Monday, 30 September 2013

Treats of the Week - So long, September!

I feel like my whole life revolves around TV lately, but I'm okay with that.

  • Vivian's speech is just crazy lately.  Like I'm actually starting to have conversations with her.  The other day she burped then said, "What was that?  Was that from me?"
  • These lovely, cool fall nights can only mean one thing - I've busted out the heated blanket.  I'm a big fan of the heated blanket.  I just have a little one, so I like to use it like a giant heating pad.  It's so nice since it's on a timer - it stays on just long enough to be warm and snuggly while falling asleep, but not so long that you end up sweating all night.
  • See also - heated seats in the car.
  • The new fall TV season has been quite impressive so far!  Not many duds!
  • I stopped by the Starbucks in a Target the other day, so it was just one of the little ones and only had one person working.  After taking my order, the phone rang and my barista got caught on the phone for a few minutes.  No big deal, I wasn't in a rush, things happen.  But she was so apologetic for getting stuck on the phone while I waited that she gave me a coupon for a free beverage!
  • BREAKING BAD.  I know, I know, the whole world seems to be talking about it today, but seriously.  It was a perfect finale to an amazing series.  I loved it, loved it, loved it.  Somehow Nikki Stafford managed to get a review up last night and it sums things up perfectly.
  • I went to see Don Jon on the weekend with Jenn and Jeannette, and while it wasn't the greatest movie I've ever seen, I still really enjoyed it.  It's probably not for everyone, but I thought it was really well done and interesting.
  • Vivian also has taken to saying "Mommy, watch this!" and then doing something random and bizarre.  Obviously this only reminds me of one thing.

...come to think of it, she does a lot of things that remind me of Stuart.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Outfit of the Day - The greatest skirt ever

So after I managed to rip my one pair of shorts before the summer was over, I needed something short-like to get me through the last few hot days of the season.  I mostly wear dresses during the week, but it's nice to have something a little more casual for the weekends.

What I ended up finding is the softest, most comfortable freaking skirt in the history of EVER.

It's nothing special - just a jersey cotton skirt from the Gap, but it has the perfect fold-down ruched waistband that gives you just a little bit of control in the below the belly button area.  It's fits loosely enough that it's comfortable to move in, but tightly enough that it doesn't blow like crazy in a strong wind.  It's pretty damn perfect.  The one flaw is that the tag in it is crazy annoying.  Even after cutting it out, the little leftover bits drive me crazy.

But otherwise - perfect skirt.  Awesome on the weekends, awesome for work.  And it's even on clearance!  And I'm being nice enough to share this with you all so you can get some too!  You can find it in stripes and in solids!

I actually found it on a clearance rack in the store originally, but they only had sizes that were too small for me or an XL.  I tried on the XL and it was way too big, so I had to leave it there.  After I got home and obsessed about it for a few days though I ordered it up online in a L and hoped it would fit (I'm often between sizes, which is the most annoying thing ever).  Luckily, the L fits great on me.

T-shirt - Smart Set
Skirt - Gap
Shoes - Converse

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Organizing books in the least logical way possible

If I'm at your house and there's a bookcase nearby, I will no doubt spend a little too much time standing in front of it checking out your books.  Not necessarily judging, but just looking.  I love seeing what books other people have, and especially love seeing how people organize them.  Are they in alphabetical order?  Dewey decimal?  The oh-so-twee colour order?

My apple crates lend themselves well to organizing - I have all these lovely little cubbies so each one can hold a different category.  I categorize things pretty loosely, but it makes sense to me.  A couple of weeks ago they felt terribly out of order so I spent an evening taking everything out and organizing it all over again.  So I thought it would be fun to take you on a little tour.

(And yes the pictures are all terrible because it's a basement and that's just the way it is so there.)

Starting from the top left side are my comics.  I try to keep them bagged and boarded and like to use those cheap IKEA magazine files to store them.

Next is a Stephen King crate.

Then the mainly Chuck Palahniuk crate.  Chuck Palahniuk is my favourite author, and I'm pretty picky about what books are allowed to be around his.  Craig Clevenger, Amy Hempel, and Will Christopher Baer pass the test.

I also store my DVDs in the crates, so next we have DVDs, and the Harry Potter movies are up there on top.  They're a mix of Blurays and DVDs so I keep them separate.

More DVDs, Blurays, and the last two remaining VHS tapes.  That big black spot there is CD wallets since I ditched all of my CD cases recently.

Okay, next row down has VC Andrews...

