuck".  She loves going for walks (we started Strollercize yesterday and my legs are killing me!) loves her bath, and loves being talked to.  She still prefers to hang out in my lap and play and talk to me during the day.  She's been doing awesome with napping and is sleeping really well at night, so it looks like the crying, screaming, super needy baby I used to have has gone away for now.

Her newest trick is sucking her bottom lip in her mouth.  I wish I had a picture of it (hopefully next week) it's pretty hilarious.  She looks like a little old man without dentures.  She's also obsessed with her feet right now, and loves to pull her socks and shoes off.

Tomorrow we start swimming lessons.  I'm excited, I think she's going to love it - although it does mean that I have to put on a bathing suit as well.  Vivian makes a good human shield though.

She's so happy right now, this is the age I've been waiting for.  Between her happier moods and the warmer weather, things have been really great.  I can't wait for the summer and days of playing outside with her!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Consider this a placeholder

So here's the deal on my lack of blogging this week.  I forgot my camera at my mom's house, and the camera has a bunch of pictures for upcoming blog posts.  Therefore, I can't blog properly without my camera...and I don't think I'm getting it back until Saturday...because gas is $1.30/litre...and my check engine light is on...so I'm trying not to do a bunch of unnecessary driving...so you'll have to wait.

So instead, I thought I would give you all a sneak peek at what blog posts I do have planned, but can't post until I get my camera back.  Warning - they sound much more boring than they actually are (at least I hope so). 
  • I've made some progress on the basement!
  • Vivian and I did some Value Village/Talize shopping and found some interesting goodies
  • I've been meaning for quite some time to write a post about our stroller and how awesome it is
  • There's a sign in downtown Strathroy that always makes me smile
  • How I'm managing to keep from going overboard with cute little baby girl clothes for Vivian
  • I rearranged my office...and am thinking about doing it again already
  • I'm looking for a new area rug for the upstairs living room/soon to be playroom - thoughts?
  • Babywearing - I've got the most awesome new baby carrier out there, and an upcoming event that will put it to the test
  • I read an interesting article about movies and crowds and had some thoughts on it
  • My starting point for the vegetable garden I'm planning
  • My favourite driving in the car CD's
See, I always have a bunch of blog posts half written or partially thought out in the queue, and usually just have to wait for time, inspiration or photos to finish posting them.  This is one of those times.

Let me know what blog posts you're excited about, which sound lame, and any other thoughts!  Hopefully there will be something better to read up here soon!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Co-Sleeping

We've been co-sleeping with Vivian from the start.  Even in the hospital, I snuggled with her in the hospital bed through the night.  The nurses weren't impressed, but I couldn't bear to have her any farther away.  The first week at home, I slept with Vivian asleep on my chest.  After that first week we moved her up to her bassinet beside the bed - big move.  She did well in it, but I would still let her sleep on me if she was too congested to lay flat or just needed an extra cuddle.

A few weeks ago she outgrew her bassinet and moved up to the bassinet part of her playpen (it's one where the bassinet is just a raised portion the size of the whole bassinet, not a standalone bassinet if that makes any sense).  While she seems to really enjoy it, she went through a phase a couple of weeks ago where she would wake up the second you laid her down in bed.  The only way she would sleep was if she was in bed beside me.

I don't mind sleeping in bed with her.  Now that she's bigger, I just snuggle with her beside me with my arm stretched out so if Jagger did roll over, he would roll onto my arm before her.  The problem is, we only have a double bed, so by the time all three of us are in there, there's not much room.  I end up sleeping on a tiny little edge of the bed and can't move at all.  Not the most comfortable.  So, we ended up moving to the bed in the office for a few days to get some rest.

Now she's back to her bed beside us, and will be there for the next couple of months at least.  I'm dreading her move to her own room - even though it's just across the hall.  Even now, when she wakes up in the night to nurse, I just pull her beside me, nurse her, and usually we both fall asleep.  I'll wake up a couple hours later to put her back in her own bed after getting a good snuggle out of it.  My favourite is if she wakes up close to when Jagger is getting up to work - then I just keep her in bed with me and we have a nice sleep-in.  It's so nice to wake up with her beside me, talking to the ceiling fan and waving her arms at me.

I know that co-sleeping isn't for everyone.  I know that lots of people can't sleep with their babies in the room, or they are too scared to sleep in the bed with them.  This is definitely a "it worked for us" kind of thing.  But for me, there's really nothing better.