...and more VC Andrews.

Followed by our first real mishmosh of a crate.  I have all my Kevin Smith books, mixed with some plays and then kind of society & culture type stuff.

Philosophy, oversized coffee-table type things (I never really understood the concept of a coffee table book.  My coffee table is covered in snacks and flyers), plus a few random "classics" type books.

Here's the other Stephen King crate, below the first one.  It also gets to hang out with my paranormal books.

The first comics crate mostly has books about comics, and then the magazine file has all the really good issues.

Kitty-corner from the Chuck Palahniuk crate is a bunch of other authors that I consider to be in his league.  Douglas Coupland, Irvine Welsh, Chuck Klosterman, Tom Robbins, Mark Z. Danielewski, Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, and Hugh Gallagher.

Another hodge-podge of fiction and crafty books.

The some TV shows on DVD.  Yes, I have The Hills on DVD.  But only the good seasons before Kristin was on it.

Moving down another row I have the Sookie Stackhouse books, which for some reason I always keep with my Alice Sebold and Agatha Christie books.  I don't know why, they just fit in the crate well together.

Pretty well all Society/Culture whatever books in this one.

Then my old encyclopedias/atlases/dictionaries type things.

One of children's books I've held onto.  Sorry this picture is so bad, but I'm too lazy to do another one.  The highlights are some Encyclopedia Brown, Roald Dahl, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Shel Silverstein, and my John Bellairs books.  Did anyone else read John Bellairs books as a kid?  They are so freaking scary - I have no idea why I was ever encouraged to read them.

You would think that there would be more children's books beside, but it's not.  More graphic novels instead.  They're adjacent to that other crate in the row above.  And I apologize because they are in terrible order.  I need to organize these ones - I just left them where they were when I sorted everything else out.

Next door to that is some spillover graphic novels and comic strip books.  The books of comic strips are always an awkward size so they kind of keep to themselves.

More TV shows on DVD.  I have really considered condensing all of those seasons of Friends into CD wallets, it really drives me crazy how much space they take up.

Okay, bottom row time.  These pictures were really dark and tricky.  To the left are some true crime books and a couple of random kind of reference books.

Then there's the real reference books - dictionaries, old text books that I've held onto, and old French novels from university.

Yeabooks - I have a lot because we got them at Brescia when I was in university too.  And then some kind of classics hodgepodge.  See, my grandma has gotten it into her head that because I like books it means I collect them.  So she's constantly giving me these classics to add to my collection.  It's so sweet and random.

More classics, mostly from Grandma.  She loves giving me those giant compilation books.  They're lovely to have, but you can't really read them since they're so big.

There's the rest of the children's books.  I've got my Bunnicula books in there, and my old copy of Black Beauty, among others.  I love that "Green Fairy Book" there at the top - it was from my grandma when I was a kid too.  I recently found out that there's a whole series of them, each in a different colour so I'm keeping my eye out at thrift stores for more.

I never know where to put my Harry Potter books.  They don't really fit with the children's books or adult books, do they?  So for now they're hanging out with some teen fiction, seems to be a good fit for now.

Another hodge podge - just kind of whatever doesn't fit somewhere else.

And then snuggled up to the TV shows on DVD is my crate of TV books.  Of course this includes Nikki Stafford's Finding LOST series.

And the rest of my TV shows on DVD!  I actually have some more, but they're out on loan at the moment.  I keep considering getting rid of a lot of them, there's so much on Netflix now that it seems silly to have all of these DVDs around.

That's it - I like to keep my books all in one place, I don't really "decorate" with them or anything.  I'd love to hear how you organize your books!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Things not to do on a visit to Toronto

So Jenn and I went to Toronto last week to see Joe Rogan at the Sony Centre, and per usual it ended up being quite the comedy of errors.  Nothing can ever be simple.  Here's how our evening went down - learn from our mistakes.

  • The story starts with me being an idiot.  I was heading to Toronto after work, so I brought clothes to change into.  But I wanted to wear something new, so I figured I would just bring my jeans and buy a new top on my lunch break.  No such luck - I couldn't find ANYTHING that didn't look terrible on me, and I was too stupid to bring a backup top.  (Jenn's email to me at work when I was explaining my predicament?  "Dude, you ALWAYS bring a backup/standby that you know will work!")  I'm dumb.
  • So I had to do some panicked shopping after work and found something decent enough to wear.  But realize that my hair looks like garbage and I'm generally a walking human disaster.
  • Go to Walmart (the White Oaks Mall Walmart, which is THE WORST) after changing my shirt in the car (possibly while driving) so I can buy some elastics to deal with my hair.
  • Fix my makeup since Jenn specifically requested that I wear eyeliner.  I have lowered the bar for my appearance so much that Jenn knows if I'm wearing eyeliner it's a big deal.  That's all it takes for me to go from normal everyday Ashlie to "fancy" Ashlie.
  • I was driving, and it was my first time driving to Toronto.  We left later than expected, but still made good time getting there.  Of course, I'm a genius and forgot to pee before leaving London, but still managed to down a large Diet Coke before making the drive.  So by the time we got there, I had to leave my pants unbuttoned while driving.
  • We thought we were being smart when we found a link on the Sony Centre website where you could pre-pay for parking.  Brilliant!  It was for the lot right across the street, we got a bar code to scan and we figured we were all set.  Woo hoo - we are soooo smart!  We'll just roll up and be good to go!  Except we got there, and couldn't find the lot ANYWHERE.  We drove around in circles (in downtown Toronto, while I was trying not to explode from needing a bathroom) but couldn't find it anywhere.  Finally I decided that it was worth it for me to spend $15 to get to a bathroom, so we just sucked it up and paid to park in another lot.  BEWARE THE PREPAID PARKING.
  • While hobbling up to the theater (seriously, I had to pee so badly that I couldn't stand up straight, but I somehow managed to button my pants back up.  Stupid pants.) a security guard out from looked at us and said, "Sorry ladies, but the show has been cancelled."  Nice try, security guy.  The comedy is inside, not out here!
  • Found the glorious, glorious bathroom - I couldn't even catch enough of a break to have it be close by though, it was way down in the basement.  Ugh, stairs.
  • Finally able to walk normally, beer was needed before finding our seats.
  • Enjoyed the comedy show (I quite enjoyed it - his stand up was very similar to the podcast.  Jenn wasn't quite as impressed as I was.)  Decide against sticking around to fight a crowd for a picture with him afterwards and decide to just get back on the highway.
  • Get honked at in the parking garage for NO REASON except the other driver was stupid and apparently expected me to drive through other cars so she could get out sooner.
  • Get back onto the highway and make our way out of Toronto.  Stupidly comment on how we're making good time.
  • Get bogged down in some construction.  Boo.
  • Finally make our way through the construction, but suddenly realize that we've managed to get onto the QEW to head to Niagara.  Not exactly what we wanted to do.  I swear, there was construction, then the painted lines were all messed up, then all of a sudden we were going the wrong way.  No signs, no warning.  
  • Manage to make our way into downtown Hamilton and find a much-needed McDonalds.
  • Have the strangest McDonalds worker ever.  He takes my order, then completely ignores Jenn while we wait an obscenely long time for my order.  When he apologizes for it taking so long because they were making new fries, Jenn tells him that he can go ahead and throw a Filet O' Fish in there too.  So weird.
  • Get the hell out of Hamilton with our food and get back onto the highway.
  • Get home and in bed by 2:00 a.m., which was my pre-planned goal.
Moral of the story?  Always bring a backup outfit, prepaid parking is bullshit, you never want to have to detour through Hamilton, and Jenn and I always have bizarre encounters with strangers.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Very Vivian - Bye-Bye Bubba!

I can hardly believe it, but Vivian is off the bottle.  VIVIAN, who was so addicted to it that I was prepared to have a knock-down, drag-out fight that would no doubt land us both in therapy for years just to get us through the process.

But of course - Grandma managed to pull it off.  Here's how it went.

On my way to Toronto on Thursday evening, Jenn saw some messages from my mom.  "Nothing's wrong, but tell Ashlie to call or text me immediately."  Gulp.  Turns out that when mom picked her up from the daycare, the bottle didn't go with them.  Not unusual, since Vivian will sometimes wander around with it and hide it throughout the day.  I was worried, but not too much.  I figured if worse came to worse mom could find one somewhere - if she didn't have one kicking around the house, then I was sure my sister would.  I texted mom a bit before and after the show, but didn't hear too much about what was going on.  I was so worried that Vivian would end up crying herself to sleep, poor thing.

But none of that happened.  She just didn't care.  She didn't even really ask for it.  Mom said she offered her some milk in a different sippy cup but Vivian just said, "That's the wrong one" and then fell asleep in the recliner.  That's it.  She slept through the night and then woke up and ate two bowls of cereal and a piece of toast.  That's probably the most she's ever eaten at a meal ever.

Then it was time for Vivian and her dad to spend the day together, and same thing.  She was fine without it - napped fine, went to bed fine, no problems.  By the time Saturday rolled around she was telling me that her bubba was all gone and that was that.

I KNOW that if I had been the first one to tell her that there was no more bubba, she would have lost it.  She's always putting on a show for me, it would have been a nightmare.  So this worked out just perfectly.  It felt a little bit like we were conspiring against her, but she doesn't seem any worse for the wear.

The change is pretty damn amazing.  Not only is she eating way more, she's markedly drier.  We're going through far fewer diapers.  Which only makes sense, since I just bought a case of diapers.  She doesn't even want milk.  I figured that she would just want to drink milk out of a sippy cup, but she wants nothing to do with it.  She's had a few sips, but other than that it's just been water for her.  I knew that once she ditched the milk, she would no doubt start eating better but it's still pretty crazy to see.  This morning she asked for fruit snacks to eat on the way to daycare, and when I said yes she replied, "My have two."  She's sleeping well through the night too - I always felt that her sleeping/eating/milk consumption was all tied together, and that if we could figure one thing out then the rest would fall into place and it finally feels like it's happening.

Now, I haven't looked into the effects of cow's milk on kids much, but she really seems to be much clearer since giving up the bottle.  When she was still drinking milk our mornings would typically go like this - I would go into her room and turn on the light.  She would still be completely passed out in bed.  I would pick out her clothes and walk in and out of her room getting things ready for about 10-15 minutes before getting her out of bed.  She would still be fast asleep as I picked her up, and would usually continue to be asleep while I dressed her.  She would whine and just be out of sorts a lot of the time.  Contrast that to this morning - I went in and turned on her light and she woke up right away.  She got herself out of bed and walked out to the living room to get dressed and have some breakfast, chatting the whole time.  Instead of needing to be carried out to the car, she walked out herself and investigated things along the way.  I haven't noticed an effect on her tantrums yet (there's been a couple of typical ones since we've ditched the bottle) but she generally seems more alert and clear.  I don't know any other way to describe it.

This morning she also woke up completely dry - so potty training should be right around the corner!  I feel another visit to Grandma's coming on...

Bedtime snack - no bottle!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Treats of the Week - Fall Fairs

It has been a crazy busy week - and the rest of the fall is looking to be about the same.  Somehow it's practically the end of September - here's what was awesome about the past week!

  • Jenn and I had our trek to Toronto to see Joe Rogan on Thursday, and I really enjoyed the show.  The trip in and of itself was quite the ordeal though - I think it's going to merit it's own blog post.
  • Fall TV is back in full swing!  I spent about 45 minutes on Saturday programming the PVR.  It's quite the delicate balance getting everything in there!  And to go along with it...
  • To make the fall TV season that much better, I decided to rearrange the living room.  I love rearranging furniture and it had been far too long since this room had gotten a change-up!
  • Craig Clevenger's first book "The Contortionist's Handbook" is one of my all-time favourites.  His follow-up, "Dermaphoria" was also great, but not quite the same.  Dermaphoria came out in 2006, and he's finally finished his third book, "Mother Howl".  It'll be some time before we actually see it (apparently he's just finished the manuscript and is currently looking for an agent and a new publisher) but I am super excited about it!
  • This fall weather means many awesome things - including making homemade chili and soup!  I'm so damn domestic.
  • I got an early birthday present from my mom - these awesome new Sorel boots from the Columbia Employee Store!  Yay for deals and presents!

  • It was fall fair weekend, but because of the CRAZY rain we got, we decided to pass on the muddy field that would have been the Forest Fall Fair.  Instead we decided to go to the Parkhill Fall Fair since it took place in a paved parking lot.  It was cold, but the kids had a blast.  

  • And the biggest and most amazing news of the week is the fact that Vivian is OFF THE BOTTLE!  And I didn't even have to do it!  She spent the night at Grandma's house, and the bottle was accidentally left behind at daycare.  So they just rolled with it and she was totally fine!  She hasn't even really asked for it, and when she has mentioned it it's just to say, "My bubba's gone."  She doesn't even drink milk anymore, all she wants is water.  Amazing.  So I figure the next overnight trip to Grandma's house should mean that she'll come back potty trained...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Very Vivian - Changing Seasons

 Kids are jerks.  Sometimes kids are jerks in such special and wonderful ways that you don't even realize that they're going to be a jerk about it until it's happening and then you're at a loss for how to solve it.  One of the ways in which Vivian is a jerk is with seasonal changes.

We're currently having quite the difficulty adjusting to a fall wardrobe.  I've hidden away the tank tops and shorts and dresses, but I still get the "My no pants" and "My no socks" protests.  It's been fun, especially on these 3 degree mornings that we've had.

Then it gets even more difficult when it warms up again for a couple of days and she gets used to those lighter clothes again.

For the time being my strategy has been layers, layers, layers.  Vivian loves wearing dresses, so instead of the cute, light summery dresses I've swapped in some long-sleeved dresses from Old Navy.  Then when it's really cool out I get to try and wrestle her into a pair of leggings to go with it.  ("No mommy!  My no pants!")

That way if it warms up in the afternoon she can lose the tights if necessary.  I usually lose the sock battle, and really, I can't say that I blame her.  Socks are the worst.  So are pants, really.  The kid's got a point.

For the time being, she's playing along.  I've even gotten a jacket onto her once or twice.  Of course this will all go to hell when the mittens and boots and snow pants come out.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Treats of the Week - The September Issue

It seems to be fall all of a sudden - I'm not complaining!

  • I've been watching a lot of Mr. Show lately, as well as a lot of Newsradio.  So you can imagine my delight when David Cross and Bob Odenkirk both showed up in an episode of Newsradio! 
  • I don't often buy magazines anymore (because, you know, there's the internet) but this week I just couldn't resist the 902 pages of the Vogue September issue!

  • Honey crisp apples are the most delicious freaking apples on the face of the earth and I'm so excited to have some in the fridge.
  • My mom had knee surgery on Thursday and everything went just perfectly.  Of course the best part was her dopey conversations afterwards.  My favourite exchange while we were in the car on the way home?  Mom - "I'm hot."  Me (while turning on the air conditioning) - "Well you know you're wearing a hoodie."  Mom - "No, it's like my breath is hot, but not my body."  
  • I wore tights and boots today!  Fall clothes are by far the best.
  • I finished watching Broadchurch yesterday and holy cow, what a series.  It's only 8 episodes and it's a really great whodunnit.  The acting is just amazing - it's a really powerful portrait of grief.
  • As of right now there are only 2 hours of Breaking Bad left and holy crap, last night was unreal.  I was gasping, covering my eyes, tearing up, feeling nostalgic and terrified all at the same time.  Just an amazing hour of television - I'm actually a little afraid to watch it again.
  • I worked in Stratford for the day last Tuesday, which is always such a nice treat.  The court there is in the most beautiful old building right downtown - such a welcome change from the concrete box that I work in all week.
  • I got to catch up with some people from high school that I haven't seen since, well, high school!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Outfit of the Day - Strawberry

I had a $25 gift card from Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy burning a hole in my pocket (thank you, Pampers Points!) so I finally caved and spent it.  I got the greatest skirt ever made (I'll do a post on that soon!) and on a whim I threw this top into my virtual shopping cart.  With a discount code from Old Navy it ended up being only like $9, so I figured why not.  It seemed like a good top to help transition from summer to fall since it pairs so nicely with jeans.  It's great for those hot/cold days where you're never quite sure what to wear - just grab a cardigan for when it cools off!

It's rare for me to find a tank top that I feel comfortable in and that is at least somewhat flattering.  And I was really liking this one - until I was told that I look like a strawberry in it.

I assume that that's because of the pattern on it, and isn't actually any sort of comment on my actual shape.

Top - Old Navy
Jeans - Gap

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Very Vivian - Time Flies

When Vivian was brand new, I remember standing in the bathroom, getting her little tub ready for her bath.  I made a mental note of just how small she was - the way she fit right up on my shoulder, and her tiny little bum fit right in the palm of my hand.  I didn't want to take a picture, I just wanted to make a little memory of just how little she was, because she would never be that teeny tiny again.

Now when I carry her on my shoulder, it's more like this.

Her legs feel so long - she takes up my whole torso now instead of just my shoulder.  I need my whole forearm to hold her up instead of just cradling her in the palm of my hand.  She seems like such a giant, even though she's still so little.

It's hard to believe that even in this picture, she'll never be that little again.  Although hopefully she'll get better at not putting her shirt on backwards.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Quick Thrift Update

While I was waiting to meet my mom at Costco a few weeks ago I stopped in to the Value Village at the south end of London.  I rarely go there, but I was really impressed with it - it's laid out really nicely and had a lot more furniture and bigger stuff than the Value Village on the east end of Dundas.  

So I was wandering around, just looking to kill time and not to necessarily get anything, when I came across these prints of two of my favourite buildings in London - the London Armouries and the old courthouse.

The courthouse picture was pretty similar to the one I had found before at the Strathroy Antique Mall, but not in colour.  These were also priced at $7.99 each, so I didn't hesitate to grab them!

The frames were in pretty bad shape - they're the really old kind with just a cardboard backing on them, which was pretty much falling apart.  The brownish mat along with the brown frame was really making the whole thing just look yellowed and dated.

So after a few different attempts, I decided to use those old Ribba frames I had around.  I'd been wanting to switch out the art in them anyway.  The prints were pretty small, and originally I tried just using the white mat that was in them, but it was too many different shades of white and off-white, and the whole thing just didn't look awesome.

So instead I spray painted the mats with a teal paint I had sitting around.  I figured even if it didn't work I could just get smaller frames, or just keep these frames for when I had a larger print in them.  Luckily for me, I'm super happy with the result!

I gave the frames a quick coat of black paint while I was at it, just to freshen them up.  I love how the more modern, coloured mat seems to perk up the old prints!  I love thinking that these probably were hanging in someone's house for years, and now will be loved for many more years in my home!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Treats of the Week - Snoozy September

Is the changing seasons making anyone else sleepy?  I swear I'm running on caffeine and good intentions these days.
  • The Wish Book has officially arrived at our house - first just the digital version, and now the hard copy.  I swear I spend more time looking at it than Vivian does!
  • Jenn and I had a junk food/chatting evening which involved those salty delicious devils - the A&W onion ring.  They're something I only have like twice, maybe three times a year.  Goddamn are they delicious.
  • The Roast of James Franco was probably one of my all-time favourite roasts.  I was crying laughing in some parts, and have easily watched it four times already.  It will definitely be hanging out on my PVR for quite some time!
  • This was a crappy part of the week, but I'm choosing to put a positive spin on it.  I found out that I had a nail in my tire and instead of a quick and easy fix, it ended with me having to buy a new tire.  Womp, womp.  BUT, I'm choosing to look at it as a treat because if I hadn't found out about it now my tire could have gone completely flat on the way to Toronto next week - or worse.  So I'm focusing on the silver lining there!
  • I got an invite to the employee Columbia store through work, and I'm hoping to be able to make use of it for Vivian.  I tried her winter coat from last year on her to see if it still fits, and Vivian decided to continue to wear it around the house.  This picture made the whole thing worthwhile.

  • Jasmine on SYTYCD killed it last week, and I'm really hoping that she wins!  Results are tomorrow!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Vivian's Map

For whatever reason, I have this weird obsession with getting Vivian interested in maps.  They're educational, and I just think that they're fun.  We'll see if any of it actually rubs off on her.  So when I was at Costco a few weeks ago, they had a bunch of different giant maps for sale with their back to school stuff.  These things are massive - and nicely laminated.  It was only like $7.85, so you couldn't beat the price. They're obviously meant for classrooms, but I grabbed the Illustrated Children's Map thinking that it would fit nicely in a corner of Vivian's room.  I wanted to hang it low to the floor so that she could be at eye-level with it and whatnot.  Once I got it home I realized that it was way, way too big for that.  The only spot I could hang it was over her bed, which still works.  Because of it being a daybed, it's hanging a little higher than I would like for her to be able to check it out, but she still seems to like standing on her bed and checking out the Southern Hemisphere, so it's a start.

It's a Dino Map, but I couldn't seem to find the exact one on Amazon to link for you guys.  They have a bunch of different illustrated ones - the prehistoric world, animals, ancient world - but ours is just a general map of the world.  I love how random this map is though - I am finding it hilarious, and educational!

It's just covered in different illustrations - landmarks, cultural events, animals, pop culture references...

There's even different ships to help fill in the oceans - that shadowy one at the bottom is the Flying Dutchman.

All along the top they have the history of flight - starting with poor old Icarus on the left side...

...and ending with the moon landing on the far right side.

I haven't investigated it fully yet - Vivian tends to yell at me for standing on her bed and looking at her map, or touching any of her things - but here are some of my favourites so far.

Michigan is obviously represented by Rappers.

I love that there are so many mysterious locations, like the Bermuda Triangle.

Nessie also makes an appearance, and I love that the map has anarchy in the U.K.

Also, zombies.

You know something is really educational when there are zombies on it.